" 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. But not to worry -thanks to everyone involved for getting us to the final stage of the competition and sure we'll try again the next time!

Friday, September 03, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the train transporting the " illegal " copies of 'The Kerryman' newspaper had been stopped and searched by the RIC and British soldiers - the RIC had been ordered by the Brits to move , by hand , a small mountain of coal , but no newspapers were found . The train was allowed to proceed .......

That same night , Tom Nolan's ('Kerryman' Editor) father , Dan , was in a pub in Tralee when he overheard a group of British soldiers laughing and joking about what they had ordered " the Paddy's " (ie the RIC) to do that day and how they were delighted that the " coalmen " had not found anything after moving the small mountain of coal ! (Actually , the British soldiers called the RIC their "ni**ers" , a reference to not ONLY the colour of the RIC after moving the coal).

Even back then , the Brits had no respect or time for their native allies ! However - the British 'Defence of The Realm Act' ('DORA') , which was a 'catch-all' 'law' used by Westminster to 'justify' and solidify its own hold on power , was used to suppress the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper .

The 'DORA' legislation was also to be used a few months later by the British politicians in Westminster against their own workers , who were to go out on strike over their demands for a shorter working week .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

RAIDS.

" By raids I mean the sudden descent of the British forces on the homes of the Irish people . It should be quite unnecessary to explain that our people had vast experience of these 'visits' , in our own time, and in every generation since the English first set foot in this country . The objective was always the same - the subjugation of our race .

The immediate objective of a localised raid generally varied with the times ; for instance , just prior to 1916 , the RIC would appear with a warrant to search a house for " seditious literature " - after 1916 , a strong force of RIC accompanied by the British military , would ransack suspected houses and lands for arms . Later on , Irish Volunteers would be arrested and imprisoned on charges of drilling and possession of arms .

Finally , for the two years before the 'Truce' of July 1921 , the object of a raid might mean anything , even torture and murder . So common did murder , brutal ill-treatment and destruction of property become , that the people would not have been surprised at any form of terrorism . In the midst of it all , the people saw the humour in any of these raids that did not have dire consequences for themselves or their neighbours .

Enough has been told of the tale of blood - let us look at the bright side ......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
[6 of 6].

It is more important for a British Army Officer to use civilians to protect 'his men' than it is for him to use , or sacrifice , those men to protect civilians . Belfast has taught many lessons and this is one of the most startling of them .

As a sidelight on all this , it is becoming more and more clear that in a highly charged political situation neither police nor military catch their enemies by sleuthing or cleverness . Most of the damage they do to their enemies is through informers and agents who give information or create events which will compromise the opposing guerrilla army .

Again , it is the civilians who really do the job of the military or police for them ; but that is a story for another day ...

If living in Belfast these times does nothing else for you , at least it sets your interpretations upside down . Or right side up ...?

[END of 'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE .......'].
(Next - 'DEATH OF A BUTCHER' - from March 1983.)






Thursday, September 02, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the 'Gaelic Press' , which printed the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper had , in 1916 , printed 'The Kerryman' newspaper , which had been declared an " illegal publication " by the Brits . One of the train drivers who transported the " illegal" 'The Kerryman' newspaper , a Mr. 'Bolger' O'Donoghue , told the following story re one such trip .......

'Bolger' was driving the train , as usual, when what he described as a " premonition " made him stop and unload the " illegal " newspapers at a small station just outside of Tralee . Having done so , the train carried on and , minutes later , as they steamed into Tralee Station , they were boarded by search parties from the British Army and the RIC .

The train driver , 'Bolger' O'Donoghue , and his helper (who were known on the trains as 'firemen') were ordered to unload the coal (under which the 'illegal' newspapers had been hidden) which they refused to do , so the British soldiers ordered the RIC to do it - which , reluctantly , they did . It was a dirty job which , once finished , yielded no result . Both search parties left the train , with the RIC men a bit the worst for wear !

The 'dumped' copies of 'The Kerryman' newspaper had by then been recovered and distributed in the usual fashion . The episode was raised in a local pub that same night .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

" ....... Dannie Casey's brother , Jeremiah , had been shot dead by the British Auxiliaries , and Dannie was himself a prisoner in Macroom Castle ; he was under interrogation , and felt he would not leave the Castle alive ......."

" The questions circled like a point on a roulette ; all were based on the assumption that Dannie was a member of the IRA and that he had that morning been on duty on the hill . Dannie Casey replied that he had been on the hill on his own business , looking after his sheep . It was evident that the Auxies sought to weary him by incessant questioning until , through mental and physical exhaustion , he should capitulate . But they failed to shake him .

It is likely that , were it not for a diversion , Dannie would not have got off so easily ; a prisoner was brought in , a young man on whose farm an old rusty gun had been discovered . On him , like mad dogs, the Auxies now turned their fury . Peeping through a chink in a door , Dannie saw and heard most of the horror . The British 'authorities' announced another 'official' execution - it was a foul and midnight murder .

Dannie Casey was released on the following day . Just in time to attend his brother's funeral . "

[END of ' SHOOTINGS.....'].
(Tomorrow - 'RAIDS' .)


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(5 of 6).

One British Army military base in Belfast which had to be abandoned was surrounded on three sides by rows of houses and on the fourth by a cemetary . Thus , if anyone was rash enough to attack by , say, rocket fire , then a miscalculation would send the missile to civilian houses or the cemetary . In either case , 'bonus points' for the British Army !

If the rocket hit its target that was just too bad , but the risks to civilian lives could be stressed nevertheless . In time the base was abandoned because , in spite of the nearness of civilians (both alive and dead!) the aim of the attackers was being tried out too often with disastrous effect .

All this means that while the role of an army as a 'peacekeeping force' has to be questioned at the highest political level - is not a 'military peace-keeping force' a contradiction in terms ? - the role of an army as that of " protecting citizens " has to be questioned at ground level as well .......

(MORE LATER).






Wednesday, September 01, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the 'An tOglach' Irish Republican newspaper , founded in August 1918 , was printed by the 'Gaelic Press' in Dublin , which had a record of pro-Republican activity ; on the strength of its first issue alone , Westminster declared 'An tOglach' an 'illegal publication.......'

The 'Gaelic Press' operated out of premises in Probys Lane in Dublin and , two years earlier (ie in 1916) had come to the rescue of 'The Kerryman' newspaper , which had its printing press 'dismantled' by British soldiers - the (first) Editor of 'The Kerryman' newspaper , Tom Nolan , refused to let the Brits put him out of business and a deal was struck with the 'Gaelic Press' in Dublin .

For about two months , the 'illegal' newspaper 'The Kerryman' was printed , in secret , in Probys Lane and was transported to Tralee by sympathetic railwaymen who worked on the locomotives ; the newspaper was then sold over the counter of the Nolan family public house ('Bar') in Tralee !

A story is told by one of those train drivers , 'Bolger' O' Donoghue , about the time he was carrying the usual 'illicit' load of 'The Kerryman' newspaper from Dublin to Tralee .......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

"....... IRA Volunteer Dannie Casey was being held captive by the British Auxiliaries in the yard of his house - his younger brother , Jeremiah , was in the house , dying ; he had been shot three times by the Brits . Then an Auxie Officer came on the scene - a diversion to escape ...?"

" The Auxie Officer called away all his men , save one ; he was instructed to hold Dannie Casey a close prisoner until they returned . They marched away and , scarcely had they turned the corner of the house when the Auxie spoke - " Listen " , he said , " slip in and say good-bye to your brother . Promise me that you will not stay long . "

Amongst the ruins of humanity , the kindly deed of a good man shines brightly . It is a great pleasure to record it ; Dannie willingly gave his promise and saw his brother . He found him cheerful and only concerned for Dannie's safety . He lived to see his father and mother who had been away from home and who returned an hour later . Meanwhile Dannie had been taken to Macroom , to the Castle . The ordeal he had endured since morning had been a heavy one , and it did not end with the close of day .

It continued until after midnight , and even then his hopes of leaving Macroom Castle alive were indeed small - every now and then he was taken to a room where a number of British Auxies sat around a table . Each of them , in turn , asked a question to which he expected an immediate answer......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(4 of 6).

This , it seems , is the way armies behave - using the civilian population , including children , as 'cover' ; it appears that one of the things a British Army Officer must see to is that he arrives back in Britain with precisely the same number of soldiers as he arrived in Ireland with .

The anger expressed by military Officers at the loss of men is not just anger at the fact that lives have been lost - which would be a matter of grief to anyone with any wit - it is also an expression of shame that the expected duty of an Officer to save 'his men' has been unfulfilled . He will therefore do a lot to make sure that 'his men' are not unnecessarily endangered .

Protective devices are welcome and in a city like Belfast quite easy to come by ; after all , there are plenty of easily available civilians . In most cases , however , the civilians do not realise that they are providing such a necessary military service .......

(MORE LATER).






Tuesday, August 31, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......the three men 'arrested' by the British had been shot dead - either in the guardroom of Portobello Barracks on the Wednesday night (April 26th 1916) or by firing squad on the Thursday (April 27th) - either way , the deed was done .......

The fact that the British had shot dead two journalists and an author was not lost on the Irish media ; ' toe the line , or else ...'. The executions were noted , too , by the Irish Volunteers , who knew from past experience the value of a newspaper in the propaganda war . One of the then leaders of the Irish Volunteers (Oglaigh na hEireann) , Michael Collins , helped to found an Irish Republican newspaper in August 1918 - 'An tOglach' ('The Volunteer') .

The 'An tOglach' newspaper published an issue every two weeks , comprising four pages , and sold for twopence an issue ; its masthead declared it to be ' The Official Organ of The Irish Volunteers'. Piaras Beaslai , its Editor , was a 37 years young Liverpool-born Volunteer , who had fought the British in 1916 , and was to become the Director of Publicity for the IRA .

The newspaper was printed by the 'Gaelic Press' , in Dublin , which had a record of pro-Republican activity . It did not bother the Irish Volunteers nor the management /owners of the 'Gaelic Press' that , immediately upon publication of its first issue , the Brits declared 'An tOglach' to be "...an illegal publication .".......

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

".......Dannie Casey had managed to hide the box of ammunition and gelignite from the British Auxiliaries who were questioning him and slapping him around a bit - they had earlier shot at Dannie's brother , Jeremiah , when he was hiding from them with two of his friends ......."

" Jeremiah Casey had been borne down-hill to his home by his two companions , who had escaped the leaden blast ; he had been struck by three bullets and was mortally wounded . An escort of British Auxiliaries had accompanied the wounded youth and his bearers . By this time Dannie had been driven to desperation by repeated questionings punctuated by blows - he had made up his mind to snatch at a rifle and die fighting , but was always forestalled by the Auxie with the revolver .

It was that particular Auxie's job to kill the prisoner by shooting him through the back should he show resistance to the tormentors in front of him . Eventually , they marched him down to the yard of his house where they kept him under a strong guard . Knowing that his young brother was lying inside fatally injured , Dannie asked to be permitted to see him ; he was brutally refused and the Auxie who replied to his request thrust savagely at him with his rifle-butt . The blow struck him on the chest , throwing him backwards off some steps .

It is hard to have to record that a member of the human race should have been guilty of such conduct under such circumstances ; it would be hard to describe Dannie Casey's feelings while he waited for the order to march off as a prisoner while his brother lay dying within a few yards of him . Then a British Auxie Officer came on the scene ; this caused a diversion ......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(3 of 6).

For years the British military were secure in their Belfast City Centre fortress while civilians formed a circle around them and searched and prevented , arrested and harassed anyone coming next or near them . Civilian protection of the military is , one soon learned , one of the tricks of the game ...

Eventually , however , the bombers managed to penetrate the outer defences and when this happened often enough to show that the game was up , the Brits went off from the Grand Central and found a new base somewhere else .

In one case they found a base by the simple expedient of chasing workers and managers out of four factories in the poorest neighbourhood of the city and holeing up there ; needless to say there was a secondary school within a few hundred yards of the new 'base' .......

(MORE LATER).






Monday, August 30, 2004

'TAN WAR' REPUBLICAN NEWSPAPER - 'An tOglach' , 1918-1921.......

.......Dublin , Thursday , April 27th , 1916 - three men 'arrested' by the British the previous day were shot dead by a British Army firing squad ; the British Army Captain who organised the executions , Bowen Colthurst , was 'tried' for the offence . He was found "guilty but insane ..." - but a different account of what had happened began to emerge .......

....... it was during the court-martial of Bowen Colthurst that a different version of the events surrounding the executions of Francis Sheehy Skeffington , Patrick mcIntyre and Thomas Dickson was spoke of - a British Army Officer in Portobello Barracks stated that he heard a number of shots on Wednesday (ie April 26th , 1916) and went to investigate ; he claimed to have seen three stretchers being carried out of the porch of the guardroom on which were three dead bodies -

- one of those bodies had a blanket thrown over it and a bowler hat placed across the face and , from either side of the stretcher , an arm hung down , dripping blood ; this (un-named) British Army Officer claimed that the body with the bowler hat on the face was that of Francis Sheehy Skeffington - the 'witness' stated , apparently in a jovial manner , that the firing party had done its work so badly that a second one had had to be summoned to finish Skeffington off ...

.... Were the three men shot dead in the guardroom on the Wednesday night by a vengeful British enemy and then , in order to cover-up the deed , were their corpses 'wheeled out' the following day for an 'official' British Army 'execution' .......?

(MORE LATER).


WHERE MOUNTAINY MEN HAVE SOWN :

war and peace in rebel Cork ,
in the turbulent years 1916-21.

By Micheal O'Suilleabhain : published 1965.

SHOOTINGS.......

"....... Dannie Casey , an IRA Volunteer , was in hiding from the British Auxiliaries - he had in his possession a box of ammunition and gelignite . He was heading uphill when he met his brother with two other young lads , and he told them to get away from him - as they were leaving , the Auxies shot at the three lads , who fell down . Dannie grabbed the box ....... "

"... he threw himself into a hollow , a shallow depression , and he ran crouching in its poor shelter ; luck came to him in the shape of a mossy patch of ground under his feet . Parting the long moss , he found a hole just the size of the box and quickly inserted it . He re-arranged the ground swiftly , but carefully , and it was well that he did so - for he had barely straightened up and walked a few paces forward when three Auxiliaries appeared immediately in front of him , and ordered him to raise his hands , which he did .

Approaching , they searched him but found nothing ; they questioned him , emphasising each question with a blow from a rifle butt . One of the British Auxies kept prodding his back with a revolver muzzle , several times asking him what his business was on the hillside . He replied that he was looking after his sheep . Tiring of the questioning , they started to search the hollow where the box was hidden - they diligently poked and kicked the moss that covered it but , fortunately for their prisoner , they did not find it . Disappointed , they resumed their interrogation . Dannie did not know it yet , but his brother , Jeremiah , was in trouble ......."

(MORE LATER).


'SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE FRONT LINE' .......

BY DES WILSON .


First published in ' Dublin Diary ' magazine , Vol. 1 , No. 3 , May 1989 , page 21 .
Re-published here in six parts .
(2 of 6).

Whether the contempt for children's lives has been shown by placing the British military installations beside schools in the first place was not a 'live' question ; indeed , the situation was so weird that it would have been virtually impossible to attack a military installation without endangering a school , and if there were an old people's home nearby , then this was, from the British military point of view , a welcome bonus !

Soon after the crisis in 1969 the British military established headquarters in the centre of Belfast ; to those who believed the propaganda of the time , the British military were there in order to protect the city traders and shoppers . However , those with eyes in their heads knew better ...

The British military base (in Belfast) - previously a relatively large and rather posh hotel - was in one of the principal city centre streets . All around the area , the British erected security barriers which could only be properly passed at specific points . These points were manned - and 'wommaned' - by civilian search teams . In other words , in the circle of protection round the British Army base it was civilians who were protecting the British Army , not the other way round .......

(MORE LATER).