Random Ramblings from a Republican
Friday, October 29, 2004
  On the 28th of October 1976, Sinn Fein VP Maire Drumm was killed by loyalist murderers while sleeping in her hospital bed in Belfast.

From Ireland's Own Women Freedom Fighters section....

Máire Drumm —by DM Gould


Máire McAteer was born in Newry, Co Down on 22 November 1919 to a staunchly Republican family. Máire's mother had been active in the War of Independence and the Civil War.

Máire enjoyed physical exercise, and was involved for most of her life in camogie (the female form of hurling).

Máire met James Drumm, whilst visiting Republican POWs, and they were married in 1946. When the IRA renewed the armed struggle in the late 50s, James was again interned without trial from '57 to '61.


In 1940 Máire joined Sinn Féin. She was also a Volunteer in the Irish Republican Army. Moreover, Máire actively involved in the Civil Rights movements of the 1960s, and worked vehemently on efforts to re-house the thousands of nationalists forced from the homes by unionist intimidation.

During her work as a Civil Rights activist, Máire became an eloquent speaker. She spoke on Republican principles and human rights issues at many rallies and protest meetings. She would eventually be elected to the Ard-Chomhairle of Sinn Féin.

Read On...
Tuesday, October 26, 2004
Terence MacSwiney - True Patriot

Terence MacSwiney was born in Cork City in 1879. He was educated in accounting at the Royal University and was a voracious reader as a youth. Later he would receive a philosophy degree from RU.

At 22, he and other founded the Cork Celtic Literary Society. Carrying on his interest in all things literary, he and his friend Daniel Corkery published and wrote several plays for the Cork Dramatic Society.

He became interested in nationalism at an early age and helped to start the Cork Brigade of the Irish Volunteers. Terence was also the original president of Sinn Fein's Cork cumann. As well as full time duties as a leader of the Volunteers and of Sinn Fein, MacSwiney also published a weekly newspaper call Fianna Fail, which caught the immediate attention of the Brits after only 11 weeks of publication. They suppressed the publication and threatened MacSwiney and other contributors.

Terence MacSwiney was arrested in early 1916 and interned under the Defence of the Realm Act in Reading and Wakefield Gaols from April to December 1916 for giving a seditious speech. He was to be jailed for this two more times in the next year and a half.

In February 1917 MacSwiney was deported and interned in Shrewsbury and Bromyard internment camps in Britain for five months. In November 1917 he was arrested in Cork for wearing an IRA uniform and was imprisoned in Cork Gaol where he went on a three day hunger-strike before he was released. MacSwiney was arrested in Dublin in March, 1918 and imprisoned in Belfast and Dundalk Gaols until September when he was released, re-arrested and imprisoned to Lincoln Gaol. In the same year he published a volume of poetry entitled Battle Cries.

In 1919, he was elected to the Dail Eireann for Mid-Cork, while his good mate Tomas MacCurtain was elected Lord Mayor of Cork City. In March of 1920, MacCurtain was murdered in his home by members of the Royal Irish Constabulary, some of whom were later killed by the IRA in retribution. MacSwiney was elected Lord Mayor in place of his murdered comrade.

All this while, MacSwiney had been working has head of the IRA's 1st Cork Brigade. This would be the thing that set in motion his arrest and eventual death. He, along with Liam Lynch, leader of the 2nd Cork Brigade, and other IRA leaders, were arrested in August 1920 by the Brits. Shortly after the British, not recognising the others, released all but Terence.

On August 16th, MacSwiney was court-martialed and sentenced to two years in prison. But from the start, Terence had no intention of giving the Brits the comfort of submission to their system. He believed they had no place in his country.

He joined a hungerstrike already in progress in Cork Jail. After five days in Cork Jail, the O/C of the IRA's Cork No. 1 Brigade was transferred to the British prison, Brixton. MacSwiney had been a part of two other hungerstrikes, including one lengthy one in 1918. He knew what to expect.

He died seventy-five days later on October 25, 1920. His funeral brought the largest crowd in the history of Ireland until Bobby Sands' eclipsed it more than 60 years later.

Saturday, October 23, 2004
I apologise for the lack of history as of late, but I've been busy doing my own form of politicking, guerilla American style.

Busy Busy Busy... and here is another drunken rant.

Dissent Is Patriotic

In July of 1776, Colonial dissent became American patriotism. Since, this patriotism has become warped and twisted to favour or dishonour groups and individuals. Now, it is my patriotic duty (yes, thats right, MY PATRIOTISM) to express my disgust at the Bush administration.

Here are HUNDREDS of reasons to distrust and justifiably dislike the Bush adminstration.

It is NOT wrong to question the "war on terror". It in no way makes you any less an American or any less a patriot. To NOT question this "war" would be purely ignorant and unpatriotic.

The Patriot Act has nothing to do with being patriotic. It is actually a near antithesis of patriotism. It violates FIVE of the amendments to the constitution. (!!!!!)

America is not the only nation that George Bush's God would bless. And if George Bush's God instructed him to attack Iraq, his God is SATAN.

The Iraqi war is unjustifiable according to the Bible that George Bush endorses as his life's guide (Just War Doctrine). Also, Jesus tells Christians "blessed are the peacemakers" (Matt. 5:9).

I realize that the Just War Doctine is a Catholic thing, but it was established before the Reformation (St. Thomas Aquinas) and accepted generally throughout the various segments of Christianity. Under this doctrine, a legitimate authority is the only entitity able to wage Just War. In this case, the US was not the legitimate authority, the United Nations was. No matter how the Bush administration and its lackies attempt to spin or justify the war, that glaring fact remains...

Halliburton and the other oil-hungry scum-of-the-earth exploitative businesses believe that their oil is under Iraqi sand... and many of these companies are LARGE contributors to the GOP. As are many drug-companies... insurance companies... No wonder the Republicans support privatisation of insurance, medical care and prescription drug plans. Ridiculous!!!

Don't be part of W's redneck agenda. Vote ffs.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

One sign, one slogan, one idea can make a difference, here is a person and an idea that exemplify this concept. Look into it, copy it and take it into your hometown.
Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Michael Fitzgerald: 1920 Hungerstrike

Following the September, 1919 attack on a British armed party outside the Wesleyan church at Fermoy in which one soldier was killed, a number of local volunteers were arrested and detained. However, despite the threat of heavy penalties, no jury could be empowered to try the prisoners and they remained in custody at Cork Jail. On August 11, 1920 Michael Fitzgerald, together with a number of other untried prisoners, began a hunger strike for release, which ended in his death sixty-seven days later.

Michael Fitzgerald was secretary of the local branch of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. He joined the Volunteers in Fermoy in March, 1914 and at the time of his arrest he was O/C First Battalion, Second Cork Brigade. He had previously been imprisoned after his successful capture of Araglen police barrack on April 20, 1919, when he was arrested at Clondulane. Some ammunition was found in the house in which he lived and he was sentenced to two months imprisonment. He was released at the end of August, in time to take part in the action at Fermoy.

Read on...
Sunday, October 17, 2004
  Just a drunken commentary:

Unionists with back-up from the Stoops (how surprising!), in an effort to secure some amount of lost face, are trying to make the Provos jump thru a few more hoops before complete disarmament.

In an article in Friday's edition of the News Letter, Alban McGuinness, lackey to the Queen, said that the IRA must admit that their war was wrong. Specifically he said: "They need to face up to the fact that (...) their whole campaign was wrong both politically and morally."

To have sat by while the Unionists burned down the Catholic slums of Belfast would have been morally wrong. To have allowed our fathers, brothers and uncles to be dragged way in the middle of the night would have been morally wrong. This man grew up in the era of British aggression, you think he would have some amount of understanding... but instead he would rather side with the riot inducing, bigot Ian Paisley.

How can there be any hope for compromise and understanding between unionists and Provisional Sinn Fein when those unionists claim that PSF is a party "which has two shameless members in this House (EU, Brussels) is largely funded by organised criminal activity" (News Letter article)

All the long-winded speeches by Gerry Adams, avoiding the topic of a United Ireland (except perhaps within a United Europe) have been in vain. Is an Ireland within a European superstate what hundreds of Republican soldiers died for? I tend to think not.

All the "inter-party" talks have been essentially worthless. Perhaps the blind optimism of PSF needs to be abandoned and a wary eye turned to the loyalist DUP who would like so much for Sinn Fein to be completely excluded from government. Disarming is going to solve nothing. The only way Paisley is going to accept that the Provos have disarmed is for Gerry Adams, Gerry Kelly, Martin McGuinnes et al to walk thru east Belfast with the Armalites on their shoulders, then field strip them on the "Doctor"s front-stoop.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
  In an article in the Irish Examiner on the 13th of October, the article reports the following:

"Mr Tebbit said it should never be forgotten Sinn Féin/IRA had killed more people than al-Qaida had killed in the twin towers attack in New York. "

I would like to point out that Lord Tebbit is sorely mistaken in his statistics. Perhaps he is confusing his statistics with the number of innocent civilians killed by the British in Ireland over the last 830 odd years?

Because if so, he would be right because the British have killed way more than 2800 people during their occupation ofIreland. The statistics regarding this are approx. 2819 deaths from the Al Qaeda attacks on 9/11. The PIRA is held responsible for 1706 deaths in its THIRTY+ Years war(!!!) against the occupying British Army. Also to put it in perspective (but not to diminish the sickening nature of the 9/11 attacks, mind you) Number of people who died of hunger on 11th September 2001: 24,000 (assuming that the annual deaths from hunger are evenly spread out).

Keep your mouth shut, Mr Tebbit. I am sorry that your wife was injured in an IRA attack, I truly am. Mistakes happen, but that bomb wasn't one of them. It was a legitimate attack on a legitimate target. It was just unfortunate that the timing was a bit off. The occupying and un-budging government of Thatcher needed to be shaken up. Nothing else would have forced them to view the conflict any differently. Innocents get caught in the path of these unfortunate consequences.

To put into perspective: Shoot to kill operations were occuring at this time, as well as the looming legacy of the hungerstrikes and prison protests. Rage against the Thatcherite government was still at a high level; high enough to warrant one of the most spectacular plans (on paper) of the entire Troubles.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Thomas Davis - Young Irelander

On Oct. 14, 1814, Thomas Davis, a founder of the Young Ireland movement was born in Mallow, Co. Cork. He would later be called the unnamed poet laureate of the 19th century Republicans. His father was a British army surgeon and was of Anglo-Irish stock.

Davis studied law at Trinity, the university that groomed Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet and was admitted to the bar but never practiced. In 1839 he joined the Repeal Association and began his short but influential political life. He would be a great advocate of learning the REAL history of Ireland. In 1840 he pleaded for an adequate and un-biased course of study in Irish history at Trinity.

Eventually the younger men of the Repeal Association tired of Daniel O'Connell's politiking. They were the men who were to form the Young Ireland movement with Thomas Davis, John Blake Dillon and Gavan Duffy as some of its leaders. They fronted their movement and spread its ideas thru the nationalist newspaper The Nation.

As a poet, he penned many poems famous amongst Republicans to this day. Most prominently he was the author of the theme to the Republican movement until the 1916 rising, "A Nation Once Again." Other beautiful poems of his include "The West's Asleep" and "Death of Owen Roe O'Neill".

He would not live to see his Young Irelander's attempt armed rising in 1848. He died in 1845 in Dublin after a terrible bout of fever, less than a month before his thirty-first birthday. His politics and influence, however, lived on thru the Fenians and his memory is carried on to this day.

More of Davis' poetry

Saturday, October 09, 2004
The Fall of Parnell and the Aftermath of His Scandal and Death

CS Parnell and Katherine O'Shea (later Parnell), a married though estranged woman, met in 1880 and they began an affair that would last 10 years. It would ultimately mean the end of one of the finest political careers in Irish history, and also the end of any real hope for Home Rule. Katherine Parnell is still best remembered as "Kitty O'Shea" the married woman, who ensnared Charles Stewart Parnell, destroyed his career, hastened his death and set on hold the cause of Irish Independence for another generation.

In 1881, Kitty was pregnant and the truth of their adultery was brought to the forefront. The child was born in February of 1882 but died only a month later. They no longer attempted to hide their relationship from people close to them. Anyone who visited their house was exposed to the situation. Two more children was born in the next 2 years, 1883 and 84.

During this time, Parnell ridden with on and off illness that continued until about 1890, when he seemed to have regained his full health for the first time since 1883. But then, prompted by political adversaries of Parnell, Capt. O'Shea took Kitty to divorce court claiming Parnell as the cause of their separation. The political backlash of the adultery charge was immense and hasn't been seen in Irish politics in that much force since.

In 1891, the Home Rule Party split into Parnellites and anti-Parnellites, the first serious split since Parnell united the men under one block almost a decade before. The most dependable traitor in Irish history was there to lay their agenda out against the ill chief. Mother Church issued a manifesto that condemned Parnell as an "immoral" ruler. And said as a political excuse that there was "the inevitability of a [party] split, if Parnell were retained." So, typically, the Catholic hierarchy in Ireland stabbed the cause of Independence in the back. And their reasoning was proven to be shit as usual when the split occurred anyway.

The final party meeting before the split of the Home Rule Party consisted of Tim Healy screaming at Parnell for a lengthy period of time. At the peak of this verbal assault, Parnell attempted to draw his pistol and shoot Healy where he stood, but party members held him back. Justin MacCarthy saw the meeting was at an end and called for his supporters to follow him out of the room. Forty-five left with him and Healy, twenty-six stayed with Parnell.

In America, England and Ireland, the working classes supported Parnell. It was the upper and middle classes that were fooled by the treachery of the Church and the spouting of the Anti-Parnellites. With several by-elections coming up in 1891, Parnell looked to win at least one of them. Time and time again, Parnell was defeated, until there was no hope to win a seat.

The speeches of Healy and other AntiParnellites would even shame the venomous Rev Ian Paisley. Words like "Morality" and "religion" and "sinner" laced the speeches. Between this and ongoing condemnation by the Church, Parnell never gave up. He understood that there would be a long and difficult battle ahead and he tried to convince his supporters to stick by him. He told them that within the next few years, he would win back the faith of his complete party and overtake MacCarthy and Healy.

Before this could happen, Parnell's health rapidly deteriorated. Being stubborn and determined, he refused to take time off to recover from his lagging sickness. This caught up with him on October 6, 1891. Parnell died near Brighton, England and was prepared for his travel back to Dublin. Every stop on the way supporters gathered to see for the last time, the fallen leader of the Irish. His coffin was placed at the base of the statue of a man he had long been compared to: Daniel O'Connell. Thousands of people went to view him at this spot, but nothing would compare to his funeral. Estimations vary, but the general consensus seemed to be that the crowd was no small than 150,000 mourners; described as a mass of grim-faced Irishmen by the then British Chief Secretary Arthur Balfour. Parnell was laid to rest well after dusk in Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery.

His death was the closing of another chapter in the quest for Irish self-determination. It would be another 24 years before men would again gather in mass once again to fight for Irish freedom. This time it would not be with Parliamentary action but with rifles.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004
October 5th, 1968
Civil Rights March - Derry
CAIN Conflict Archive

Main Events of the day

The march in Derry on 5 October 1968 was notionally organised by an ad hoc committee comprising representatives of the Derry Labour Party, the Derry Labour Party Young Socialists, the Derry Housing Action Committee (DHAC), the Derry City Republican Club, and the James Connolly Society. In reality the ad hoc committee never functioned as expected and the practical organisation of the event was undertaken by two people, Eamonn McCann and Eamon Melaugh. The night before the march there was a final meeting between representatives of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) and the organisers in Derry. The NICRA wanted to call off the march because of the banning order imposed by William Craig, then Home Affairs Minister at Stormont. After some discussion it was decided to go ahead with the march.

Estimates of the number of people who took part in the march vary widely. For many such events the organisers tend to inflate estimates of the numbers who took part while official figures tend to be a more conservative estimate. Surprisingly therefore one of the main organisers, Eamonn McCann, stated that "about 400 hundred people formed up in ranks in Duke Street. About two hundred stood on the pavement and looked on." (McCann, 1993; p.97), while the official estimate was approximately 2,000 people (Cameron Report, 1969; p.27). Among those who were present at the march were: representatives of the five local groups who were part of the ad hoc committee and members of the NICRA; a number of Nationalist Members of the Northern Ireland Parliament (NIMPs) including Eddie McAteer and Gerry Fitt and three Westminster Labour MPs; individuals such as John Hume; and many ordinary citizens of Derry. The fact that the organisers had miscalculated and planned the march for a day when the Derry City Football Club was playing 'at home', the fact that the march was starting in the Waterside, or the expectation that there might be an outbreak of violence, all probably contributed to the low numbers. The march was however about to achieve a significance far beyond its size.

Read On...
Sunday, October 03, 2004
  Murder of Brian Stewart, aged 13: 4 October 1976
Posted on Micheailin's Irish Republican Fenian Blog October 3rd

From Relatives for Justice

Brian Stewart 13 years, Norglen Crescent, Turf Lodge, west Belfast, hit by a plastic bullet near his home on 4 October 1976, fired by members of the British army’s King’s Own Scottish Borders. He died in hospital six days later on 10 October.

Brian was the fifth child in a family with eight children. He attended Holy Trinity Primary School, and Gort Na Mona Secondary School, both in Turf Lodge. Brian’s mother, speaking to Relatives for Justice in the mid 1990s, described her son as the ‘clown of the family.’ She said he loved to climb the mountains that overlooked their home, and on one occasion when he was up on the mountains captured dozens of butterflies and took them to school, where he released them into his classroom to the laughter and joy of classmates. ‘He was the type of child’ she said ‘always messing about, and quick to see the funny side of things.’

Mrs Stewart told the RJF on the day her son was fatally injured he came home from school as usual, watched television for a while and then did his homework. Afterwards he had his tea and then went out to play with his friends at around 6.20pm. Brain she said had only left the house about 10 minutes when a young boy rushed up the pathway of her home shouting for her, and when she came out the boy told her Brain had been hit in the face by a plastic bullet.

Read on...
Friday, October 01, 2004
  In this extract from 'The Sack of Mallow', Ernie O'Malley recounts an IRA Flying Column raid on Mallow Barracks during the War of Independence. It was first published in Ireland Today, September, 1936.

I walked up to the gate of the barracks. Paddy O'Brien from the column was some distance behind. I knocked. A face with a tin hat on its head peered out through the iron grating. 'What do you want,' said a voice. 'I've a letter for the officer commanding.' He unbolted the door. I passed through. He closed it. He stood in a half on guard position, the bayonet of his rifle pointing at me. About fifteen yards away was a group of lancers, others stood around the barracks yard. I held the letter in my left hand; as he stretched out for it I bent down and put on the safety catch on his rifle so he could not fire. I snatched the rifle from his hands, slipped off the safety catch and shouted 'Put up your hands!' He put them up quickly.

I backed and opened the door; our men rushed in. The guard room had been rushed as soon as I had disarmed the sentry. Motor cars drove in. Rapidly, rifles, revolvers, lances, swords, ammunition and equipment were carried out to them. As I with two other men, rushed from the officers' quarters, I heard a shot and saw a lancer fall, but I had no time to investigate. Upstairs we went to find the officers' room locked. With a smash three of us broke in the door. Inside was a soldier, the officer's orderly. We searched for papers but did not find many. Later we discovered a large tin box full, which was too heavy for us to carry.

I sent down for two more men. On the officer's desk was an unfinished letter: 'Mallow is a very quiet town, nothing ever happens here.'

I saw motor cars move off, long lances stuck out and pennons waved. A wounded sergeant-major lay on the ground; some of his men were trying to stop the blood whilst I bandaged his stomach wound. I heard Liam [Lynch] order all men to leave the barracks.

'But it hasn't been properly searched yet,' I said, 'and it hasn't been burned.'
'We have no time,' he said, hurriedly.

I tried to stop the flow of blood whilst the comrades of the dying man stood round. I heard a shout from the gate. Jerry Kieley, a rifle slung on his back, ran towards me.

'I came back,' he said, 'when I heard you were alone; why didn't some of them stay?'
'Let's move those bales into the building' I said. There were compressed hay bundles in the yard. We tugged them towards the main building, loosened them inside and set fire to the hay, then we dashed through the gate and down the town. We caught up with some of the rear guard, seated on an ass and cart, their rifles covered the road behind them. One was playing a melodeon. The thin swirl of smoke from the barracks did not increase. Above Burnfoot we halted.

Thirty rifles, two hotchkiss guns, small arms and over four thousand rounds of ammunition had been captured and had been brought by the motor cars to a safe place in the opposite direction. Sentries were thrown out while some of the men slept.

Twelve miles away was Fermoy, with a strong enemy garrison of about fifteen hundred men. Buttevant with its hutments and camps was twelve miles away and was a battalion headquarters. We could expect a concentration of troops in and around Mallow.
The Mallow Commandant [of the IRA] sent off dispatch riders to mobilise some of the armed men in the battalion. After some time they came, poorly armed, mostly with shot guns, and reinforced our outposts.

'We must get away as soon as it gets dark,' said Liam, 'There will surely be a round up, a big one, and they'll know that we've come in this direction'.

Some of the column officers wanted to remain with me to help the local men defend the town against reprisal parties.

'We must get away,' Liam said, 'the local men can easily avoid the round up. We must get twenty-five or thirty miles away before morning.'

The Mallow Commandant received instructions. He said he would do his best to defend the town: 'The Colonel from Buttevant has assured the parish priest and the minister that there won't be reprisals,' he added.

'We cannot rely on such a promise' I said...

We started off in ponies and traps, strung out in intervals. We lifted the cars across trenches and through gaps where the roads were blocked with heavy, fallen trees. We hauled and pushed them across streams where the bridges had been smashed, we removed heaps of stones or networks of boulders strewn over a long stretch of road. We bumped over filled-in trenches and lurched into deep potholes: this battalion had done its work well.

Enemy would find it difficult to penetrate. The rear guard had to put back the obstacles. We halted from time to time on rising ground to look towards the town; at first we could see a faint haze, the lights of Mallow, then it dimmed as we moved on. Nothing had happened. Later we saw a dim glare; but as we watched it seemed to disappear. Could it be the town? The men would surely defend it. Some hours later we came to a high hill and as the ponies struggled on the bad road the men jumped out and ran up quickly. Away in the distance were flickers of light, separated by intervals of darkness. The flames leapt up as the wind increased. It was Mallow.

'I hope to God it rains,' said the Adjutant. Another pointed to a big glare in the centre. 'What's that?' he said. 'It must be the creamery; that means about three hundred out of work.' Bolster looked at the leaping stab of flames, 'I think it's the Town Hall.'

There was silence for a time as we watched, helpless. The sheltering belly of our horse has paid for harbouring us.

'Damn it, it's terrible,' said Liam, 'to think of the women and children in there and the tans or soldiers sprawling around drunk, setting fire to the houses.'

The enemy had revenged the capture of the barracks on the townspeople. Our elation at success ebbed away; we felt cowardly and miserable; in silence we journeyed on amongst the hills.

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Ta ar la anois.

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