" 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.)



This blog was listed as one of the 'Finalists' in the '2016 current affairs/politics' category of the Littlewoods Ireland blog awards - but we didn't win the award. Ah well! Thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again next year!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

MISPLACED 'PRIDE' WITH 'FALL' TO FOLLOW. HOPEFULLY.

ON THIS DATE (22ND FEBRUARY) 28 YEARS AGO : MISPLACED 'PRIDE'...

..and, unfortunately, the potential for more of same remains.

An unusual piece for us, given the point of view of this blog and the point of view of the man featured in the article, but the dates coincide (ie this being the 22nd February) plus it is in relation to the 'Irish issue' and, as stated, the potential for it to happen again remains in place, unfortunately, because Westminster continues to claim political jurisdiction over a part of Ireland, and enforces that claim militarily.

A member of the British 'Royal Corps of Transport', Lance Corporal Norman James Duncan (27) (pictured, above), was shot dead on the 22nd February 1989 - 28 years ago on this date - when a British Army military bus was waiting to clear a road junction. The driver, Lance Corporal Duncan, was driving from Ebrington B.A. Barracks in Derry to a near-by primary school to collect the children of his comrades when '...a man jumped out of a nearby car, walked over to the bus and fired 15 shots at the driver, hitting him six times in the head and abdomen...' (from here.)

This shooting was well reported on at the time (as, indeed, was only proper) - 'Lance Corporal Norman Duncan (27) was shot dead by an IRA Unit as he drove from Ebrington Barracks in Derry to the nearby Ebrington Primary School to collect the children of British soldiers in a school bus. He was a native of Craigellanchie in Scotland...married with 3 children and a soldier with the Royal Corps of Transport holding the rank of Lance-Corporal, (he) was driving a minibus from Ebrington Barracks to Ebrington Primary School to collect children when he was shot by the IRA in Londonderry's Bond Street. Duncan left Ebrington barracks at 1:40PM to collect the children of soldiers. As the minibus slowed at a junction, a car pulled up alongside and a gunman got out, walked over to the bus and fired at least 15 shots at the driver. Duncan was hit in the head and upper body 6 times and died almost immediately. A witness told the inquest that he saw the soldier "bouncing about inside the minibus". Duncan was due to leave Northern Ireland in 4 weeks time. A police spokesman said that (he) was very popular with his superiors and other soldiers and added: "He was a quiet man by nature but was always willing to help his colleagues regardless of the additional hours it meant working". After the attack, the (British) army carried out a review on its arrangements for carrying school children to and from local schools. LEST WE FORGET!' (From here.)

'The 170-seat parish church in the Speyside village of Craigellachie was packed for the funeral service yesterday of Lance-Corporal Norman Duncan, who was shot dead in Northern Ireland last week while driving a minibus to collect Army children from a primary school in Londonerry. Lance-Corporal Duncan, 27, was a driver with the Royal Corps of Transport. He was buried with full military honours at Aberlour Cemetery. He was a married man with three children, and had been due to leave the Army in June...' (from here.)

'ROYAL CORPS OF TRANSPORT : DUNCAN - Lance-Corporal Norman J. - 22nd February 1989 - Aged 27. Shot when driving a minibus to collect children from Ebrington Primary School in Londonderry. From Banffshire, Scotland.' (From here.)

There are other such tributes etc here and here, for example but, regardless, Westminster continues to place its military personnel in harm's way in Ireland (and elsewhere) all in the 'name of Empire'. Perhaps when they leave the EU, they might hold a referendum on 'leaving' the 'elsewhere' countries, too. For the sake of their own people, if nothing else.







PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

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

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

THE SYSTEM. (By Harry Melia.)

Tried to break my spirit

tried to take my pride

deep down inside

the hatred I could not hide.




Got me as a kid

they're to blame for what I did.




Pulls the strings

tried to make people dance

can one get a chance?




Builds you up

gives you a name

sets you up

makes you a shame.


(Next - 'Calming the Storm', by M. O'Callaghan.)






TRADE UNIONS AND CAPITALISM IN IRELAND....

The role of the trade union movement in Ireland in relation to the continued imperialist occupation of the North and to the foreign multi-national domination of the Irish economy - both north and south - remains an area of confusion for many people. John Doyle examines the economic policy of the 'Irish Congress of Trade Unions' (ICTU) and the general failure of the official Labour movement to advance the cause of the Irish working class, except in terms of extremely limited gains. From 'Iris' magazine, November 1982.

By mimicking the 'left' of the Labour Party, the Workers Party have made temporary gains in the Free State, though they have become increasingly redundant in the North. Yet, despite their greater efficiency and comprehensiveness of policy, they are no nearer James Connolly than the Labour Party.

THE WAY FORWARD.

The political and social crisis inside and outside the trade union movement requires as a base line that republicans and all genuine progressives come together in a sort of economic broad front to head the new political direction forward.

Just as socialists must play their full part in the liberation struggle, so republicans must orientate themselves seriously into urgent work on the trade unions, now. (Provisional) Sinn Féin can be the catalyst for the building of Connolly's vision, if the effort is made*. (*'1169' comment : "Connolly's vision" did not extend to implementing British rule in one part of Ireland while working, politically, within the confines of Free Statism in another part of Ireland, as anyone with a 'republican vision' will confirm.)

(END of 'Trade Unions And Capitalism In Ireland' : next - 'Ricochets Of History', from 2002).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.

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

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

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

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE (does my head in...)

James Young was shouting his catch-phrase : "Stap fightin'..." on Cage 22's radio, storm clouds were-a-gatherin' and I for one wasn't a happy POW. Negotiations broke down at the wire and the screws stormed off. A few minutes later another tobacco tin flew across between Cage 7 and Cage 22 - "Everybody, meeting in the canteen."

Gerry stood out in front of the ranks of men ar sochra (at ease) in the canteen - "We're refusing to lock up," he said. This was part of an ongoing tactic against the screws and their policy of trying to break our spirit and moral, and was designed by us to be more disruptive than destructive, although we were always prepared for both.

The standard day in Long Kesh started at about 6.30am when the huts were unlocked until 9.00pm, as it was at that time that the huts, with us in them, were locked up for the night. We were told to await further orders and dismissed. Our minds raced back to the fire and how most of us were experiencing a déjá vu type thing. The months before we had been receiving training in survival and, to this end, we had been supplied with survival kits, comprising of a cloth bag with a string through the top, which you pulled to tighten. (MORE LATER).




ON THIS DATE (22ND FEBRUARY) 185 YEARS AGO : FIRST INTERMENT IN GLASNEVIN CEMETERY.

'Beneath

Lie The Remains of

MICHAEL

The Beloved Son of MICHAEL CAREY

Of Francis Street

Who Was The First Ever Interred

in This Cemetery

22nd February 1832'


(the inscription on Michael Carey's headstone, pictured, left, in Glasnevin Cemetery).

In 1821, in Dublin, a child, Michael Carey, was born in the slums of Francis Street ; his father, Michael, worked as best he could as a scrap metal dealer/labourer, and his mother, Bridget, was a 'stay-at-home' wife. When he was only 11-years-young, Michael fell victim to 'consumption', now known as tuberculosis, and his parents moved him to a 'safer' part of Dublin - Phibsborough - in the hope of giving him a chance to get his strength back to fight the illness, but to no avail - the poor young lad died, and is recorded as being the first person to be buried in the then new (Glasnevin) graveyard (in an area known as Curran's Square, in a graveyard to be later known as 'Prospect Cemetery') on Wednesday 22nd February 1832 - 185 years ago on this date.

Another very sad episode in relation to 'consumption' ('congestion of the lungs/weak action of the heart') and the then new graveyard is that of a William Pope : he buried his three-year-old daughter, Margaret, then, three days later, buried his one-year-old son, Patrick. William and his wife persevered as best they could but tragedy struck again five years later - another son, John, died - he was only one year 'old', too. Four years later, they buried another daughter, Elizabeth - she was only a week old. The father, William, died at 81 years of age, having witnessed almost his entire family die before him. His 'cause of death' was listed as 'old age', but safe to say he died from a broken heart. So sad.

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, February 08, 2017

ANIMAL FOOD AND CASH CROPS IN IRELAND.

ON THIS DATE (8TH FEBRUARY) 170 YEARS AGO : 'THE LIBERATOR' PLEADS - 'ONE IN FOUR WILL DIE UNLESS YOU HELP...'

On the 8th February 1847, the then 72-year-old 'Liberator', Daniel O'Connell (pictured, left) delivered his last speech in the British 'House of Commons' : his words were in connection with the so-called 'Irish famine' (An Gorta Mór) and, in it, he stated - "Ireland is in your hands and in your power. If you do not save her, she cannot save herself. And I solemnly call on you to bear in mind what I am telling you now in advance, something of which I am absolutely certain, that one out of every four of her people will soon die unless you come to her aid..."

The use of the term 'famine', in this instance, is a misnomer if ever there was one - 'In the early summer of 1845, on the 11th September of that year, a disease referred to as blight was noted to have attacked the crop in some areas. In that year, one third of the entire crop was destroyed. In 1846, the crop was a total failure. This report came from a Galway priest - "As to the potatoes, they are gone – clean gone. If travelling by night, you would know when a potato field was near by the smell. The fields present a space of withered black stalks..." Though 1847 was free from blight, few seed potatoes had been planted...yet the country was producing plenty of food. As the Irish politician, Charles Duffy wrote: "Ships continue to leave the country, loaded with grain and meat." As food was scarce people would eat anything such as nettles, berries, roots, wildlife, animals, dogs and cats in order to survive...' (from here.)

O'Connell pleaded with Westminster to save the people of Ireland who were being decimated by sickness and disease, caused by a lack of nourishment, and requested that, instead of building roads and other such infrastructure, the money available for same should be used to encourage the Irish to cultivate the soil to plant oats and barley etc, and a 'compromise' (of sorts) was arrived at - cheap Indian corn was brought into Ireland, for the people, sometimes on the same ships that, when unloaded, would then be loaded again with Irish-produced oats and barley - 'cash crops', according to the landlords, for export, not for home consumption!

The imported 'corn' was considered by the Irish to be a type of animal feed, the grain of which was so tough as to cause great pain and, even at that, the amount of it imported was inadequate for the number of people in need.

Daniel O'Connell died, age 72, in Genoa, Italy, 13 weeks after his 8th February speech and, as he requested, his heart was buried in Rome and the remainder of his body was buried in Glasnevin, Dublin. Father Ventura of the Theatine Order delivered the oration, during which he stated - "My body to Ireland – my heart to Rome – my soul to heaven : what bequests, what legacies, are these! What can be imagined at the same time more sublime and more pious than such a testament as this! Ireland is his country – Rome is the church – heaven is God. God, the Church and his country – or, in other words, the glory of God, the liberty of the Church, the happiness of his country are the great ends of all his actions – such the noble objects, the only objects of his charity! He loves his country and therefore he leaves to it his body; he loves still more the Church and hence he bequeaths to it his heart ; and still more he loves God, and therefore confides to Him his soul! Let us profit then, of this great lesson afforded by a man so great – a man who has done such good service to the Church, to his country, and to humanity..."

It was on this date - 8th February - 170 years ago that Daniel O'Connell delivered his last speech in the British 'House of Commons'.





PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

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

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

THE JOINT. (By Harry Melia.)

Tears in my eyes

I get the skins, a bit of hash

and make a nice skinner

to decorate my lip.




A couple of drags, the mind blows

funny thoughts, laughing to myself,

as a spider looks like a giant monster.




Giggles, a fit of laughter,

screw's eyes looking through the peephole

think I'm mad.




I start to sing

think I'm Tom Jones, belting out

'She's a Lady'

the lads shouting "Belt Up!"

out the windows.




Laughter, more laughter,

the tape plays, I dance

oh so much fun

what a few puffs can do

are you alright?

give us a light.




Mind gone astray

left this prison for another day

beautiful thoughts, so much fun

light another joint

the party's just begun.


(Next - 'The System', by Harry Melia.)






ON THIS DATE (8TH FEBRUARY) 31 YEARS AGO : ONE EPISODE IN THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH...

'A Jury in Abbeville, Louisiana, in the United States, yesterday (ie Friday, 7th February 1986) awarded one million dollars in damages to an eleven-year old boy, who was molested by a priest, Father Gilbert Gauthe (pictured, left) now in jail for sexually abusing three dozen alter boys.

The boy's parents, Glenn and Faye Gastal, refused 'out of court' settlements and sought twelve million dollars in their lawsuit against the Catholic Church because, they said, it harboured the priest even after learning that he was a child molester. The predominantly Catholic jury also awarded the boy's parents 250,000 dollars. The abuse started when the boy was seven years of age. Father Gilbert Gauthe was sentenced to twenty years in prison last October (ie October 1985) after admitting he molested the children at Saint John Parish Church in the community of Esther. The Lafayette Diocese has settled lawsuits with thirteen families against Father Gilbert Gauthe for a reported five-and-a-half million dollars, with not one of those thirteen cases going to trial...' (from 'The Evening Press' newspaper, 8th February 1986 ; thirty-one years ago on this date.)

These are the same self-righteous hypocrites that, at the drop of a Bishop's hat, will - and have - condemned Irish men and women for challenging, and seeking to change, the political and social system in Ireland. A corrupt system which nurtures a corrupt Church.





TRADE UNIONS AND CAPITALISM IN IRELAND....

The role of the trade union movement in Ireland in relation to the continued imperialist occupation of the North and to the foreign multi-national domination of the Irish economy - both north and south - remains an area of confusion for many people. John Doyle examines the economic policy of the 'Irish Congress of Trade Unions' (ICTU) and the general failure of the official Labour movement to advance the cause of the Irish working class, except in terms of extremely limited gains. From 'Iris' magazine, November 1982.

By mimicking the 'left' of the Labour Party, the Workers Party have made temporary gains in the Free State, though they have become increasingly redundant in the North. Yet, despite their greater efficiency and comprehensiveness of policy, they are no nearer James Connolly than the Labour Party.

THE WAY FORWARD.

The alternative to the current disarray within the labour movement, and the lack of socialist perspectives, is not to be found in theoretical tracts or in abusive rhetoric, but in sound agitational work based on the enormous militant potential of grass-roots trade unionists. While capitalism in Ireland is relatively stable, its foundations are uncertain, and the false base of foreign investment will assuredly lead to a political crisis in coming years.

Equally, the terms of IMF reflotation loans will become increasingly harsh, and capitalism's ability to maintain social consenus will falter. In this situation, industrial action alone, and isolated defensive actions by the most militant unions, will not be enough to deal with the situation.

It is only by political action paralleling industrial might that the trade unions will become a genuine force for lasting social change. Naturally, this work will not take place in isolation from the national struggle against imperialism. ('1169...' comment - that "work" should "not take place in isolation from the national struggle against imperialism", but our history proves otherwise : those that have left the republican movement over the years have, on entering Leinster House and/or Stormont [Westminster next?], concentrated their political efforts on 'social change' issues for their own re-election purposes and, occasionally, would pay lip service to "the national struggle against imperialism".) (MORE LATER).





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.

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

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

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

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE (does my head in...)

We sat down on the chairs that were right up against the wire of the cage at the gate, and it begins : "You filthy swine! You rotter! You are a blackguard, my good man...you carbuncle on the backside of humanity...you filthy rotten scoundrel...you premarital accident...Glasgow Celtic FOREVER...!", we shouted, gratuitously.

"What the fuck's going on here?", asked the Adjutant. "Well, we thought since the really bad abuse wasn't working that we would try a different tack." "Just you do what you're told and stop messing about." The messing about stopped and thank God my mum wasn't there to hear Messrs Barnes, Burns, Wilson, Tolan and her own son abusing the screws.

A halt was called not long later and an assistant governor and a chief screw approached Cage 7, and stood at the wire talking to the IRA officer commanding of the sentenced prisoners. They were very agitated and animated, and threats were being made from both sides. "I'll send the soldiers in," said the assistant governor. "I'll burn the Camp," replied the OC... (MORE LATER).




ON THIS DAY NEXT WEEK (WEDNESDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2017)...

..we won't be posting our usual contribution, and probably won't be in a position to post anything at all until the following Wednesday (22nd Feb) ; this coming weekend (Saturday/Sunday 11th/12th) is spoke for already with a 650-ticket raffle to be run for the Cabhair group in a venue on the Dublin/Kildare border (work on which begins on the Tuesday before the actual raffle) and the 'autopsy' into same which will take place on Monday evening, 13th, in Dublin, meaning that we will not have the time to post here. But we'll be back, as stated above, on Wednesday 22nd, unless we win the 'big bucks' at the weekend..!

Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, February 01, 2017

'TAMER METHODS SHOULD BE LEFT TO TAMER MEN...'

ON THIS DATE (1ST FEBRUARY) 139 YEARS AGO : 1916 SIGNATORY BORN.

On the 1st February 1878 - 139 years ago on this date - a child, Thomas, was born in Cloughjordan in Tipperary, into a household which would consist of four sons and two daughters - the parents, Joseph and Mary (Louise Parker) MacDonagh, were both employed as teachers in a near-by school. He went to Rockwell College in Cashel, Tipperary, where he entertained the idea of training for the priesthood but, at 23 years of age, decided instead to follow in his parents footsteps and trained to be a teacher. He obtained employment at St Kieran's College in Kilkenny and, while working there, advanced his interest in Irish culture by joining the local 'Gaelic League' group and was quickly elected to a leadership role with same - '..by 1905 he had left the League and moved on to teach at St Colman’s College, Fermoy, where he also established himself as a published poet. Three years later he moved to a new position, as resident assistant headmaster at St Enda's, Patrick Pearse's school then based in Ranelagh. In 1911, after completing his BA and MA at UCD, he was appointed lecturer in English at the same institution. In 1912 he married Muriel Gifford, sister of Grace, who would later marry Joseph Plunkett in Kilmainham Gaol.

In the years prior to the Rising MacDonagh became active in Irish literary circles and was a co-founder of the Irish Review and, with Plunkett, of the Irish Theatre on Hardwicke Street. MacDonagh was a witness to Bloody Sunday in 1913 and this event appears to have radicalised him so that he moved away from the circles of the literary revival and embraced political activism. He joined the Irish Volunteers in December 1913 and was appointed to the body's governing committee. In 1914 he rejected John Redmond's appeal for the Volunteers to join the fight in the First World War. On 9 September 1914 he attended the secret meeting that agreed to plan for an armed insurrection against British rule. By March 1915 he had been sworn into the ranks of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and was also serving on the central executive of the Irish Volunteers, was director of training for the Volunteers and commandant of the 2nd Battalion of the Dublin Brigade...' (more here.)

At the age of 38, he joined his comrades in challenging a then world power, England, over the injustices which that 'world leader' was inflicting in Ireland and, with six of his comrades, he signed a proclamation in 1916 declaring the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, free of any external political or military interference. He was found guilty by a British court martial that followed the 1916 Rising, and was sentenced to death. He was executed by firing squad on the 3rd May 1916 on the same day as Pearse and Tom Clarke. His friend and fellow poet Francis Ledwidge wrote a poem in his honour after his death (Ledwidge, the 'Poet of the Blackbirds', fought for the British in the 'First World War' and was injured in 1916 - he was recovering from his wounds in hospital when news reached him of the Rising and he let it be known that he felt betrayed by Westminster over its interference in Ireland) -

Lament for Thomas MacDonagh.

He shall not hear the bittern cry

In the wild sky where he is lain

Nor voices of the sweeter birds

Above the wailing of the rain.




Nor shall he know when loud March blows

Thro' slanting snows her fanfare shrill

Blowing to flame the golden cup

Of many an upset daffodil.




And when the dark cow leaves the moor

And pastures poor with greedy weeds

Perhaps he'll hear her low at morn

Lifting her horn in pleasant meads.




In his address to the court martial, Thomas MacDonagh said : "Gentlemen of the court martial, I choose to think you have done your duty according to your lights in sentencing me to death. I thank you for your courtesy. It would not be seemly for me to go to my doom without trying to express, however inadequately, my sense of the high honour I enjoy in being one of those predestined to die in this generation for the cause of Irish freedom. You will, perhaps, understand this sentiment, for it is one to which an Imperial poet of a bygone age bore immortal testimony : "Tis sweet and glorious to die for one's country." You would all be proud to die for Britain, your Imperial patron, and I am proud and happy to die for Ireland, my glorious fatherland...there is not much left to say. The Proclamation of the Irish Republic has been adduced in evidence against me as one of the signatories. I adhere to every statement in that proclamation. You think it already a dead and buried letter - but it lives, it lives! From minds alive with Ireland's vivid intellect it sprang, in hearts alive with Ireland's mighty love it was conceived. Such documents do not die.

The British occupation of Ireland has never for more than one hundred years been compelled to confront in the field of flight a rising so formidable as that which overwhelming forces have for the moment succeeded in quelling. This rising did not result from accidental circumstances. It came in due recurrent reasons as the necessary outcome of forces that are ever at work. The fierce pulsation of resurgent pride that disclaims servitude may one day cease to throb in the heart of Ireland — but the heart of Ireland will that day be dead. While Ireland lives, the brains and brawn of her manhood will strive to destroy the last vestige of foreign rule in her territory. In this ceaseless struggle there will be, as there must be, an alternate ebb and flow. But let England make no mistake. The generous high-bred youth of Ireland will never fail to answer the call we pass on to them, will never full to blaze forth in the red rage of war to win their country's freedom. Other and tamer methods they will leave to other and tamer men ; but for themselves they must do or die. It will be said our movement was doomed to failure. It has proved so. Yet it might have been otherwise.

There is always a chance of success for brave men who challenge fortune. That we had such a chance, none know so well as your statesmen and military experts. The mass of the people of Ireland will doubtless lull their consciences to sleep for another generation by the exploded fable that Ireland cannot successfully fight England. We do not propose to represent the mass of the people of Ireland. We stand for the intellect and for immortal soul of Ireland. To Ireland's soul and intellect, the inert mass drugged and degenerated by ages of servitude must in the destined day of resurrection render homage and free service receiving in turn the vivifying impress of a free people. Gentlemen, you have sentenced me to death, and I accept your sentence with joy and pride since it is for Ireland I am to die. I go to join the goodly company of men who died for Ireland, the least of whom is worthier far than I can claim to be, and that noble band are themselves but a small section of the great, unnumbered company of martyrs, whose Captain is the Christ who died on Calvary. Of every white robed knight of all that goodly company we are the spiritual kin. The forms of heroes flit before my vision, and there is one, the star of whose destiny chimes harmoniously with the swan song of my soul. It is the great Florentine, whose weapon was not the sword, but prayer and preaching ; the seed he sowed fructifies to this day in God's Church. Take me away, and let my blood bedew the sacred soil of Ireland. I die in the certainty that once more the seed will fructify."

Thomas MacDonagh - born 1878, executed by Westminster 1916.







PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

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

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

WASTED TIME. (By Harry Melia.)

In the base such peace and quiet

I lie on my bed and my mind

goes back in time.

Seventeen years a lifetime

if only I could start again.




Always on my mind

I'm hand in hand with my wife

all the wonderful times we shared

screw - checking the door

locks my mind again.




I'm in the prison ten years now

Dublin has changed

making me afraid when I think of going home

as the time draws nearer I'm scared

but don't know why.




Never happened me before

If only I could turn back the hands of time

change and everything would be fine

the good times are back

all the love, fun and craic




Wasted time. So much wasted time.

(Next - 'The Joint', by Harry Melia.)






1ST FEBRUARY (ST. BRIGID'S DAY)- THE DAWN OF THE 'CELTIC SPRING'.

St. Brigid's Well, in Clondalkin, Dublin (pictured,left) is a local landmark that is considered to be a 'magic well' of sorts and was, 'back in the day', situated on what was known as 'Brideswell Common', an abandoned piece of land which travellers passed on their way to Kildare. The 'Well' and surrounding land was 'owned' by William Francis Caldbeck Esq., who rented it to a Mr. Ormsby. The 'Commons' area at that time consisted of just two fields with a rough lane dividing them , and a natural spring which the locals named 'St.Brigid's Well' , in honour of St.Brigid who, according to folklore, would baptise so-called 'pagans' in the waters of the Well - and, in return, the locals payed particular homage to her on the 1st February each year : 'the Feast Day of St. Brigid', one of four major 'fire' festivals (known as 'quarter days' in Irish mythology - the other three such 'days' are Beltane, Lughnasadh, and Samhain). St. Brigid was a 'fire goddess', and a perpetual flame burns in her honour at a shrine in Kildare, not too far from the Clondalkin site.

Infants that died before they could be baptised were said to be buried in this immediate area as a lease signed by Caldbeck allowed for burials in a 'ground [area] of 4 perches...' and this and the fact that St. Brigid made regular 'pit stops' there soon ensured that the Well became a 'special place' , the waters of which were said to improve the eyesight of young girls , once their eyes were washed with a wet cloth which was then hung on the nearest tree to dry - as the cloth dried , the eyesight of the girl who had been washed with it improved. Another belief associated with St. Brigid is that of the 'Brigid's Bed', where single females of the area would each make a doll (a 'Brideog') to represent Brigid and dress it with as much colour as they could and then make a bed for the doll to lie in.

On St. Brigid's Eve (31st January), the girls and young women would gather together in one house to stay up all night with the 'Brideog', and are then visited by all the young men of the community who must ask permission to enter the home, and treat them and the doll with respect. We still have girls, young women and young men in this world today, but 'respect' for them is in short supply, it seems...





TRADE UNIONS AND CAPITALISM IN IRELAND....

The role of the trade union movement in Ireland in relation to the continued imperialist occupation of the North and to the foreign multi-national domination of the Irish economy - both north and south - remains an area of confusion for many people. John Doyle examines the economic policy of the 'Irish Congress of Trade Unions' (ICTU) and the general failure of the official Labour movement to advance the cause of the Irish working class, except in terms of extremely limited gains. From 'Iris' magazine, November 1982.

Since the 1930's, the majority of trade unionists in the Free State have supported Fianna Fáil, initially because of its populist policies and 'republican' image, more so today because of traditional voting patterns and Fianna Fáil's residual nationalist image. Equally in the North, partition has inevitably polarised trade unionists along nationalist and unionist lines.

These patterns have not been broken, because of the inadequacy of the Labour Party in the Free State and its rejection of James Connolly's socialism, and also because - it must be said - of republicans' practical (and sometimes political) inability to come properly to grips with social issues over the same period.

Equally, the partitionist and economistic positions of the 'Workers' Party' offer no alternative to the sterile contortions of the Labour Party and their refusal to advance socialist policies. (MORE LATER).





ON THIS DATE (1ST FEBRUARY) 94 YEARS AGO - 'BIG HOUSE ON THE HILL' BURNED DOWN BY THE IRA.

On the 1st February 1923, the IRA burned down what they obviously perceived to be a symbol of 'British landlordism' in County Mayo - 'Moore Hall', which was at the time associated with a Free State 'Senator', Colonel Maurice Moore.

By all accounts, Maurice Moore himself was a 'mixed bag', politically speaking, and the Moore clan themselves had the reputation as 'not the worst' to deal with : a family member from 'the old days', John, fought alongside the 'United Irishmen' in 1798 and was captured by the British and sentenced, by 'Lord' Cornwallis, to deportation and, during 'An Gorta Mór', it is recorded that no one died on 'their' lands from hunger during that period and no evictions took place. The 'Senator Colonel' '..served with the Connacht Rangers in the Boer War and became involved with human right issues (and) is credited by many as the founder of The Irish Volunteers. He was appointed by the First Dáil as envoy to South Africa in 1920 (and) served in the (FS) Seanad from 1923 under both W T Cosgrave and E DeValera where he moved legislation for the return of Irish prisoners in English jails (and) was also deeply involved with the establishment of the co-operative movement in Ireland...' (from here).

Peadar O'Donnell, in his book 'There will be Another Day', touched on a meeting he had with the man : "..Senator Colonel Maurice Moore called at my home with the manuscript of a pamphlet he proposed to publish - 'British Plunder and Irish Blunder', and he hoped that I might use it serially in 'An Phoblacht'. I knew of Colonel Moore's sustained protest in the Free State Senate against the payment of land annuities to Britain, on the ground that the Free State was under no legal obligation to pay them. I did not seek him out, and 'An Phoblacht' took little notice of his speeches. For one thing I held it against him, as I held it against W.B. Yeats , that he allowed himself to be nominated to membership of so mean a body as the Free State Senate (and) for another thing, adventuring as I was beyond the limits of IRA policy in my use of 'An Phoblacht', it would not occur to me to link up with a Free State Senator who could invoke no better argument than British Acts of Parliament.."

However - regarding the burning of 'the Big House on the Hill' : the following letter, from George Moore, was published in 'The Morning Post' newspaper on the 14th February 1923, thirteen days after the fire :

'Sir – so many trite and colourless descriptions have appeared in the newspapers of Irish bonfires that it occurs to me you might like to publish the few lines which I quote, telling of the burning of Moore Hall on the first of this month.

I was sitting in my lodge reading when armed men who where perfect strangers to me came to the door and demanded the keys. I asked what for, and was told that a column was going to be put up for the night. I wanted to go over, but would not be allowed; other armed men were patrolling the road from Annie's Bridge to Murphy's Lodge. I had no option but to give up the keys, and suspecting what was on I pointed out to the leader that the house was not Colonel Moore's property. This had no effect. I sat up all night, hoping that when all would be clear I could save even a portion of the library. At four o'clock I heard four loud explosions. At five I went to the place and found the whole house a seething mass of flames. I at once saw that all was hopeless. A fire brigade would be powerless, so firmly had the flames gripped the entire building.

I could do nothing but stand by and await the end with the same feeling that one has when standing by the open grave of a very dear friend. I do not say this in a 'Uriah Heapish' way, for I really loved that old house. To me it was a modern edition of King Tutankhamen's tomb. At six o'clock the roof fell in with a terrific crash. When the fire died down I got ladders up to the library windows, hoping to save even a few books, but nothing living could enter, so fierce was the heat. When Mr Ruttledge returns I would like to have instructions as to what is to be done. There is several feet of litter on the ground floor. I don't know if it be worth while to remove this – except steel or iron one cannot hope to find anything. In one sense, perhaps, the house had outlived its usefulness, but still it would be a pity even now to let it become a real ruin. If nothing else be done I would suggest building up all the lower windows to prevent people trafficking in and out as they please.

These lines will seem to many too simple to be considered as 'literature' ; the many like ornament. But the simple directness of the lines appeals to me ; I doubt the story could have been better told ; and if they recall to others, as they did to me, Virgil's celebrated words,
Sunt laerimae verum ['These are the tears of things'], they will justify their publication.

– Yours, etc., George Moore, 121 Ebury Street, London, S.W.1'


The Moore family may indeed not have been 'the worst in the world' but their unfortunate connection, at that time, to the 'landed gentry', was their downfall on that particular occasion.





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.

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

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

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

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE (does my head in...)

For the rest of the day we were to take turns sitting at the gate of Cage 22 and the other cages shouting abuse at the screws. I'm talking serious slander here, the mortal sin stuff. We were broken up into sections and allocated a time for when we had to take our place at the gate.

As the canteen staff we were told to take our turn after the evening meal - the canteen staff of Cage 22 at that time could abuse non-stop for Ireland, but don't get me wrong : we could curse like the best of them but this was very demeaning and belittling to us. This was not out of any vestige of respect for the screws, as we had none. This was for ourselves.

We listened to our comrades during the course of the day screaming abuse at the screws. Every swear word you could think of clustered together in sentences, paragraphs and then some. The tirade of abuse lasted a good eight hours and then it was our turn. We protested to Martin who told us orders were orders and that while the Cage staff didn't like it either there was nothing could be done... (MORE LATER).


Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, January 25, 2017

"THE TOWN WAS IN POSSESSION OF THE VOLUNTEERS..."

'BLOODY SUNDAY' PICKET, SATURDAY JANUARY 28TH, 2017, O'CONNELL STREET, DUBLIN.

After a peaceful civil rights march on January 30, 1972 - from Creggan to Free Derry Corner - units of the British Army Parachute Regiment opened fire with automatic rifles and shot dead 13 unarmed civilians, injuring many more. It was later revealed that some days prior to the massacre, the British soldiers involved had been briefed to 'shoot to kill' at the march.

"This Sunday became known as 'Bloody Sunday' and bloody it was. It was quite unnecessary. It strikes me that the (British) army ran amok that day and shot without thinking of what they were doing. They were shooting innocent people. They may have been taking part in a parade which was banned, but that did not justify the troops coming in and firing live rounds indiscriminately. I would say without reservations that it was sheer unadulterated murder. It was murder, gentlemen" - the words of British Major Hubert O'Neill, Derry City Coroner, at the conclusion of the inquests on the 13 people killed by the British Army.

On Saturday January 28th next, a picket to mark the 45th anniversary of that massacre will be held at the GPO in Dublin, from 12 Noon to 1.45pm. All welcome!





PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

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

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

THE PADDED CELL. (By Harry Melia.)

In the padded cell I sit

humiliated, dejected, depressed,

it seems that no-one cares, do they?




Am I forgotten?



I hear a jangle of keys

I bang, shout, curse

it seems there's no-one there, is there?




At last some one comes, my saviour

from this hell, or not...




"WHAT DO YOU WANT?" the screw shouts at me

Just to talk, Guv, I say meekly

"NOT A CHANCE LAD", he grunts


Is this real or an illusion?

(Next - 'Wasted Time', by Harry Melia.)






TRADE UNIONS AND CAPITALISM IN IRELAND....

The role of the trade union movement in Ireland in relation to the continued imperialist occupation of the North and to the foreign multi-national domination of the Irish economy - both north and south - remains an area of confusion for many people. John Doyle examines the economic policy of the 'Irish Congress of Trade Unions' (ICTU) and the general failure of the official Labour movement to advance the cause of the Irish working class, except in terms of extremely limited gains. From 'Iris' magazine, November 1982.

As stated earlier, the fundamental weakness of the trade union movement in Ireland today is its lack of a clear socialist ideology. In 1914, just prior to the outbreak of war, the then 20-year-old 'Irish Trade Union Congress' restructured itself as the 'Irish TUC and Labour Party', as a result of a proposal promoted by the 'Dublin Trades Council' and supported by James Connolly.

Yet that early conception, of a mass working-class political organisation with revolutionary socialist policies linked to a general trade union of industrial workers, has failed to materialise in the intervening years.

Why this has been so can largely be attributed to the official labour movement's voluntary distancing from the national struggle but other aspects which prevented the building of a political and industrial organisation of the Irish working class are relevant here. Primary among those aspects was that those who carried Connolly's policies forward were nearly all caught up in the developing national struggle, their energies concentrating on immediate objectives of surviving the massive repression across the country and defending the basic organisation against the general reaction and the sectarianism of the 1920's and early 1930's. (MORE LATER).






ON THIS DATE (25TH JANUARY) 140 YEARS AGO : BIRTH OF A REBEL PRIEST.

Patrick Canon Murphy was born at Whitehill, Kilmore, in County Wexford on the 25th January 1877 - 140 years ago on this date. He studied for the priesthood in Rome and at Clonliffe College in Dublin and, at 23 years young, in 1900, he was ordained as a priest. In 1955, at 78 years of age, he made the following statement to the Free State 'Bureau of Military History' : "I was a Member of the House of Missions, Enniscorthy, from 1900 to 1935. In that year I was appointed Parish Priest, Glynn, where I am now. I had a big share in starting the Gaelic League and the County Feis etc in the county. I was for some years a member of the Coisde Gnotha, Dublin. I was associated with Sinn Féin, the Volunteers and every National Movement..."

Easter Sunday, 1916 -"Knowing the plan of operations allotted to them, the Enniscorthy Battalion of the Irish Volunteers were at noon on Easter Sunday 'standing at arms' at their headquarters in 'Antwerp'. Officers and men were greatly disturbed on the arrival of "The Sunday Independent" newspaper which contained John McNeill's countermanding of the Rising...Captain Seamus Doyle, Captain Rafter, Dr. Dundon, J.J ('Ginger')O'Connell and others were soon on the bridge and it was decided to call a Council of War at once to discuss the situation. We assembled at the residence of Mrs. William Murphy on the MillPark Road. There were present the above mentioned and also Miss Ryan and myself. After a long deliberation it was decided to obey McNeill's Orders and to await developments.

On the following day rumours of the Rising in Dublin had reached Enniscorthy , on receipt of which officers and men, impatient at their inactivity, were anxious to come to the aid of their comrades in Dublin. Yet no mobilisation orders were issued. Commandant Galligan, who was to take command of the field forces of the Battalion, was in Dublin. Finally the Volunteers decided to take action on their own. On Wednesday afternoon all the officers of the Battalion, with two exceptions, assembled in the Athenaeum and decided to mobilise. Commandant Galligan arrived from Dublin with instructions from James Connolly that the Enniscorthy Volunteers were to take over the railway so as to prevent reinforcements reaching Dublin through Rosslare. They were, also, to capture all points of advantage at all costs, but not to waste their ammunition on stone buildings such as the R.I.C. Barracks.

The Rising in Enniscorthy began about 2 o'clock on Thursday morning. About 200 Volunteers in full war-kit assembled in the Athenaeum which was taken over and (used as) the headquarters of the staff. The Republican Flag was hoisted over the building, there to remain until the morning of the surrender, when it was taken down and handed to the writer in whose possession it still remains. A Proclamation signed by Captain Seamus Doyle, Adjutant, was posted on the Market House stating that the town was in the possession of the Volunteers. Early on Thursday morning an order was issued closing all public houses with the result that during the four days of republican rule not a single person was under the influence of drink. On the same morning the railway station was taken over and a train on the way to Arklow was held to be used in case of emergencies. A party of men were sent to loosen the metals on the railway line over The Boro River. They were fired on by the police who captured one man and wounded another.

No attempt was made to capture the R.I.C. barracks. A few shots were fired from the turret rock wounding Constable Grace who was lying in bed close to a window in the line of fire. The first day's events are described by Captain J.R. Etchingham in his account of the Rising in Enniscorthy written at the headquarters in the Athenaeum : "We have had at least one day of blissful freedom. We have had Enniscorthy under the laws of the Irish Republic for at least one day and it pleases me to learn that the citizens are appreciably surprised. We closed the public houses. We established a force of Irish republican police, comprising some of Enniscorthy's most respectable citizens, and a more orderly town could not be imagined. Some may attribute this to the dread of our arms. Yet, strange to state, it is not true. True, we commandeered much needed goods from citizens who were not in the past very friendly to our extreme views. The wonder to me is how quickly a shock changes the minds of people.."

How Enniscorthy mobilised on this morning makes you feel optimistic. We never intended to attack the police, barracks or Post Office of Enniscorthy, or elsewhere. The action of Constable Grace in firing the first shot resulted in a desultory fire. It brought about a casualty to a little girl and a wound to himself. We hold all the town and approaches. We have cut the wires, blown up the Boro bridge and so assured that the men of Dublin will not have added to their foes further reinforcements through Rosslare.

April 30th 1916 : I did not get time to scrawl anything yesterday but 'permits' to residents of Enniscorthy and visitors to pass through our lines. We are working like steam engines, the staff has been 23 of the hands on duty. Bob Brennan presides at the staff headquarters, his desk being the billiard table of the Athenaeum on which is all the commandeered stuff. The police are in a bad way in this isolated barrack by the Quay. We have some difficulty in keeping the fighting heroes of our little army from capturing the building. We refuse to allow this, though we know the beseiged would welcome even an attack by rotten egg-throwers to give them an excuse for surrendering. Indeed, this is confirmed by the result of an interview arranged by us between the besieged and the members of the Enniscorthy Urban Council. The District Inspector Hegarty assured the deputation that he regretted he could not accede to their terms to lay down arms and don the ordinary clothes of citizens of the Irish Republic. We will not waste ammunition on this little force which will come out to satisfy the searching demand of the stomach. The town is very quiet and orderly. We are commandeering all we require and we have set up different departments.

The people of the town are great. Our order to close up the public houses shows to what an extent these buildings are in disorder. We were all discussing the bright prospect and even our most bitter enemies give to us unstinted praise. The manhood of Enniscorthy is worthy of its manhood. They are working for us like the brave hearts they are. God bless you all brave people of this historic old town. It is 5.45 a.m. and Captain Dick King and myself get to bed. Dick is great! Of the day's doings I may note occupation of the National Bank and the Institute for strategical reasons. We also occupied Ferns. Bravo Ferns! You hold the remains of Dermot MacMurrough but you boys of today are true as steel.

Rumours of an attack on Enniscorthy : By the end of the week about 2,000 English troops from the Curragh and elsewhere had assembled in Wexford town. They were under the command of Colonel French, a Wexford man, who happened to be on furlough at the time. In addition to the regular forces, many of the Redmond Volunteers and sworn—in Specials offered their services. Rumours of an attack on Enniscorthy reached town. Fearful of loss of life and destruction of property a number of leading citizens formed themselves into a Peace Committee. Rev. R. Fitzhenry, Administrator, and Rev. John Rossiter visited the republican headquarters. What transpired is thus recorded by Captain J.R. Etchingham : "We discuss things and ultimately agree to recognise an armistice. We discuss terms of peace conditionally on the English Military Authorities issuing a proclamation in the four towns of Wexford of this action and that we will not compromise in one comma our principles. We are not averse if an almost bloodless blow wins Independence".

A meeting of the members of the Peace Committee is held and Father Fitzhenry, Citizens P. O'Neill and S. Buttle go to Wexford. Next comes the return of the Wexford deputation and we know by the face of Father Fitzhenry that he considers he has had bad news. We assemble and listen to the result of the interview. It is unconditional surrender. A copy of a special edition of the "Free Press" is produced which announces the unconditional surrender of our noble Commandant Pearse. Copies of the telegrams purporting to have come to the County Inspector of Police were given to Father Fitzhenry. One asks all units of Irish Volunteers to surrender. Seamus Doyle is the first to wonder at this strange method adopted by P. H. Pearse of communicating the position of his followers and proposes that if he receives a corroboration from Commandant Pearse in his own handwriting, signed in a manner only known to them both, we would consider the situation. Commandant Brennan will not agree to that. He feels England equal to the trick of deceiving us by a knowledge of this gained through the Postal Telegraph Service. I agree with Bob and express wonder why, if Colonel French is the leading authority under Martial Law, the message did not come to him and not to the C.I. of the R.I.C. Eventually we agree to stand by our determination not to lay down our arms unless we are granted a personal interview with P.H. Pearse. The members of the deputation agree that our view is a reasonable one. Seamus Doyle offered to go up in the custody of two military men to interview Pearse. We all ask to put this statement in writing and we keep a copy which runs :

'Irish Republican Headquarters, April 29th, 1916 -

With regard to the communication laid before the Staff by the Peace Committee we have to state that in view of the affirmation contained therein, to prevent useless bloodshed and destruction of property, we are prepared to obey Commandant Pearse's Order to lay down our arms if we can be assured that Order has been issued. This assurance we can only accept from Commandant Pearse himself, and in order to satisfy ourselves entirely on this point, we ask that a pass through the English lines to Commandant Pearse be issued to Captain Seamus Doyle who will, if necessary, travel under military escort.


Captain Robert Brennan.

Captain Seamus Doyle.

Lieutenant Michael de Lassaigh.

Seamus Rafter, Captain.

Captain J.R. Etchingham.

Captain R. F. King.'


There you see the names of the leaders of the "Wexford Revolt" of 1916. Lieutenant M de Lacy, who joined us and worked like half a dozen men as Civil Minister, did not hesitate a moment in signing the document although he could easily have avoided it. He is a married man in a good position. That is the spirit which proves to the world that Ireland has, as the Professor puts it, the germ of rebellion against foreign rule.

Well we have had a few days' Republic in Enniscorthy". The communication signed by the republican Officers was conveyed to Colonel French by the above-mentioned citizens of the Peace Committee. Colonel French agreed to the request and addressed a letter to Captain Brennan, stating that if Captains Doyle and Etchingham went to Ferrycarrig they would be taken through the English lines and conveyed under safe conduct to Dublin to interview Commandant Pearse :

"We were brought to the British Headquarters which, as well as I remember, were at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham ; thence we were brought to Arbour Hill Barracks, attended by quite a number of staff officers. We were escorted into the Main Hall, and the cell door was unlocked and flung open, the officers remaining in the hall. As we entered, Pearse was rising from a mattress in the far end of the cell, upon which he had been lying covered with his great coat. He wore the uniform of the Irish Volunteers, which was complete, except for the Sam Browns belt. The rank—badges were still on the collar of his tunic. I wrote in another place that he seemed to be physically exhausted, but spiritually exultant, and that description must stand. He told us that the Dublin Brigade had done splendidly — five days and five nights of almost continuous fighting - of The O'Rahilly’s heroic death in Moore Street, and of the no less heroic death of our countryman, Captain Tom Weafer, at his position in the Hibernian Bank in O'Connell Street. The surrender was ordered, he told us, to save the lives of the people of Dublin, who were being shot by the British in the streets, adding that he saw them being shot himself. We asked him to give us a written order to bring back with us. The military warder, who was present during the interview, produced writing materials and, when the order was written, brought it outside to have it examined by some of his officers. While he was absent, Pearse said in a whisper, "Hide your arms, they’ll be needed later", and so we said farewell. The memory of the handclasp and the smile remains with me".

Whilst Captains Doyle and Etchingham were away, District Inspector McGovern, R.I.C., Arklow, and Rev. Owen Kehoe, C.C., Camolin, arrived in a motor car carrying a white flag and bearing the surrender order of Commandant Pearse. He was told of the events on the spot and returned to Arklow. Captains Doyle and Etchingham returned late on Sunday night and gave an account of their interview with Commandant Pearse. With regret the officers and men agreed to obey the order from Pearse - to surrender - which they did on Monday morning to Colonel French. The military took the six officers who were conveyed under escort to Wexford. They were later tried by Courtmartial and condemned to death, but the sentence was commuted to Penal Servitude for five years.

Signed: Patrick Murphy P.P.

Date : 22nd July 1955."
(From here.)

Disturbing, to put it mildly, that those that sit in Leinster House and Stormont seek to claim political lineage with the men and women of the calibre of those mentioned above. They are as different as chalk and cheese and will never command the same respect as those that 'went out' in 1916, and before and since then, to remove the British presence from Ireland, politically and militarily. This country is blessed to have had such people.





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.

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

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

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

PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE (does my head in...)

The Staff of Cage 22 were running about : there was something on. There was nobody laughing so we knew it could be serious. Packy Nolan was laughing but that meant nothing. We think that was the shape of his face, like the permanent laugh that Mary Robinson always had on her face. The word was that we were supposed to be getting moved down to Cage 11 ; the months of physical training and survival techniques were finally to be put to the test. The feeling of hopelessness engulfed the Camp.

The time in question was about seven months or so after the 'Fire of Long Kesh' : just after Christmas in 1975 we had been moved up to Cage 22 which had been temporarily rebuilt along with Cages 6, 7 and 23. The gable walls of these huts were wooden and they were built in a hurry to re-house us and, while we were in those cages, the bottom end of the Camp - Cages 9, 10, 11, 12 and 13 - were being rebuilt with brick gables.

The O.C. of Cage 22, who we'll call 'Gerry', assembled us in the canteen and informed us that we were supposed to be moving to Cage 11 but that the O.C. of the sentenced republican prisoners had told the screws that we would not be moving. Sin é! But soon another comm (empty tobacco tin with note in it) was winging its way between Cage 7 and Cage 22, and it was brought into Gerry who read the contents and then called another meeting. This meeting was hastily arranged in the canteen and Martin, the adjutant (a Dublin man) read it out loud. (MORE LATER).


Thanks for reading, Sharon.






Wednesday, January 18, 2017

THUS FAR YOU SHALL COME, BUT NO FARTHER...

ON THIS DATE (18TH JANUARY) 186 YEARS AGO : WESTMINSTER SLAPS DOWN ONE OF ITS IRISH 'PET REBELS'.

Daniel O'Connell ('The Liberator', pictured, left) never claimed to be an Irish republican despite involving himself in an issue which, then as now, required a republican solution in order to obtain a just resolution. Although he campaigned on behalf of those who suffered as a result of injustices inflicted by Westminster, he made it clear that it was his desire that Ireland should remain as a unit governed by the British 'Monarchy' - saying, if you like - 'stay if you want, just treat us better'. He had publicly and repeatedly vowed to work within 'the law' - British 'law'.

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 then British Prime Minister) 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.." In other words - 'thus far, O'Connell, but no further'.

His subservience to British 'law' could have been used against him at any time and, in December 1830, that's what happened : he was one of a group of 'troublemakers' that were rounded-up for questioning in connection with meetings/assemblage of a type which had been forbidden by the British 'Lord Lieutenant of Ireland' - Westminster was 'jittery' regarding its political position in Ireland due, in the main, to four issues : corn (availability and price of), currency devaluations, the overall banking system and the 'catholic problem' ; this period in our history witnessed the beginning of 'an Cogadh na nDeachúna' - the 'Tithe War', and also heralded in catholic unrest in Belgium and Poland. Westminster would not allow such actions to gather pace here, if it could help it.

On the 18th January 1831 (186 years ago on this date) Daniel O'Connell was charged on 31 counts (14 of which were for 'violating the Suppression Act of 10 George IV 1829', to which O'Connell pleaded guilty) including 'conspiracy', and was arrested, fined 2,000 pounds and imprisoned for one year. He served three months, mostly because the '1829 Acts' expired in April that year and those imprisoned under it were released by default. Westminster had 'boxed clever' - it had been seen to 'punish offenders' but not to the extent where the offender would become radicalised due to the severity of the punishment, a trick it performs to this day on those Irish people who consider themself to be 'radicals'!





PROSE AND CONS.

By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS :

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

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

THE TEAM I WORSHIP. (By Harry Melia.)

I'm a football fanatic

I love everything about Man United.




I remember my late father watching them play

and could not understand why he smashed

the telly that day

his beloved team were beaten in the FA Cup Final.

I've been to Old Trafford many times

among forty-six thousand fans

the cheer gave me a natural high

as Sparky scored, fist towards the sky.




In this dreary prison as time goes slowly by

I look forward to the football on the radio,

I play a game myself with the lads

it helps to pass the time and gives me joy.




Giggs, Keane, Cole, Beckham and Co

I've seen the players and stars come and go

But I remain and loyally so

Man United GO GO GO !




My dream is to see them win the European Cup

Renaldo and the rest

rank with the world's greatest player

his name is George Best.




At Old Trafford or away from home

I cheer Man United wherever they roam




This season we are on course for the treble

and Premiership crown

watch Cole, Yorke and Solskaer

shoot all the others down.




A Man United fan I will always be

for I very highly rate us

and reckon I should be awarded

top fan status.


(Next - 'The Padded Cell', by Harry Melia.)






ON THIS DATE (18TH JANUARY) 95 YEARS AGO : DUBLIN UNEMPLOYED OCCUPY LANDMARK BUILDING.

'On January 18th 1922, a group of unemployed Dublin workers seized the concert hall of the Rotunda. 'The Irish Times' of the following day noted that '..the unemployed in Dublin have seized the concert room at the Rotunda, and they declare that they will hold that part of the building until they are removed, as a protest against the apathy of the authorities...a 'garrison', divided into 'companies', each with its 'officers', has been formed, and from one of the windows the red flag flies..'

Liam O'Flaherty, as chairman of the 'Council of Unemployed', spoke to the paper about the refusal of the men to leave the premises, stating that no physical resistance would be put up against the police and that the protest was a peaceful one, yet they intended to stay where they were -"If we were taken to court, we would not recognise the court, because the Government that does not redress our grievances is not worth recognising.." O'Flaherty told the Times...' (more here.)

Rather than 'tackle' (occupy, in this case) symptoms of the disease (ie the Concert Hall and Apollo House), the actual disease itself should be 'tackled', providing those doing so have no apparent embarrassing baggage.





TRADE UNIONS AND CAPITALISM IN IRELAND....

The role of the trade union movement in Ireland in relation to the continued imperialist occupation of the North and to the foreign multi-national domination of the Irish economy - both north and south - remains an area of confusion for many people. John Doyle examines the economic policy of the 'Irish Congress of Trade Unions' (ICTU) and the general failure of the official Labour movement to advance the cause of the Irish working class, except in terms of extremely limited gains. From 'Iris' magazine, November 1982.

The logic of the trade unions' leadership 'policing' its members in these ways, was that, supposedly, capitalism would 'deliver the goods' if soaring wage levels didn't rock the boat. But far from it, the myth of capitalist 'development' has been well shattered. Unemployment in the country (North and Free State) stands at an average of 17% with areas in the north and east suffering actual figures of 40% adult and 50% youth unemployment.

The establishment of a sound industrial base, essential to prosperity, has not occurred. Instead, the withdrawal especially of British capital, and the high turnover of other industrial enterprises, has prevented the consolidation of new industries while the developments of the last 25 years have shattered most native industry. Even within its own strictly economic terms the ICTU's strategy has been proved sterile, yet it persists in its confidence in capitalism's potential, while its apologists actually praise the rise in 'status' of the trade union movement.

James Plunkett (a Stick, and author of, among other books, 'Strumpet City') writes in 'Trade Unions and Change in Irish Society' - "Trade unionism in Ireland has come through three stages...today it is part of the economic trio - that of employers as a body, of government and of trade unions..." And so, thrilled by its acceptance by the state, the contemporary ICTU comprehensively ignores Connolly who warned "...the political State of capitalism has no place..measures which aim to place industries in the hands of, or under the control of, such a political State, are in no sense steps towards that ideal (of socialism).." (MORE LATER).






ON THIS DATE (18TH JANUARY) 83 YEARS AGO : DEATH OF AN IRISH NATIONALIST LEADER.

In October of 1920, a Mr. J.R. Clynes of the British Labour Party voiced his concern, in Westminster, that the British Government were "..arming the Orangemen (to) police their Catholic neighbours..." in the Six County 'State', while Joe Devlin ('United Irish League' - UIL) [pictured, left] pointed out that 300 of the 'Special Constables' from the Lisburn area had already "resigned in protest" because their "fellow Constables" would not stop looting their (Catholic) neighbours!

Mr. Devlin stated - "The Protestants are to be armed. Their pogrom is to be made less difficult. Instead of paving stones and sticks they are to be given rifles." Joe Devlin led a busy life - a barman and journalist at the start of his working life, he was elected as a 'Home Rule MP' (British Parliament) for North Kilkenny in 1902, at 31 years young, and held his seat until 1906, when he was elected again, this time for the West Belfast area. He was that area's representative in Westminster until 1922 ; he acted as General Secretary for the 'United Irish League' (UIL)/Home Rule Party', from 1904 to 1920, and was also involved with the 'Ancient Order of Hibernians' when, at 34 years of age, he served as the 'National President' of that organisation, a position he held for 29 years (!), during which time he forged links between the 'AOH' and the 'United Irish League'.

He first took a seat in Stormont in 1921 (at 50 years of age, and stayed there until 1934) ; in 1928 he founded, and chaired, the 'National League of the North'. Incidentally, he was not related to Bernadette Devlin or Paddy Devlin. The 'Irish News' newspaper wrote the following piece the day after Joe Devlin died -

"It is with feelings of the most profound sorrow that we record the death of Mr Joseph Devlin, MP...his own people, like many others, were driven from the country by the conditions of the times into the growing city of Belfast, and lived in humble circumstances in the West Division. A little household typical of thousands where life was a daily struggle to avert poverty, and where the youngest were expected to do their share, was the home of his early years...like the majority of the Catholic youth of Belfast at that period, he left school early to take his part in the battle of life...Speaking of him, Mr John Redmond M.P., said: "Mr Devlin's career has been a proud one for Ireland. It has been more than that – it has been a hopeful one for Ireland. Few public careers in the last century have been so rapid as the career of Mr Devlin. He today holds a foremost position in the public life of our country, and if I were asked to explain the reason, in my opinion, for the rapidity and success of his career, I would say that its success and rapidity have been due to the combination of several great qualities – superb debating power and dauntless courage, combined with a cautious mind and a cool judgment ; transparent honesty and enthusiasm combined with an absolutely untiring industry; perfect loyalty to his leader for the time being, to his comrades, and to his Party – combined, let me say, with a modest and lovable disposition...".

At the General Election of 1906 Mr Devlin was elected by a majority of 16...there was an indescribable outburst of enthusiasm when the figures were announced. Angered by the rout of the Tory, a mob of Unionists, who had been expecting the defeat of Mr Devlin and had come to the Courthouse on the Crumlin Road, where the votes were counted, with drums, bands and banners to celebrate the event, gave full expression in the usual manner to their chagrin. As Mr Devlin MP was descending the steps of the Courthouse, surrounded by his friends, a police inspector advised him not to leave that way. Mr Devlin's response was characteristic. "I am not going to sneak out by the back way." He then proceeded down the steps in face of the mob, and one of the police, realising his undaunted courage, shouted for fair play for Mr Devlin. The West was truly awake that night ; it was Belfast's night of jubilation, in which old and young came out to expression to the joy they felt at the triumph of their fellow citizen – a man who later was destined to plead their cause all over the civilised world. The historic division that night was ablaze with bonfires and illuminations, and the dawn had broken before the people retired to rest..." (from here).

Joe Devlin died young, at 63 years of age, on Thursday, the 18th January 1934 - 83 years ago on this date.





GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...

SIN SCÉAL EILE.

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

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

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

The S.O. snapped - "Get them Provo bastards up to Cage 10. Get these German bastards up to the YPC (criminals cage) and you, dopey-balls, get you and that other idiot of a screw out of my sight and stay out of my way for at least a week. What the fuck are you so interested in the German for anyway? You looking for a pen pal or what...?"

As we made our way up to Cage 10 we looked at Seán with a certain amount of fear. As he reflected on sabotaging the careers of the two screws he said : "The war goes on. We can still make a difference." We looked at him with awe and nodded at the maxim he had just imparted.

(MORE LATER).


Thanks for reading, Sharon.