112Ú ARD-FHEIS, SINN FÉIN POBLACHTACH, 12-13 SAMHAIN 2016.
The check-in of delegates is at 10am each day and delegate/visitor admission cards will be available at the door of the Conference Hall, provided RSF Head Office has been notified in advance of your request for same : all visitors must be vouched for by a member of Republican Sinn Féin. The Presidential Address will be delivered by An tUachtarán Des Dalton on Sunday at 12.15pm. It is intended that the Ard Fheis will end the Saturday session at 6.00pm and will wrap-up at 4.30pm on Sunday, in between which a ballad session will be held (9pm Saturday night) in the venue. Also, the annual RSF National Private Members Draw will be held at the venue over that weekend and Dublin RSF will also be holding a 650-ticket raffle that same weekend! Finally - Irish Republican Resistance Calendars for 2017 will be available at the Ard Fheis, priced at about a fiver each.
From our experience of this event in previous years we know that the RSF members, delegates and supporters will have a very busy, but necessary, weekend of political work, and we wish all concerned the very best. And if we don't win in at least one of the two raffles, there'll be no plug next year!
...AND WHILE WE'RE AT IT..
Cabhair ('An Cumann Cabhrach', as it was then) Swim, from the 1970's : this fund-raising event will be forty years old on the 25th December next and definitely deserves a plug. Incidentally, the 'An Cumann Cabhrach' organisation was founded in 1953 by Rita McGlynn, Ella Woods, Donal O'Connor, Tom Gill, Nan Dillon and Tom Doyle, and now operates, as 'Cabhair', from 223 Parnell Street, Dublin 1.
Tom Doyle was a well-respected member of the republican movement and an IRA activist, and was actually employed as a Civil Servant, working in the Free State Department of Defence! When he was released from prison in December 1945, he had lost his job due to pressure exerted by the Free State administration ; however, he was already working with the 'Republican Prisoners Release Association' (RPRA) and, in 1947, he was elected Secretary of that organisation, a position he held until the organisation was disbanded in 1952 and its committee (Rita McGlynn, Ella Woods, Donal O'Connor, Tom Gill, Nan Dillon and Tom Doyle) founded 'An Cumann Cabhrach' (now 'Cabhair') in 1953. He was elected Secretary to the new organisation and held that position until his death in 1962.
He regularly wrote articles for the then newspaper of the Republican Movement, 'The United Irishman' (now 'Saoirse') which was first published in May 1948 ; in that same year he was elected as Secretary to the Sinn Féin Organising Committee and later became joint General Secretary (along with Jim Russell) of Sinn Féin proper. Also in 1948, he got a job on the staff of the 'Workers Union of Ireland'. At Sinn Féin's 1951 Ard Fheis, Tom Doyle was elected Vice-President of the organisation and, during the early 1950's, he served as President for two years and from 1956 to 1962 again held the position of Vice-President. As stated, he died in 1962 but is still remembered by those who took up the gauntlet after him.
Anyway - more info on the 40th successive Cabhair Christmas Swim can be read here and you might also be reading on this blog in the near future about a special presentation to be made to each of those who, on Christmas Day next, will be '40 years under water' - 'More Later', no doubt...!
PROSE AND CONS.
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.
OCEAN OF DREAMS. (By David Lynch.)
Surrendering the refusal of acceptance
filling with relief,
swimming in the ocean of dreams
like a tadpole in a high mountain stream.
Released from bonds of ignorance
floating in a state of freedom,
its elixir rushing towards the waterfall
washing away the debris.
Flowing without physical domination
what is it life?
Its light ascending upon the darkness
like the dawn of an autumn day,
only I can love you.
What is it which doesn't die
in this ecstasy of oblivion?
Spilling over the waterfall's edge
not conscious of breath,
splashing into the surface below
like dewdrops off a tree-leaf onto the forest floor,
I am love, you are me.
Alone in the ocean of dreams,
eyes gazing into emptiness, naked...
Making love to the universe.
(Next - 'Paddy's Angel', by David Lynch.)
IF IT AIN'T WHITE...
By Alan Walsh.
From 'Magill' magazine, May 2002.
The 'NSRUS' (Stormfront?) refuses to disclose exactly what its initials stand for, and defines itself as "a movement" as opposed to a group, with no members as such. It proposes itself as reflective of a pervasive opinion in the Limerick district, but as yet refuses to identify itself as based in the area. According to a spokesperson - "The possibility for national socialism in Ireland is limitless. The NSRUS and its adherents will continue to endorse any and all activities ordinary people feel are necessary to revert to and maintain a white Aryan Ireland."
It remains to be seen exactly how developed the 'movement' actually is, but some idea might be gained by an introduction to the 'Democratic People's Party' via its website. This party, which supplies a Limerick address, plans to campaign in the coming election, supplying an election leaflet for their candidate, Des Hayes ( link here). The 'DPP' manifesto is formed on a largely single-issue immigration platform ; it proposes the 'get-out' clause in the Geneva Convention regarding the rights of refugees and asylum seekers, as well as an education policy focusing on traditional Irish values and culture.
This will be familiar reading to anyone who has ever read anything of the 'BNP' literature, or even 'Front National' texts - harsh on crime, low on taxes, welfare reviews - and 'Ireland for the Irish'. It only takes a little more rummaging through the same areas to unearth a similiar , Dublin-based party... (MORE LATER).
GROWING UP IN LONG KESH...
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!
It was during that half hour that Eddie Brophy made his daily journey to the canteen to have a large helping of everything that remained on the trays. He was forced to sneak out and replenish his empty dinner tray, and we used to keep him going about not letting him have any extra dinner because of his condition ; "It's alright, boys, I think I can handle a few extra potatoes, maybe another bit of roast beef and some more dessert..." "Eddie, please don't ask us to give you this. After all, the doctor put you on the special diet - he knows what's good for you..." "I swear to God, lads, I feel right and good today. I think I'm getting my appetite back..." We pretended that the doctor and we knew better and that he would thank us in the end. The abuse he hurled at us is unprintable.
"Do you kiss your wife with that mouth, Eddie...?" was a question we levelled at him one day : he knew rightly we were just keeping him going but let on to be annoyed anyway. When we weren't around he would load up his tray and sneak back to his hut.
We found ourselves one day at a loose end with about 15 seagulls, and were stymied as to what to do with them. We remembered the old adage - 'it takes a thief to catch a thief (or, in this case, seagulls)' , and set the hastily invented plan in motion. We went about our duties as usual so as not to give the game away to our comrades - we finished giving out the dinner and as usual refused Eddie Brophy any extra food, and he left the hut, disgruntled, as usual. We took up our positions at the back of the hut out of sight of the rest of the huts and waited. Within minutes the door of the middle hut opened and Eddie looked out... (MORE LATER).
ON THIS DATE (26TH OCTOBER) 34 YEARS AGO : BRITISH HANDLERS ALLOW THEIR IRA INFORMER TO BREAK HIS 20-MONTH PERIOD OF INCOMMUNICADO HIDING.
'supergrass' on their one-time 'comrades' who were allegedly involved in militant republicanism was Tyrone man Patrick McGurk, who attempted to implicate nine men as being members of 'proscribed organisations'. On the 20th of September, 1982, the RUC, apparently doubtful that he would go through with his 'evidence' if produced in court, instead invoked the obsolete 'Bill of Indictment' to by-pass the preliminary enquiry stage of the case against the nine accused. This meant that, until his return to Dungannon on Wednesday 26th October - 34 years ago on this date - McGurk had been held incommunicado, without access to family or friends, throughout the 20-month period that the British kept him in a 'safe house', for his own protection.
It wasn't only in the republican community that the use by the British of so-called 'supergrasses' was questioned, as this exchange in Leinster House highlights : "I will take the case of Mr. X as a clear example of the injustice of trial by supergrass, of which the British Government approve. I hope the Minister and the Government will take a serious interest in the whole affair and request the British Government to take the necessary action immediately to resolve these injustices.
Mr. X was 24 years of age in February 1982. He had no history of involvement in guerrilla activities whatsoever. In 1979 he married his wife Kathleen and they have two children, a boy and a girl. His daughter was six months old when he was arrested at 4.30 a.m. and brought to Gough Barracks in Armagh. On Tuesday, 9 February 1982 an RUC man came to the room in the barracks and asked the interrogators "Who is this?" One of them answered "Mr. X." The RUC man turned back towards the other room and repeated the name, whereupon a man, unknown to Mr. X, appeared at the doorway. The interrogators asked the newcomer "Do you know this man?" The man at the door nodded. They asked "Have you made any statements against him?" Again the man nodded. They asked "Are you prepared to give evidence against this man?" Again the man nodded. The newcomer was then led away.
That man was Patrick McGurk, supergrass, newly recruited. Mr. X was not the first victim of the new tactics. Mr. X was charged with possession of land mines at Ballygawley Road near Dungannon between 1 January and 31 December 1978. He was also charged with an arson attack on the Ulsterbus depot in Dungannon in May 1978. Mr. X made no statement while in custody and the only evidence against him were alleged statements made by McGurk. He was transferred to Crumlin Road prison in Belfast in custody for the next 21 months. There is no precise location for the alleged incidents. Ballygawley Road is at least ten miles long. There was no precise date given for the alleged incidents. There were no explosions and no casualties. There was never any evidence of a bomb. Such a charge that cannot be pinned down make an alibi impossible. On 21 April 1982 Mr. X was brought up for bail. Under the Emergency Provisions Act, 1978, the conditions of bail are such that, instead of the prosecution having to prove that the prisoner would be a danger to society if released, the defence has to prove that he or she would not. As this is extremely difficult, very few prisoners are granted bail and it was not surprising that Mr. X was refused. He was returned to Crumlin Road prison and was remanded in custody again.
The next development was in September 1982, five months after the bail refusal, when the preliminary inquiry should have taken place. This is when the accused are faced by the accusers who have to give evidence against them in an open court, so that the court can decide whether or not there is sufficient evidence to merit a continuation of the proceedings. The surprise was that there was to be no preliminary inquiry as Lord Chief Justice Lowry had granted a bill of indictment to the Director of Public Prosecutions the night before. This dispensed with the preliminary inquiry. Mr. X and others who stood in the courtroom that morning were returned to Crumlin Road prison and so rests the future of Mr. X. This is one of the many examples of the injustice of the supergrass trial system in Northern Ireland of which the British Government approve..." (From here.)
Incidentally, one of those named by McGurk was Patrick Joseph Kelly, who was arrested by the British in February 1982 but released in October 1983 due to lack of evidence after a trial that lasted fifteen minutes. Today, British 'supergrasses' in that part of Ireland are dressed in suits, given jobs, a salary, expenses, office staff and a position and title with which to implement British rule in their own country and are cheered-on in doing so by the same political establishment they once fought against. And they relish it.
Thanks for reading, Sharon.