Remembering Paddy Malone born on this day 1904 died 14th October 1970 aged 66 years

Paddy Malone born 15/10/1904 died 14/10/1970. RIP

Paddy Malone was born in Carrickmore Co.Tyrone in 1904, as a young man he joined the IRAs fight against the british during the Irish war of independence.

He Immigrated to Melbourne Australia in 1927 and from the start he grew to know the problems of the Australian workers intimately. He worked in the hardest forms of work not only as a builders’ labourer but on the Queensland cane fields. As a rank and file worker he participated in many struggles. He joined the Victorian builders’ labourers trade union in 1934. He linked up with Builders Labourers Federation militants and from the start, he was a quiet achiever, his manner matching his lilt. He topped the ballot for the committee to investigate the branch in July 1939, and came onto the executive later that year after the defeat of the old gang. However, he lost a ballot early in 1940. Next April, he attended his first ACTU Congress. From there, his rise was rapid. After a branch meeting chose him as acting organiser, he learnt to ride a motor cycle. He became State secretary early in 1941, about the time he joined the then illegal Communist Party. For the next twenty nine years he led the builders’ labourers in Victoria and played a leading part amongst all the builders’ labourers in Australia. He was an exemplary leader of this most important and heroic section of workers precisely because he was a Communist.

Having served as secretary of the Eureka Day Committee in 1948, Malone was keen to mark its centenary in 1954. When the BLF joined the commemorations, he called on members to recapture Eureka’s fighting spirit in their current struggles. And from that year the union adopted the flag of Eureka as their own.

His fighting the boss kept him safe from the fantasies of a peaceful transition to socialism or peaceful coexistence with the imperialists. He, therefore, accepted the position of vice-chairman of the Communist Party of Australia (Marxist-Leninist) from its formation in 1964.

Malone was deeply loved and respected not only by builders’ labourers but by all the workers. His name was a byword for integrity and courage. He enjoyed great mass standing. His interests were inseparable from the interests of the workers in Australia and throughout the world.

Although he spent most of his adult life in Australia he maintained a keen interest in the struggle of the Irish workers and peasants against the ruthless oppression of British imperialism. Of all their struggles, including their present struggles, he had a vast knowledge. He gave his full support to the Irish people’s struggles.

Paddy saw every penny of union dues as a trust for his members and his class. After the 1960 Federal Conference elected him as treasurer, he worried about spending £40 on a Conference dinner for the delegates. He also suggested that Conferences be held every two or three years to cut costs. In 1965, he convinced the officials that the Federation could not afford a dinner.

Paddy’s successor Norm Gallagher had owed his start as an organiser in 1952 to Malone, just as his success as Federal secretary from 1961 drew on Paddy’s guidance.

Paddy needed time off in the 1950s and again in the 1960s because of a cancer. Although his energies were failing, he retained office until a few days before his death on 14 October 1970, aged 66.

Communist Party chairman Ted Hill opened his funeral oration by pointing out that Malone had bequeathed ‘a monument of man of the greatest single-minded integrity. That integrity came from his devotion and adherence to the cause of the liberation of the workers and all oppressed people’. The service spilt onto the steps of the Trades Hall from the BLF office which was a nerve centre of the campaign to expose the murder for profit behind the collapse of the Westgate bridge on the day after Malone’s death. His farewell was one more action for a life-long militant.

With many thanks to: James Connolly Association Australia. 

On 30th May 1923, IRA Volunteers, Michael Murphy and Joseph O’Rourke (from Ardrahan) were executed in Tuam, Co. Galway.

These were the final executions of the Civil War. However, they are not listed in the official 77 state executions.

With many thanks to: Liam Mellows.

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

Remembering my beautiful sister Martha who’s anniversary occurs today.

No Enquiry 

No investigation 

And still no justice 

Thinking about u always Martha love millions 😇😇😇

#RIP

With many thanks to: Teresa Campbell.

Remembering Volunteers Eugene Martin and Sean McKearney, 1st Battalion, East Tyrone Brigade, Irish Republican Army (IRA), who were killed on active service on this day 13th May 1974.

Remembering Volunteers Eugene Martin and Sean McKearney, 1st Battalion, East Tyrone Brigade, Irish Republican Army, who were killed when the bomb they were transporting detonated prematurely at Doneydale near Dungannon, on the 13th May 1974.

Morning  bhoys & ghirls today we remember  with pride 2 brave volunteers who died this day 43 years ago

With many thanks to: Clan na Gael, Andy Mullen – Remember Irish Patriots Dead.

101 years ago on 12th May 1916, the final 2 Irish Republican Martyrs were murdered by the British Crown.

They were the last of the Irish rebels to be executed on Irish soil. The final rebel to be executed was Roger Casement, three months later, in England.

When Ireland has her freedom – May they Rest in Peace.
C xx
Seán MacDiarmada: 

Born in 1884 in Leitrim, MacDiarmada emigrated to Glasgow in 1900, and from there to Belfast in 1902. A member of the Gaelic League, he was acquainted with Bulmer Hobson. He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood in 1906 while still in Belfast, later transferring to Dublin in 1908 where he assumed managerial responsibility for the I. R. B. newspaper Irish Freedom in 1910. Although MacDiarmada was afflicted with polio in 1912, he was appointed as a member of the provisional committee of Irish Volunteers from 1913, and was subsequently drafted onto the military committee of the I. R. B. in 1915. During the Rising MacDiarmada served in the G. P. O. He was executed on 12th May 1916. 

James Connolly: 

Born in Edinburgh in 1868, Connolly was first introduced to Ireland as a member of the British Army. Despite returning to Scotland, the strong Irish presence in Edinburgh stimulated Connolly’s growing interest in Irish politics in the mid 1890s, leading to his emigration to Dublin in 1896 where he founded the Irish Socialist Republican Party. He spent much of the first decade of the twentieth century in America, he returned to Ireland to campaign for worker’s rights with James Larkin. A firm believer in the perils of sectarian division, Connolly campaigned tirelessly against religious bigotry. In 1913, Connolly was one of the founders of the Irish Citizen Army. During the Easter Rising he was appointed Commandant-General of the Dublin forces, leading the group that occupied the General Post Office. Unable to stand to during his execution due to wounds received during the Rising, Connolly was executed while sitting down on 12th May 1916. He was the last of the leaders to be executed on Irish soil
With many thanks to: Ireland-One Island, One Nation.

SEÁN MAC DIARMADA Executed on this day May 12th 1916 in Kilmainham Gaol (1883-1916)

(1883-1916)

Born in Leitrim, he emigrated to Glasgow in 1900 where he worked as a tram conductor, and from there came back to Belfast in 1902. A member of the Gaelic League, Mac Diarmada was sworn into the IRB by Denis McCullough, and transferred to Dublin in 1908 where he managed the IRB newspaper Irish Freedom in 1910.
Although afflicted with polio in 1911 and needing a walking stick, together with Tom Clarke, McCullough and Bulmer Hobson, Mac Diarmada is credited with revitalising the IRB and becoming a popular leader.
After the outbreak of the First World War in August 1914, he campaigned against Irishmen joining the British army, and was jailed under the Defence of the Realm Act.
In a speech at Tralee, Co Kerry he claimed: “The Irish patriotic spirit will die forever unless a blood sacrifice is made in the next few years.”
Mac Diarmada was said to be obsessively secretive in his planning, excluding many of his fellow IRB men from the Rising conspiracy.
A signatory of the Proclamation and a member of the Provisional Government, he spent

the Rising in the GPO.
Before his execution, Mac Diarmada wrote: “I feel happiness the like of which I have never experienced. I die that the Irish nation might live!”
He was executed by firing squad at Kilmainham on May 12. Mac Diarmada was unmarried.
Sean McDermott Street in Dublin is named in his honour as is Mac Diarmada rail station in Sligo, and Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada, the GAA ground in Carrick-on-Shannon. Sean MacDermott tower in Ballymun, which was demolished in 2005, was also named after him.

With many thanks to: Easter Rising War of Independence and Irish Civil war History.