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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NYS AOH Freedom For All Ireland Christmas Appeal Fundraiser Thursday Dec. 4 at 6:30pm. It will be at a new venue, O’Reilly’s Bar & Kitchen, 21 W. 35th St, and NOT the 31st St. location. Details to follow. The annual appeal supports organizations that work for peace, justice and a united 32 County Ireland.

Posted by Jim on November 24, 2014

Progress seen in 1916 commemorations

Posted by Jim on November 22, 2014

A video and website that was used by the Dublin government to launch its
programme for the anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising are set to be
scrapped following a public outcry.

The video including cameos from British Prime Minister David Cameron,
English queen Elizabeth Windsor and internet companies such as Google
and Facebook, but made no mention whatsoever of the signatories of the
Proclamation of the Irish Republic in 1916.

“Embarrassing unhistorical sh*,” was how Diarmaid Ferriter, the UCD
historian and 2016 Government advisor described it.

The website, which featured sections which had been (badly)
machine-translated into Irish, also appeared destined for an electronic
bin. It featured a message informing visitors that it is “temporarily
under-going maintenance and will be back up running as soon as
possible”.

Officials at the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht were
ordered by minister Heather Humphreys take the website offline to allow
“experts” to resolve a number of “outstanding issues” with it.

Meanwhile, the 1916 Relatives Association, which is understood to
represent around 850 descendants of the men and women who fought, are
hoping for a turnaround in government policy to end their boycott of the
government’s plans for 2016.

The association’s Belfast-based spokeswoman Una McNulty, whose
grandfather Peadar and great-uncle Michael McNulty were in the Four
Courts garrison, said that despite tensions she remained hopeful the
centenary could still be “worthy of the men and women who died”.

“The government underestimated how important the centenary is to the
people of Ireland. They need to open up the channels of communication
with relatives and with the Irish people all over Ireland. We would like
to work with the government in partnership,” she said.

Ms McNulty said the association was keen to hold meetings on both sides
of the border to listen to people’s ideas, adding: “People care deeply
about this issue and we need to keep knocking on the door until the
government listens to us.”

Sinn Féin will pursue full recognition for Irish emigrants in US – Adams

Posted by admin on November 21, 2014

 

Speaking today following last night’s announcement by President Obama of changes in how the US Government deals with undocumented immigrants, Sinn Féin Leader Gerry Adams TD said: “Over the past number of years Sinn Féin has raised the issue of the estimated 50,000 undocumented Irish in the United States. Their absence is felt in communities and families across Ireland.

“I welcome the announcement by President Obama as it will bring relief to some,

“However I am concerned that the majority of undocumented Irish will not benefit from these limited changes.

“Many of these people have been forced into economic emigration since 2007, due to the economic mismanagement of successive Fíanna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour governments

“Undocumented Irish workers contribute to the US economy and community. This should be recognised and their futures secured. Today is another step in the right direction but there is further to travel.

“We will continue to work with the parties in the US Congress, and the recently appointed US ambassador, to ensure full recognition is given to those Irish living and working in the US.”

Bloody Sunday 1920: new evidence

Posted by Jim on

The events of Bloody Sunday, 21 November 1920, are generally regarded as having marked a decisive turning-point in the military struggle between the British forces and the IRA, the military wing of the underground Dáil government. Three separate but connected events occurred on Bloody Sunday. First came the killings by Michael Collins’s ‘squad’ of twelve British Intelligence agents in their Dublin suburban homes that morning; two auxiliary policemen were also killed. In the afternoon came the killing by  British forces of fourteen civilians—including a Gaelic footballer, Michael Hogan, who was playing for Tipperary that day—at Croke Park. Finally, in the evening came the arrest and killing (in somewhat murky circumstances) of two high-ranking Dublin IRA officers, Brigadier Dick McKee and Vice-Brigadier Peadar Clancy. In all, 30 people died within fifteen hours on that fateful day in Dublin.
The assassinations of the British Intelligence officers virtually crippled the intelligence operations of Dublin Castle. Bloody Sunday also marked an emotional turning-point in the War of Independence and has gone down as a central event in nationalist history. Although thousands were in attendance at Croke Park that day, the exact events which led to the killings have never been conclusively proven, with each side contradicting the other. The only public statement issued by the authorities was one hurriedly drafted by Dublin Castle, blaming the IRA for shooting at Crown forces when they arrived to raid Croke Park. No authoritative account from the British side had ever been published. Now, after almost 83 years, the official British record of a military inquiry, known to have been carried out in lieu of an inquest on the fourteen Irish fatalities but held in camera, has recently become available in the British Public Record Office at Kew. It finally enables rival accounts to be compared.

The court of inquiry and inquest

The file contains the proceedings of the military inquiry held at some time before 8 December 1920, and probably at military headquarters, Parkgate, Dublin. The documents now released contain no date or precise location. The inquiry was held in camera under the Defence of the Realm Act. The personnel of the three-man inquiry were Major R. Bunbury, president, Lieutenant S.H. Winterbottom of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers and Lieutenant B.J. Key of the 2nd Worcester Regiment. There are two different versions of the proceedings; one is handwritten and the other typed, but the contents are practically identical. Evidence was given by over 30 witnesses—depending on which set of documents one relies on. The details of the identities of the witnesses were generally withheld, although they were mainly from the RIC and the auxiliaries. In the case of a handful of Dublin Metropolitan Police witnesses, one has no problem in identifying the force to which they belonged. Uncharacteristically, one is even named and his rank specified.
In addition to the main inquiry there was also a separate one, again ‘in lieu of an inquest’ (under the Restoration of Order in Ireland Act), into the deaths of fourteen civilians at Croke Park—John Scott, James Matthews, Jeremiah O’Leary, Patrick O’Dowd, Jane Boyle, William Robinson, Thomas Hogan, James Burke, Michael Feery, James Teehan, Joseph Traynor, Thomas Ryan, Michael Hogan and Daniel Carroll. In all these cases evidence was given by relatives who had identified the bodies and by doctors who had received and examined them in Dublin hospitals. Documents relating to this second inquiry have also been released, showing that the verdicts were, predictably, death from bullet wounds in most of the cases, with heart failure listed as the cause of death in the remaining cases. The descriptions make grim reading. In the inquest on the death of Thomas Hogan, Dr Patrick Moran of the Mater Hospital stated:

‘Thomas Hogan was admitted to this hospital at 4pm on November 21st. There was a small round wound 3⁄8 inch in diameter under the spine of the right scapula. There was a large round wound one inch in diameter just beneath the acromion process in front. This was apparently an exit wound. There were two other small wounds a quarter inch in diameter one inch above acromion process, and about an inch apart. These might have been caused by bone splinters. On admission the patient was bleeding profusely, and was in a state of severe collapse. The right arm was amputated on Monday, 22nd November. The shoulder joint was found to be completely disorganised. The head of the humerus was completely severed from the shaft and about 2 inches of the shaft was shattered. The auxiliary border of the scapula was also shattered. A small piece of nickel casing was found in the region of the shoulder joint. Gas gangrene set in after the operation and the patient died at 12.30 on November 26th. Death was in my opinion due to toxaemia following gas gangrene following gunshot wounds.’

There are undoubtedly difficulties in taking on board such material. Because the sittings of the main inquiry were held in camera, no witness had any legal representation and there appears to have been no cross-examination. There was only one exception to this routine. After five military witnesses and three ambulance men had been heard, i.e. between witnesses 8 and 9, two lawyers briefly addressed the court. James Comyn BL said that he was led by Michael Comyn KC (his brother), that they appeared for the family of Jane Boyle (a 26-year-old woman killed at Croke Park) and wished to produce witnesses. However, Michael Comyn KC told the court that because the inquiry was ‘held behind closed doors’ he would not take part in the inquiry, and led his party out.

The verdict

On 8 December 1920 the verdict of the court of inquiry, whose proceedings were destined to be kept secret for over 80 years, was issued. The court found that during a raid on Croke Park on 21 November 1920 by a mixed force of RIC, auxiliary police and military, firing was started by unknown civilians, either as a warning of the raid or else to create a panic, and that the injuries to dead civilians were inflicted by rifle or revolver fire from the canal bridge by the RIC, some of whom fired over the crowd’s heads, others of whom fired into the crowd at persons believed to be trying to evade arrest. It also found that the RIC firing was carried out without orders and in excess of what was required but that no firing came from the auxiliary police or the military, except that soldiers in an armoured car (at the St James’s Avenue exit) fired a burst into the air to stop the crowd from breaking through and out of the ground.
Appended to the inquiry report is a copy (marked ‘Secret and V. Urgent!’) dated 21 November 1920 of the (unsigned) order given by a brigade major, Infantry Brigade, to the RIC and containing details of the operation planned to take place that day at Croke Park. The ground was to be surrounded and pickets placed at specified points, e.g. on the railway and at the three known exits. One infantry platoon was to be kept in reserve and at 3.15pm two (army) armoured cars would meet the mixed RIC and auxiliary police at Fitzroy Avenue (opposite the main entrance). A quarter of an hour before the end of the match a special intelligence officer would warn the crowd by megaphone that anybody trying to leave other than by the exits would be shot, and that all males would be stopped and searched.
The opinion of the competent military authority (dated 11 December 1920), which convened the court of inquiry, was:

(i) that it agreed with the court findings [summarised above];

(ii) that the first shots were fired by the crowd and led to the panic;

(iii) that the firing on the crowd was carried out without orders and was indiscriminate and unjustifiable, with the exception of any shooting which took place inside the enclosure.

This opinion was signed by Major-General G.F. Boyd, commanding officer, Dublin.
Because much of the evidence at the court of inquiry is at variance with accounts given by Irish survivors (including at least two of the 30 footballers involved), the credibility of this inquiry, published so long after the deaths of all involved on both sides, must be open to challenge. However, the withholding not only of the identities of witnesses (all also presumably dead) but also of the identities of the forces (other than the Dublin Metropolitan Police [DMP]) to which they belonged presents difficulties to any challenge more than 80 years after the event. Nevertheless the inquiry cannot be discounted as it offers the only known piece of official documentation for one of the most important events in modern Irish history.

Who fired first?

The central point in dispute was that of who fired first. Common to all reports is that the firing started at the south-west corner of the ground (that is, the corner where Jones’s Road crosses the Royal Canal). Was the government claim that their forces were fired on first true? There were undoubtedly IRA men in the grounds that day. At the time there was considerable overlap between membership of the IRA and membership of the GAA. It is certainly not out of the question that shots could have been fired at the Crown forces. If that was the case, it was obviously an extremely irresponsible act.
The alternative theory is that the RIC and auxiliaries raided Croke Park in reprisal for the attacks of that morning. Such reprisals were becoming common. Balbriggan had been sacked in September. Less than three weeks after Bloody Sunday Cork city felt the brunt of such a reprisal. These were mainly unofficial, but little was done by high-ranking officers to discourage their men, who felt justified in exacting revenge on a population protecting what they regarded as a ‘murder gang’.
The inquiry is by no means conclusive but it does shed some light on a number of points. Several of the RIC witnesses contend that the firing began from inside the ground, presumably by armed spectators, before any Crown forces had entered. Admittedly, down the years this allegation has occasionally been made, and Tim Pat Coogan’s biography of Michael Collins could be said to accept it as valid by implication. But precisely how this allegation, even if true, justified the shooting dead of at least fourteen unarmed civilians (including two young boys and a 26-year-old woman), as well as the wounding of scores of spectators, by the mixed force of police and military is not explained in the inquiry’s conclusions. Indeed, the court of inquiry found the shootings to be unauthorised and far in excess of what was deemed appropriate even if the Crown forces were fired on first. The documents now released also reveal that a total of 228 rounds of small arms ammunition were fired by the RIC (including auxiliaries) and that the army machine-gun at the St James’s Avenue exit fired a total of 50 rounds.
Of those who admitted to firing rounds, one member of the Crown forces was especially graphic:

‘On November 21st 1920 I was in the second lorry of the convoy to Croke Park. The lorry halted just over the canal bridge. I saw no civilians on the bridge. There were some civilians in the passage leading to the turnstiles. I got out and went to the turnstiles as quickly as I could. As I got to the turnstiles I heard shots. I am certain they were revolver shots, a few shots fired quickly. They were fired inside the field. I tried to get through the turnstiles and found that they were locked. When getting over them a bullet hit the wall convenient to my head. This was the wall on the right hand side inside the archway and splinters of brick and mortar hit me in the face. It could not have been fired from outside the field. As I got inside I landed on my hands and feet. I saw young men aged between 20 and 25 running stooping among the crowd, away from me between the fence and the wall. I pursued and discharged my revolver in their direction. My duties were identification of persons. I was in plain clothes having a Glengarry cap in my pocket for identification by my own men if necessary. Having been fired at I used my own discretion in returning fire. I aimed at individual young men who were running away trying to conceal themselves in the crowd. I used a .450 revolver and service ammunition. I chased them across the ground nearly to the wall on the east side. I then saw that a number of people were going back towards the main gate by which I came in. I rushed to that gate and took up my position outside to try and carry out my duties of identification. I stayed there until the ground was cleared, that is about an hour and a half.’

Many of the RIC witnesses stated that when the first of their members got out of their lorry a group of civilians, ranging in number from 3–4 to 8–9, who were at the start of the passage from the canal bridge down to the canal entry turnstiles and who appeared to be acting in concert, turned and ran at speed through the turnstiles. Some of the party, it was alleged, fired back in the direction of the men dismounting from the lorry. It is this alleged engagement between armed IRA men and the raiding party that is at the core of apportioning blame for the deaths at Croke Park.
Among those backing up this version of events was the eighth witness, who states:

‘On 21st November I was in the first car of the convoy detailed to go to Croke Park. Immediately we came to the canal bridge on the rise overlooking the park I observed several men rushing back from the top of the bridge towards the entrance gate of the park. I observed three of them turning backward as they ran and discharging revolvers in our direction. Almost immediately the firing appeared to be taken up by members of the crowd inside the enclosure. At this time the members of our party were jumping out of the cars. Most of them rushed down the incline towards the entrance gate.’

DMP evidence

The first and second DMP witnesses were on Jones’s Road near the canal bridge. Neither reported seeing any civilians who could have threatened the Crown forces, nor did they report any shots being fired outside the ground. The first DMP constable called stated that shortly after 3.30pm about fifteen lorries of military and RIC arrived at the canal bridge entrance. The occupants of the first car ran down the passage leading to the football grounds. He stated that he did not know who started the firing but he reported that a military officer came running up to the bridge and said ‘What is all the firing about, stop that firing’. The third DMP officer was on duty further down Jones’s Road, outside the main entrance to Croke Park. He gave evidence concerning a separate group of RIC who arrived at the main gate:

‘On Sunday 21st inst. I was on duty outside the main entrance to Croke Park in Jones’s Road. At about 3.25 p.m. I saw six or seven large lorries accompanied by two armoured cars, one in front and one behind, pass along the Clonliffe Road from Drumcondra towards Ballybough. Immediately after a small armoured car came across Jones’s Road from Fitzroy Avenue and pulled up at the entrance of the main gate. Immediately after that, three small Crossley lorries pulled up in Jones’s Road. There were about ten or twelve men dressed in RIC uniforms in each. When they got out of the cars they started firing in the air which I thought was blank ammunition, and almost immediately firing started all round the ground.’

On the face of it, the DMP evidence differs from other Crown forces witnesses on the crucial question of who fired first. Since they might be expected to corroborate the evidence of other forces, their testimony may be the most significant of all that given to the inquiry.

Evidence of spectators

The evidence of two of the three spectators who gave evidence to the inquiry, one of whom is easily identified (see below), is of interest, since it too is in conflict with the bulk of the evidence from the RIC, auxiliaries and military. Witness 9, who appears to have accompanied to the game Jeremiah O’Leary (killed), stated that the first shooting came from the canal bridge, and that it came from auxiliaries (‘men in RIC caps and khaki trousers’). According to this witness, the officer in charge  at the bridge (probably from the first lorry to reach the bridge) also wore this uniform and had a bonnet, i.e. a Glengarry cap, peculiar to the ‘Auxies’.
The next witness (no. 10) described himself as manager of Croke Park. Although also unnamed, this was Luke O’Toole, general secretary of the GAA, who resided beside the canal bridge. He told of how, from a low mound, then on the site of the recently demolished Nally Stand (to which he had moved from a seat in the stand when firing began), he saw firing commence at the canal end. Of all the statements known to have been made after Bloody Sunday, this is believed to be the only one made by a GAA official to the British authorities. However, O’Toole died suddenly in 1929, long before any statements from the Irish side were ever made, either to Irish newspapers or to the Military History Bureau.
The shooting at Croke Park lasted only a matter of minutes, yet almost 83 years later the events of that day are still emotive and controversial. The overall findings of the military inquiry, now released, must be viewed with some suspicion. However, contained within its pages is much new information on this event.

Tim Carey is former Administrator of the GAA Museum and is currently writing a book on the history of Croke Park. Marcus de Búrca is author of The GAA: a history.

Radio Free Eireann broadcast live every Saturday 1:00pm – 2:00pm at Rocky Sullivan’s 34 Van Dyke Street (at Dwight St.) in Red Hook Brooklyn (718) 246-8050

Posted by Jim on

.

Radio Free Eireann is heard on WBAI 99.5 FM and wbai.org on the web where
it is archived for 10 days..

This week we will be back home at Rocky Sullivan’s of Red Hook. Even before then
you can come to Rocky’s for the pizza and the best pint in New York

 

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.

Unrepentant Finian Bastards

COMMODORE BARRY RESEARCH PAPER

Posted by Jim on November 17, 2014

Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn
P. O.  Box 090-824
Brooklyn, NY 11209
www.commodorebarryclubbrooklyn.org
info@commodorebarryclubbrooklyn.org
Mary Nolan, President
718-833-3405
PRESS RELEASE
by Brian Kassenbrock
Director of Public Relations
718-748-0624
kassenbrock@verizon.net
COMMODORE BARRY RESEARCH PAPER
The Commodore Barry Club of Brooklyn, Inc. is pleased to announce an opportunity for undergraduate college students who are interested in researching Irish American history and the contributions of Irish Americans to the United States. The Club is calling for these students to submit a five to eight minute research paper of about one thousand words on the theme of the accomplishments of Commodore John Barry. In particular, the writer will address the problems that Barry faced in his time and how he solved them.
The contest will begin on Monday, Dec. 1, 2014 and will end on Monday, Jan. 26, 2015.  Entries shall be submitted electronically to the above cited website, “Contact Us” page during that time frame.
The first prize will be five hundred dollars ($500), the second prize two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and the third prize one hundred dollars ($100).
A blind jury of educators who have participated in past educational presentations will be the judges.
The prize winners will be asked to deliver their papers at ceremonies at Commodore Barry Park, located at Flushing Avenue and Navy Streets in downtown Brooklyn tentatively scheduled for 11 AM on Thursday, March 12th and to be our guests for a luncheon which will follow.
Each paper shall use the following format:
Name of Student:
School Affiliation:
Email:
Phone:
Postal Address:
Title of Paper:
Text of Paper:
Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact us through the website or by phone.   We look forward to receiving your submissions.

Live Traditional Irsh Music at Gramercy Ale House. This week featuring Denny McCarthy

Posted by Jim on October 5, 2014

gramercyhouse_trad-session

gramercy-seisiunThe 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.
7pm
at:
The Gramercy Ale House
272 Third Ave. (between 21st & 22nd St.)
New York, NY
(212) 260-1129

 

We shall never forget

Posted by Jim on September 10, 2014

            When 9/11 arrives, remember the living
Home page image

They sacrificed their health. Photo by MATT MOYER

In a little more than a week, we will mark the 13th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

Here in New York, the names of those killed in the attacks will be read aloud by their family members, friends and coworkers. Across the country, Americans will gather at memorials to honor the memories of those who died.

As a nation, we rightly resolved to never forget the attacks. But the truth is, we haven’t entirely kept that promise.

What many Americans may not know is that as the nation recovered, a public health disaster was just beginning to unfold. Thousands are sick because of the attacks, as well as the rescue and recovery operations that continued for months afterward.

In the days approaching this Sept. 11 and on the day itself, we ask Americans to remember all the victims of that terrible day — those who lost their lives, and the thousands of living victims who are sick and dying from illnesses and injuries, some of which have taken years to fully manifest.

We all know the outlines of the story. After 9/11, Americans from all 50 states rushed to Ground Zero to help in any way they could. Thousands of people worked in extremely hazardous conditions, often without proper protective equipment.

As they labored, the site smoldered, and rescue and recovery workers breathed in a toxic stew of chemicals, asbestos, pulverized cement and other health hazards released into the air when the towers fell.

The dust cloud that so unforgettably rolled through lower Manhattan after the attacks settled in homes, offices, buildings and elsewhere — exposing tens of thousands more to the same toxins.

Thirteen years later, more than 30,000 9/11 responders, as well as survivors of the attacks and area residents and workers, have an illness or injury caused by the attacks or their aftermath, and over two-thirds of those have more than one illness.

Many are disabled and can no longer work. They are suffering from a host of chronic diseases: asthma, obstructive pulmonary disease and gastroesophageal reflux disease, to name but a few.

Medical research has identified more than 60 types of cancer caused by 9/11 toxins. At least 2,800 people have been diagnosed with cancers caused or made worse by the aftermath of the attacks, a number that is sure to grow in the years to come.

More than 800 New York Fire Department members and more than 550 New York Police Department personnel are struggling with serious 9/11-related illnesses, many of them cancers, and have had to retire from their jobs for health reasons.

That is in addition to the more than 70 firefighters and 60 NYPD officers who have died from their 9/11-related illnesses.

Memorials and monuments to our losses continue to be built across the country in Arizona, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey and elsewhere. This outpouring of commemoration — not just in metal and stone, but in solemn ceremonies and prayer vigils, stair climbs and other events — is important to the American spirit. It is a source of comfort for those who lost loved ones and shows that the nation truly remembers those who lost their lives.

But sadly, there is still little mention that 9/11 is, on a daily basis, impacting the health of thousands of living Americans every day. That needs to change.

This Sept. 11, as Americans gather to honor and remember those who lost their lives that day, we are calling on the organizers of these memorials — governors, mayors, city councils and neighborhood and civic groups throughout America — to recognize the living victims of the attacks as well.

As your town or neighborhood holds a 9/11 remembrance, we hope you will remember and mention the thousands who struggle every day with illnesses or injuries caused by the attacks. These heroes need your support, too.

Alles is national legislative director with the Uniformed Fire Officers Association. Slevin is vice president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. Both are members of the 9/11 Health Watch board of directors .

 

 

We shall never forget
We shall keep this day,
We shall keep the events and the tears
In our minds, our memory and our hearts
and take them with us as we carry on.

Timeshare for Sale or Rent 10 mins. from Disney and Universal in Celebration Florida

Posted by Jim on August 25, 2014

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.

Cushendall killings : Villagers call on Britain to apologise for sectarian killings

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.”

From James Connolly’s “Songs of Freedom”

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.

Rocky Sullivan’s kicking off Irish language Classes every Tuesday at 7:00pm

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

718-246-8050

 

The Brooklyn Irish

Posted by Jim on November 15, 2013

Posted on November 4, 2013 by

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 thp-merseyRiver 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.

digging for potato during famine

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."

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:

Irishtown.

Fifth Ward

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.

0002989

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.

AOH Kings County Board meeting 4th Monday of the month at 8:00PM in the Baile na nGael 2750 Gerritsen Ave. B’klyn 11229

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

AOH Div.19: No report given

Posted by Jim on September 22, 2011

LAOH Div. 6: no report on next meeting

Posted by Louise Sullivan on

LAOH Div.22: no report given for next meeting

Posted by Louise Sullivan on

AOH Div.22: No report given

Posted by Jim on

Division 21 Breezy Point/Rockaway Beach(AOHRBNY21.org): Membership meetings are held on the last Tuesday of every month at the Knights of Colombus 333 Beach 90th St.,Rockaway Beach NY. Meetings start promptly at 8:00pm.

Posted by Jim on September 21, 2011

Contact: for prayers or announcements of fundraisers, etc. please contact Jim@BrooklynIrish.com or Louise@BrooklynIrish.com

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.

AOH Div. 12 (aohdiv12bklyn.org) : Meeting are held on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 8:00 PM in the K of C # 1251 Dongan Council 8122 5th Ave. (718)745-9175 Bay Ridge – All members should attend

Posted by admin on June 20, 2011

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 – ?

LAOH Div 19 : Next meeting will be ? @ 8:00 PM at 2750 Gerritsen Ave.(718) 891-6622) Brooklyn, NY 11229 if available

Posted by Louise Sullivan on June 20, 2010

LAOH County Board Meetings: All County meetings will take place on the 2nd Wed. of each month at 2750 Gerritsen Ave. B’klyn, NY 11229 (718) 891-6622. There has been no notification of the next meeting.

Posted by admin on

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

AOH Div. 35: Meetings the third Weds. of each month at 8:00 pm in the K of C #126, Columbus Council (718)336-8117, located at Quentin Road & Nostrand Ave. Brooklyn, NY 11229

Posted by Louise Sullivan on