The Gibbet Rath Massacre.

Refers to the execution of several hundred rebels by British forces during the United Irish Rebellion of 1798 at the Curragh of Kildare on 29 May 1798.

The United Irishmen’s rebellion in 1798 was strongly supported in the Kildare area, and it was on the Curragh of Kildare that the worst atrocities and suppression of the rising were witnessed.
The rebels took over a number of towns in the Kildare area and having held the government forces at bay for over a week they negotiated favorable surrender terms with Lieutenant General Sir Ralph Dundas, Commander of the Midland District Militia. They were to proceed to the Gibbet Rath on the Curragh on the May 29th, where they would hand up their arms and would be allowed to return to their homes unharmed.
Large numbers of rebels gathered at the Gibbet Rath to meet General Dundas. Unfortunately for them, Dundas was called away before he could accept their surrender. Instead General Sir James Duff, a ruthless English Officer, arrived with his army which included a regiment known as Roden’s Foxhunters led by Viscount Jocelyn, a leading racing man whose father the Earl of Roden was one of the original founders of the Turf Club in Kildare town. General Duff had been informed that a solider from Rommey’s Fencibles was knocked from his horse and killed on the Curragh. He was outraged and vowed to avenge the death. Reports from Kildare town on the eve of the massacre stated that several of Roden’s Foxhunters, in a riotous and drunken state, marched through the streets with fixed bayonets swearing loudly “we are the boys who will slaughter the croppies tomorrow at the Curragh”. This behavior deterred many rebels from proceeding to the Curragh thereby saving many lives.
On the faithful day, May 29, 1798 the rebels assembled at the Gibbet Rath where they handed in their weapons. They were immediately surrounded by General Duff and his forces which, besides Roden’s Light Dragoons, included the Monasterevan cavalry along with other militia. Duff ordered his army to “charge and spare no rebel”. Over 350 men were slaughtered as they fled in panic, many more were badly injured but feigned death until calm prevailed. It was reported that in one street alone in Kildare that night, 85 widows were counted. Within a 10 mile radius of the Curragh there was hardly a house or cottage that didn’t have a father, brother or son killed. Some of the rebels were buried in Kildangan and their names are recorded there. Others were buried in the Grey Abby in Kildare and some in Nurney.

With many thanks to: Clan na Gael.

The I.R.A’s 1933 constitution and government programme for the Republic of Ireland represents the radical ideals of the left section of the republican movement at the time.

It proposed that the nation’s soil, rivers, lakes and waterways were to be the property of the people and the state’s responsibility for adequate housing.

Long neglected – it has until now not been available online – elements remain as relevant today for republican socialists.
“A socialist republic is the application to agriculture and industry; to the farm, the field, the workshop of the democratic principle of the republican ideal” – James Connolly 

The I.R.A constitutional and Governmental programme for the republic 1933


We have within our own nation all the resources which are required to provide every citizen not only with the essentials of life but with comfort. Luxuries may not be yet be available, but the first stage is to provide an adequate standard for all.


The resources and wealth of the nation are very largely in the possession and under the control of those sections who are hostile to national freedom , and who have allied themselves with british imperialism. The immediate task is to rescue from them the heritage which they have robbed and plundered from the mass of the people. The powerful interests which dominate Irish life at present were built up on the basis of the conquest.


The machinery of the  state was devised and has been developed to serve these interests. The powers of this state machine must be smashed. The machinery of the state of the republic of Ireland will be devised to serve, not any privileged sections, but the needs of the whole people.


Members of the Irish Republican Army must accept the responsibility which the organisation has shouldered and which history and tradition has imposed on it; that is the leadership of the struggle for national freedom and for the economic liberation of the people. They must make themselves familiar with all phases of the struggle. Not only must they be the organised and armed vanguard but they must also supply leadership and guidance in directing the thoughts of the people along constructive and revolutionary lines.




The right of the individual citizen shall be admitted to personal and private property, the possession of which is not in conflict with the common good.



The soil of the nation and all its resources are the property of the people, and shall be subject to their jurisdiction.

The soil of the nation shall be used primarily to produce food for the people.

It shall be the policy of the state to settle on the soil as great a proportion of the population as it can bear, and as economic good sense justifies. Large holdings of land not being used productively in accordance with government requirements shall be redistributed.


Occupiers of the land who comply with reasonable requirements of the community shall be guaranteed security of tenure with the right of succession to members of their families. These requirements shall be met by producing sufficient food to render the community self-supporting and independent of foreign food supplies.


As the state shall demand the utilisation of land to its fullest productive capacity, it shall guarantee to the producer a minimum return for produce. The state shall accept full responsibility for marketing of the surplus at a guaranteed minimum price after provision has been made by the producer for himself and his family.


It shall be the policy of the state to promote, as rapidly as possible, the co-operative organisation of the agricultural industry. Through the co-operative organisation credit shall be made available, by the state banking institution, for the development of all branches of the industry, and for improving the standard of the agricultural community.


The agricultural co-operative organisations shall be co-ordinated with the distributing and marketing organisation; these shall be responsible for regulating the production and internal distribution of food supplies, and for marketing the national surplus.


Co-operative organising of the industry shall be voluntary. Legislation shall not be applied to those who do not wish to enter the co-operative.


Those who elect to remain aloof shall not be entitled as of right, to share in the state credits and facilities afforded to the co-operative communities. They shall be responsible for according to any hired labour they may employ conditions of employment equal to the standard maintained in the co-operative communities.



All rivers, lakes and inland natural waterways, and their resources, are the property of the people and shall be subject to their jurisdiction.


The claims of any individual or company, to their exclusive ownership or use, or the fisheries there of shall be abolished. Inland, coast and deep sea fishing shall be controlled and directed by the state.


It shall be the policy of the state to promote the development of the fishing industry along co-operative lines. Through the co-operative fisheries organisation, credit will be made avaialbel by the state banking institution, for the fullest development, organisation and modern equipment of the industry, and for improving the standard of life of the fishing community.



The national wealth and credit shall be made available and shall be applied by the state for the creation of a manufacturing industry capable at least of providing for the normal and essential needs of the community.


Industry so created shall be the property of the community. Workers in these industries shall be responsible for the operation, under state direction and management; and they shall be renumerated on a wage basis.


The productive organisation shall be co-ordinated with the distributive organisation; these shall be responsible for the regulation of production, internal distribution, and for the marketing abroad of any surplus.



It shall be the policy of the state to bring about, as early as possible, the co-operative distribution of products. To achieve this end, such financial and credit facilities as will be required shall be made available through the state banking institution.


Each co-operative shall be responsible for distribution within its own area, and for transferring any surplus to the central marketing and imports board.
The distributing and co-operative organs shall work in conjunction with the producers, both agricultural and industrial, in their areas and with the central marketing and imports board.

The state shall establish a monopoly in banking, and in the creation and issuing of credit and currency, so that the wealth and credit of the nation shall be available for the benefit of the community.

Private enterprise both in production and distribution of commodities shall be permitted, subject to the maintenance of conditions of employment in private enterprises being equal to the standard maintained in state financed co-operative enterprises. Private enterprise shall not be entitled to share or participate in the credit and other facilities afforded by the state to co-operatives.

To stabilise and safeguard the national economy, and to control production and distribution, exports and imports shall be controlled by the state through the central marketing and imports board.
Imports which would impede internal trade shall not be admitted. Overseas and coasting trade shall, as far as possible, be carried out by the state mercantile marine.

All forms of public and inland transport shall be operated by a body set up by the national economic council.

All forms of insurance shall be made a state monopoly. After a date to be appointed, insurances shall not be effected with private companies. Insurances which have not at that date matured or expired may be continued.

The state shall be responsible for the provision adequate housing of citizens. Citizens shall be encouraged and assisted by the state to become owners of their own homes. After a date to be fixed by the government, the building of houses for sale or rent shall be declared illegal. Houses declared unfit for human habitation by the public authority shall be destroyed and no compensation shall be paid to the landlord in respect of such houses and sites.

As the soil of the nation is the property of the people and subject to their jurisdiction, this jurisdiction shall be exercised to abolish landlordism in all cities and towns, and in any land required as sites for building purposes. Land required for building purposes and for providing social amenities shall be acquired on the basis of its agricultural value, and no payment shall be made in respect of the additional values in it by the community.

Taxation for natural purposes shall be assessed and levied on:

(a)Personal income of the individual, i.e. after allowance for the maintenance of himself and his family has been allowed for.

(b) Private trading and property

(c) Co-operative trading

(d) Unearned income – a supertax to be imposed

(e) Land not being used productively

(f) Luxuries

A body shall be created by the government and styled the ‘national economic council’, the members of which shall be chosen by the co-operatives. Its functions shall be to co-ordinate and advise on the control and development of:

(a) Agriculture (b) Fisheries (c) Manufacturing Industries (d) Banking, Credits and Taxation (e) Internal Marketing, Imports and Exports (f) Transport (g) Transport (h) Insurance (i) Housing

The present elaborate and bewildering system of law shall be swept away and a codification of lawson non-technical language shall be carried out. The principle of arbitration shall be adopted and extended as far as possible in civil cases.
The judiciary shall be appointed by, but shall be independent of, the government and shall be irremovable except on proven maladministration. he legal profession shall be a branch of the civil service, and the services of lawyers shall be available to all citizens. In certain cases the state may charge a fee for legal services.
The regular police forces shall be small as possible and shall be supplemented by forces recruited and controlled by the local authorities.
The penal code shall aim at the reforming of the offenders rather than at their punishment.

With many thanks to: James Connolly.

Remembering IRA Volunteer Raymond McCreesh who died in Long Kesh after 61 days on Hunger Strike on 21st May 1981.

The third of the resolutely determined IRA Volunteers to join the H-Block hunger strike for political status was twenty-four-year-old Raymond McCreesh, from Camlough in South Armagh: a quiet, shy and good-humoured republican, who although captured at the early age of nineteen, along with two other Volunteers in a British army ambush, had already almost three years active republican involvement behind him.
During those years he had established himself as one of the most dedicated and invaluable republican activists in that part of the six counties to which the Brits themselves have – half-fearfully, half-respectfully – given the name ‘bandit country’ and which has become a living legend in republican circles, during the present war, for the courage and resourcefulness of its Volunteers: the border land of South Armagh.

Raymond’s resolve to hunger strike to the death, to secure the prisoners’ five demands was indicated in a smuggled-out letter written by Paddy Quinn, an H-Block blanket man – who was later to embark on hunger strike himself – who was captured along with Raymond and who received the same fourteen year sentence: “I wrote Raymie a couple of letters before he went to the prison hospital. He wrote back and according to the letter he was in great spirits and very determined. A sign of that determination was the way he finished off by saying: Ta seans ann go mbeidh me abhaile rombat a chara’ which means: There is a chance that I’ll be home before you, my friend!”

Captured in June 1976, and sentenced in March 1977, when he refused to recognise the court, Raymond would have been due for release in about two years’ time had he not embarked on his principled protest for political status, which led him, ultimately, to hunger strike.

Raymond Peter McCreesh, the seventh in a family of eight children, was born in a small semi-detached house at St. Malachy’s Park, Camlough – where the family still live – on February 25th, 1957.

The McCreeshes, a nationalist family in a staunchly nationalist area, have been rooted in South Armagh for seven generations, and both Raymond’s parents – James aged 65, a retired local council worker, and Susan (whose maiden name is Quigley), aged 60 – come from the nearby townland of Dorsey.

Raymond was a quiet but very lively person, very good-natured and – like other members of his family – extremely witty. Not the sort of person who would push himself forward if he was in a crowd, and indeed often rather a shy person in his personal relationships until he got to know a person well. Nevertheless, in his republican capacity he was known as a capable, dedicated and totally committed Volunteer who could show leadership and aggression where necessary.

Among both his family and his republican associates, Raymond was renowned for his laughter and for “always having a wee smile on him”. His sense of humour remained even during his four-year incarceration in the H-Blocks, as well as during his hunger strike where he continued to insist that he was “just fine.”

Raymond went first to Camlough primary school, and then to St. Coleman’s college in Newry. It was at St. Coleman’s that Raymond met Danny McGuinness, also from Camlough, and the two became steadfast friends. They later became republican comrades, and Danny too then a nineteen-year-old student who had just completed his ‘A’ levels was captured along with Raymond and Paddy Quinn, and is now in the H-Blocks.

At school, Raymond’s strongest interest was in Irish language and Irish history, and he read widely in those subjects. His understanding of Irish history led him to a fervently nationalist outlook, and he was regarded as a ‘hothead’ in his history classes, and as being generally “very conscious of his Irishness”.

He was also a sportsman, and played under-sixteen and Minor football for Carrickcruppin Gaelic football club as well as taking a keen interest in the local youth club where he played basketball and pool, and was regarded a good snooker player.

When he was fourteen years old, Raymond got a weekend job working on a milk round through the South Armagh border area, around Mullaghbawn and Dromintee. Later on, after leaving his job in Lisburn, he worked full-time on the milk round, where he would always stop and chat to customers. He became a great favourite amongst them and many enquired about him long after he left the round.

During the early ‘seventies, the South Armagh border area was the stamping ground of the British army’s Parachute regiment, operating out of Bessbrook camp less than two miles from Raymond’s home. Stories of their widespread brutality and harassment of local people abound, and built-up then a degree of resentment and resistance amongst most of the nationalist population that is seen to this day.

The SAS terror regiment began operating in this area in large numbers too, in a vain attempt to counter republican successes, and the high level of assassinations of local people on both sides of the South Armagh border, notably three members of the Reavey family in 1975, was believed locally to have been the work both of the SAS, and of UDR and RUC members holding dual membership with ‘illegal’ loyalist paramilitary organisations.

Given this scenario and Raymond’s understanding of Irish history, it is small wonder that he became involved in the republican struggle.

He first of all joined na Fianna Eireann early in 1973 and towards the end of that year joined the Irish Republican Army’s 1st Battalion, South Armagh.

Even before joining the IRA, and despite his very young age, Raymond – with remarkable awareness and maturity – became one of the first Volunteers in the South Armagh area to adopt a very low, security conscious, republican profile.

He rarely drank, but if occasionally in a pub he would not discuss either politics or his own activities, and he rarely attended demonstrations or indeed anything which would have brought him to the attention of the enemy.

It was because of this remarkable self-discipline and discretion that during his years of intense republican involvement Raymond was never once arrested or even held for screening in the North, and only twice held briefly in the South.

Consequently, Raymond was never obliged to go ‘on the run’, continuing to live at home until the evening of his capture, and always careful not to cause his family any concern or alarm.

Fitted in with his republican activities Raymond would relax by going to dances or by going to watch football matches at weekends.

After leaving school he spent a year at Newry technical college studying fabrication engineering, and afterwards got a job at Gambler Simms (Steel) Ltd. in Lisburn. He had a conscientious approach to his craft but was obliged to leave after a year because of a fear of assassination.

Each day he travelled to work from Newry, in a bus along with four or five mates who had got jobs there too from the technical college, but the prevailing high level of sectarian assassinations, and the suspicion justifiably felt of the predominantly loyalist work-force at Gambler Simms, made Raymond, and many other nationalist workers, decide that travelling such a regular route through loyalist country side was simply too risky.

So, after leaving the Lisburn factory, Raymond began to work full-time as a milk roundsman, an occupation which would greatly have increased his knowledge of the surrounding countryside, as well as enabling him to observe the movements of British army patrols and any other untoward activity in the area.

Republican activity in that area during those years consisted largely of landmine attacks and ambushes on enemy patrols.

Raymond had the reputation of a republican who was very keen to suggest and take part in operations, almost invariably working in his own, extremely tight, active service unit, though occasionally, when requested – as he frequently was – assisting other units in neighbouring areas with specific operations. He would always carefully consider the pros and cons of any operation, and would never panic or lose his nerve.

In undertaking the hunger strike, Raymond gave the matter the same careful consideration he would have expended on a military operation, he undertook nothing either a rush, or for bluff.

The operation which led to the capture of Raymond, his boyhood friend, Danny McGuiness, and Patrick Quinn, took place on June 25th, 1976.

An active service unit comprising these three and a fourth Volunteer arrived in a commandeered car at a farmyard in the town land of Sturgan a mile from Camlough – at about 9.25 p.m.

Their objective was to ambush a covert Brit observation post which they had located opposite the Mountain House Inn, on the main Newry – Newtonhamilton Road, half-a-mile away. They were not aware, however, that another covert British observation post, on a steep hillside half-a-mile away, had already spotted the four masked, uniformed and armed Volunteers, clearly visible below them, and that radioed helicopter reinforcements were already closing in.

As the fourth Volunteer drove the commandeered car down the road to the agreed ambush point, to act as a lure for the Brits, the other three moved down the hedgeline of the fields, into position. The fourth Volunteer, however, as he returned, as arranged, to rejoin his comrades, spotted the British Paratroopers on the hillside closing in on his unsuspecting friends and, although armed only with a short range Stengun, opened fire to warn the others.

Immediately, the Brits opened fire with SLRs and light machine-guns, churning up the ground around the Volunteers with hundreds of rounds, firing indiscriminately into the nearby farmhouse and two vehicles parked outside, and killing a grazing cow!

The fourth Volunteer was struck by three bullets, in the leg, arm and chest, but managed to crawl away and to elude the massive follow up search, escaping safely – though seriously injured – the following day.

Raymond and Paddy Quinn ran zig-zag across open fields to a nearby house, under fire all this time, intending to commandeer a car. Unfortunately, the car belonging to the occupants of the house was parked at a neighbour’s house several hundred yards away. Even then the pair might have escaped but that they delayed several minutes waiting for their comrade, Danny McGuinness, who however had got separated from them and had taken cover in a disused quarry outhouse (where he was captured in a follow-up operation the next day).

The house in which Raymond and Paddy took cover was immediately besieged by berserk Paratroopers who riddled the house with bullets. Even when the two Volunteers surrendered, after the arrival of a local priest, and came out through the front door with their hands up, the Paras opened fire again and the Pair were forced to retreat back into the house.

On the arrival of the RUC, the two Volunteers again surrendered and were taken to Bessbrook barracks where they were questioned and beaten for three days before being charged.

One remarkable aspect of the British ambush concerns the role of Lance-Corporal David Jones, a member of the 3rd Battalion, the Parachute regiment. According to Brit statements at the trial it was he who first opened up on the IRA active service unit from the hillside.

Nine months later, on March 16th, 1977 two IRA Volunteers encountered two Paratroopers (at the time seconded to the SAS) in a field outside Maghera in South Derry. In the ensuing gun battle, one SAS man was shot dead, and one IRA Volunteer was captured. The Volunteer’s name was Francis Hughes, the dead Brit was Lance-Corporal David Jones of the Parachute regiment.

In the eighteen months before going on hunger strike together neither Raymond McCreesh or Francis Hughes were aware of what would seem to have been an ironic but supremely fitting example of republican solidarity!

After nine months remand in Crumlin Road jail, Raymond was tried and convicted in March 1977, of attempting to kill Brits, possession of a Garand rifle and ammunition, and IRA membership. He received a fourteen-year sentence, and lesser concurrent sentences, after refusing to recognise the court.

In the H-Blocks he immediately joined the blanket protest, and so determined was his resistance to criminalisation that he refused to take his monthly visits for four years, right up until he informed his family of his decision to go on hunger strike on February 15th, this year. He also refused to send out monthly letters, writing only smuggled ‘communications’ to his family and friends.

The only member of his family to see him at all during those four years in Long Kesh two or three times – was his brother, Fr. Brian McCreesh, who occasionally says Mass in the H-Blocks.

Like Francis Hughes, Raymond volunteered for the earlier hunger strike, and, when he was not chosen among the first seven, took part in the four-day hunger strike by thirty republicans until the hunger strike ended on December 18th, last year.

Speaking to his brother, Malachy, shortly after Bobby Sands death, Raymond said what a great loss had been felt by the other hunger strikers, but it had made them more determined than ever.

And still managing to keep his spirits up, when told of his brother, Fr. Brian, campaigning for him on rally platforms, Raymond joked: “He’ll probably get excommunicated for it.”

To Britain’s eternal shame, the sombre half-prediction made by Raymond to his friend Paddy Quinn – Ta seans ann go mbeid me abhaile rombat – became a grim reality. Bhi se. Raymond died at 2.11 a.m. on Thursday May 21st, 1981, after 61 days on hunger strike.

With many thanks to: Clan na Gael

Today marks the anniversary of 2 brave sons of Ireland.

Irish Political hostages on hunger strike,Volunteer Patsy O Hara (inla) and Volunteer Ray Mccreesh (ira) …both men went on hunger strike together,they both died on may 21st, 1981 after 61 days on hunger strike,side by side till the last breath,
We stand for the freedom of the Irish nation so that future generations will enjoy the prosperity they rightly deserve, free from foreign interference,oppression and exploitation. The real criminals are the British imperialists who have thrived on the blood and sweat of generations of Irish men. They have maintained control of Ireland through force of arms and there is only one way to end it.

I would rather die than rot in this concrete tomb for years to come – Patsy O Hara (I.N.L.A Hungerstriker) 
Both men paid the ultimate price for their dedication,courage and beliefs.We remember them as ordinary men who did extraordinary things in extraordinary times,

Gone but never forgotten Cuz,

Rest in Power,Glory to your soul ❤

With many thanks to: Brònzy Hegerty

G.K. Chesterton and Michael Collins

G.K. Chesterton and Michael Collins:

An Irish revolutionary who sounded the trumpet that set the sun upon the British Empire was the last person one would expect to have been an avid fan of a middle class British writer.
Chesterton’s novels “The Man Who Was Thursday” and “The Napoleon of Notting Hill” had the unlikely effect of stirring the imagination of an impressionable Michael Collins. Collins moved to Dublin as a young man and was give a copy of “The Man Who Was Thursday” by the man he was aide de camp to in the GPO during the Easter Rising, Joe Plunkett. He did actually receive the gift earlier when he was in the Plunkett’s house, Larkfield, with the Kimmage Garrison. The book was thought to have changed Collins’s approach to the War of Independence by the phrase uttered by the novel’s anarchist that “if you don’t seem to be hiding, no one hunts you out.” This mantra became the signature of an individual who saddled around Dublin city on a bicycle whilst waging covert war against British agents in the nation’s capital. Accordingly, Collins never seemed to be hiding. He always wore good suits, neatly pressed. And time after time, this young businessman was passed through police cordons unsearched, with his pockets stuffed with incriminating documents. It seems to be an iron law with policemen both in Collins’ time and ours, that terrorists are not expected to wear pin-striped suits and clean collars and ties. He had a network of safe houses and secret rooms where he transacted business. One room was reached by pulling a lever which caused the bottom half of a kitchen dresser to swing upwards on hinges. Collins used to work in the house, until it was raided and then slip into the secret room and work away until the soldiers surrounding the house moved out of the garden. None of them ever realised that there was an unaccounted for window in the back wall of the house. By the same token, Collins was influenced by The Napoleon of Notting Hill and its fantastical character Adam Wayne who embarks upon a rallies his local men in a seemingly novel but ultimately life affirming and grandiose revolt against plans for a highway. Wayne becomes a real life and realistic defender of honour in a fantastical world where nothing is supposed to be taken with seriousness.

Collins was a practising Catholic and though he was involved in violent acts during the War of Independence and subsequent Civil War, his legacy is a complex one given the subsequent partition and ensuing pain for Northern Catholics left behind. Chesterton converted after he had written these books.
 I don’t know how true this is but as Richard Williamson once observed, Catholicism is the great unifier of men in thought and action. When two people are practising Catholics, they will have more in common within the space of a few minutes than two non-Catholics can often have even after years of companionship or knowledge of one another.
He combined a mind like a laser beam with a hawk-like eye for detail. Nothing escaped his attention. Everything attracted his interest. Shaw’s latest play, the way the Swiss organised a Citizen Army, Benjamin Franklin’s proposals for dealing with loyalists, or the latest edition of Popular Mechanics. An article in this journal in November of 1920 led to the first use in warfare of the Thomson gun. Collins saw the article on the recently invented weapon and had enquiries made about ‘this splendid thing’ which led to the Irish-American leader Joseph McGarrity of Philadelphia buying five hundred of the weapons. Two Irish-American ex-officers were sent to Ireland to train the I.R.A. in the use of the weapons. Only a handful got through the American customs, but these were duly used in a number of Dublin ambushes.
Collins was tough and abrasive with his male, and sometimes female, colleagues. But he was gentle and playful with children and old people. Throughout the eighteen months that Eamon de Valera was in America, on a propaganda and fund-raising mission, which lasted most of the Anglo-Irish war, Collins risked his life breaking curfew to call each week to his absent chief’s family, bringing them money and companionship.

One of the great questions of Irish history is: If Collins had lived longer would he have brought fire or prosperity to his country? Or would he have died of drink or disillusionment at the effects of the civil war which broke out over the terms of the Treaty? Certainly he had more business acumen and vision than any of his contemporaries. He foresaw a role for Ireland in Europe long before the E.U. was ever heard of. He preaches in one essay that Ireland should study the lessons of German scientific advancement, Danish agriculture, and bring them back home to develop a distinctive Irish economy and culture of its own. He loved the Irish language, but not merely as a medium of expression. He believed in personal initiative, writing in Building Up Ireland, Resources To Be Developed  ‘‘Millionaires can spend their surplus wealth bestowing libraries broadcast upon the world. But who will say that the benefits accruing could be compared with those arising from a condition of things in which the people themselves everywhere, in the city, town, and village were prosperous enough to buy their own books and to put together their own local libraries in which they could take a personal interest and acquire knowledge in proportion to that interest.’’
Tragically we will never know how this marvellous man might have developed. For as the German poet Heine once remarked, the Irish always pull down a noble stag. How true is this I wonder?

With many thanks to: Life And Times Of The “big Fella”.

Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara – Died on hunger strike in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh, 21st May 1981 after joining the Hunger Strike togeather.

Raymond McCreesh and Patsy O’Hara

Raymond McCreesh died at 2.11am on Thursday 21st May
Raymond McCreesh was born in a community that has always proclaimed that it is Irish, not British. When the Northern Troubles began he was barely 12, a very impressionable age at which to learn discrimination. Those who protested against it were harassed and intimidated. Then followed Burntollet, the Bogside, Bombay Street and Bloody Sunday in Derry – all before he was 15.”
The Cardinal went on to say that McCreesh would never have been in jail had it not been for the abnormal political situation.
“Who was entitled to judge him?” he asked.
The 20 May local elections in the Six Counties saw a number of H-Block candidates elected. Amongst them was Raymond McCreesh’s brother, Oliver.
International support for the Hunger Strikers soared. There were daily demonstrations in the United States. Thousands marched in protest through New York on the Saturday after the deaths of McCreesh and O’Hara. Amongst the countries that saw demonstrations, many of them large, were Australia, Norway, Greece, France and Portugal.
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh delivered the oration. Paying tribute to Raymond McCreesh, he said:
“We are gathered here to perform a last, sad but proud duty for that great Irishman and human being, Raymond McCreesh.”
He detailed McCreesh’s progression from Fianna Éireann to the IRA and his capture in 1976 after a gun battle with the British Army. He had fought imperialism, he said, which was “the enemy of mankind”.
Ó Brádaigh outlined the area’s proud history of resistance to British rule. He accused the British Government of callously murdering McCreesh and his comrades but added that British policy was now in ribbons:
“Where now is their Ulsterisation? Where now is their normalisation? Where now is their criminalisation?
“These hungry and starving men in their beds of pain, by superior moral strength, have pushed the British Government to the wall and have shamed them in the eyes of the world.”
Comparing the Hunger Strikers to Terence MacSwiney, the Lord Mayor of Cork who died on Hunger Strike in 1921, he pledged that republicans would continue their resistance to British rule.
PATSY O’HARA passed away at 11:39pm. By his bedside were his father, James, his sister, Elizabeth, and family friend James Daly.
Speaking of his final moments his sister said: “My father called, ‘Patsy!’ and he sort of, as if he recognised the voice, sort of just tried to move his head, just one last time. And then he died. And as he was dying his face just changed; he had a very, very distinct smile on his face which I will never forget. I said, ‘You’re free, Patsy. You have won your fight and you’re free.’ And he was cold then.”
Former leader of the INLA prisoners in the H-Blocks, O’Hara came from a staunchly republican family and was much respected in his native Derry. The night of his death saw sustained rioting on the streets of Derry. The RUC replied with volleys of plastic bullets, murdering 45-year-old Harry Duffy in the process. Two days earlier they had murdered 12-year-old Carol Ann Kelly in Twinbrook.
Repeating their actions with the Francis Hughes cortege, the RUC hijacked O’Hara’s remains. Long Kesh Governor Stanley Hilditch had informed the family that the remains had been taken to Omagh, where they could be collected. About 4:30am the RUC phoned Derry with a heartless message: “If you want to collect this thing you had better do it before daylight.”
They were determined to prevent a daytime cortege. In a sickening development it emerged (after the body was finally retrieved by the grieving family) that the RUC ghouls had mutilated the body.

With many thanks to: Federal Socialist Republic.