Random Ramblings from a Republican
Thursday, September 30, 2004

Capture of the Mallow Barracks

September 28, 1920 was the date of the attack of Mallow Barracks, the only military barracks to be captured during the Irish War of Independence.

Mallow had been a garrison town for several hundred years. Eight miles to the north lay Buttevant where one of the largest military barracks in the country was located. Not far from Buttevant were the great military training camps of Ballyvonaire, while nineteen miles to the north-east was Fermoy with its large permanent military garrisons and huge barracks adjacent to the big training centres of Kilworth and Moorepark. Twenty miles to the south-east was the city of Cork with its many thousands of troops both in the posts within the city and at Ballincollig, about six miles west of it, on the Macroom road. Thirteen miles westward a detachment from a British machine gun corps held Kanturk. And every town and village had its post of RIC men armed to the teeth....

Read more here: Rebel Cork
Monday, September 27, 2004
  Remember the sacrifice of Thomas Ashe, hungerstriker.
Died: Sept 25, 1917 after brutal force-feeding by the Brits.
Read more about him here: Ireland's Own biography of Thomas Ashe

Let me Carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
by Thomas Ashe

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
The hour of her trial draws near,
And the pangs and the pains of the sacrifice
May be borne by comrades dear.

But, Lord, take me from the offering throng,
There are many far less prepared,
Through anxious and all as they are to die
That Ireland may be spared.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord
My cares in this world are few.
And few are the tears will for me fall
When I go on my way to You.

Spare. Oh! Spare to their loved ones dear
The brother and son and sire.
That the cause we love may never die
In the land of our Heart's desire!

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
Let me suffer the pain and shame
I bow my head to their rage and hate,
And I take on myself the blame.

Let them do with my body whate'er they will,
My spirit I offer to You.
That the faithful few who heard her call
May be spared to Roisin Dubh.

Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
For Ireland weak with tears,
For the aged man of the clouded brow,
And the child of tender years;

For the empty homes of her golden plains;
For the hopes of her future, too!
Let me carry your Cross for Ireland, Lord!
for the cause of Roisin Dubh.
Friday, September 24, 2004
  8th Anniversary of the Murder of Diarmuid O'Neill

On September 23rd, 1996, Provisional Irish Republican Army Volunteer Diarmuid O'Neill was shot in cold-blood by the two officers from Scotland Yard's tactical firearms group, SO19. As undisputable evidence, an audio tape of the RUC raid exposes the police version of events as a lie and leads only to the conclusion that Diarmuid O'Neill was slain. Thru-out the tape, O'Neill is clearly complying with all requests by the British police, and is seen by the police to be unarmed. Then why the need to shoot him six times?, an inquisitive person might ask.

This is a question that eight years later, is not much closer to being answered. Diarmuid's brother Shane, in 2001 said, "We want to know why, when Diarmuid could clearly and repeatedly be heard to be giving himself up and that he was unarmed, an order was given to open fire. My brother was shot six times at close range as he was in the process of surrendering."

This seems to be just a plain old sectarian murder by those in uniform. Also, the treatment of Diarmuid, after being shot, should be questioned as well. Photos of smeared blood on the steps in the front of house would seem to show that Diarmuid O'Neill was dragged, fatally wounded, down the steps to the sidewalk, rather than being treated where he was or removed on a stretcher by trained paramedics.

Also, it has been alleged that O'Neill was denied medical condition for nearly half an hour while police harassed the mortally wounded man; standing on his head and spouting verbal abuse while he lay on the floor bleeding.

The mainstream news stories immediately jumped on the story of a bomb factory and a gun battle between the Scotland Yard scum and the IRA Volunteer. But the fact remains that there were no weapons and no explosives found on the premise, even after extensive searches.

Gerry Kelly, a man who was in Diarmuid's position 25 years earlier, said of the situation: "One of the reasons that is given not to give a public inquiry is that Diarmuid was an IRA Volunteer. But people need to know - I mean all people need to know - that this is a very proud thing to be. I was proud to be in the IRA. This young man could have had a different life. He made a decision to go away and fight for other people. He gave up his life in the end, but he was prepared to give it up when he made that decision. I think it is important to understand that young people who make such decisions make them from a position of compassion, not of hate. They want to help other people."

It is a shame that such a bright young man had to die, and it is an even bigger and more enraging shame that he died the way he did. RIP Vol. Diarmuid O'Neill. May you soul be at rest. Your murderers cannot evade justice forever, be it in this world or the next.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Contemporary sources regarding the tragedy of the Manchester Martyrs

William Phillip Allen spoke in his own defence:

"No man in this court regrets that death of Sergeant Brett more than I do, and I positively say, in the presence of the Almighty and ever-living God, that I am innocent, aye, as innocent as any man in this court. I don't say this for the sake of mercy; I want no mercy - I'll have no mercy. I'll die, as many thousands have died, for the sake of their beloved land, and in defence of it. I will die proudly and triumphantly in defence of republican principles, and the liberty of an oppressed and enslaved people. Is it possible we are asked why sentence should not be passed upon us, on the evidence of prostitutes off the streets of Manchester, fellows out of work, convicted felons - aye, an Irishman sentenced to be hung when an English dog would have got off. I say positively and defiantly, justice has not been done me since I was arrested. If justice had been done me, I would not have been handcuffed at the preliminary investigation in Bridge St. and in this court of justice has not been done me in any shape of form....

"I feel the righteousness of my every act with regard to what I have done in defence of my country. I fear not. I am fearless - fearless of the punishment that can be inflicted on me . . . My name, sir, might wish to be known. It is NOT William O'Meara Allen. My name is William Phillip Allen. I was born and reared in Bandon, in the county of Cork, and from that place I take my name; and I am proud of my country and proud of my parentage. My lords, I have done."

A short poem written in a letter by Michael O'Brien to his brother:

"Far dearer the grave or the prison,

Illum'd by one patriot name,

Than the trophies of all who have risen

On liberty's ruin to fame"

The last declaration of Michael Larkin:

"I am not dying for shooting [Sergeant] Brett, but for mentioning Colonel Kelly's and Deasey's names in the court. I am dying a patriot for my God and my country, and Larkin will be remembed in time to come by the sons and daughters of Erin. Farewell, dear Ireland, for I must leave you, and die a martyr for your sake. Farewell, dear mother, wife, and children for I must leave you all for poor Ireland's sake. Farewell, uncles, aunts, and cousins, likewise sons and daughters of Erin. I hope in heaven we will meet another day. God be with you. Father in heaven, forgive those that have sworn my life away. I forgive them and the world, God bless Ireland!"

A poem that appeared in The Nation following the execution of the "noble hearted three":

Let the echoes fall unbroken;

Let our tears in silence flow;

For each word thus nobly spoken,

Let us yield a nation's woe;

Yet, while weeping, sternly keeping

Wary watch upon the foe.

An eyewitness to the Manchester men's funeral procession in Dublin:

"The procession took one hour and forty minutes to pass the Four Courts. Let us assume that as the average time in which it would pass any given point, and deduct ten minutes for delays during that time. If, then, it moved at the rate of two and a half miles per hour, we find its length, with those suppositions, would be three and three quarter miles. We may now suppose the ranks to be three feet apart and consisting of ten in each, at an average. The total number is therefore easily obtained by dividing the product of 3 1/2 and 5280 by 3, and multiplying the quotient by 10. This will give as a result 61,600, which I think is a fair approximation to the number of the number of people in the procession alone."

Sunday, September 19, 2004
Smashing of the Van
Manchester Tragedy
September 18th, 1867

On the 11th of September Colonel Thomas Kelley along with his fellow Fenian, Captain Timothy Deasy were arrested in Manchester by the city police for loitering. They were soon identified as leaders of the Fenian movement in Dublin and remanded for trial a week later.

On the way from the police barracks to Bellvue Prison, the van (a black Maria horse drawing carriage) carrying the men was intercepted by a group of armed Fenians. These men held up the van and scared off the police escort, leaving only the sergeant locked in the van with Capt. Deasy and Col. Kelley. This police officer was unintentionally killed when the Fenians blew the lock off of the door of the van.

During the escape from the city, four of the rescue party sacrified themselves to throw the police off the trail of the two high ranking Fenians. These men were arrested on the spot and charged with the killing of the sergeant. Their names were William Phillip Allen, Michael Larkin, Michael O'Brien, and Edward O'Meaghar Condon.

Despite all the efforts of the Fenian's counsel, Ernest Jones, the court found the men guilty of murder and they were all sentenced to death. Condon's sentence was overturned because of the fact that he was an American citizen. He served a short prison term and was deported to the US. The other three were set to be hanged on the 23rd of November 1867 despite the fact that none of them fired the unlucky shot that killed the police sergeant.

In the week following these executions, there was widespread horror and protest. Even people who were against the actions and methods of the Fenian movement, such as '48 rebel John Martin, spoke out against this injustice. Great funeral processions marched thru the city and long streams of people followed the men's coffins thru the streets. These mass funerals and events with the Land League focused the minds of the popular masses on the injustice of English rule in Ireland.

Out of this incident came one of the most famous songs about freedom. "God Save Ireland", penned by TD Sullivan remained the adopted national anthem of the Irish people until the Soldier's Song took its place after Easter Rising of 1916.

**More on this period here: Specific Incidents of the 1867 Fenian Rising
Friday, September 17, 2004
  Here are links to some of my favourite history bits posted on the IRBB. Feel free to browse them.

History of the War against the RIC 1919-1921

Maire Drumm - tribute by R. O'Bradaigh

US Congress Voted For Complete Irish Independence
Sunday, September 12, 2004
An Phoblacht/Republican News
September 5th, 1981

"In the twenty six counties, a quarter of the population live below the poverty level and unemployment is increasing in both partitionist states. The minority Dublin government have shown themselves, like Fianna Fail before them, to have no answers to these questions nor to the national question, and in the North the SDLP ad the Irish Independence PArty Have been seen as similarly impotent.

Against this background of social and economic discontent, the national question has clearly been brought into focus by the courage of the prisoners.

The deaths of ten hungerstriking comrades have understandably caused frustration among IRA Volunteers on the ground, who, although politically concious, are open to the frustration felt by the IRA supporters who believe that the IRA should pay the British government in kind for the deaths of comrades and for the deaths on the streets.

That the IRA will do that goes without saying, but this is, of course, no answer to people who have suffered directly in the last twelve years by a British terror campaign, and indirectly over the decades as reluctant and dispossessed citizens of a six county state.

That IRA Volunteers, men and women, remain calm in the face of such adversity and provocation is a tribute to their discipline."
Tuesday, September 07, 2004

An Phoblacht/Republican News
September 5th, 1981

"To move the British government one would have to move those elements within the nationalist camp whose interest coincide with the interests of the British, and we presume that this would be a most difficult task. And, in fact, that a hungerstrike may merely expose the nature of politics in Ireland and the part played by all tese elements. We thought that this was too high a price.

It is true to say that no one could have clearly foreseen the prisoners having the resilience to continue the hungerstrike for so long. It is an unprecedented phenomenon. If nothing else this is clearly an indication of the suffering endured by the men in the prison and a clear illustration of the degree of their political commitment.

We would, of course, like to see the hungerstrike conclued. We obviously are working towards a principled and permanent end to the Long Kesh and Armagh protests. The prisoners know that their protest is a voluntary one and clearly understand that it can be ended as they see fit. They have shown no indication of ending it it is very understandable that they do not wish to end it because they do not have the basis for a permanent settlement and obviously we sympathise.

The ending of the hungerstrike on its own will not end the problems in Long Kesh and Armagh, no more than an end of IRA activities could end the problem of British involvement in Ireland. The Hungerstrike has obviously increased support for the republican cause. People clearly understand in the 26 Counties the nature of the British government's involvement in this part of the country. The 12 years of black propaganda projecting the IRA as a "terrorist force" has been swept aside by the sacrifice of the ten young men who have been martyred by a British government which can no longer pretend to have a benign interest in the affairs of this country. These has been an increase in national conciousness, especially in rural areas and among young people in urban areas. "

**Last bit of this soon.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
  Sorry for the lack of post, but classes have started and I'm swamped already. Never fear, posts will be sporadic, but eventual. I hope that everyone is well.
This weblog is dedicated to Irish Republican history and politics. Recommendations regarding topics can be emailed to me or left in the guest book, both of which are located below. Also below is a link list of sites that I frequent, I recommend you check them out.
Ta ar la anois.

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