Posted by Jim on August 26, 2014
The Gramercy House, a new pub in the location formerly The Copper Door, presents the Gramercy House Seisiun, NYC’s newest Irish traditional seisiun. It kicked off on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 and will continue weekly every Wednesday at 7pm.
Open to ALL musicians/singers and/or folks who may just want to listen, they plan to feature some of NY’s best trad Irish musicians.
Opening night featured John Walsh (guitar), Andrew McCarrick (flute) and Denny McCarthy (fiddle) of Jameson’s Revenge.
To keep up to date on upcoming seisiuns, join the Gramecy Seisiun group on facebook.
The Gramercy Ale House
272 Third Ave. (between 21st & 22nd St.)
New York, NY
Posted by Jim on August 25, 2014
by Mike McCormack, National A.O.H. Historian
On September 13, the Ancient Order of Hibernians celebrates one of the major holidays of their Order – Commodore John Barry Day. It is not a day unique to that Order, for it has been commemorated on the American national calendar more than once. There were even statues erected in his honor back in the days when Americans remembered with gratitude the contributions of this dedicated man. Today, too few remember his deeds! The American Heritage dictionary doesn’t even list his name, and his statue which stands in front of Independence Hall, Philadelphia, serves as a platform for pigeons unnoticed by passers-by. It is truly unfortunate that so few remember this remarkable and courageous man, for during his lifetime, Barry gave so much to America, and at a time when she needed it most. It has even been said that had it not been for John Barry, the American Revolution would have been lost. Dr. Benjamin Rush said in his eulogy at Barry’s graveside, “He was born in Ireland, but America was the object of his devotion, and the theater of his usefulness.” Yes, Commodore John Barry was born in Ireland; in Tacumshane, Co. Wexford to be specific, in the year 1745. He grew up with a great love for the sea, and while still a young man, he emigrated to the Crown colonies in America. By 1760, he was employed in a shipbuilding firm in Philadelphia and in 1766, at the age of 21; he went to sea as Captain of the ship, Barbadoes. The young Irishman seemed destined for a prosperous career in the colonies, but his integrity and sense of justice led him to risk all in a dangerous venture. In 1775, years of smoldering unrest erupted in open rebellion as the American colonies openly declared their independence from the Crown. As England prepared to regain control of the situation, the colonies formed the Second Continental Congress to establish a military force, and defend their recently declared independence, but experienced men were hard to find. Captain John Barry, an early champion of the patriot cause, promptly volunteered his service. With nine years experience as a sea-going Captain, and five successful commands to his credit, the young Irishman was quite warmly welcomed, and given command of a ship under the authority of the Continental Congress., On Dec 7, 1775, eight months after the first shots were fired at Lexington; Captain John Barry took the helm of a new 14-gun vessel aptly named, Lexington. He quickly trained a crew, and began the task of supplying and supporting Washington’s ground forces. On April 7, 1776, just four months after he had taken command, Captain Barry provided a necessary boost to the moral of the continental forces just as he would do so many times when it was needed most: he captured the British ship, Edward, and her cargo – the first American war prize. On June 6, he was given command of the new cruiser, Effingham, and captured 2 more British ships. In spite of Barry’s successes, the war was not going well for the Americans: Philadelphia was in the hands of the British; the British Navy had bottled up the Delaware River; General Benedict Arnold had betrayed West Point, and gone over to fight for the British; and Washington’s troops were in dire need. A victory was essential to boost their sagging moral. Barry captured an armed British vessel when ammunition was scarce, and a supply ship when food was at a premium, then he came to Washington’s aid when the leader was planning to cross the Delaware. He organized seamen and joined the land forces which crossed the river in boats supplied by Barry’s friend, Patrick Colvin. Barry was held in such high esteem that, after the Delaware crossing, and the subsequent victories at Trenton and Princeton, in which he served as an aide to Washington, Lord Howe made a flattering offer to Barry to desert the patriot cause. “Not the value or command of the whole British fleet”, Barry replied, “can lure me from the cause of my country which is liberty and freedom.” On January 5, 1778, while the Delaware was occupied by the British fleet, Barry organized the famous Battle of the Kegs, in which small kegs loaded with explosives were sent floating down the river at the British ships and fired upon, exploding them and throwing the British into a panic. In addition to commanding naval operations for the Continental Congress, Barry supervised the building of their ships. In command of one of those ships in 1781, when Washington was again in need, Barry captured four important British vessels. Washington personally thanked him for the boost it provided, and sent his fearless Captain back into the fray. During a confrontation on May 28, 1781, Barry was wounded and taken below. Subsequently, his First Officer informed him that the battle was going against them, and Barry ordered that he be carried back on deck. When the British demanded his surrender, Barry defiantly refused and sparked his crew to victory. The wounded Captain returned with yet another prize. The last sea battle of the American Revolution took place on March 10, 1783, as Barry was returning with a shipload of gold bullion from Havana, and was set upon by three British ships. The resourceful Captain engaged and destroyed one, and outdistanced the other two, returning with the precious cargo which was used to establish a National Bank for the new nation. Even after the war, this tireless seaman assisted America by transporting Virginia tobacco to Holland to repay America’s war debts. Far from the war at sea, Barry also assisted at the Federal Convention held in 1787 to adopt the new constitution. It seems that there were a minority who were opposed to the adoption and absented themselves from the convention, preventing a quorum from being formed. Barry organized a group called The Compellers,’ and physically forced enough of the seceding members back to form a quorum. The vote was taken, and the constitution was finally approved. People cheered and church bells rang as Barry scored another victory – this time over indifference. In recognition of his vast experience and dedication, Washington demonstrated Barry’s immense value to the new nation when, on June 14, 1794, he sent for the popular naval hero to form and train a class of midshipmen, who would then be commissioned as Ensigns, and form the nucleus of a new American Navy. Barry himself was named the ranking officer, and granted Commission No. 1. Commodore Barry died in Philadelphia on September 13, 1803. 195 years later, I had the tremendous honor of delivering a memorial speech at the base of his statue in Wexford harbor in which I extended the thanks of this generation of Americans for his contributions to establishing our nation. Commodore John Barry had many firsts in his remarkable career, from being the first to fly the new American flag in battle to escorting America’s famous ally, General Lafayette, back to France, but the first that he should always be remembered for is his position as Father of the American Navy.
Posted by Jim on
AOH member has advised us that their timeshare is for sale or rent in Mystic Dune 5 Star Resort. The two bedroom condo sits on PGA alternate Golf course with screened in porch opening on course. The Resort is 10 mins. away from Disney Gate and Universal. Condo can sleep 8, has full Kitchen, washer/dryer, dinning room, huge living room with big screen TV, Master Suite has separate bath with whirlpool tub. Resort has 5 pools, offers miniature golf, basketball, tennis and fitness center. Country Club has fully stocked Pro-Shop, light snacks and sandwiches, full Restaurant offering 5 Star menu and Conference and Banquet Hall. The cost to buy Deeded Condo is $11,000.00 per Unit. The cost to rent is $1,000.00 per Unit per week. Anyone wishing more information on these properties contact Jim@BrooklynIrish for forwarding info.
Posted by Jim on
Kings County President, John O’Farrell, has called for a meeting to be held at the Knights of Columbus, Columbus Council #126, corner of Nostrand Ave. and Quintin Road Marine Park, Wednesday night August 27th, with a 7:30pm start time. At this meeting we will discuss what we are doing at the Great Irish Fair being held in Coney Island September 13 & 14. We need to man our tent, promote the AOH and recruitment. We will also be selling our Irish car flags, we still have a lot of them. We will be selling raffles for FFAI. If individual Divisions are having events, this would be a good venue to reach out to advertise.
The same night at the meeting, the Columbus Council is having a K of C event, so the meeting will take place downstairs. Afterward, we are welcomed to event upstairs. It is a 4th Degree meet and greet.
Hope to see you there, please reach out to members of your Division to attend meeting…
In Our Motto,
Kings County Recording Secretary
Posted by Jim on
Near MCU Park – Home of the Brooklyn Cyclones
West 21st Street and Surf Avenue, Brooklyn, New York, 11224
10:30 A.M to 8:00 P.M. each day
The Fair will go on rain or shine.
Saturday, September 13th
||Derek Warfield & The Young Wolftones
||Buckley School of Irish Dance
||The O’Malley School of Irish Dance
Sunday, September 14th
||The O’Malley School of Irish Dance
||The Canny Brothers Band
Donation to Enter the Fair*
Saturday & Sunday, September 13 & 14 Adults: $12 per day – 12 years and older* Family: $30 – 2 adults and their children
*Children under 12 are admitted for free.
There is a fee of $15.00 for unlimited use of the rides.
*All net proceeds derived from the Fair are donated to charity.
The Great Irish Fair does not offer parking. There are privately owned parking facilities near the Fair.
We encourage all who wish to attend the Fair to utilize mass transit. The train is just a few city blocks from the Fairgrounds. For mass transit directions go to Directions.
The Fair will go on rain or shine. There will be several tents setup throughout the fair grounds. Are children welcome to the Fair? Absolutely! The GIF is a safe family friendly event offering food, music, dancing, and an assortment of children’s activities including rides, face painting, balloonists, and magic shows. Please note the children’s activities require an additional fee. The children’s activities cost $15.00 fee for unlimited use.
Sorry, no, pets are not permitted at the Fair.
Outside Food and Drink
Visitors are not permitted to bring in outside food or drinks. There will be several vendors offering an assortment of foods and drinks throughout the Fair grounds.
Conduct/Behavior at GIF
The GIF is a place to enjoy and celebrate Irish culture and Irish music. Any person found to be interfering with the enjoyment of others or failing to comply with fair personnel will be removed from the fairgrounds immediately.
100% of the net proceeds derived from the GIF are donated to charity.
Posted by Jim on
On Saturday, September 20, 2014, from 11am to 7pm on the majestic banks of the Hudson River at Peekskill’s Riverfront Green Park, the Sixth Annual Hudson Valley Irish Fest will celebrate the positive values of the rich Irish American culture and heritage alive in the Hudson Valley today.
Lineup for Main Stage 2014 Hudson Valley Irish Fest
11 am – Rising of the Moon Seisiun (led by John Mahon in a tribute to Jack McAndrew)
12 pm - Jameson’s Revenge (It’s a New York thing)
2pm – The Druids (The Rebel’s Return)
4pm – Black 47 (in their FAREWELL HVIF APPEARANCE)
5pm – Tim Murphy & Friends perform Firefighters Creed with Massed Pipe Bands
5:45pm – Mundy (Ireland’s Hitmaker Top single ‘Galway Girl’)
(During intervals on main stage, our area’s finest Pipe Bands and Step dancers will entertain the main stage area)
The 6th Annual Hudson Valley Irish Festival will feature performances by several top Irish recording artists and bands including Mundy, Black 47, Jameson’s Revenge, Mary Courtney, and Direct from Ireland, The Druids, special surprise artists and featuring Tim Murphy performing the stirring “Firefighter’s Creed.” Our area’s finest Irish step-dancers brought to us courtesy of Unateresa Sheahan Gormely (main stage) and Kelly- Oster Schools of Dance (Jack McAndrew Memorial Tent) and pipe bands will again entertain people of all ages.
Posted by Jim on
Kings County Board President John O’Farrell announces “ A Day at the Races “ Benefit Sept. 27, 2014 for Frank Thompson County V.P. in the Knights of Columbus Columbus Council Hall 3051 Nostrand Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11229 at 7:00pm to aid in the medical costs that were incurred by our Brother. Frank has been involved with our organization for over 20 years and has aided numerous causes including the Great Irish Fair in Coney Island, the Round Tower Degree Team, the Commodore John Barry Memorial Fundraiser, the Freedom for all Ireland Christmas Appeal, the Toys for Tots, the Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts. He has represented his County and as VP of Div. 12 at numerous AOH functions. He is a truly the epitome of a Hibernian. Please come down to the Columbus Council, which Frankie is also a 3rd Degree member, and lose some, or for that matter, win some money for our Brother Hibernian.
$30.00 per person 10 races and 50/50s – food and open bar included in price
Please contact the following Hibernians for Reservations, individual race sponsorships and head count before Sept. 15, 2014.
Steve Kiernan – 917-886-8677
Mike Gaffney – 718-385-7195
Ed Velinskie – 347-210-1249
Anyone who can not make the races but still wishes to contribute, please contact the above Hibernians.
Posted by Jim on
Radio Free Eireann this coming Saturday August 30 starting at 1pm at City College
Rocky Sullivan’s of Red Hook, 34 Van Dyke Street in Brooklyn.
Come stop by Rocky’s for a pint and listen to the show live. Enjoy some good food and great people.
Posted by Jim on
ATTORNEY AT LAW
BRONX, NEW YORK, 10451
August 12, 2014
113-117 Donegal Street
Belfast, Northern Ireland
RE: Fionnuala O’Connor-12 August
INTERNMENT RALLY IN BELFAST
The thousands who ignored rain and loyalist protests to march on Internment Day, had far better reasons than those ascribed by Fionnuala O’Connor (Sorrow of internment lost in 21st century.)
Internment went deeper than imprisonment without charge or trial beginning on August 9, 1971. British forces shot down those who got in the way in Ballymurphy, picked victims to be hooded and tortured, and then answered Internment protests with “Bloody Sunday.” Compton and Widgery were enlisted to whitewash British injustice.
Internment symbolized Britain’s willingness to use and cover-up injustice when it served British interests. Had ‘the sorrow of Internment’ ended there, or even in 1975 with the release of remaining internees, few would take to the streets today.
Instead Britain replaced one injustice, Internment, with another injustice, Diplock Courts, forced confessions and a thinly veiled conveyor belt to the H-Blocks or Armagh. British strategists saw ending Internment as their chance to bin special category political status and masquerade political prisoners as criminals.
Internment Day marches became launching pads for new campaigns against new British injustices. At the huge 1979 Internment rally at Casement Park, we speakers were briefed that the event must be a major show of support for the Blanketmen, in the battle to move Thatcher to resolve the impending crisis short of a hunger strike.
Later Internment Day rallies would be devoted to the Hunger Strikers, then Supergrass trials, then other successive wrongs that showed the same British determination to impose and justify injustice represented by Internment.
Internment required impunity for those who carried it out. British forces could not be expected to shoot down unarmed civilians in Ballymurphy, torture selected victims or fire on protesters in Derry without knowing they had immunity for it all. Theresa Villiers’ denial of an inquiry to the Ballymurphy families was more of the same impunity.
Brenda Downes stood for hundreds of families whose relatives and friends were murdered with impunity by British forces, acting alone or in collusion with loyalists. In 1971, the British sent “armoured cars, and tanks and guns.” In 1984, the British sent RUC armoured cars and land-rovers and plastic bullet guns against peaceful marchers for a ban that the Thatcher regime would later admit in writing was a mistake.
The RUC member who fired the plastic bullet which killed John Downes was acquitted in a trial which seemed to many of us the same British justice we got from Widgery and Compton. Brenda Downes like so many others is still being stonewalled in the fight for truth.
Those who marched should be commended for understanding the true meaning of all Internment represents, and for knowing that the sorrow cannot be lost while British injustices continue.
Posted by Jim on
The AOH will assemble at 9:30 AM at 51st St & 5th Ave with The Sister’s of Life and process in to the Cathedral prior to the Mass. The 10:15 Sunday Mass is usually celebrated by Cardinal Dolan.
NY County will host the Breakfast afterwards at Maggie’s Place. I think it was a great addition to the Mass last year and gave the Brothers a chance to socialize afterwards. Marty Whelan, owner of Maggie’s, a Hibernian, a good friend and his staff provided an excellent breakfast with their renowned hospitality. Marty opened up Maggie’s on Sunday last year just for the Breakfast for the Hibernians and is willing to do so again this year.
I stopped in to Maggie’s during the week and made preliminary arrangements for the breakfast with the manager and wrote it in their book for Sunday 10/05/14 at 11:30 AM.
We will do a buffet and have a cash bar. Cost will be minimal same as last year.
I will finalize the details with Maggie’s this week.
More information will follow. Please publicize the Mass and Breakfast to your members.
Thank You. Tommie Beirne, President New York County
“May Saint Patrick Bless and Protect You!“
Posted by Jim on August 24, 2014
The AOH Nassau County Board is proud to announce that it will be hosting the 42nd Annual Nassau County Feis & Irish Festival on Sunday, September 21 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.
The all day event will feature Irish Step Dancing, Bagpiping, Traditional Irish Singing, Gaelic Football, Irish Vendors, Irish Art and Language, and much much more!
This year, the festival will honor Eileen Cronin, host of the Long Ireland Radio Show that is heard on WRHU-FM (88.7).
Music will be provided by Celtic Justice.
A Mass will begin the day’s events and will be celebrated at 11:00am.
The cost is $10.00 per person with children under 16 admitted for free.
For more information, please visit the festival website at: http://www.nassauaohfeis.com/
Or you can Call at (646)481-3347.
Posted by Jim on August 23, 2014
Queens County will be hosting a Major Degree on Friday October 24, 2014. This Degree is being held at St. Rose of Lima Church Hall located at 130 Beach 84 Street, Rockaway Beach, NY. Candiates are being asked to report at 6-6:30 PM, and observers need to be their by 7:30 PM. Its going to be $20.00 for each candiate.
This Major Degree is going to be performed by the “Red Branch Knights Major Degree Team” of Queens County. For more information or questions, please contact AOH Queens County President John Manning at 917-589-0047.
Posted by Jim on August 21, 2014
AOH DIVISION 5, WOODLAWN
• JUDGE WILLIAM MOGULESCU- Irish Civil Rights Lawyer
• RAY O’HANLON-IRISH ECHO Senior Editor
• TIM McSWEENEY- Vice President, New York State AOH
• JERRY COLLINS-McLean Ave Parade, Bajart Post Chaplain
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26, 3:00-7:00PM
RAMBLING HOUSE PARTY ROOM
Katonah Avenue & 236th Street
BRIAN CONWAY – BRUCE FOLEY
Grants for Irish History-Dancing-Music-Gaelic Games Awarded
FREE BUFFET • CASH BAR • $25 Donation
Tickets and Info 718.324.8726
Posted by Jim on
There is mounting concern among Irish-Americans that the Irish Government is turning its back on the good work of previous Irish Governments on the Irish peace-process.
Fr. Sean Mc Manus, President of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, has been alerting Members of Congress to the serious danger of Dublin’s neglect .
Fr. Mc Manus said: ” Albert Reynolds, Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen and John Bruton all were engaged, thereby helping to make the peace-process possible. Taoiseach Enda Kenny has demonstrated consistently, and quite blatantly, that he has no interest in the peace-process. Indeed, his persistent refusal to show interest indicates he may even have distain for the Irish peace-process — the most important and hopeful development since the partition of Ireland.”
Fr. Mc Manus added: ” This is not only the growing opinion among Irish-Americans, but also of serious commentators like Brian Feeney of the Irish News, Belfast, and former Irish diplomat Eamon Delaney “United States doing more for Irish peace than Irish or British ” (Eamon Delaney @irishcentral August 18,2014).
Fr. Mc Manus continued: ” Over the years we have had Congress put a lot of pressure on the British Government. Now it seems we have to get Congress put pressure on the Irish Government. How sad is that? Can anyone explain Taoiseach Kenny’s irresponsible neglect? It reminds me of what British Prime Minister Robert Cecil (Lord Salisbury) said of his nephew Arthur J. Balfour on appointing him in 1887 to be Irish Chief Secretary. Explaining Balfour’s unique qualification for the job, Cecil said it was Balfour’s ‘perfect indifference to what is said of him.’
Fr. Mc Manus concluded: ” Taoiseach Kenny’s perfect indifference to the Irish peace-process must be tolerated no longer.”
Fr. Sean Mc Manus President
Irish National Caucus
Posted by Jim on
CAPITOL HILL. Thursday, August 21, 2014 — The president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus has paid tribute to former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds who died on August 21, 2014.
Fr. Sean Mc Manus said : ” God rest the noble Irish soul of Albert Reynolds. Just when one had given up hope that the Dublin Government would ever do the right thing on The North, Albert came along like a breath of fresh air and helped to make the Irish peace -process possible. As I document in my Memoirs, My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland, I knew Albert was a different type of Taoiseach by the way he responded to the meeting a group of us had with presidential candidate Bill Clinton in New York city on April 5, 1992. Clinton promised to support our main demands. Albert immediately welcomed Clinton’s expressed interest … and the rest is history.
Contrast that with the way Garret Fitz Gerald reacted to the meeting I had arranged with presidential candidate Jimmy Carter in Pittsburgh, PA, October 27, 1976 : Carter give us an excellent statement on the Irish issue, and just six days before he was elected President. Instead of welcoming it, Fitz Gerald set out to sabotage Carter’s interest, demanding Carter prove he was not supporting violence, thereby assisting the British Government in forcing Carter to back off. As I say in my Memoirs, ‘ I am haunted by this thought: had Fitz Gerald welcomed Carter’s statement, how much sooner the peace-process could have started, how many lives could have been saved and how much suffering could have been spared.’ (Page128).
Fr. Mc Manus concluded with: ” And now it appears that Taoiseach Enda Kenny — by his studied indifference to The North — is determined to undo the good work of Albert Reynolds, and repeat the bad work of Garret Fitz Gerald.”
Fr. Sean Mc Manus
President Irish National Caucus
Posted by Jim on August 19, 2014
Eamon Delaney @irishcentral
The United States is presently engaged in a humanitarian military mission in Iraq. Meanwhile, in Gaza, the US has been intensely involved in diplomacy to end conflict, while at the time supporting and arming Israel. It’s a tricky combination. But there is one place where US foreign policy has been entirely uncomplicated and well received and where it doesn’t involve any guns or planes. And that is, Ireland.
From its crucial involvement in the breakthrough IRA ceasefire of 1994, the US has retained a low key, but often intense, involvement in the struggling but generally successful Northern Ireland peace process. And it is a completely bipartisan commitment.
George Bush sent Richard Haass to Ireland as his special envoy and in 2013 Haass returned to chair crucial talks between Unionists and Nationalists in trying to achieve a lasting settlement of the issues that still divide them. The talks ended unsuccessfully in December 2013.
Not only is the Haass process an important part of the political scene, it might be the only show in town. The Irish and British governments are now so hands-off that it is left to the Yanks to try and resolve those crucial ‘final issues.’
The Haass talks process was the first time that neither government got directly involved in such negotiations, and in the end this was probably part of its failing. At the final hurdle, the Unionists rejected a reasonable template for dealing with parading issues and this caused the talks to collapse.
And there was nothing more that Haass could do, especially since the Dublin government is unwilling to put serious pressure on the Unionists and now appears more preoccupied in dealing with Sinn Fein as political threat in the South rather than as the nationalist co-partner of government in the North. Such a complacent and cynical attitude will have dangerous consequences.
Last week, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams said that the Northern Ireland peace process is under its greatest threat since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. It is a dramatic claim, but one with very valid points. Apart from the impasses over commemoration of the past, contentious parades and the fudged NI welfare bill (which, in fairness, is Sinn Fein’s doing) there is a serious lack of any empathy from the Unionist side for the entire partnership to actually work or grow. Fearful of their radical fringe, the Unionists have taken a completely minimalist approach to a unique cross-community agreement that is supposed to be organic.
Compounding the problem is the withdrawn attitude of the two governments. David Cameron’s British Government appears sublimely indifferent and even hostile to the Northern peace process and the Irish Government seems to have just switched off, preoccupied as it is with the South’s economic problems.
The mentality in the South is that ‘the two sides are in Stormont together, so we can ignore it.’ But this is the very opposite of what was supposed to happen, after 1998, certainly from a Sinn Fein or even Irish Government perspective – that is, when the latter actually had a view on the situation. And the North hasn’t bedded down. Far from it, and the psychological withdrawal of the two governments, Irish and British, is partly to blame for that. Almost every week now there are new rows about political identity, flags and parades as well as attacks on Orange halls and GAA clubs. Sectarianism is deep-rooted and both sides play to their tribal base.
The unique coalition of SF and the DUP will not work unless there is constant pressure by the two governments acting as guarantors for the post-conflict arrangement. This is especially necessary when the relationship has gone cold and the two partners are barely talking to each other.
But it is hard to see the new Irish Foreign Minister Charlie Flanagan tackling the current Unionist stubbornness. Indeed, it is significant how few of the current Irish cabinet have dealt directly with Northern Ireland. Do they even believe in an ‘Irish dimension’ any more or in the constitutional nationalist position which is long held by the Irish State and which has always been distinct from that of Sinn Fein? Or do they think that any such national approach is now ‘outdated’ and will only in fact aid Sinn Fein, which they see as an electoral enemy?
Certainly, it seems odd that, in terms of negotiations, the US government appears to show more involvement, commitment and imagination on Northern Ireland that does the Irish government. Which these days is a rarely trumpeted and uncostly success story for US foreign policy, and one which is to the credit of both Democrats and Republicans alike.
* Eamon Delaney is a Dublin-based journalist and former diplomat.
Fr. Sean Mc Manus
Irish National Caucus
P.O. BOX 15128
Washington, DC 20003-0849
Posted by Jim on August 14, 2014
DOLORES KELLY STATEMENT ON BALLYMURPHY
It is important again to acknowledge the efforts and the dignity of the Ballymurphy families in your campaign for truth.
It is a cause of anger that the families of the victims continue to be denied justice. Just like the Bloody Sunday campaign, the terrible loss of life, the innocence of those killed and the denial of truth makes the Ballymurphy campaign a very important one. Your campaign deserves the support and attention of everyone. All of those shot in Ballymurphy were killed by members of the Parachute Regiment who just five months later murdered innocent people in Derry on Bloody Sunday. The victims’ families deserve redress and compassion and the innocence of their loved ones vindicated.
This year you have campaigned long and hard to get the Irish and British Governments endorsement of your proposals for an independent panel to review the Ballymurphy.
It is welcome the Taoiseach has supported your campaign and readily backed your proposal for an investigation based on the Hillsborough Independent Panel. My party, Sinn Fein and Alliance were with you when you met the Taoiseach. His support was another vindication of your campaign.
The Irish Government has increasingly shown their authority around and commitment to addressing the past in a comprehensive way. That has been clear from the leadership of Eamon Gilmore around the Haass/O’Sullivan talks process.
Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the British Government. Yet again their treatment of the Ballymurphy has been hurtful.
The Secretary of State is utterly wrong in her decision to state that it is not in the public interest to have a panel investigation. Utterly wrong. This can be done in parallel to the ongoing inquest. As the Secretary of State should know, there was an ongoing criminal investigation into the murder of Stephen Lawrence at the same time as there was an inquiry into his murder. To suggest that a panel could not be convened because of the ongoing inquest is false. London knows it is false. Shame on those who persist in this falsehood.
The SDLP will continue to call on the British government to issue a statement of innocence, to issue an apology to the families, and to deliver an independent international investigation (based on the Hillsborough Independent Panel) examining the circumstances surrounding these deaths.
Can I also call for the two Governments to gather with the parties, to together talk, to together conclude the challenge of dealing with the Past in a comprehensive and ethical way. Victims and Survivors, you here present and the many others everywhere, those who suffered because of state agencies, those who suffered because of the illegal groups, call out that the Past is addressed now, properly, decisively> You must not be let down again.
Posted by Jim on August 9, 2014
“Bring out your dead! Bring out your dead! Those words from Monty Python’s movie THE HOLY GRAIL came to mind when it was reported that the late Labor Party icon Tony Benn did not support an independent Scotland. This despite the fact that the former member of Parliament never stated as much while alive. His brother David produced a letter to that effect. How desperate the English aristocracy must be to roll out this post-mortem declaration!! Apparently the faint-hearted ‘endorsement’ of United Kingdom unity by President Obama failed to take hold with the Scottish electorate. His press conference remark that “…the US prefers “…a strong, robust and united Britain” was followed by the afterthought disclaimer that this issue, of course was “…a choice for the Scottish people.” These latest political stunts brought to mind British author George Orwell’s description of political language. He claimed it “…is designed to make lies truthful, murder respectable and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
The forces now mounted against Scotland’s independence emanate from all those who have a preference for the status quo and something to lose if change, however gradual, is undertaken. These are the financial and media institutions and military and intelligence services. All of these are infused with British hereditary privilege, wealth and power. It is less than 100 years since this same array of opposition forces fought against freedom for Ireland. Even back then the British would regularly produce letters, usually forged, claiming something that would serve their political purpose. Even after the colonial ties from 26 counties were severed in 1922, the British manipulated Ireland’s political, social, economic and cultural spheres. To this day it promotes division in Ireland North and South. Their failed attempt in the Boston College tapes affair to smear Gerry Adams and to derail his re-election was but the latest example of their mendacity. Expect London to direct the same tactics at Alex Salmond and other Nationalist leaders prior to the referendum.
England threw their media weight around in 1999 to try and derail Ireland’s conversion to the Euro Zone currency. Catastrophes of biblical proportions were predicted. As long as Ireland’s currency was linked to the British pound, Britain could control or initiate financial and economic actions that were, if not necessarily harmful to Ireland, gave England’ banks and companies advantages. The Irish voters then, like the Scottish voters today, were not sure how the conversion would work. Irish voters were reasonably certain the break from England would bring greater transparency and prosperity. And so it did.
All of the fears being stoked by media pundits like Bagehot of the ECONOMIST magazine claiming if there is a YES vote “…a cataclysmic secession “…, have precedents in Britain’s efforts to inflame anti-Irish and anti-Catholic hatred amongst the unionist/loyalist population. After all a united Ireland would be a greater competitive threat than one afflicted with partition. A Bradford University Professor named Gallagher did his part to spread the fear and smears by referring to the Scottish National Party “…and its Radical allies.” You know those people who advocate for a new structure of government, a Bill of Rights or a more equitable distribution of resources.
One newspaper quoted a publican in Portpatrick , Scotland as fearful of the loss of the British Army as if the sleepy village was under some imminent invasion! An English editorial, claiming to speak for America, stated that the U. S. would take revenge if nuclear silos were ordered removed from an independent Scotland. At stake was nothing less than the vanity of the British political establishment and their “major world power” delusions. If the Scottish voters were to address that issue, I hope they would recommend to London that a missile silo might be more appropriate for Margaret …May her memory be blessed… Thatcher’s constituency of Finchley!!
While an independent Scotland may present challenges, in the end it will be Scotland in the 21st century determining what is best for them, and not Whitehall and England’s fossilized colonial bureaucracy. Think of the possible revelations as the transfer of records begins! I mean, of course, those records that the British have not destroyed or found ‘missing.’ This has been the case with police and MI-5 records in N. I. ever since devolution there. England may be spying on the Scottish people the way they have been spying and eavesdropping on the Irish people. The PRISM system used under contract for the U. S. National Security Agency to spy on Americans, may well be used domestically. Remember British Subjects of the Queen have no rights to privacy as do American citizens. Lastly, Scotland might learn it was illegally deprived of financial aid from London. Bishop Cahal Daly in N. I. learned the Catholic schools had been deliberately cheated out of aid payments for decades. The same might be true of tax receipts. There is a reason London has been reluctant to fully disclose corporate tax receipts emanating from Northern Ireland and that very same reason may apply to those tax dollars from Scotland.
Mark well these words. The final push to keep Scotland under the Royal lash will include –in addition to the dirty tricks and media scams… the appeal to patriotism, the last refuge of a scoundrel. At a time of World War I memorials it is worth remembering the words of Alan Brydon’s song Calling Doon the Line. Remembering those who lost their lives in that slaughter is as important as remembering why they did so. Scotland’s brave did indeed “rally roon the pipers tune” but “the victory claimed would disguise the shame.” This is one American’s wish that the Scottish people will vote in this referendum to dance to their own tune!!
Michael J. Cummings
12 Marion Ave
Albany, New York 12203-1814
Michael J. Cummings, a native of Springfield, Mass., is a graduate of St. Anselm’s
College (B. A., 1968) and New York University (M. P. A., 1970). A member of the National Boards of the Irish American Unity Conference (IAUC,1996-2013), the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH,2001-2008), and the Irish Northern Aid Committee (INAC, 1988-1996), he served six National Presidents of the AOH, 5 National Presidents of the IAUC and two National Chairman of INA primarily in public relations capacities. He is the only person to serve on the national policymaking bodies of all three major Irish American organizations. He also served on the Commission on Peace and Justice of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany.
Cummings has appeared on American, English and Irish television and radio and his commentary and letters and those of the Presidents have appeared in major American, Irish-American, Catholic print media. He is a frequent columnist for the weekly IRISH ECHO newspaper. He has been married to Nuala Hogan, a nurse and native of Ireland, for 40 years and resides in Albany, New York . They are the parents of five children and two grandchildren.
Posted by Jim on
Former taoiseach John Bruton is on a crusade to revive Redmondism in
Irish politics and to denigrate the men and women who gave us the
Proclamation of the Irish Republic and the 1916 Rising.
Last month Mr Bruton said in London that the Rising damaged the Irish
psyche. The other day he said it was “completely unnecessary” and that
any State commemorations of the Rising should not “retrospectively
The basis for Mr Bruton’s argument is his claim that the placing of Home
Rule “on the statute book” by the British government in September 1914
was enough to make the Rising and the struggle for Irish independence
If only our ancestors had the wisdom and insight of Mr Bruton; if only
he had been there to tell them the error of their ways. Mar eadh.
Mr Bruton thinks Home Rule “on the statute book” was so great an event
that the Irish Government should commemorate it next month. So let us
examine exactly what happened in Westminster in September 1914.
The Home Rule Bill, providing for an extremely limited form of
devolution for Ireland, within the UK and British Empire, was at its
Against this bill, the British opposition Conservative and Unionist
Party waged an unrelenting campaign.
The Tories had seized on the issue of Home Rule as the most effective
weapon to use against the Liberals.
Leading members of the British landed aristocracy and senior military
figures avidly supported threats of civil war if Home Rule was
implemented. This culminated in the arming of the Ulster Volunteer Force
and the anti-Home Rule mutiny by British army officers at the Curragh.
Under that pressure, the Liberal government and John Redmond agreed in
principle that Ireland should be partitioned rather than have North-East
Ulster included under Home Rule.
In September 1914, with the war just weeks old, the Liberal government
pulled one of the greatest strokes ever attempted by a British
government. It enacted the Home Rule Bill but suspended it until the end
of the war when an amending bill would be passed to provide for
In return for this, John Redmond pledged the lives of tens of thousands
of young Irishmen to the British war effort and embarked on a recruiting
campaign for the army.
Roger Casement described Home Rule “on the statute book” as “a
promissory note payable only after death”.
James Connolly called it “a carefully staged pantomime to fool
nationalist Ireland” and said that, in return, Redmond’s party would
“send forth more thousands of Irish men and boys to manure with their
corpses the soil of a foreign country”.
And in a phrase that still echoes today, Connolly declared: “Yes, ruling
by fooling is a great British art — with great Irish fools to practice
Connolly and Casement were correct in their prediction. It is estimated
that well over 30,000 Irishmen died in the First World War. The exact
number will never be known. A great number of them were induced to join
up by Redmond’s promise of Home Rule for Ireland and by Edward Carson’s
promise of no Home Rule for Ulster.
Isn’t it strange then that Mr Bruton is so worried that honouring the
men and women of Easter 1916 would retrospectively justify violence when
he has nothing to say about the role of Redmond and his party in sending
tens of thousands of Irishmen to fight Germans and Austrians and Turks
with whom Ireland had no quarrel? Was John Redmond not a man of
violence? It is hugely important that we remember these events as a
nation on our own terms.
It is right that those Irish people who died in the First World War and
those who survived it should be remembered. Their families have every
right to honour their courage.
But this does not mean ignoring the fact that Ireland, as a submerged
nation within the UK, was carried into the war without any say in the
We should look at the war from an Irish point of view. It was a war of
empires ruled by privileged elites who cared little for the lives of the
millions they threw into battle.
The Irish experience of the war up to 1916 was one of the factors that
led to the Easter Rising. And after the Rising and the executions and
repression that followed, many Irishmen who had fought in the British
army rejected that army for good. Some of them joined the IRA.
The notion that Britain had fought “for the freedom of small nations”
was exposed as hypocrisy when Britain refused to recognise the First
Mr Bruton does no service to the memory of the Irish dead of World War
One by denigrating the men and women of Easter 1916.
I suspect that behind Mr Bruton’s Redmondite crusade is a fear, not of
violence, but of the Proclamation.
You see, the Proclamation enshrines principles and commitments to
equality and Irish sovereignty that still challenge the privileged in
our society. It is a commitment to a rights-based society in Ireland
with equality for all our citizens.
That is why the Proclamation should be at the centre of all our
celebrations and commemorations of the great national and international
event that was the 1916 Easter Rising.
Posted by Jim on
By Denis O’Hearn (for Counterpunch)
I attended a birthday party last week. It was in Ohio State
Penitentiary, on the 60th birthday of Bobby Sands, the Irish political
prisoner who died after 66 days on hunger strike back in 1981. He was 27
then and he was followed to his death by nine of his comrades.
Younger people won’t remember it but anyone over fifty should remember
how the name Bobby Sands went round the world. The New York Times
editorialized how Bobby “bested” British Prime Minister Maggie Thatcher
because he and his comrades showed real moral courage as they fought for
their rights as political prisoners with nothing but their bodies, while
she just showed vengeance and spite. When Bobby Sands ran and won
election to British parliament, while dying on hunger strike, he won
30,493 votes. The most Thatcher ever got was 29,697. Bobby spent the
last five years of his life in supermax confinement: 24 hours a day,
seven days a week, in an 8X10 foot cell. When I tell young Irish
Americans about this they are shocked that an Irishman would be treated
so cruelly by British jailers.
Last week I was visiting my brothers Bomani Shakur and Jason Robb.
Bomani and Jason, along with three others, are awaiting execution for
their parts in a prison uprising in Lucasville, Ohio in 1993. There is
no evidence that any of the five was involved in any killings that took
place during the uprising but they led a movement to convince prisoners
not to inform on other prisoners regarding any events that took place
during the uprising. Bomani and Jason were offered deals by the state of
Ohio to get very reduced sentences if they testified against other
prisoners but they refused to do so and chose to save their souls at the
possible cost of their lives. As punishment, the state fabricated
evidence of guilt and withheld evidence of their innocence and
stage-managed a series of trials that resulted in death penalties. The
five men remain steadfast friends and comrades. Two are white, two
black, one Sunni Muslim.
They lived the past twenty years in supermax confinement: 23 hours a
day, seven days a week, in an 8X10 foot cell. One hour they spend alone
in a bigger cell, exercising. That is, until recently.
In January 2011, after reading accounts of the Irish hunger strikes of
1980-81 and of the life of Bobby Sands, three of the men went on hunger
strike to demand contact with each other and open visits, where they
could touch their friends and family and break bread together with them.
This we have been doing since the victorious end of their hunger strike,
although Bomani and Jason remain chained to separate picnic tables
during the visits.
Yesterday, we bought a small cake from the vending machine in the
visiting room. Jason, who is an accomplished artist, used the crayons
and paper from the children’s play area of the visiting room to make
birthday cards reading “Happy Birthday Bobby” and “Always Remember.” He
constructed a birthday candle from paper, with a “flame” on the top, to
decorate the cake. Together we celebrated Bobby’s life and his ongoing
contribution to freedom everywhere.
After the victorious hunger strike in Ohio, other prisoners around the
United States read about Bobby and the Irish hunger strikers. Last year
30,000 men in California’s prisons went on hunger strike against
solitary confinement. They organized the strike from a small area of
isolated confinement called the short corridor that resembles nothing so
much as the H-Blocks at their height of inhumanity, although these men
do not even have windows in their cells. The men who organized the
strike are African-American, Latino, and White. According to one recent
report the men held all kinds of lively debates in their “pod” in
Pelican Bay State Prison, but whenever the subject of Bobby Sands and
the Irish hunger strikes came up the talk changed. “Every time we’d
start talking about it, we’d notice the pod going quiet–we knew people
were listening.” The state says that they are leaders of gangs that are
at war with each other yet they have shown the deepest comradeship. The
hunger strike lasted some 60 days and it may resume again if rights are
Last month, dozens of prisoners in Menard “administrative segregation”
(solitary) unit in the state of Illinois went on a hunger and then
thirst strike for their rights. Again, they cited the example of Bobby
Sands who, among others, has been responsible not only for politicizing
large segments of the US prison population but for showing them a way
that they can fight for their rights through nonviolent resistance.
Soon, I believe, there will be a nation-wide hunger strike in the
prisons here to protest against the inhumane policy of long-term
solitary isolation, which since 1983 has put tens of thousands of men
into total solitary isolation, some of them unable to touch another
human being for decades.
Now we hear that hundreds of undocumented migrants who are being
detained in Tacoma in the state of Washington launched a hunger strike -
on Bobby’s 60th birthday!
All of the Irish hunger strikers and their families, those still with us
and those who have passed from us, can take great pride in the fact that
their struggle continues and that their example has given hope to tens
of thousands of men who are still being held in “concrete tombs” in the
richest nation in the world.
* Denis O’Hearn is author of Nothing But an Unfinished Song: Bobby Sands,
the Irish Hunger Striker Who Ignited a Generation (Nation Books).
Posted by Jim on
From The Irish Times
Thu, Aug 7, 2014, 12:01
It’s more than a pity John Bruton has never been much of a one for mischief. He might have contributed to the gaiety of the nation if he’d ended his contribution to a debate in the Irish Embassy in London last month on the significance for Ireland of the first World War by bursting into a sardonic rendition of that most rousing of republican ballads: “Take it down from the mast, Irish traitors/That’s the flag we Republicans claim/It can never belong to Free Staters/You have brought on it nothing but shame.”
Leave aside for a moment the competing analyses of the 1916 Rising and speculation about the trajectory events might have taken had the Rising never happened. The point is, there’s a rough overlap there between the perspective long held by Bruton and the viewpoint now of the cheerleaders for the IRA’s 1971-1998 campaign in that both believe that the 1921 partition settlement fell so far short of the aims of the Rising as to reduce the event to an exercise in futility.
The shift in the official republican position has since smoothed some of this roughness away.
Blandishments of the British
Bruton’s conclusion is that the partition settlement was as much as was achievable at the time and could have been secured without an uprising. On the other hand, the tradition which the Provos set out to revive on the back on the civil rights campaign held that much more could have been won had Griffith and Collins not fallen for the blandishments of the British: the task now was to take up arms to save honour and complete the job.
“Leave it to those who are willing/To uphold it in war or in peace/To the men who intend to do killing/Until England’s tyrannies cease.” Used to raise the rafters at closing time, that.
Bruton leaves a lot out of his account. Insofar as useless waste of life is at issue, he might have mentioned – although no surprise that he didn’t – that the tens of thousands of Irish who died in the first World War died for no good reason. Indeed, he appears to believe that the unspeakable bloodletting of 1914-1918 was rather a splendid affair.
Given the ideology he espouses, Bruton cannot acknowledge either that the Rising was a genuine strike against imperialism, whereas the Great War was a clash between rival robber gangs, with the proles as expendable fodder. (The Oh, What a Lovely War account remains the most accurate of the narratives.)
Nevertheless, specifically within the context of Irish history, the common ground between the Redmondite ex- taoiseach and modernising Sinn Féin is considerable – and more considerable now than in the days when only songs of struggle sufficed.
All respectable heads now bow in remembrance of the fallen of the Great War. No longer the shout of rage against those who bribed and bewildered them into service of king and another country.
The dead of 1914-1918 should, of course, be remembered, but never without anger against the recruiting sergeants, political and military, who gladly dispatched them to their dreadful end in cloying trenches. But to show disrespect for the Last Post and Chorus would now be seen as reprehensible disruption of peace.
It’s said the Irish soldiers who fought for Britain were ignored and insulted when they – some of them anyway – straggled home. There is truth in this, but not all of the truth. Some of us can remember being taught, literally at our father’s knee, of the Catholics who went over the top in hopes of a united Ireland and the Protestants who died to preserve the union and the contempt for working-class lives which this signified. The fallen were not forgotten on our street.
We hear none of that bitter disillusionment from John Bruton, and rarely hear it any longer from official republicanism. In the interests of peace, it seems, we must eschew or at least moderate condemnation of war.
Ireland wasn’t alone in averting its eyes from the maimed who made it home. Legless veterans begged on the streets of England, then saw their suffering sentimentalised in a ubiquity of poppies. Same as ever. Kipling’s thin red line of ’eroes earned their place in history and literature at the Battle of Balaclava in 1854 in Crimea. “It’s Tommy this, and Tommy that, and ‘chuck ’im out, the brute’/ But it’s ‘Saviour of his country’ when the guns begin to shoot.” (Crimea. There’s another place we sorted out.)
Those who railed against the traitors who’d brought nothing but shame to the cause have now accepted partition until such times as peaceful efforts can usher in unity – Collins was a bit more belligerent than that – which surely brings them and Bruton by circuitous route to agreement at last. Meanwhile, the anti-war tradition can be said to be more needed and relevant as ever.
Posted by Jim on
A chairde, as many of you know, after three years in New York, I will shortly travel to Hong Kong to open Ireland’s Consulate General. This will be our fifth country to live in & I can tell you it doesn’t get any easier – not just in logistic terms but also the fact that each time you live and work somewhere it seems you leave a little bit of yourself there too.
This is very much the case here in the US where my family and I were made to feel so welcome and we made so many new friends. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to serve Ireland here, to contribute to our economic recovery and to get to know the amazing Irish-American community.
So I would like to particularly thank each and every person in this group – go raibh maith agaibh. I hope we can keep in touch & I know that you will accord the same welcome & readiness to assist to our new Deputy Consul General, Anna McGillicuddy, who arrived here recently. Anna has served in London & Vienna & we worked together in Dublin a few years back. She will do an outstanding job in New York. Anna will be hosting the ‘First Friday’ event on 5th September so please come along and meet her.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me via Linked In if I can ever be of any assistance.
Posted by Jim on July 18, 2014
Aiden Carlin Solicitor has described The Hallett Review into the ‘On The Runs’ administrative scheme as proof of the material non-disclosure before, during and after Gerry McGeough’s trial.
Commenting on the Report, he said: “Questions need to be answered as to why none of the six High Court Judges here who heard evidence and made rulings on various aspects of our client’s case – Disclosure Judge at Trial (Lord Justice Coghlin); Trial Judge (Mr Justice Stephens); Appeal Court Judges (Lord Chief Justice Morgan, Lord Justice Higgins and Lord Justice Girvan); and Judicial Review Judge (Mr Justice Treacy) – received the nature and extent of significant material made public today? Instead, Gerry McGeough’s repeated calls for full disclosure of the ‘On The Runs’ administrative scheme appear to have been met with silence from the NIO, Prosecution and Sinn Fein.”
Gerry McGeough’s Solicitor concluded: “Our client has always maintained his innocence and shall be factoring developments since the acquittal of John Downey into his pending Supreme Court Appeal. In addition to the recent headline facts disclosed about Gerry McGeough’s case, there are important aspects of European and domestic law which say his conviction is unsafe. Not least, the evidence adduced at Gerry McGeough’s trial from an alleged asylum application made 30 years ago in Sweden. The receipt of such evidence at his trial was a breach of common law rules and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (right to a fair trial). EU law recognises the need for a common policy of protection for asylum seekers yet in Gerry McGeough’s case this was also repeatedly ignored.”
Saint George’s House
2 Church Lane
Belfast, BT1 4QN
Posted by Jim on July 16, 2014
Posted by Jim on
Aiden Ferguson makes the case for bringing together a Republican Congress in Belfast.
The need to establish a united broad republican group representing the views and aspirations of republicans, the working class, civil rights activists and trade unionists has long been identified as a necessary and integral part to the achievement of a successful, strong and comprehensive opposition. This would give republicans the ability and strength to challenge the British establishment, exposing bare the myth of Stormont, challenging the status quo and defeating the outdated and obsolete concept of the union with Britain.
The solution to this would be the establishment of congress that would highlight, discuss and promote issues of mutual interest, concern and importance to republicans, socialists and those interested in achievement of a just, equal and fair society, comprising of catholic, protestant and dissenter.
Is it not time that republicans and other progressive working class people in Belfast to finally sit down together and discuss the way forward?
Is it not also time to build a cohesive and effective republican base which can truly challenge the British state here in our own city? For far too long now, we as an opposition have been divided and fractured. Many of these divisions have been created, nurtured and fostered by those who fear a strong and united republican base and this has only served to suit our enemies and the enemies of our people.
British rule in Ireland has always depended on using the tactic of divide and conquer, a tactic which they have successfully utilised for the past eight hundred years, preventing the Irish people from achieving their full potential of forming an independent sovereign state which determines it own destiny.
In the recent past we have seen some very successful campaigns fought when different republican groups and individuals came together, campaigns such as that which prevented a beacon being lit to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Elizabeth Windsor on Cavehill at McArts Fort: also the campaign against sectarian parades passing through Ardoyne and the Anti-Internment Leagues parade which highlighted the continuing injustice of Interment without trial and Internment by remand. This proves that when they come together on issues of mutual interest, republicans can be a force to be reckoned with, seeing thousands of like minded people mobilised and marching for issues which effect us all is uplifting.
These examples of republican unity did not affect or threaten the independence, autonomy or integrity of any of the organisations which participated. To the contrary, it strengthened them, helped raise morale within the group. It bolstered confidence and rejuvenated the enthusiasm of their members to continue campaigning for their aims and objectives.
There is no suggestion or inference that any existing group should disband, change or merge, just that it is time we all sit down and worked out the most effective and efficent method to educate our community, allowing us to agitate and make the republican message relevant to the citizens of Belfast.
There are many national and local issues which are of concern to republicans, the working class, civil rights activists and trade unionists alike in 2014. The issue of prison conditions and the treatment of prisoners, with forced strip searches, among the daily brutality which is meted-out to republican POW’s, the continuing use of Internment to detain political activists, draconian stop and search laws, house raids, PSNI/MI5 recruitment attempts where people are being blackmailed and threatened into becoming informers and agents, daily harassment of republicans. We see Elizabeth Windson being welcomed into our city regularly with virtually no opposition, and the British governments normalisation policy has become the norm, operating without challenge.
Our communities are being ravished by parasitic drug dealers who are condemning a generation to addiction and misery as they rip the heart from our community, inadequate social housing policy by incompetent politicians who don’t care about their constituents. We have unscrupulous slum landlords ripping off tenants for substandard dwellings, A&E’s closing, cuts to healthcare and social welfare, schools closures with Education budgets being slashed, these are just some of the everyday local issues which effect us on a regular basis, and we have not yet managed to form an effective united republican response to deal with and counter these issues.
In the past we have seen different republican organisations working together successfully, most notably in 1916 when the I.C.A, I.R.B, Irish Volunteers, Na Fianna Eireann, Cumman na mBan and Sinn Fein etc combined their resources, and by 1922, only six years later, they had rid twenty six counties of British rule.
It has been the disunity between republicans since then, that is the main obstacle to us achieving our goal of united thirty two county Independent Sovereign Republic, free from foreign influence.
The above mentioned reasons are just a few of many examples that can be given to why we need to create a Republican Congress in Belfast, as there are more reasons that unite us than divide us, as in unity there is strength, and united we stand or divided we will fall.
Posted by Jim on July 13, 2014
British Direct Ruler Theresa Villiers has intervened to block a new
inquest into the deaths of eight IRA Volunteers and a civilian shot dead
by the SAS almost 30 years ago in a decision branded as “profoundly
wrong” by Six-County Attorney General John Larkin.
It was confirmed to human rights group the Committee on the
Administration of Justice that Villiers issued a certificate blocking a
fresh inquest last month claiming it was “against the interests of
national security”, with the British Attorney-General being assigned
authority over the matter.
The eight IRA Volunteers were ambushed and killed by the SAS while on
active service in Loughgall, County Armagh on May 8 1987. Civilian
Anthony Hughes from Caledon in County Tyrone was also killed when he
drove unknowingly into the ambush.
The British government ultimately apologised to the Hughes family and
confirmed he was “wholly innocent of any wrongdoing”, but always denied
that the eight Volunteers were victims of a pre-planned ‘shoot-to-kill’
In their letter to the CAJ, Mr Larkin’s lawyer said: “The Attorney
General wishes me to inform you that he considers the Secretary of
State’s decision to be profoundly wrong in principle and is currently
reflecting on the appropriate response to it.”
Relatives of those killed in Loughgall have spoken of their
disappointment at the decision. Mairead Kelly, whose brother Patrick was
one of the eight IRA men shot dead, said she wasn’t surprised by the
“They don’t have to provide proof, do we know that there is something
there to prevent this going ahead,” she said. “The truth is going to be
damaging or they would let it go ahead.”
Director of the Committee on the Administration of Justice, Brian
Gormally condemned the decision.
“There is a relentless campaign, led by the UK Government and supported
by some elements in Northern Ireland, to suppress the truth about the
activities of state agents during the conflict,” he said.
“The aim is to ensure impunity for any crimes and human rights
violations committed by servants of the state, whether policemen,
soldiers or secret agents. This is the latest stage in this epic
cover-up, using the deliberately undefined concept of ‘national
security’ to stifle a proper investigation.”
Attorney General John Larkin had been considering the request for a new
inquest for almost two years after the European Court of Human Rights
previously found that there had been no proper investigation of the
Mr Gormally said his organisation will challenge the move. �There is a
relentless campaign, led by the UK Government and supported by some
elements in Northern Ireland, to suppress the truth about the activities
of state agents during the conflict,” he said.
“The aim is to ensure impunity for any crimes and human rights
violations committed by servants of the state, whether policemen,
soldiers or secret agents. This is the latest stage in this epic
cover-up, using the deliberately undefined concept of �national
security� to stifle a proper investigation.
He said his organisation “don�t know” why the Loughgall case has been
singled out for the �national security� veto. “Is it because the SAS
were involved, or did a UK Minister give the green light for the ambush?
The point is, we don’t know and we won’t know if the UK Government has
anything to do with it.
“This situation is not just an assault on the right to truth and
transparency in a democratic society, but the lack of a proper
investigation is a continuing human rights violation. We will contest
this decision by all available means.”
Sinn Fein MP for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Michelle Gildernew accused
authorities of “denying truth and justice to the families of those
killed in the Loughgall massacre” and said she agreed with Larkin’s
description of the intervention as ‘profoundly wrong.’
“This is yet another example of the British government denying families
the opportunity to get to the truth about the deaths of their loved
ones,” she said.
“Once again this exposes the lie that the British government was not a
protagonist in the conflict. The British government is denying the
families of those killed at Loughgall their basic human rights by
blocking access to the truth.”
Posted by admin on
Sinn Fein believe an effigy hanging on a bonfire outside Antrim is meant to depict its president, Gerry Adams. Photo by: Google Images
Gerry Adams has hit out at the Loyalist extremists who placed an effigy of the Sinn Fein leader in a 12th of July bonfire.
The effigy, wearing a Glasgow Celtic jersey, is hanging from a gallows painted in the colors of the Irish flag.
Sinn Fein believe the effigy, on a bonfire outside Antrim, depicted its president as the North awaits a tense 12th of July across the province.
Adams has described the incident as ‘deeply offensive and a clear hate crime by those responsible.’
He added: “The Orange Order claims that bonfires are an important part of protestant culture and should be ‘welcoming to families.’
“What happens at Orange events is clearly the responsibility of the Orange Order. The figure of a lynch victim on a bonfire is not a welcoming sight for anyone.”
The latest controversy comes after elections posters of Sinn Féin and Alliance Party candidates appeared on loyalist bonfires in Bangor and Carrickfergus, reports TheJournal.ie.
Police spokesperson Lorraine McLearnon said: “Police are aware of numerous items, some of which can only be described as distasteful, that have been placed on bonfires in a number of parts of Northern Ireland.
“Police are liaising with local community representatives in relation to these incidents.”
Posted by admin on
Donald Clarke. Irish Times. Friday, July 11, 2014.
Here’s a question. Is the festival of stomping, shouting and sunburn currently being endured in parts of Ulster the only such patriotic celebration that doesn’t have a name? In Sydney they enjoy Australia Day. German Unity Day has been a holiday in that country since 1990. And so on. But the Ulster Protestant celebration is always simply “the Twelfth”.
How appropriate. This is a locale so devoted to austerity that – as evidenced this week – its bakers refuse to provide Bert and Ernie cakes for gay weddings. The non-conformist sects have always shunned frivolous decoration. There the event sits. Its well- scrubbed face is unadorned by make-up. Its blouse and tights are modest. Nothing so idolatrous as a name defies its ruddy purity.
A great deal has changed in the North over the past 20 years. The Twelfth has, however, remained largely the same. Continuing a conversation that has been going on since the time of the Trilobites, the Parades Commission was, this year, asked to decide whether the Orange Order could bark its way past the Ardoyne in north Belfast.
The commission said it couldn’t. The unionists sulked. Various politicians sighed. Meanwhile, the second Ice Age enabled the evolution of certain larger land-based vertebrates.
Yet the Orange Order and its satellite bodies will keep paying lip service to modernisation. The most hilarious manifestation of this urge occurred in 2008 when – catching up with a cultural phenomenon that emerged in the US between the world wars – a special committee devised a superhero to represent the Order’s aims and philosophies.
“There were many strong entries such as Sash Gordon, Sashman and the Boyne Wonder,” David Hume, the Orange Order’s director of services, said in a statement that immediately rendered all satire irrelevant.
They eventually settled on “Diamond Dan the Orangeman” but, sadly, the campaign fell apart when it was revealed that Dan’s image had, without proper authorisation, been plucked from a digital library. The proposed Orangefest faltered.
Fun for all the family?
The Twelfth does sound like fun for all the family. After pounding about the Province in clothes ill-suited to the summer months, you get to stand in some awful field and listen to lectures from red-necked clerics whose theological beliefs make the Witchfinder General seem like Hans Küng. Still, there doesn’t really seem much chance that the Twelfth is, any time soon, going to become this island’s version of Mardi Gras.
You can dress it up however you like, but the event remains profoundly entangled with exclusion and bigotry. “Today defending Protestantism is not so literal as it was in 1795,” the Orange Order says on its website. Yet it remains an organisation that does not welcome Roman Catholics (or their spouses). Good luck flogging that to a modern secular tourist constituency.
This is not to suggest, of course, that all Orangemen are dreadful people. Earlier this week, Dan Keenan, writing in this newspaper, addressed the challenges for Orangeism.
Neanderthal and archaic
The Rev Mervyn Gibson, Orange Order chaplain, in the course of a very civil conversation, made a comment that got to certain issues rarely addressed outside Ulster. “There are those who condemn the Order, they say it’s too working class, it’s archaic, it’s Neanderthal, it’s got a knuckle-dragging image,” he said.
They do say that. They say it within Northern Ireland. And many of those who say it were raised as Protestants. We can debate whether the Order is still fighting a religious war. But it is certainly fighting a class war, and not in the way that many Southerners might think.
Visit the leafy glades of middle-class south Belfast this week and you will discover a virtual ghost town. Along the residential avenues of the Malone Road and within the chi-chi eateries of the Lisburn Road, a soothing torpor reigns.
It is some time since these parts of Northern Ireland were Protestant enclaves. Indeed, more than 10 years ago, a Unionist politician guiltily told me: “Some of my less enlightened colleagues refer to it as Vatican City.”
But the mass exodus on “Twelfth Week” has gone on for as long as anyone living can remember. Urban middle-class Protestants in Northern Ireland have never had much time for all that marching, lemonade-drinking and empty bellowing. Seek the barristers and doctors on July 12th and you need look to the golf courses of Florida, Andalucia and Donegal.
The wealthier Northern Ireland gets, the less keen its citizens will be on irritating the blameless shopkeepers of the Ardoyne. It’s a slippery sort of argument. The Order is as much at risk from snobbery as it is from enlightened inclusivity. Oh well. You take your allies wherever you find them.
Posted by admin on
“ In Glasgow this week Labour MP, Jim Murphy, said of the Orange Order, “Not for a moment would they be part of the Better Together campaign”, which is the largest unionist organisation designed to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom. As an “unsavoury” organisation, he said the Order would be unwelcome.”
Patrick Murphy. Irish News ( Belfast). Saturday, July 12, 2014
Before you go off to march, protest or flee the country today, you might like to hear a tale of two cities: Belfast and Glasgow.
In Glasgow this week Labour MP, Jim Murphy, said of the Orange Order, “Not for a moment would they be part of the Better Together campaign”, which is the largest unionist organisation designed to keep Scotland within the United Kingdom. As an “unsavo ry” organisation, he said the Order would be unwelcome.
Better Together said that the Orange Order “isn’t part of our campaign and never will be.” It argued that the best way to retain the union was by speaking to undecided voters, not by marching in the streets. So organised unionism in Scotland indicated (not very politely) that it wanted nothing to do with Orangeism.
Meanwhile, in Belfast, just over 100 miles away – well, you know what happened in Belfast this week and most weeks at this time of year for the past two centuries. As the cutting edge of Irish unionism, the Orange Order’s political influence was once again using sectarian tensions to interfere with the normal governance of society.
The Order’s contrasting status between here and Scotland is reflected in political attitudes and behaviour. Sectarianism has no significant influence in the forthcoming Scottish independence referendum. The main attitudinal divisions reflect gender (females are more inclined to oppose independence) geography (those living near the English border are more likely to vote No) age (the 24 to 54 age group will largely vote Yes) and class (the working class are the most proindependence.)
So why should politics and much of society be skewed by sectarianism here, but not in Scotland – even in the face of an independence referendum? The answer (which is much longer than we have space for here) lies in history, politics and missed opportunities.
The last Scottish rebellion was in 1745. Since then we have had about eleven rebellions in Ireland (all failed) and about another four in British overseas territories (yes, they all failed too), as well as (failed) bombing campaigns in England up to the 1990s. Indeed, some in our society are still actively failing in armed rebellion. (The British may have started all the wars in Ireland, but the Irish finished them – by losing. The longer the war, the bigger the defeat – you can choose your own examples.)
Although the British usually won through military might and repressive legislation, their most successful weapon in Ireland (as well as informers) was sectarian division. So most rebellions were sectarian in consequence if not always in intent. When we needed revolution, we usually just got rebellion, which Britain easily trumped with the Orange card.
But in Scotland the independence question was largely dormant (until now), allowing normal politics to replace sectarian history. In the last century alone, our history has included pogroms, sectarian repression from Stormont, a bloody and largely sectarian war for 30 years and a peace settlement, which missed the chance to develop normal politics by enshrining sectarianism in government. Now we can have bigotry by veto at Stormont. In a classic example of a missed opportunity, Sinn Féin abandoned the Protestant working class to Orangeism. (That will show Wolfe Tone – him and his fancy ideas about non-sectarian republicanism.)
So while we have more peace walls and Orange marches than ever, there is practically no residential or educational sectarian division in Scotland. Scots Gaelic is at the heart of Presbyterianism in the Outer Hebrides. Unlike here, no-one has attempted to politicise the language. (And if you have any doubt about the politicisation of the Irish language, look at its current funding model in the north.)
Nothing is more noble than the Orange cause of civil and religious liberty.
But it is a “liberty” which prevents Catholic access to the British throne and which persecuted Catholics and Presbyterians for over a century after 1690. (Why Presbyterians should celebrate their own persecution is odd.)
Of course, if the Queen cannot be a Catholic, then Catholics are second class citizens. The recent nationalist fetish for bowing before her has enhanced the pomp, ceremony and intellectual power of entrenched sectarianism. Paying homage to medieval beliefs encourages medieval behaviour. Do not blame the Orangemen for that.
So if you flee the country today, go to Scotland, which will have more independence than us even if they vote No in the referendum. While we were fighting on Britain’s terms, their politics were evolving to the point where the Orange Order is now regarded by unionists as unsavoury. That explains why their government works and ours does not.
Posted by Jim on July 11, 2014
By Fr Des
The Twelfth will soon be upon us again. Festivals in most places make people wish each other Happy Fourth, Happy Christmas, Happy Mother’s Day, but before the Twelfth we say, Hope there’ll be no trouble.
Will it ever be a festival with everybody celebrating, rather than a day of doom with half the population leaving town? Possibly, but you cannot force that on people. Yet we cannot afford to wait until time does its healing for us either.
There are some signs of hope. At Sandy Row, one of Belfast’s most ardent areas of support for King William, there is a great mural and at the base of it – in small print, but very plainly there – there is a list of different nationalities of people who helped the King in his battle at the Boyne. For some people that may be a surprising list, so many different people were involved, not, as sometimes pretended, a solid crowd of Catholics on one side and a solid crowd of Protestants on the other. Maybe next year the muralists will go a step further and include the name of the Pope then in office, Alexander VIII, because of the cash he gave William so that William could pay his troops. Maybe in years to come the Twelfth celebrations will include a vote of thanks to him. But one step at a time, step by step towards the day when we are not nervously hoping it will be a peaceful Twelfth this time but wishing each other a Happy Twelfth and really meaning it.
Meanwhile, an extension of our planning laws might help. If you want to put a church or a pub or a house anywhere you have to get planning permission and local residents can object, so if you want to have a march (straight or circular) local residents should have their say in that too. It means extending an existing law to suit what we need. Better use existing laws rather than make new ones.
Both Kings, James and Billy, wanted the same things: crown, money, power, control of the same people, and there were not enough crowns, money, power and domination to go round, hence the battle at the Boyne and lots of other battles as well. We Irish have a way of fighting other people’s battles for them – and often condemning ourselves for fighting our own. The British and other empires were won largely by soldiers from Ireland and other non-Empire-building nations, including, amazingly, such encounters as the Boer War. What were Irish people doing in the Boer War? Or why were we involved in fighting for the Papal States rather than for the unification of Italy? Why were we in either of these wars? Could we have a new international law that people are allowed to fight only in their own armies and in their own wars? That might reduce the number of wars and might make clear what some of our wars are really about. Not practical of course. Nice thought, though, for the Twelfth.
A few years ago the eminent historian, Sean McMahon, gave a fine summary of the Boyne and other battles fought in Ireland in his book, Battles on Irish Soil (published 2010), where he points out that King William had no confidence in his English troops and that “in his own crack Dutch Blue Guards” some of the troops carried the Papal flag as Catholics.
Next year, why don’t we have a Summer School on Kings, Knaves and the Boyne?
Des Wilson in the Andersonstown News
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by Nuala O’Loan. The Irish Catholic ( Dublin). July 10, 2014 Murder of police officer highlights failings of the system
There are big arguments in Northern Ireland about whether dealing with the past is part of enabling the present and the future, or whether we have to ‘leave the past behind us and get on with the future’. History shows that eventually, countries which have emerged from conflict, as the North has, just have to deal with their past. Wrong done and hurt suffered has to be acknowledged. There has to be a recognition that everyone is subject to the rule of law and that no one is above or beyond the law. On that basis a new solid foundation will emerge and a more sustainable future can be built. Our leading politicians have thus far shown themselves unable to do what must be done. Sinn Féin and the DUP argue endlessly in the media about each other, but there is no positive leadership to bring our people into the living of a common shared future. We have had so many attempts – Healing Through Remembering (HRR), the Eames-Bradley Report, and the recent Haass talks all came to approximately the same conclusions: that we need multiple solutions to the problems of the past, solutions which recognise pain, which allow stories to be told, which provide support for those whose terrible injuries were life changing and who have not been properly looked after by the state. We need support for their carers too, and we need an independent investigative process which will bring before the law those who can be made accountable, and will tell as much as can be told about all the other deaths of the Troubles, no matter what embarrassment or inconvenience that may cause to anyone or any government. Past The problem that those who want to close down the past do not seem to understand is that for many of those who have suffered grievous wrong, and have been affected by the most serious crimes, what happened remains part of the present. Last week saw the report by the Police Ombudsman on his investigation into the death of a good man, Sgt Joseph Campbell, murdered because he was doing his duty. It is an investigation which I started as Police Ombudsman when his son came to make a complaint in 2002. The investigation took far too long and involved me making a request for a change in the law in 2005 to allow us to carry out further inquiries. That alone took nearly three years. It was a difficult investigation, yet many people came forward to give evidence and to assist the inquiry. Some former and serving police officers helped the inquiry, other retired officers who might have provided information refused to help. Sgt Campbell was a well-known and well-liked member of the community and a very well respected RUC officer. A Catholic, he worked for 13 years in the beautiful little seaside village of Cushendall. He and his wife Rosemary had eight children. They were part of the community. On February 25, 1977 he was murdered as he closed up the police station in Cushendall at nine o’clock in the evening. For 37 years his family have tried to find out what had happened to him. Joe Campbell was not murdered by the IRA, although there were those who tried to say that he was. He was murdered because he had identified and reported on suspected criminal activities by some police officers and loyalists in North Antrim. He had known he was at risk. The evidence suggests he was very concerned. When he went to close up the police station that night he took his gun with him. Sgt Campbell did not normally wear a gun. After his death the RUC started to investigate bank and post office robberies by an element of police Special Branch and others in Co. Antrim. These had been said to be IRA attacks. They weren’t. Arms were being smuggled into to Red Bay near Cushendall by loyalists and, it has been suggested police officers, before Sgt Campbell’s murder. It seems he knew about this too. Some junior police officers working in Ballymena Special Branch knew that Sgt Campbell was at significant risk before he was murdered. They raised their concerns. The army also reported to police that there was a risk to him before his death. No action was taken by the RUC management. Murdered Two months after Joe Campbell was murdered a Catholic shopkeeper in nearby Ahoghill was also murdered. Police officers John Weir and William McCaughey were convicted of that murder. John Weir subsequently told the Police Ombudsman that he and other police officers had become associated with Robin Jackson, commonly known as ‘the jackal’, and his UVF gang, and that Jackson was involved in the murder with a police officer and at least one other man. He said that Jackson had admitted murdering Sgt Campbell. At the Cushendall crime scene no spent bullet cartridges were found, which is unusual. There was no attempt to murder Sgt Campbell’s colleague who had left the station just minutes earlier. This crime had only one objective: to kill Sgt Campbell. There was no proper investigation, inadequate resources, significant intelligence was not given to the investigators, searches were not carried out and there were failures in dealing with the weapon used to kill Sgt Campbell. There was systemic destruction of critical documents. A second investigation in 1980 was also very flawed. This pattern of not investigating is something I have seen many times as Police Ombudsman. The family of Sgt Campbell had the right to have his murder fully and properly investigated by the police. This did not happen. A police officer was tried for his murder and acquitted. He did not return to police duties. An informant who was that police officer’s associate admitted and was convicted of withholding information about the murder and other serious offences. He was sentenced to 18 years and was released early by a Royal Prerogative of Mercy. He was regarded by the court as an unreliable witness. The Campbell family were failed utterly by those officers who knew of the risk to Sgt Campbell, and did not act to try to prevent his murder, by those who facilitated destruction of critical documents, by an inadequate investigation, and by those who obstructed the investigation. No rational explanation for the failures before and after Sgt Campbell’s murder can be found. At the end of the day one can only conclude that they were deliberate. They are part of a pattern: the activities of the Glenanne Gang, comprising UDR soldiers, police officers and UVF men who murdered so many people in Northern Ireland during the 1970s are another example of the failures of the state to keep control of its personnel and to ensure they acted within the law. Thirty-two families are now suing the British government for compensation for the loss of their loved ones in relation to Glenanne alone. This collusive pattern continued until at least 2003 as shown in my investigation of collusion in relation to UVF informant activity in North Belfast. Individual Special Branch officers have repeatedly been shown to have failed to act according to the law with both republican and loyalist paramilitaries. We have to learn from what happened, but above all the truth must be told. We have to build our peace on truth, not lies, evasion and the cover up of collusion. Trust must be the basis for our future relationships and trust must have as its foundation truth and integrity.
Posted by Jim on July 8, 2014
Fionnuala O’ Connor. Irish News ( Belfast). Tuesday, July 8, 2014.
The drums are beating. Sweet glimpses of rustic Orange brethren paddling at Rossnowlagh and walking winding country roads are sugar on the bitterness. Bring on the silken banners with their dream of empire and their beautiful names of country lodges, and let’s ignore the drums dedicated to loyalist killers as long as we don’t have to see them.The trouble with aggrieved assertions that Nationalists vandalise unionist “culture” by opposing Orange parades is that Unionists select Orangeism as the flower of their culture. And Orangeism is essentially triumphalist, each parade a glorification of military victory and religious supremacism. Fine among consenting adults, but as each year’s confrontations demonstrate, it apparently has most value when trucked past objectors whose ancestors were crushed in the name of civil and religious liberty.The latest pan-unionist front is a surprise only because its predecessor has yet to be stood down. It was only in January 2013 as the flags protests dragged on, after all, that the “Unionist Forum” was established. “The most representative group in the unionist community to meet in half a century,” said Peter Robinson.The Forum set up a taskforce “to engage with the wider community” plus eight working groups. Don’t ask what they produced. “We want to move beyond protests to political action to get outcomes that are beneficial, not just to the Unionist community but the whole community in Northern Ireland,” Robinson said, in one of his misleading flights of positive fancy. Two months later Orange Grand Chaplain the Reverend Mervyn Gibson said the Forum wasn’t working.Now the ex-RUC Special Branch man seems to be the guru to the DUP in relation to talks, or rather non-talks. Without the collarette, his name would not be the first pick for someone in search of strategic grasp and tactical confidence.
It was Mervyn, you may recall, who acted as point-man for the Orange in the Hillsborough talks in January 2010 – which with Mervyn’s apparent agreement produced a draft replacement for the Parades Commission, swiftly rejected by the Orange. Embarrassing for the Grand Chaplain you might think, except the Orange doesn’t embarrass easily.
At that stage Ulster Unionists, always closer to the Orange, looked less open to compromise than the DUP. Those talks were primarily meant to surmount the supposed last obstacle to full power-sharing between the DUP and Sinn Féin, in the shape of devolving control of policing. But parading strode to the top of the agenda, and the UUs, relegated as minor executive players, did their dog in manger best.Martin McGuinness damned the DUP’s decision, “at the behest of the Orange Order,” to make the abolition of the Parades Commission a pre-condition for the transfer of powers. Robinson insisted the DUP were committed to policing and justice devolution: “If others choose to walk away, I believe the wrath of the community will be upon them.”The weakness in the republican argument is their own conditional support for policing – best illustrated by that McGuinness mini-rant about withdrawing support from the PSNI because they dared to arrest Gerry Adams.SF pointmen in the past week as so often sounded good only because the unionist argument yet again crystallised as insistence on marching where Orange marches are an insult. This past week it was senior Orangeman Elliott, not his successor the nonOrangeman Mike Nesbitt, who faced the cameras in Stormont and with his plain man’s eloquence voiced “hurt” at the Commission’s entirely predictable decision.Finding the common denominator helps to stop the head spinning. The Union takes a lot of defending, and the unwieldy and probably un-leadable Orange is the default umbrella. When they reach for yet another front name and muster the legions Unionist leaders presumably draw on the sacred memory of 1912′s communal muscle that stalled Home Rule, and the 1974 strike that brought down the first power-sharing executive. Not a bulky record, but it underpins an apparently unbreakable pattern.
Well, look at it from the other end of the telescope. At crucial moments Unionists shook British governments by reminding them they could make this place unworkable. They were still a majority in 1974, of course, with a 97 per cent Protestant police force. Many unionists, inside and outside politics, have yet to acknowledge that the majority is gone.
But they can still block, if only by refusing to do anything. Even imaginary umbrellas answer grassroots demands for the parties to stop fighting each other and face down nationalists.
From the wrong end of the telescope maybe that still looks do-able.
Posted by admin on June 29, 2014
Brendan McConville and John Paul Wootton are serving life in prison for
the killing of a police officer in the North of Ireland in 2009.
“No evidence exists linking the men to the killing; instead the
prosecution case hinged on the testimony of a paid perjurer who is
discredited by his own father and whose eyewitness testimony is
Both men were found guilty and convicted by a single judge without a
jury under special powers in a ‘Diplock Court’.
“Despite the original prosecution case being destroyed during a two-week
appeal hearing in October 2013, both men had their appeals dismissed on
29th May 2014.”
A high profile campaign calling for Justice for the Craigavon Two headed
by iconic miscarriage of justice victim Gerry Conlon of the Guildford 4
continues to campaign for this miscarriage of justice to be rectified.
We ask you to support Justice for the Craigavon Two by helping us end
this miscarriage of justice.
Please sign the petition and ask everyone you know to do likewise:
Chris Grayling MP, Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice
David Ford MLA, Stormont Minister of Justice
End the miscarriage of justice of the ‘Craigavon Two’ Brendan McConville
and John Paul Wootton.
Please sign the petition and ask everyone you know to do likewise:
Posted by Jim on May 12, 2014
The Following Letter was sent on behalf of the Irish Republican Brotherhood to Justice Susan Denham of the Provisional Irish State Government on September 7th 2012
Regarding the European Stability Mechanism Treaty and Other Related Issues
Dear Justice Denham,
How dare you attempt to trespass into jurisdiction of the Sovereign Republic of Éire.te;ire.
You have no right to hear a sovereignty case before the Four Courts. All Sovereignty matters can only be heard in The Óglaigh na hÉireann Court in McKee Barracks Dublin and it is mandatory in that circumstance that all cases be heard under the 1916 Proclamation.
The Sovereign Republic of Éire, Dáil Éireann Courts and The Óglaigh na hÉireann Court are owned by the people of Éire and are the property of the People who gave the Irish Republican Brotherhood the mandate and to establish the Sovereign Republic of Éire, Dáil Éireann and the Dáil Éireann Courts.
You and the judiciary do not recognise, acknowledge or respect the State that was founded by the Irish Republican Brotherhood under the direct authority of the people which was ratified on the 21st of January, 1919 in the Cabinet room in the Mansion House Dublin under the thirty-two county election of 1918 from GHQ Vaughans Hotel Dublin.
Dáil Éireann sat later in the day in the Round Room and conducted the business with regards to the affairs of the Irish State, the Sovereign Republic of Éire.
The Irish State has no other authority but that which was granted to it by the Irish People of the Nation of Éire who accepted that all Authority came from God as defined in the 1916 Proclamation and as ratified in the 1918 Thirty-Two County Elections.
You and the judiciary do not recognise, acknowledge or respect the foundation document of this State under the Authority of the people of the Nation derived under God; the 1916 Proclamation of Poblacht na hÉireann, our Sovereignty and our Constitution Bunreacht na hÉireann that could only have derived its continuing authority from the 1916 Proclamation which was written by the Irish Republican Brotherhood for the Irish People/Citizens and State in Vaughan’s Hotel, 29 Parnell Square, Gramby Row, Dublin. More specifically I refer to;
Article 4 “the name of the State is Éire”
Éire denotes the 1918 thirty-two County elections in Ireland;
Article 5 “Ireland is a Sovereign independent democratic State”
All Sovereignty coming from God, through the People to the State.
Article 12 “there shall be a President of Ireland, Uachtaráin na hÉireann”
In keeping with that mandate the President, having the authority and responsibility to restrict the powers of the Oireachtas which was imposed by King George V of England in 1922 is thereby obliged to represent the people against the Government and particularly so when the government is a provisional one as is the case with our country.
Article 12 was written for the President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who holds the ‘Thirty-Two-County’ mandate of the Sovereign office of the State of the Sovereign Republic of Éire and is Head of State.
To be a member, TD or a minister of Dáil Éireann it is mandatory to have and hold a thirty-two County mandate. To be a member of the Oireachtas as imposed by King George V of England needs a twenty-six county mandate. There is no member of Dáil Éireann in Leinster house today.
I refer your attention to a book, ‘De Valera’s Constitution and Ours’, edited by Brian Farrell and published by Gill and MacMillan for Radio Teilifís Éireann in 1988, – Constitutional Making; page 23,
“This arose in January 1922 after the Dáil by a narrow vote accepted the Treaty. De Valera resigned; Griffith was elected as Head of the Dáil Government and Collins Head of the Provisional Government established under the terms of the Treaty in fact although the formal existence of two Governments was contentious and confusing.”
Following that time Éamon De Valera and others who sat in Leinster House were using the mandate of the first and second Dáil Éireann using the ‘system’ of Leinster house. The Oireachtas ‘system’ was imposed by King George V in 1922 as a sham Provisional Government.
The Oireachtas is not a State; it is a ‘Corporation’ by royal assent to make Ireland remunerative to the Crown of England. The changes that were made to the Constitution of Ireland in 1922 in the Shelbourne Hotel Dublin by Michael Collins were not done in accordance with the democratic mandate and were therefore not valid. Collins had resigned from the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Arthur Griffith was elected as Head of the Dáil Government and was also President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and Head of State. According to the same book ‘De Valera’s Constitution and Ours,’ Collins gave the committee involved with the invalid modifications to the Constitutional texts their terms of reference. It is well established by the documented historical fact from that time that, by coercion or otherwise, Michael Collins was forced to return an improvident Treaty document by the Crown of England which gave King George V the unconstitutional claim to counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Tyrone, Fermanagh, and Derry as well as 25% of the shipbuilding of the world, 80% of the linen trade, the heavy industries and the right to maintain his Crown forces to protect the assets he had been given. The Treaty by its nature had to ultimately be put to a referendum before the Irish people to become binding but by subsequent devious tactics the people of Éire were denied their Right to make that crucial decision by the houses of the Oireachtas which had been appointed to protect the Crown interests and the negotiations were subverted to prevent the enactments of our Nation as defined in the Irish Proclamation of 1916. That was not legal, valid or bone fide.
Michael Collins later claimed that at the last minute Lloyd George had threatened the Irish delegates with a renewal of “terrible and immediate war” if the Treaty were not signed by the Irish, but this was not mentioned in the Irish memorandum as a threat against the Irish delegates, but as a personal remark made by Lloyd George to Robert Barton, which was clearly meant to reflect the reality of the measure of the blunt force being applied which turned the negotiations into just another military tactic against the Irish. Barton later noted that:
“At one time he [Lloyd George] particularly addressed himself to me and said very solemnly that those who were not for peace must take full responsibility for the war that would immediately follow refusal by any Delegate to sign the Articles of Agreement.”
The actual Treaty was not, and could not have been signed in England by the Irish delegates as they were not given that authority to do so. It is also notable that the British delegates also did not have the mandate to sign the treaty. In fact, Arthur Griffith spoke in the Dáil on 14th December, 1921 to say;
“Now the British Ministers did not sign the Treaty to bind their nation. They had to go to their Parliament and we to ours for ratification.”
What was signed by the delegates during the negotiations in England was an agreement to have an agreement which had to be discussed and agreed by Dáil Éireann and more importantly had to be put to a decision by the people of the Irish Nation by referendum. Michael Collins was later to be implicated by the British propagandists and their Irish collaborators in the Oireachtas to suggest the he had unilaterally signed the improvident Treaty with the foreign oppressors but the facts are that when they returned, Collins and Griffith brought the details of the treaty, which included British concessions on the wording of the oath and the defence and trade clauses, along with the addition of a Boundary Commission to the Treaty and a clause upholding Irish unity. The final decision to sign the Treaty was made unilaterally by the Oireachtas in private discussions and was finally signed at 22 Hans Place, London on 5 December, 1921.
The Crown’s Oireachtas which had been appointed by King George V under his control by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 alleged that Michael Collins and the other Irish delegates had concluded negotiations by signing the Treaty when they were ‘unauthorised’ by the Irish people. However, it was the Oireachtas that made the unconstitutional decision to betray the will of the Irish people at 2.20am on 6 December, 1921.
The record shows that Michael Collins had set the record straight and unveiled the truth.
Dáil Éireann – Volume 3 – 14 December, 1921
DEBATE ON TREATY
MR. MICHAEL COLLINS (MINISTER FOR FINANCE): “The original terms that were served on each member of the delegation have not been read out. The thing has already taken an unfair aspect and I am against a private session. I have no particular feeling about it. I suggest that a vital matter for the representatives of the nation, and the nation itself, is that the final document which was agreed on by a united Cabinet, should be put side by side with the final document which the Delegation of Plenipotentiaries did not sign as a treaty, but did sign on the understanding that each signatory would recommend it to the Dáil for acceptance.”
The malicious intent of the Crown and its agents to infect Ireland with a false and ungodly Treaty has without doubt promoted the current economic, moral and ethical condition of our Nation. King George V had no right to interfere with Ireland in 1922 and nor did his representatives in the Oireachtas have any mandate from the people to subsequently concoct their version of an Irish Constitution where, for example, they included Articles 1, 2 and 3 of the Constitution of their Saorstát Éireann to try to make Ireland remunerative to the Crown of England and from that time, to substitute the Authority of God in defiance of the Irish Proclamation with the English monarch. This action was invalid in 1922 and remains permanently invalid today and all subsequent documents that emanated from this travesty could never become valid.
The further changes made to Bunreacht na hÉireann in De Valera’s 1937 Constitution were also clearly invalid as it was voted on by the Citizens of only 26 Irish counties when it has to be a thirty-two county mandate to implement the decrees of our 1916 Proclamation.
From then on the Oireachtas has continued to impose even more amendments and legislation on the Irish people in continuity of the fraud that, by its very source, is null and void. King George V had no right to interfere with the legal and constitutional matters of Ireland in 1922 albeit unbeknownst to the people of Ireland and neither did the Crown or its subjects in the Oireachtas have a right to attempt to hand Irish Sovereignty over to the European Union, particularly as it was, again, without the full knowledge, and therefore full consent, of the people of Ireland.
The existing Standing Orders of the Oireachtas are stated as having been adopted by Resolution of the “Provisional” Parliament set up by King George V on the 11th of September, 1922 just 20 days after Michael Collins was shot. I will show how subsequent amendments to those Standing Orders further benefited the Oireachtas against the People of Éire further on in this document.
The records also show that Michael Collins was the Finance Minister of the ‘Provisional Government’ from the 26th of August, 1921 until the 22nd of August, 1922 and yet this provisional establishment has denied the existence and authority of Dáil Éireann and thereby the independence of our Nation since that time. Both the Civil Service and the politicians in the Oireachtas have consistently held contempt for the Irish Proclamation and Dáil Éireann in direct contradiction to the mandate given by the people. Furthermore, the Mahon Tribunal Report, compiled by your own Judge Mahon has confirmed the existence of corruption and illegality by politicians of the Oireachtas, as when referring to the Oireachtas he said, “Politicians are corrupt.”
It is notable also that the actions of the Civil Service in Ireland, of which the Judiciary and the Court Service are members, have consistently contradicted the intention of the Irish Proclamation as it persistently refers itself to and complies with the regular interference of the foreign Crown in the affairs of the Irish Nation.
The Oireachtas has purposely redefined the word “birthright” from its original purpose of providing for the rights of our future generations to a misleading understanding of the word to suggest that our future generations could achieve their Sovereign Natural Rights under God only ‘if’ they were allowed to be born in direct contradiction to our Christian ethos. This point is particularly evident in our Proclamation when it refers to the ‘birthright’ of future generations as those who need our care and protection in becoming our future leaders and benefactors. Our God-fearing principles are exemplified by our ancestral, traditional and accepted understanding of the way we asserted that we “…cherishing all the children of the nation equally…” understood the value of all past, present and future generations, irrespective of their stage of life.
In 1923 King George V and the Oireachtas made Dáil Éireann an illegal assembly and therefore Dáil Éireann has never sat in Leinster House in accordance with the 1918 thirty-two county election. The facts are that you and the judges are not appointed by Dáil Éireann. You were appointed by the Oireachtas under English control to tacitly, covertly and illicitly impose ‘English Common Law’ in the four courts into areas of jurisdiction that are explicitly denied by the Irish Proclamation. This was verified by the welcoming speech of Mary McAleese, whose qualifications include being a barrister under the Crown’s BAR, to the British Queen when in 2011 she said;
“It has been a fascinating two way street with Britain, bestowing on Ireland our system of Common Law, Parliamentary tradition, Independent Civil Service and gracious Georgian Architecture…..”
All political power in Éire is inherent in the People. Our Proclamation ensured that our Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit of our People and not the other way round. Only the people of Éire have the right to alter or reform matters related to public policy at their behest, and only when the public good may require.
The thirty-two county Elections were a clear declaration of our will to remain an independent Nation. Our people trusted that those elected would carry out that decision and to create the necessary three branches of government; each with intentionally limited powers, as a safeguard against the potential of abuse; the Legislative to create laws, the Executive to carry out those laws, and the Judiciary, designed to hold all government in check should it reach outside its remit, the remit being the Constitution. And, of course, regarding the Justice System of which you hold responsibility, the People – in the forum of the jury. Most importantly, the People are not a part of the three branches of government, but are rather the Sovereign which the three branches of government serve. Therefore, there are no powers of government that can overrule the consent of the governed. If it does, it is not government, but rather usurpation, as also described in our Proclamation. History has shown that any such wrongful seizure or exercise of authority opens the door for revolt against such tyrants when posing themselves as “government,” as the Proclamation manifestly states;
The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.
It is indisputable that the Oireachtas has combined with others to subject our People against their free will to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving their unauthorised assent to their acts of pretended legislation.
Further issues emphatically show how this usurpation has damaged our Nation. It is clear from the use of the word “deem” in the originating Constitution, Saorstát Éireann, most clearly seen at Article 40, that a Bill can be CONSIDERED lawfully enacted only when it has been passed by either House of the Oireachtas and accepted by the other.
SAORSTÁT ÉIREANN Article 40.
A Bill passed by either House and accepted by the other House shall be deemed to be passed by both Houses.
“Passing” means that the register of votes cast by the members shows a simple majority of votes indicating “Aye” as opposed to the number indicating “No”.
Article 40 in Saorstát Éireann is repeated exactly and verbatim in Bunreacht na hÉireann at Article 20.3 when referring to money Bills, budgets and votes of confidence.
BUNREACHT NA HÉIREANN Article 20.
3 A Bill passed by either House and accepted by the other House shall be deemed to be passed by both Houses.
However, in Article 25 of Bunreacht na hÉireann this definition of what “deemed” means is changed and the use of the word “deemed” is the one that has been employed as being sufficient to enact legislation. This time there is no explanation of what it means and a constructionist interpretation would allow it to mean that a Bill could either be “passed” or “deemed” meaning by default passed.
BUNREACHT NA HÉIREANN Article 25.
1. As soon as any Bill, other than a Bill expressed to be a Bill containing a proposal for the amendment of this Constitution, shall have been passed or deemed to have been passed by both Houses of the Oireachtas, the Taoiseach shall present it to the President for his signature and for promulgation by him as a law in accordance with the provisions of this Article.
This deceptive amendment to the previous unambiguous wording, without reference to the relevant Articles in Saorstát Éireann or Article 20 of Bunreacht na hÉireann has allowed the use of misleading statements in Standing Orders to the point where it is accepted as procedurally correct and custom and practice for there to be a complete absence of the recording of a vote for or against a piece of legislation* by each of the TDs and Senators who have been elected to represent their constituents. (* with the possible exceptions on money Bills, budgets and votes of confidence where a piece of legislation is not at issue)
The distinct unwarranted alteration from the original Saorstát Éireann – Article 40 text that falsely empowered the Oireachtas to secretly create legislation which was never explained to, or decided on, by the People of Éire although it radically altered the power structure within our Nation. It is a deplorable indictment of the contempt of the Oireachtas for our Sovereignty. It is also clear from the wording in Saorstát Éireann that the false interpretation in Bunreacht Na hÉireann is not just incorrect but is invalid. This deception further sets us apart as the only democracy in the world where there is no publicly available record of how each Member of Parliament voted for each Bill proposed.
What is worse for Éire is that, being a Constitutional Republic, any proposed amendment to the Constitution must be passed by the Government BEFORE it can be lawfully put to the people for them to exercise their Sovereign powers. However, and notwithstanding the usurpation of the Sovereignty of the People as vested in Dáil Éireann under the categorical conditions of the Proclamation, the last numbers of referendums, including those on amending the Constitution to incorporate Treaties declared to have been required by membership of the EEC/EU have been deemed to have been passed by the Oireachtas – without being passed by a majority in one house of the Oireachtas before being put to the people. This has nullified the European Treaty Bills claimed to have been passed by the Oireachtas in any circumstances.
Dáil Éireann has never ratified the EEC Accession Treaty or the EU Accession Treaty nor has Dáil Éireann ever borrowed any Euro currency from the EU or the EU Central bank. It was the Oireachtas that has borrowed the EU currency from the European Union.
The contradictions in the fraudulent position taken by the Oireachtas on these issues are rife!
- • Could Dáil Éireann have ratified any such agreements when Dáil Éireann has not sat since 1922?
- • When or where was the State founded?
- • On what specific annual date might we celebrate our independence?
- • What Bunreacht na hÉireann are you and the judges using in the four courts if any?
- • Can you confirm in your reply when and where was the Bunreacht na hÉireann that you and the judges are using in the four courts was written and ratified?
President Michael D. Higgins when he was inaugurated in Dublin Castle said that Bunreacht na hÉireann would be 75 years old this year which is a blatant lie. Bunreacht na hÉireann is 93 years old and was written by the Irish Republican Brotherhood in GHQ Vaughans Hotel Dublin and ratified on the 21st of January 1919 in the Cabinet Room in the Mansion House Dublin under the 1918 thirty-two County elections as well as the 1916 Proclamation, the very foundation document of the State, the Sovereign Republic of Éire.
I asked Enda Kenny to not hand over the Sovereign Seal of Dáil Éireann to Michael D. Higgins in Dublin Castle. However it was you Justice Denham who illegally and fraudulently handed over the Sovereign Seal of Dáil Éireann, the ancient Biblical and sacred symbol of our Sovereignty, the psaltery with 12 strings in AD 2011 to Michael D. Higgins at Dublin Castle. The Sovereign Seal and Harp used by the State, Dáil Éireann and the Dáil Éireann courts are owned by and are the property of the Irish Republican Brotherhood who holds them in trust for the People/Irish Citizens.
Therefore, can you explain where you as Chief Justice are getting your Sovereign authority from to hand over our national Sovereign Seal or even to hold a court in the four courts?
The European Union presidency returns to the Sovereign Republic of Éire on the 1st of January, 2013. The Irish people have only a Provisional Government that does not have the right to sit at the EU table as a Provisional Government. Ireland’s Sovereignty is unique because it does not rely on a man-made construct but comes directly from God and therefore could never be compatible with any other man-made authority and yet our people were not informed that the Oireachtas had set about damaging that definitive position by contriving the illusion of our integration with other peoples who do not have same Sovereign authority and are actually subservient to their respective states in a blatant attempt to fetter the control of Irish destinies, which remain sovereign and indefeasible. Without our Sovereignty we are unable as a Nation to establish the concord with other nations as prescribed in the Preamble of Bunreacht na hÉireann which you have sworn to uphold.
The Irish Republican Brotherhood has made this position very clear to Enda Kenny and the Provisional Government as well as to Herman Achille Van Rompuy the president of the Council of the European Union, that if the European Union comes here on the 1st of January, 2013 it shall be deemed an act of war until Dáil Éireann has ratified the EEC Accession Treaty and the EU Accession Treaty in a thirty-two county referendum by the Sovereign Citizens, the Irish people of the Nation.
We have had 90 years of corruption and maladministration by the Provisional Government who have fraudulently aligned us with European Union member states without informing our people of the potential compromise of our Sovereignty. Dáil Éireann can no longer tolerate the connivances and undue interferences of the Oireachtas whether the wrongs done were carried out knowingly or unwittingly by its members. It is time to have an Irish Sovereign led Government in its rightful order and time for the Crown’s Oireachtas to stand down and be abolished.
Are we as a Nation expected to tolerate a denial of a Sovereign Government by King George V and his successor Queen Elizabeth II of England or by any similar oligarchy?
The so-called Sovereign debt imposed by the Crown’s Irish Provisional Government is in fact the responsibility of the Crown of England Queen Elizabeth II, the British Government and the unfortunate British taxpayer and not the Irish people whose resources and wealth continue to be plundered.
Enda Kenny is the only Provisional party leader sitting at the European table in the European Parliament. Enda Kenny has wrongly and fraudulently claimed to be the Taoiseach of Dáil Éireann and that his party founded the State. He is not, he is the chairman of the Oireachtas and subject and servant to the crown of England and to his Queen.
The Oireachtas does not have the right to appoint a judge or a member of the judiciary or a member of Dáil Éireann. This could occur only by means of a valid thirty-two county referendum. The Oireachtas seems to be basing its false and undemocratic claim on some unprecedented form of illusory squatter’s rights for 90 years.
The Tricolour, the flag of the State of Ireland that flew over the GPO in 1916 and that is on all State buildings, is owned and is the property of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. The EU flag should not be elevated beside the Tricolour until Dáil Éireann has ratified the EEC Accession Treaty and the EU Accession Treaty.
Enda Kenny is not a member of Dáil Éireann; he is a member of the Oireachtas. Michael D. Higgins was never a member of Dáil Éireann; he was a member of the Oireachtas and he is president of the Oireachtas and therefore he is subject to and servant of the Crown of England Queen Elizabeth II. Michael D. Higgins is illegally and fraudulently claiming to be Head of State. Article 12 of Bunreacht na hÉireann was written by and for the Irish Republican Brotherhood and is for the president of the Irish Republican brotherhood who is Head of State of the Sovereign Republic of Éire and holds the thirty-two county mandate.
After 90 years of corruption and maladministration by the Provisional Government which has bankrupted the State and caused immeasurable harm to the Nation the country is now at its lowest ebb since 1916. The Oireachtas ‘must’ be abolished immediately. The Provisional Government is incapable of governing the State of the Sovereign Republic of Éire. The Provisional Government should be abolished as its ruination of our Nation is exactly what the Oireachtas was designed for by King George V and the British Government to hold Ireland remunerative and subservient to the Crown of England.
You Susan Denham, the Judiciary, Enda Kenny and the Provisional Government are in denial of the fact that the Oireachtas was ever only a Provisional Government. Only a Sovereign Government has the right to issue licences, collect taxes, make appointments and appoint members of the Judiciary. It is mandatory for the Sovereign Citizens as people to be governed by a Sovereign Government.
Signed and Sealed this day 7th September Anno Domini 2012 under the Sovereign Seal of the Sovereign Republic of Éire.
However, there are many in the legal fields who work diligently for the greater good of humanity. They strive, against the odds, to bring into existence a more equitable system of justice. They labour tirelessly on behalf of their clients, and do not succumb to the expediency of the moment. They represent the proud standard bearers of a profession that has, to a great extent, lost its way.
William James McGuire
President of the Irish Republican Brotherhood
President of the Sovereign Republic of Éire
Keeper of the Sovereign Seal of the Sovereign Republic of Éire
Head of State of the Sovereign Republic of Éire
Posted by Jim on May 1, 2014
The killing of a widowed mother of 10 has been hanging over Gerry Adams for 40 years. His arrest is a calculated gamble to clear his name—and began with the Obama Justice Department.
It was, nearly everyone agrees, one of the most cold-blooded and pitiless killings in Northern Ireland’s 30-some years of bloodshed and conflict.
Now, 42 years later, it threatens to place Gerry Adams, the man most responsible for ending the IRA’s brutal violence, behind bars for murder and put the Obama Justice Department in the dock for endangering a prized monument to American diplomacy and peace-building.
On a cold December evening in 1972, 37-year-old Jean McConville, a recently widowed mother of 10 young children, was with her family in their cramped apartment in Divis Flats, a working-class housing project on the edge of Catholic West Belfast, when the door was forced open and a gang of masked young women burst in and dragged her away.
Her crying children were left to fend for themselves for weeks, begging and stealing food, until eventually the local social services were alerted to their plight and they were sent to foster homes. The children were never to be reunited again as a family.
Their mother’s fate was worse. The women who burst into her flat were from the female branch of the Irish Republican Army (IRA), which had been fighting the British army and government for two years to reunite Ireland and achieve full independence from Britain. West Belfast, and the Divis Flats in particular, was one of the IRA’s toughest strongholds.
The IRA women had come for Jean McConville because they believed she had been acting as an informer, passing on low-grade intelligence to the local British army barracks about local members of the IRA. A small radio transmitter had been found in her apartment, and she had been arrested by the IRA and admitted her involvement.
But a local IRA commander had given her one last chance. Brendan Hughes, a veteran IRA activist, told this writer that he had given McConville “a yellow card,” a soccer term that means another offense would result in “a red card,” or an ejection. But in the IRA’s case, “a red card” always meant death.
McConville’s family and the vast coterie of supporters who champion her cause bristle at the accusation, pointing out that a mother of 10 would hardly have time to gather intelligence on the IRA. Instead they say she was killed for giving aid to a wounded British soldier and that local people disliked her because she had been a Protestant until marrying her Catholic husband, when she converted. An inquiry headed by the Police Ombudsman, a sort of referee figure, came down against the informer allegation.
Whatever the truth, the IRA claimed to have evidence that McConville had ignored the “yellow card” warning and had resumed her treacherous activities.
What happened next, according to Hughes, sealed her fate. In the fall of 1972, the IRA in Belfast was commanded by Gerry Adams, regarded inside the IRA as the brightest strategic mind in the organization. He was also, Hughes said, a man who was very media savvy.
If the British put Adams on trial, his hardline opponents’ accusations of naiveté or selling out will be justified and the peace process will be seriously undermined.
A meeting was held of the top IRA leaders in Belfast with only one item on the agenda: what to do with McConville. Those present agreed that the penalty for informing had to be death. The only point of dispute was what to do with her body. Normally the IRA advertised the execution of traitors; the dead bodies of informers would be left in the open, “thrown in the street,” as the phrase had it, as a warning to others tempted to go down the same road.
But admitting that the IRA had killed a widow and mother of 10 was a potential public relations disaster. The media would be appalled and the British delighted. Much better, some IRA leaders argued, to kill her and hide the body, bury it in a secret grave, South American-style, so no one would ever know what had really happened—except the IRA leaders themselves.
The decision came down to “disappear” McConville. Hughes, who also gave the same testimony to Boston College’s oral history archive, said Adams agreed with the order.
And so McConville, believing she was in the hands of a Catholic charity and safe from the IRA’s vengeance, was taken across the Irish border by members of a special IRA unit called “The Unknowns,” so called because the authorities were unaware of their existence.
The unit was, according to Hughes, answerable to Adams, the Belfast commander. And so, Hughes said, the order to disappear McConville came ultimately from Adams.
McConville was taken to Dundalk, a small town just across the Irish border, held for a few days and then taken to a lonely beach at Carlingford Lough, one of Ireland’s most picturesque spots. At the edge of an already excavated grave a single bullet was fired into the back of her head and she fell lifeless into the hole. There she lay until 2003, when a member of the public walking the beach noticed a bone sticking out of the sand.
One of “The Unknowns” who had ferried McConville to Dundalk was Dolours Price, a strikingly attractive member of a renowned Belfast IRA family. Price had joined the IRA in 1971, inspired by an aunt who had been blinded and who lost both hands in an accidental IRA explosion in 1938. Dolours Price would later gain infamy as the leader of a bombing team that devastated London in 1973.
Arrested and imprisoned, she then embarked on one of the lengthiest hunger strikes in British prison history, during which she was force-fed so often she developed life-threatening anorexia and nearly died. Released from jail, she left the IRA, married the movie star Stephen Rea, and had two sons, settling down in an affluent part of Dublin.
But she never lost her Irish Republican beliefs. When Adams concluded secret negotiations with the British, U.S., and Irish governments that resulted in an IRA ceasefire and the acceptance by the IRA’s political wing, Sinn Fein, of the existence of Northern Ireland along with government posts for Adams’s colleagues, Price sensed betrayal.
She had ferried more than McConville to secret graves, and the burden of what she had done took its toll. Like Hughes, Price was interviewed for the Boston College archive, but she kept silent about McConville. When Hughes’s interviews were made public, however, she decided to break her silence and gave a number of newspaper interviews claiming that Adams had ordered McConville to be “disappeared.”
It is these two sets of interviews that form the core of the case against Gerry Adams, that the architect of the IRA’s peace strategy was an Irish Pinochet, responsible for the “disappearing” of innocent victims.
A British government effort to subpoena the interviews held in the Boston College archive has worsened Adams’s dilemma. The archive, begun in 2001, gave interviewees a promise that their memories would stay secret until they died, but a legal loophole created by an international treaty gave the British access to the trove. After nearly three years of legal battles, last fall several other interviews were handed over to the police in Northern Ireland. In March the police moved, arresting Ivor Bell, Adams’s closest confidant in 1972, in effect his No. 2, and charged him with aiding and abetting the McConville killing.
The arrest reignited a firestorm of speculation and controversy over Adams’s role. If Bell had been involved as the police alleged, then what role did the No. 1 play? As the firestorm raged, Adams issued a challenge to the police: “If you want to question me about McConville, then here I am. I will be happy to answer your questions.”
On Wednesday, Adams surrendered himself to the police for interrogation in what is undoubtedly the biggest gamble in his political life.
The McConville allegations have been like a monkey on his back for the best part of a decade. His party, Sinn Fein—Irish for “We Ourselves”—is well placed to enter government in Dublin at the next election, but his opponents have a potent weapon to use against him: his alleged role in the disappearance of McConville. He badly needs to throw the monkey off his back, and that explains his extraordinary move in giving himself up to the police.
It is a calculated gamble. Two of those who claim he gave the order to kill McConville, Hughes and Price, are dead. (Hughes died in 2008, Price in January 2014.) And anyway, their evidence is hearsay and can’t be used to charge, much less convict, anyone.
So if Adams can hold out for the days of interrogation that lie ahead, there is a good chance he can come out of police custody, declare himself an innocent man who answered police questions truthfully, and finally throw the monkey off his back.
There is much more at stake than just Adams’s freedom and reputation, however. He was the principal architect of the IRA peace strategy; without him the IRA would never have been maneuvered out of violence. If the British put him on trial, his hardline opponents’ accusations of naiveté or selling out will be justified and the peace process will be seriously undermined.
In all of this, the role of the Obama Justice Department has escaped the scrutiny that it deserves. The road to Adams’s arrest began in May 2011, when the DoJ served subpoenas on Boston College on behalf of the British government without conducting due diligence.
In an affidavit to the Boston District Court justifying the subpoena seeking Price’s interview with the college, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz cited a Belfast Sunday newspaper report that claimed to have heard Price’s tape admitting her part in McConville’s death.
But Price never mentioned the McConville killing in her interview for the archive, and a moment’s reflection would have revealed as nonsensical the idea that a Belfast newspaper, the equivalent of a supermarket tabloid in the United States, would be allowed access to such a secret, well-protected archive held by one of the country’s most prestigious colleges. The police in Northern Ireland pulled the wool over Ortiz’s and Attorney General Eric Holder’s eyes, and they did not even notice.
The peace process in Northern Ireland is a monument to American diplomacy. Without the efforts of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, it is doubtful whether a power-sharing government would be in Belfast or whether IRA guns would not only have been silenced but destroyed. The peace process is testimony to the fact that with enough effort, jaw-jaw can prevail over war-war.
Posted by Jim on
Mr Adams is being questioned in Antrim. (© Pacemaker)
It comes after deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness blamed the “dark side” of policing for the timing of his party leader’s arrest in the run-up of the European and local council elections.
Mr McGuinness said: “People who could be described as former republicans (are) targeting the Sinn Féin peace strategy and targeting the leader of Sinn Féin, Gerry Adams.
“It has been disappointing to see the efforts of some of those people together in consort with the dark side within policing.”
But David Cameron said: “There has been absolutely no political interference in this issue.”
“We have an independent judicial system, both here in England and also we do have one in NI. We have independent policing authorities, independent prosecuting authorities. Those are vital parts of the free country and the free society we enjoy today.”
Gerry Adams is currently still in custody at Antrim PSNI Station where he is being held as part of the investigation into the 1972 abduction and murder of west Belfast mother Jean McConville.
Mr Adams presented himself voluntarily to the station on Wednesday night where he was then arrested and questioned under caution by detectives from the PSNI’s Serious Crime Branch.
UTV understands he is being questioned under the Terrorism Act 2000 and can be held for 48 hours before police need to apply to the courts for additional time to continue their interview.
Mr Adams has always denied having any part in the murder.
Martin McGuinness went on: “I view his arrest as a deliberate attempt to influence the outcome of the elections that are due to take place in three weeks’ time, north and south on this island.
“That raises very serious questions around why that is the case and what is the agenda.”
Meanwhile the DUP leader and First Minister Peter Robinson has come out in support of the PSNI in the actions they have taken in the McConville murder investigation.
He explained: “I would suggest it would be political policing if the PSNI had not questioned those that were deemed to have been involved in any way.
“It strengthens the political process in Northern Ireland for people to know that no-one is above the law, everyone is equal under the law and everyone is equally subject to the law.
“I commend the police for the action they have taken. They must have known that by taking this step they would be criticised from some quarters but it is my duty as First Minister, as it is for others that have taken up ministerial office, to give their support to police and the rule of law.”
© UTV News
Posted by Jim on
Over three days in August 1971 eleven people were killed by British troops in the Ballymurphy area
By Niall McCracken
THE British Government has rejected calls for an independent probe into the deaths of 11 civilians shot by British troops in Ballymurphy in August 1971.
In a letter sent to the families who were bereaved in the west Belfast shootings, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State Theresa Villiers refused the calls on the grounds that it would not be in the public interest.
In a statement the Ballymurphy relatives, who had pressed for an investigation by an independent panel similar to that which examined the Hillsborough football tragedy, said they were devastated by the decision:
“We, the Ballymurphy families, are shocked and outraged at the British Government’s response, particularly in light of the support which has been rightly provided in the Hillsborough case which includes supporting the legal costs of inquests.
“We have led our campaign for truth and justice in a dignified but determined manner and deserve the opportunity to have the innocence of our loved ones proven.”
The families added: “Our legal representative, Padraig Ó Muirigh is considering a judicial review against the decision by the British Secretary of State to refuse the establishment of an Independent Panel.”
The relatives gathered together this morning to receive a letter confirming the decision. In the letter the Secretary of State said “the balance of public interest does not favour establishing an independent review”.
In a statement the Secretary of State added:“I would like to reiterate my deepest sympathy and condolences for the families who were bereaved in August 1971. I am aware that this decision is not the outcome the families had hoped for. Having met them – and other families affected by other incidents throughout the Troubles – I know that the passage of time does not ease the pain and hurt felt about the loss of loved ones.
“I am willing to meet with the Ballymurphy families and their representatives again, if they wish.”
In recent years the families have been campaigning for an inquiry similar to the model used to examine the Hillsborough football disaster of 1989 which would review all documents relating to the deaths of their loved ones.
In a previous interview as part of The Legacy series professor Phil Scraton, a key architect of the Hillsborough Model, said he believed it could be used to examine controversial killings from the Troubles.
An independent panel was appointed to look at the 96 deaths which occurred as a result of a stadium crush during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield.
In contrast, the Bloody Sunday Inquiry cost £191 million and following the publication of Lord Saville’s report the Prime Minister, David Cameron, publicly stated that there would be no more “open-ended and costly inquiries”.
But the panel model is seen as faster and more cost effective than other public inquiries and, after it was successfully used in the Hillsborough tragedy, the Ballymurphy families campaigned for a similar panel to be funded by the British and Irish governments.
Earlier this year the Irish Government backed the families’ campaign and in March the Taoiseach Enda Kenny raised the issue with Prime Minister Mr Cameron during a meeting at Downing Street.
However the Secretary of State’s letter marks the British Government’s first public confirmation that it would not help fund the panel.
“NOT IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST”
John Teggart describes eye witness accounts of how his father was shot in Ballymurphy in August 1971 /
Over three days in August 1971 eleven people were killed by British troops in the Ballymurphy and Springhill area in West Belfast. Ten of the victims were shot dead, while another was wounded and died of a heart attack.
Eleven families lost loved ones and a total of 57 children were bereaved.
Mother of eight Joan Connolly was among the civilians shot dead by the Parachute Regiment. Eyewitness accounts compiled by the families detail how she was shot in the face when attempting to aid an already injured man.
Further accounts detail how local parish priest, Father Hugh Mullan, approached an injured man waving a white baby grow and was fatally shot in the back when returning to safety.
The events unfolded hours after the government introduced a policy of internment – the controversial detention of paramilitary suspects without charge or trial.
At the time army officials claimed troops opened fire in response to shots from republican paramilitaries – though this was rejected by the bereaved.
Families of the victims say the case raises serious questions over the human rights record of the army in Northern Ireland.
Graphic accounts of the events in Ballymurphy have been recorded . Speaking to The Detail before the Secretary of State’s decision was announced, John Teggart recalled how his father was killed.
“One of the eyewitness accounts, that saw my father get shot, said his body bounced with every bullet,” he said.
“That’s 14 bullets passing through his body from a distance of 50 yards across the road.
“I was 11 years of age at the time and we have been campaigning ever since.”
A number of investigations into the event have proved unsatisfactory for the bereaved families and they have taken their campaign for an independent investigation to Europe.
Legal representatives of the Ballymurphy families have openly questioned the fitness of the Historical Enquiries Team (HET), after the UK’s top policing watchdog, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary, found it had serious shortcomings. It said the way the HETreviews deaths caused by soldiers was not sufficiently independent.
The shootings in Ballymurphy took place six months before Bloody Sunday in Derry where thirteen people were shot dead when British paratroopers opened fire on crowds at a civil rights demonstration.
In November 2011 the Ballymurphy families welcomed the Attorney General’s decision to re-open inquests into the deaths but raised concerns about the limitations of an inquest to investigate “the context, circumstances and aftermath”.
In June 2012, the former Northern Ireland secretary of State, Owen Paterson, turned down the campaigners’ request for a full public inquiry inquiry saying it was “not in the public interest”.
Today Ms Villiers repeated this position and said she did not believe a Hillsborough-style review would “provide answers which are not already in the public domain or covered by existing legal processes”.
In recent years families have been lobbying both the British and Irish governments for the appointment of an independent panel to instead examine all documents relating to the deaths of their loved ones.
Its focus would include the investigation of the role of the British Government, British Army, criminal justice agencies such as the RUC, the Coroner’s Office and the significance of the media.
In a previous article as part of The Legacy series, The Detail interviewed Queen’s University professor Phil Scraton who was a prominent member of the panel tasked with looking at the circumstances and aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
Professor Scraton believes killings from the Troubles could be investigated using the same model of inquiry and he is one of the proposed members of the seven member Ballymurphy panel put forward by campaigners. Other proposed members include civil rights lawyer Gareth Pierce and former police ombudsman Nuala O’Loan as chair.
Posted by Jim on April 30, 2014
Residents of a quiet Antrim seaside village have used the 83rd anniversary of the sectarian murder of three local men to call on the British government to apologise for its role in the slaughter.
On June 23, 1922, a British army and Special Police battalion entered Cushendall, singled out three young nationalists and dragged them up an alley, where they were shot dead.
The murders of John Gore, John Hill and James McAllister were in reprisal for the IRA murder the previous day of Field Marshal Henry Wilson — the man who ordered the pogroms against Northern Catholics throughout the early 1920s.
Wilson was shot dead in London by the republicans Reggie Dunne and Joseph O’Sullivan, who had served in the British army during World War I. Both men were later hanged.
A subsequent British government inquiry into the Cushendall killings dismissed claims from soldiers and police that they had been fired upon first.
The English official FT Barrington-Ward, who headed the investigation, concluded: “No one except the police and military ever fired at all.”
Medical reports revealed powder burns on the dead bodies, indicating the victims had been shot from close range.
However, the then Northern unionist government, led by Ulster Unionist James Craig, rejected the findings and held its own inquiry into the shootings.
The Northern government dismissed all the evidence given by residents of Cushendall implicating the British army and police and accepted the soldiers’ claims that they had been fired upon first.
After the killings, Britain’s Liberal government — at the behest of TP O’Connor, the Westmeath-born MP for Liverpool — threatened to publish the findings of Barrington-Ward’s inquiry.
However, the Liberals were replaced at the next election by the Conservative Party, which was more sympathetic to the Ulster Unionist administration.
One of the first acts carried out by the new Tory government was to place the details of the Barrington-Ward inquiry under the Official Secrets Act, barring it from view for 50 years.
Historian Michael Farrell best explains the cover-up in his book Arming the Protestants.
He writes: “O’Connor was told that the British government had commissioned the report only because British troops had been involved.
“The Northern government showed no concern to discipline its forces and stamp out reprisals and seemed oblivious to the effect this must have on the Catholic population. The British coalition government made only a very feeble effort to get Craig’s government to take action. Their Conservative successors did nothing at all.”
Barrington-Ward’s report was again due to be made public in 1972 but publication was delayed for a further 25 years because of the Troubles.
It was not until 1997 that the people of Cushendall became fully aware of the horror that had occurred in the village on June 23, 1922.
Sinn Féin councillor Oliver McMullan has led the calls for the British government to apologise for its role in the three murders.
He said: “These were innocent men killed by British troops in cold blood.
“The British government’s own inquiry ruled that the only people to open fire in Cushendall that night had been the military.
“If the then Northern government was satisfied that the soldiers had been fired upon first, why were the circumstances surrounding the shootings covered up for 75 years?
“The people of this village are owed an apology.”
Relatives of John Gore, John Hill and James McAllister still live in the north Antrim area, as do the families of two other men wounded on the night, Danny O’Loan and John McCollum.
Two Cushendall men whom the Special Police falsely accused of opening fire on the military and prompting the murders were forced to flee to the United States, fearing for their lives.
Several other nationalists in the village, including Oliver McMullan’s grandfather, were threatened by the Special Police with death.
Mr McMullan said a British government apology would go some way to lifting the shadow of the murders that has hung over his village for close to a century.
He said: “A few years ago, locals clubbed together and put up a plaque commemorating the lives of John Hill, John Gore and James McAllister.
“Their needless deaths are something we always have in the back of our minds.
“It was certainly the biggest sectarian murder ever to occur in Cushendall and one of the worst in the Glens area.
“An apology won’t bring them back but it at least will give some comfort to the families of those murdered.
“The British government should recognise the role its forces played in what were nothing more than sectarian state killings.”
Posted by Jim on April 13, 2014
Posted by Neil F. Cosgrove in The Wild Geese
While the rest of Europe plunged into darkness with the fall of the Roman Empire, the light of learning and western civilization was kept flickering in Ireland, preserved in the monasteries established by the followers of St. Patrick. However, it would only be a matter of time before the “light” attracted the unwanted attention of those more interested in plunder than learning. A period of warming weather and a population explosion in what we now know as Scandinavia combined to unleash upon Europe a terror the likes of which had never been seen before: the Vikings.
In 795, the Viking attacks on Ireland began with the sacking and burning of a monastery on Rathlin Island . Hit and run raids along the Irish coast would continue for the next forty years. The Viking tactics changed however in 837; sixty Viking longboats appeared in the river Boyne while another sixty appeared in the river Liffy and began to raid inland and plunder the great monasteries such as Clonamacnois. In the winter of 841-842 the Vikings wintered in Ireland at a defensive position they had established: Dublin. The Vikings were now no longer raiders, they were occupiers and colonists. The Vikings began building fortified towns, longphorts, near the sea which was the source of their strength. These Norse settlements would be the basis for the future Dublin, Wexford, Waterford, Cork, Wicklow, Limerick and Stangford. The drawback to these settlements for the Vikings is that they provided fixed targets for the Irish to attack. The result was the establishment of a chaotic and often violent status quo, with Viking Jarl and Irish Chieftain making and breaking alliances as part of ongoing power struggles in both communities
One of the contributing factors to the success of the Viking invasion was that the Ireland of that time was made up of dozens of small kingdoms and competing kings and chieftains. Brian was the younger son of Cennedi (Kennedy), the King of the Dal Cais of north Munster, what would be equivalent to modern County Clare (“Boru” was not a family name, but a cognomen given after Brian’s death; either a reference to “Béal Bóruma” a fort where his family held sway or the Gaelic “bóruma” meaning “of the tributes” indicating a powerful lord to whom homage was to be paid.). The Dal Cais had recently risen in power due to the strategic position of their lands straddling the river Shannon, which combined with knowledge gained from Norse tactics allowed them to become a formidable military force. Brian’s older brother, Mathgamain, succeeded to the kingship of Munster and successfully captured and sacked the Viking settlement of Limerick. Mathgamain success was short lived; he was betrayed by supposed allies and murdered. Brian avenged his brother’s death and assumed the throne of Munster.
For the next twenty years Brian would increase his power with a vision of becoming Ard Ri, “High King “of a united Ireland. The title of Ard Ri was an ancient one, that had long been held by the O’Neill’s of Ulster, but it was more honor than substance, with the minor kings giving or withholding support as suited them. This was to change with Brian. In 999 Brian captured Dublin, the last of the Viking cities yet to fall under his control. Brian became High King in name and fact with the submission of the then current High King, Malachy the II, in 1002.
The next decade was a period of relative peace and prosperity in Ireland. Under Brian’s protection, the plundered monasteries were rebuilt. It is said that Brian sent emissaries abroad in an attempt to acquire and return treasures and artifacts that had been taken from Ireland. Relative peace and stability gave rise to a new golden age of Irish culture.
However, such a Golden Age would not last long. In an attempt to consolidate his power through reconciliation, Brian had allowed Sitric, the Viking King of Dublin, and Mael Mordha King of Leinster to retain their positions after swearing fealty to Brian. Combining forces along with Viking allies that had been recruited by Sitric from the Orkney Islands Sitric and Mael Mordha decided to challenge Brian at Clontarf, located outside of what was then Dublin, on Good Friday April 23, 1014. What resulted was one of the largest and bloodiest battles of the Dark Ages. The battle swayed back and forth throughout the day when finally Brian’s forces gained the advantage. The result was a slaughter ; Sitric and Mael Mordha killed and many of the Orkeny Vikings drowning as they attempted to flee in panic to their Longships as the tide was coming in. Out of an estimated force of 6,500-7,000 Vikings who fouht that day nearly 6,000 were killed; such was the magnitude of the route by Brian’s forces, However, in winning the battle the Irish had also lost heavily; Brian’s son and grandson were both killed in the battle. Legend says that Brian, now an old man in his seventies, was killed by a fleeing Viking who found the old man at prayer for his lost son, grandson and in honor of Good Friday. Without Brian’s strong leadership and the succession of his house in shambles, Ireland rapidly reverted to the disjoint and feuding kingdoms that had preceded Brian’s reign.
Legends says that Brian Boru drove the Vikings out of Ireland. Brian’s victory at Clontarf did mark the last time the Vikings would attempt a major landing in Ireland, but the Norse of the longphort’s had been in Ireland for generations and had become, and would continue to be, an integral part of Irish Society. At the same time the descendents of Vikings that settled in France, the Normans whose name was a corruption of “Norse Men“, invaded Ireland 55 years later and would begin another conquest of Ireland. One wonders what might have been the result if Brian Boru’s united Ireland had been able to persist longer, could the Normans have conquered a united Ireland rather than playing minor kings off against each other as events transpired.
It would be equally wrong to view the end of Brian’s High Kingship at Clontarf as a hollow victory that brought to an end Brian’s vision of a unified Ireland on that Good Friday 1014. It was memories of the Golden Age of Brian’s reign that would keep alive the vision of Ireland’s nationhood in the face of conquest and oppression; that would inspire the volunteers who rose in Dublin on Easter Monday 1916, not far from where Brian had asserted Ireland’s right to sovereignty 900 years before, and set Ireland once more on the path of independence and unity. On another Good Friday, 984 years later, 10 April 1998, the light of the promise of a free, peaceful and united Ireland was lit again with the Good Friday agreements. Despite the winds of politicians and voices of division that light continues to flicker and we must nourish and protect that small flame of freedom until all of Ireland bask in the light of freedom as it was in the time of Brian Boru.
Posted by Jim on
Gerry McGeough – 2011 Conviction Unsafe
Aiden Carlin Solicitor has welcomed the UK Supreme Court’s decision to grant Gerry McGeough leave to Appeal his case.
Commenting on the announcement, Aiden Carlin said: “In addition to the new headline facts disclosed about Gerry McGeough’s case, there are important aspects of European and domestic law which say his conviction is unsafe. Not least, the evidence adduced at Gerry McGeough’s trial from an alleged asylum application made 30 years ago in Sweden. The receipt of such evidence at his trial was a breach of common law rules and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights. EU law recognises the need for a common policy of protection for asylum seekers yet in Gerry McGeough’s case this was repeatedly ignored.”
Solicitor Aiden Carlin concluded: “There is a clear momentum now to have Gerry McGeough’s 2011 conviction quashed because of material non-disclosure on a spectacular scale and errors in law during his trial and Appeal. We trust his UK Supreme Court hearing later this year will be another step in that direction.”
Posted by Jim on March 28, 2014
Below is an article by SF MLA Gerry Kelly on “the new beginning to policing…fair and impartial, free from partisan political control”. Interesting, Mr Kelly, since the majority of arrests, incarcerations and interments without trial has been due to the PSNI/RUC’s relentless pursuit of republicans on alleged offences dating back to the troubles post Good Friday Agreement. Mr. Kelly goes on to say…”with the PSNI replacing the RUC in 2001”. Did you say, “Replacing the RUC”? Don’t you mean replacing the RUC’s name with the name PSNI in order to protect the guilty? This may be an old cliché, but it still holds true – ‘a rose by any other name is still a rose’ Mr. Kelly.
“The GFA, which created the political architecture to facilitate a peaceful and democratic path to the re-unification of our country”…Mr. Kelly, there is nothing “democratic” about republicans still being pursued, arrested and interned without trial. The illegal detention of Marian Price, Martin Corey, Stephen Murney and the highly publicized arrest, trial and incarceration of Gerry McGeough on 32 year old charges to name a few, was far from democratic. In fact, it was down right undemocratic and it happened on Sinn Fein’s watch, as they were now part of the “new policing structures and accountability in the last 6 years”.
While Mr. Kelly’s article below practically applauds the PSNI/RUC and suggest we here in America should embrace them with open arms, the PSNI/RUC continue their relentlessly pursuit of republicans while the security forces are left unscathed, unprosecuted and protected by the British government, DUP and Sinn Fein in spite of the part they played in the murder of innocent Catholics through acts of collusion with loyalist death squads during the same time period as those republicans who have been or are being arrested right now on alleged offenses dating as far back as 1972.
Mr. Kelly says that “Given such a scenario, protests against joint PSNI-GARDA participation in an event such as the St. Patrick’s Day parade-a manifestation of Irishness and Irish culture-is unwarranted and has been met with a degree of surprise and nonchalance by the nationalist and republican community in the North of Ireland. Oh, really? If that was truly the case, Mr. Kelly, you wouldn’t have taken the time out of your busy day to write this article and have it distributed throughout America by Friends of Sinn Fein USA if you really believed that. Secondly, no one protested the GARDA. They protested the PSNI/RUC.
In reading this article over a few times, I believe I am starting to understand the real reason behind why Mr. Kelly wrote this article in the first place. It certainly wasn’t to tell us that “the protests were met with a degree of nonchalance in the north”. No, there is more to it. Reasoning tells me that the PSNI/RUC invite by the parade committee and the tweets by Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness supporting the PSNI/RUC marching in the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade ignited a rather large flame under the majority of Irish-Americans who support the cause of Ireland’s self-determination and were outraged by this stunt.
You see, prior to the PSNI/RUC marching in the St. Patrick’s Day parade and post GFA, the media, the British government, and now Sinn Fein, have been able to demonize those who think and speak outside the box. Good people, with good intentions, who have been involved in the cause of Irish freedom and the re-unification of Ireland for more than 20-30 years, who dare to question, criticize or challenge some of Sinn Fein’s policies are labeled “dissidents”. A buzz word deliberately used to most likely alienate them from the heard. However, this time, Sinn Fein can’t label us ALL dissidents because too many of us, from all different Irish-American groups, including solid supporters of Sinn Fein, spoke out in protest against the PSNI/RUC marching in an Irish Catholic parade. Therefore, Sinn Fein is now trying to explain away why they supported the invite to begin with and I see this article as nothing more than a form of “damage-control” and trying to keep us Irish-Americans in our place.
Posted by Jim on March 12, 2014
We Only Want the Earth
“Be moderate,” the trimmers cry,
Who dread the tyrants’ thunder.
“You ask too much and people By
From you aghast in wonder.”
‘Tis passing strange, for I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most moderate are,
We only want the earth.
Our masters all a godly crew,
Whose hearts throb for the poor,
Their sympathies assure us, too,
If our demands were fewer.
Most generous souls! But please observe,
What they enjoy from birth
Is all we ever had the nerve
To ask, that is, the earth.
The “labor fakir” full of guile,
Base doctrine ever preaches,
And whilst he bleeds the rank and file
Tame moderation teaches.
Yet, in despite, we’ll see the day
When, with sword in its girth,
Labor shall march in war array
To realize its own, the earth.
Posted by Jim on January 28, 2014
Just before he died, Daniel Cassidy released a pioneering book that begins to prove how American slang has a root in the Irish American urban experience.
As usual, snoots would rather fall on the side of error than to end the kibosh on ascribing Irish origins to any aspect of Anglo-American society.
Ireland has a native civilization older than England or France, and it has out-proportioned contributions to modernist culture, but it is more usually described as derivative rather than an originator of trends. Despite stubborn refusal, “jazz” and “poker”, “moolah” and “spunk” all derive from Irish Gaelic, which was used in New York by the Irish like Yiddish and Spanglish was used later-on in the city.
Some dismiss these theories without any real understanding of the Irish Gaelic language. They existentially must disallow the language had mixed with English – jerks without the knack to dig it. Others dismiss the theories in loyalty to academia’s wine and cheese status quo, and don’t wish to seem too maverick, or too “street,” like Cassidy who had an unabashed Brooklyn accent. There’s an element of snobbery involved in the outright refusal many swells have for this working stiff’s tome.
Cassidy was among those who have begun to case the hidden history, anyway, and show how gambling slang, underworld lingo, street gang terms, street-wise cant, merchant code and political jargon in New York City is teeming with Irish Gaelic that melted into American English.
Fellow politically-minded academics present English history and culture as being spic and span of Irish influence, and so ignore impulsively, both Irish American slang-smiths in the modern period and Irish Gaelic teachers who taught the early Medieval English how to read and write. They prefer to label Irish words in English as unknown, or originated in more swank cultures like Latin or French. It’s basic prejudice on the side of the common hegemony, rooted in ignorance.
This is a small taste compiled from Daniel Cassidy’s boss book, “How the Irish Invented Slang”, and from Niall Ó Donaill’s “Foclóir Gaeilge-Béarla”.
We don’t normally exclaim “Gee whiz” or “Gee whilikers” anymore. We associate such talk with a classic time in New York, when Irish Gaelic was the secret language of the slums, an Irish Gaelic word which means ‘s slom é, or “it’s bleak.” In the slums it was common to hear Irish people say Dia Thoilleachas, Gee Hillukus, which became Gee Whilikers, and means the “will of God.” “Gee” is the approximate pronunciation of Dia, or the Irish word for God. “Holy cow” means Holy Cathú or Holy Cahoo or Holy Grief. “Darn” is another Gaelic exclamation. In Irish you say daithairne ort, which means, “darn on you” or “misfortune on you.” Gee whiz comes from Dia Uas or Geeuh Woous which means “noble god.”
Irish love words were once all over pop songs pumped out from Tin Pan Alley. “Mother Macree”, or mother of my heart, was a huge hit from those early days of pop. A big name in early popular theater, was Irishman Dion Boucicault who wrote ‘The Streets of New York”, and included lots of Gaelic in the titles and dialogue of his blockbusters.
Irish pet names like peata, or pet, are still current, as is báb or bawb, which is babe today.
Love songs were published as sheet music for people to sing to at the piano, and it was commonplace to hear Irish pet names like Avourneen, Mavourneen, Acushla, Agrah and other lovely words like that
The Irish were pioneers in pop culture, and they littered American popular entertainment from Mother Macree to Huckleberrry Finn with snippets of their language.
If you want to cully support, you’re calling on your cuallaí, or friends to help you. In modern Irish, collaí has the sense of being carnal or sexual.
If you want to gather people together you make a ballyhoo about the gathering, which in Irish is bailliú, and pronounced like ballyhoo. You might use a slogan in your ballyhoo to promote the gathering, as slogan comes from slua ghairm, the yell of a crowd or a battle-cry. Ballyhoo entered the language at the circus, where Irish people would use slogans to make ballyhoo about a new show everyone should come out and see. Buddy is another Irish Gaelic word, which comes from the Irish expression, a vuddy, or a bhodaigh, which means something like “pal.” The root of the word bhodaigh is strangely, bod, which is the Irish word for penis, and pronounced like bud.
Speaking of body parts, the Irish put their Gaelic mark all over the stiff, or corpse, which comes from the word staf or “big guy.” If someone has their snoot in the air, they’re acting like snoots, which comes from the Irish expression snua aird or when someone appears to be on high, and is acting like a swank swell with his nose in the air.
Swank is the Irish word somhaoineach or “valuable” in disguise. Swell is the word sóúil or “luxurious” dolled up to suit the English speaker. If you kick a rich guy in the can, you’re kicking him in his ceann which is the “extremity” of a thing, and also “head,” which is at the other end from the tail end.
Dogs comes from do chos your feet. The vulgar word for the vagina, pussy, isn’t so bad, it just means pus or pouty lips in Irish Gaelic. It’s a descriptive term, and not insulting. Mug, however, is insulting, and the common phrase “ugly mug” comes from the word muic, which means pig.
Irish Gaelic was a secret language in Éire, which was once an Ireland riddled with foreign spies, and so it was a language to keep the copper (the catcher, the thinker) from catching on. Cop comes from ceapaim, and means “I catch, think etc.” You try to keep the cop from figuring out your racket, or your reacaireacht, your “dealing, selling or gossiping.”
Just like the word bailiff came from the Gaelic word baille for bally or homevillage, the word in New York for the cop on the beat, was the ceap on the béad, the protector on ill-deeds.
Another kind of Big Shot is the racketeer, who can be a cop or a goon – glommers collecting grift – official or underworld. There’s little difference when you boil it down between official thieves and illegal ones, and the Irish knew this, observing the most organized acts of criminality enacted by a dolled up British state, exploiting and criminalizing their own civilization. Big Shot is the Irish word for chief in disguise: seoid, meaning “jewel” or figuratively, “chief.”
Racketeer is also related to the Irish word reachtaire which was the title for the money-taking administrator at a colonial big house or at a church office back in Ireland. On the streets of New York, the racketeer has translated the duties and strategies of the colonizer into street crime rackets for himself–the oppressed learn the methods of oppression better than anyone.
A word that should be brought back is “joint” for place or establishment or room. It’s a word that instantly conjures an entire world of old New York. It comes from the Irish word for protection or shelter, a place with a roof, such as in the root of the Irish word for penthouse, díonteach or jeent-ock.
If you want to ditch a joint, and skedaddle in a jiffy, because some dick has copped on to your whereabouts, you want to de áit a díonteach or de-place a joint, and sciord ar dólámh or make an all out slip in a deifir in a “hurry,” because some dearc or “eye” or PI, has ceaptha or thought or caught on to your whereabouts.
Eugene O’Neill was another huge name in early American pop culture. His plays were also high art, but riddled with Irish themes and language. His favorite word for money was jack, which is a straight-up glom from the Irish tiach, or money or purse. A guy with a jack-roll, was a guy with a wad of cash, spoondoolies or dollars, rolled up. Spoondoolie is one of those old slang words that got resurrected recently in video games, along with Simolions, the currency of Sim City, an urban planning computer fantasy. They’re weird English takes on Irish Gaelic expression for a big pile of money or suim oll amháin.
Not everyone is hip to the process where words in one language get misheard and pronounced differently in the new language. In Irish if you want make sure someone understands your meaning, you say, Diggin tú? It’s a normal phrase you hear at the end of sentences all the time. In America, An duigeann tú? Became Diggin you? or You dig? It takes a certain knack to understand how closely related the concepts and sounds of tuig and dig are to each other.
Most scholars go by their goofy hunch, that tells them that Irish Gaelic is some dead language no one ever spoke. In fact, it was the first language of most Irish Americans that came here in the big flood of Irish after the famine, when that famine adversely targeted Irish-speaking areas first and foremost, sending Irish speakers to America before anyone.
In the anti-Gaelic mind, Irish language is a queer idea, and way too vast a thing to even engage – easier to kill it than to incorporate it into an academic’s repertoire of reference. The academic makes this decision usually because he or she is already burdened with three centuries of censorious English state propaganda about the meaning and origin of Anglo-American civilization, which did not come about like their poets’ tell us it did.
Another reason Irish Gaelic is neglected as an original source for American slang, is because a lot of the street slang that the Irish made up, relates to a world of vice and crime, some Irish would prefer did not exist.
There is shame associated with the destruction of native Irish Gaelic civilization, because the Irish lost their literature and institutions with the victory of the British Empire over their native government. They were impoverished, and took up crime in some instances. The Irish share with Black people and Jews, an urban legacy in America that is not squeaky clean, but rather dirty, like life is dirty when you have no money.
Having street smarts is one way to look at the world realistically, and not be duped by those who would double cross you to take your jag on the personal level or your natural resources on the imperial one. Those who first come to the city as hicks or boobs, come with the law of hospitality firmly entrenched in their hearts, only to awaken from such kindness by the cruelty of urban America. It’s dangerous to be a dork or ninny in the dog eat dog world. That’s why there are so many words for the person-preconditioning, the person before he develops the cop-on that accompanies an ambitious life post-nincumpoop to make it in New York.
One way to wake up is to get slugged in the face and have your jag jacked. The Fighting Irish is a common aptronym that describes the occupation of many a brawler that had to whale on an opponent to survive or climb the ladder leading out of the rat race.
As an organized people, they were sparring with the much better organized establishment. The Irish bickered with the WASP elite until the established order in New York broke down, reformed the sweatshop system of labor in Victorian Anglo-American society, and conceded to the unions and political machines the rights and benefits that created the middle class from the working class that the establishment would have been happy to see slaving away in sweatshops to this day. Instead, the Irish organized and fought for a conception of America that yielded working people an American Dream, a chance to climb out of the slum and into a middle class job and lifestyle.
Lace curtain Irish is a term that describes the middle class Irish who climbed out of the slum into the spic and span homes of the American dream. They left behind a time in American cities when the Irish were smack dab in the middle of street life, theater, pop entertainment and politics. The swells from the WASP tradition who owned the banks and institutions of American society tried everything to defame and prevent the Irish from joining their swank ranks, but that ended, or so the story goes, when JFK broke the barrier that separated the WASP from the Irish, and went from Harvard to the White House, key bastions of the establishment’s institutional power.
One of the ways the Irish got there was by giving up their jazzy speech for the snazzy touch that remade them into crackers and honkies. Although it’s commonplace to describe the Irish today as white establishment members, par excellence, they come from Irish Gaelic roots that put them in the middle of New York street life. We’re comfortable enough now where we can re-engage that original condition, and reclaim for ourselves a key position in the history of American pop entertainment, language and culture.
Taken from the article originally published in 2010.
Posted by Jim on January 10, 2014
Tuesday, January 21st
At 7:00 p.m., we’re kicking off a new
Irish language beginners’ class
then a new,
more advanced class
takes over at 8:00 p.m., to be followed by our
set dancing class at 9:00 p.m.
and our weekly trad seisiun at 10:00 p.m.
34 Van Dyke Street (at Dwight Street) Brooklyn, NY
Posted by Jim on December 17, 2013
113-117 Donegal Street
Belfast, Northern Ireland
BTI 2GE November 28, 2013
BELATED TRUTH ON MRF
Fergal Hallahan was more right than he imagines (25th November) about the derision accorded anyone with the temerity to accuse Britain of deploying a Military Reaction Force of plain-clothes British troopers who gunned down unarmed nationalists using non-military weapons.
During my years as both editor of the IRISH PEOPLE weekly American newspaper and National Director of Irish Northern Aid, I was tasked with presenting such facts to the American public and especially Congressmen.
The contention we Republicans repeatedly made was that the crown had sent out the MRF, and later wiped British fingerprints from their killings by shifting from the MRF to having the shots fired by loyalist proxies. This tactic had obvious advantages, including avoiding British Army casualties like those inflicted by the IRA at the Four Square Laundry. It allowed the British plausible deniability. Collusion in murders carried out by loyalists could be denied outright or blamed on a cadre of crown force bad apples, no matter how much targeting intelligence, agent control or safe passage the British had supplied.
Britain’s answer to these charges never changed. British officials would declare, self-righteously that “Her Majesty’s government” would never stoop to deploy such a unit. The British Army “yellow card” rules were sacrosanct, they scoffed, and this code was rigorously applied whenever British troopers opened fire. These sanctimonious British denials were believed by the public, politicians and journalists to the extent that this hand-picked death squad remained largely unknown to the public.
Panorama’s programme,”Britain’s Secret Terror Force” proves that Republicans were right about Britain’s deployment of a terror force, the MRF. It proves that those high-ranking British officials who denied that the crown would stoop to such tactics were either deliberately misled by the crown or deliberately misleading others on the crown’s behalf. Members of this British terror squad have no worries that they will face justice for killing unarmed Irish civilians like Daniel Rooney or Patrick McVeigh. They freely boast of their misdeeds, for the television cameras, confident that they enjoy a selective immunity and impunity, not granted Republicans like Gerry McGeough, Seamus Kearney or John Downey.
We Republicans were right about the MRF and just as right about Britain’s tactical shift from the MRF terror force to doing their ‘dirty war’ work through loyalist proxies. Must we await another Panorama documentary before people face the facts about Britain’s complicity with loyalist killers in collusion murders? Must we wait to see members of British forces who directed collusion murders congratulating themselves in televised interviews?
Slan, MARTIN GALVIN
Posted by Jim on November 15, 2013
Although Irishtown had been known as Brooklyn’s most recognizable, infamous waterfront neighborhood for Irish immigrants in the mid 1800s, it was the city’s long waterfront property that stretched both north and south of Irishtown that was heavily settled by the Famine Irish. In truth, Irishtown could only be seen as the capital amidst the long stretch of Brooklyn waterfront neighborhoods facing the East River and Manhattan.
By the census year of 1855, the Irish already made up the largest foreign-born group in New York. This constituted a dramatic shift in the ethnic landscape of Brooklyn. In just ten years, the amount of Irish-born inhabitants had jumped from a minimal amount, to 56,753. Out of a total population in Brooklyn of 205,250, its newly arrived Irish-born inhabitants made up about 27.5%.
The impact of such a large amount of immigrants in a short period of time may be difficult to imagine, but it must be remembered that these newly-arrived were not only all from one ethnic background, but they were also terribly destitute, bony from intense starvation, malnourished, disease-ridden, uneducated and untrained people that came from an outdated medieval agrarian community. On top of all of this, at least half of them did not speak English and instead spoke Gaelic and were landing in a culture that was traditionally hostile to their form of religion: Catholicism.
Famous sketch from the 1840s of an Irish mother digging with her children desperately to yield a crop in time to save their lives.
The Great Hunger in Ireland of 1845-1852, or what is commonly, if not erroneously called the “Potato Famine,” caused over 1.5 million (if not more) Irish tenant farmers to flee for lack of food.
“Few newcomers had the resources to go beyond New York and therefore stayed for negative reasons,” said Ronald H. Bayor and Thomas J. Meaghan in their book, The New York Irish. “Most… had no other options… The best capitalized Irish immigrants were those who did not linger in New York, but went elsewhere, making New York and other harbor cities somewhat atypical of the rest of Irish America.”
The waterfront neighborhoods of antebellum Brooklyn was such a place. These neighborhoods of mostly English Protestants and old Dutch aristocracy were quickly overwhelmed by these Catholic “invaders” crippled by diseases, starving and with a legacy of rebelliousness, secrecy, violence and faction fighting within their fiercely communal cooperations. In short, these great numbers of Brooklyn immigrants were in no way interested in assimilating into the incumbent Anglo-Protestant culture.
Since 1825 and the opening of the Erie Canal, Brooklyn had begun to boom as the New York Ports along the Hudson and East Rivers now had access to the great and rising cities in the midwest and beyond.
A color drawing from 1855 looking west toward Brooklyn’s Navy Yard. Just beyond it in the area that looks shaded was “Irishtown.” The New York Times described it in an 1866 editorial thusly, “Here homeless and vagabond children, ragged and dirty, wander about.”
Soon, New York become the busiest port city in the world. There was labor work to be had in Brooklyn, in the manufacturing and loading and unloading of goods to be sent around the country and around the world.
Brooklyn was broken down into wards at that time, and although much of the population lived along the waterfront, there were plenty of other neighborhoods inland that were heavily populated by the English and Dutch before the Great Hunger. But the newly arrived Irish immigrants did not go inland, they stayed along the waterfront where the labor and longshoremen jobs were.
One neighborhood in particular gained fame, though it is not as much known today as it was then:
The Fifth Ward from an 1855 Fire Insurance Map, where Brooklyn’s Irishtown is located by the Navy Yard. It was called Vinegar Hill (from the 1798 rebellion in Ireland) even before the Great Hunger.
Located in the old Fifth Ward, Brooklyn’s Irishtown never gained the kind of infamous popularity that Manhattan’s Five Points garnered (as I previously wrote about in Code of Silence), it was nonetheless the center of the immigrant, working class slums and the brawling, closed-off culture of the wild Irish.
Located on one side next to Brooklyn’s Navy Yard that built ships and on the other side with the ferry companies connecting Brooklyn to Manhattan across the East River, Irishtown was centrally located.
Although Irishtown was the face of Brooklyn’s Irish community, it did not even have the distinction of having the most amount of Irish-born (which exclude American born of Irish stock) in it during the 1855 census. The dock and pier neighborhoods of Brooklyn were not just in the Fifth Ward, they were spread from the waterfront in Williamsburg north of Wallabout Bay all the way down to Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal.
During this time, there are three other wards that outnumber Irishtown in total Irish-born of the 1855 census. Cobble Hill, the Fulton Ferry Landing and southeast of the Navy Yard, north of Fort Greene Park. The brownstones of Brooklyn Heights are still considered mansions for the rich Brooklyn landowners at this time, but later will be divided and subdivided for the working class Irish.
The densest area of Irish-born is obviously from the Navy Yard, both inland and on the water to the Fulton Ferry Landing, but surprising numbers existed in the north along the Williamsburg waterfront and south in Cobble Hill, Red Hook and the Gowanus Canal. In fact, 47.7% of the total population of Red Hook in 1855 is Irish-born.
- *Census for the State of New York for 1855 (Ward#, area, Irish-born residents)
- Ward 1 (Brooklyn Heights 2,227)
- Ward 2 (now known as DUMBO 2,967)
- Ward 3 (East of Brooklyn Heights 1,964)
- Ward 4 (south of DUMBO 2,440)
- Ward 5 (Irishtown 5,629)
- Ward 6 (Fulton Ferry Landing 6,463)
- Ward 7 (Southeast of Navy Yard, north of Fort Greene Park 6,471)
- Ward 8 (Gowanus 1,717)
- Ward 10 (East of Cobble Hill 6,690)
- Ward 11 (West of Ft. Greene Park, south of Irishtown 4,985)
- Ward 12 (Red Hook 3,332)
- Ward 13 (East of Navy Yard where current Williamsburg Bridge is 2,036)
- Ward 14 (North of Williamsburg Bridge along waterfront 4,314)
- In these wards, Irish-born constituted 32% of Brooklyn’s total population
In fact it is Brooklyn’s most famous Irish-American toughs, the White Hand Gang that originated not in Irishtown, but in and around Warren Street in Cobble Hill and Red Hook at the beginning of the 20th Century.
So, it is right to assume that masses of Famine Irish landed and settled around the more famous neighborhood of Brooklyn’s Irishtown, but it is the general waterfront area from Williamsburg down to Gowanus, in the pier neighborhoods of the fastest growing port and industrial areas of the city where the majority of them settled. In fact, of the 56,753 Irish-born in Brooklyn in 1855, about 51,000 of them lived in the waterfront neighborhoods.
Long before Ellis Island took in immigrants, Southern Manhattan’s Battery Park did. After disembarking there, many Irish immigrants took the ferry to Brooklyn or moved from the slums of Manhattan to the Brooklyn waterfront for the jobs on the docks and piers there.
And they just kept coming, well after the famine ended. With connections in Brooklyn, Irish-born brought their extended families and friends to New York over the coming years, funding new passages to the city helping keep the Brooklyn working class Irish poor for many years to come.
By 1860, Brooklyn was the largest city in America with 279,122 residents, a large portion of which were either Irish-born or of Irish stock as it is still some years ahead of the considerable amounts of Jewish and Italian immigration to Brooklyn later in the century.
By the census of 1875, the population of Irish-born in Brooklyn jumps to 83,069. In 1880, the U.S. census, which counted both place of birth and parents’ birth place as well, estimated that one-third of all New Yorkers were of Irish parentage. By 1890 as Brooklyn neighborhoods were expanding east and south, the amount of people with Irish stock is at 196,372.
Posted by admin on June 1, 2013
Meetings to be held in the Baile na nGael on 2750 Gerritsen Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11229 on the last Monday of the month at 8:00pm unless otherwise indicated.
All County Board members and all Division Presidents and Vice Presidents are required by County By-Laws to attend County Board meetings. All Division Officers should attend and all members are invited to attend. Current Travel cards are required for entry to meetings, those, that can’t attend a meeting, should notify the County President or Vice President at least 24 hrs in advance.
County Officers are as follows:
President: John O’Farrell Div. 35
Vice President: Frank Thompson Div. 12
Recording Secretary: Steve Kiernan Div. 12
Financial Secretary: Tom Crockett Div. 35
Treasurer: Randy Litz Div. 22
Standing Committee: Mike Gaffney Div. 35
Marshall: Jim Healy Div. 12
Sentinel: Joe Glynn Div. 19
We hope that all members of the A.O.H. in Brooklyn work as tireously for this Board as they have for the past Boards.
Slainte, Jim Sullivan, Immediate Past President Kings County and N.Y. State District Director
Posted by Jim on September 22, 2011
Posted by Louise Sullivan on
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Posted by Jim on September 21, 2011
Posted by admin on July 7, 2011
Pray for the following people and their families: The people and children who suffered with the aftermath of the Hurricane Sandy and the floods that it brought (Midland Beach, South Beach, New Dorp, Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Gerritsen Beach, Breezy Point, Rockaways, Broad Channel and Long Beach), the courageous people of the Short Strand section of Belfast, political prisoner Martin Corey. If anyone wants to have us remember a loved one in our prayers, contact us at Jim@BrooklynIrish.com.
Posted by Jim on June 20, 2011
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Division 12 Elected Officers are:
President – Kevin Mahoney
Vice- Pres. – Frank Thompson
Recording Sec’t – Steve Kiernan
Financial Sec’t – Tim O’Shea
Treasurer – Tom MacLellan
Marshall – ?
Sentinal – ?
Posted by Louise Sullivan on June 20, 2010
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Have a Happy Summer. Don’t forget the Coney Island Great Irish Fair in September
President – Joanne Gundersen Div 22
Vice Pres – Judy Rose Div 22
Rec Sect – Rose Coulson Div 22
Treasurer – Mary Hogan Div 6
Historian – Katherine Keane Div19
Miss&Char – Bridie Mitchell Div 6
Cath Act – Tricia Santana Div 19
Mist Arms – Margaret McEneaney Div 19
Sentinel – Ann Marie Bendell Div 19
Posted by Louise Sullivan on