Oglaigh na hEireann Kevin Lynch…. Died August 1st, 1981- Rest in Peace

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A loyal, determined republican with a great love of life

The eighth republican to join the hunger-strike for political status, on May 23rd, following the death of Patsy O’Hara, was twenty-five-year-old fellow INLA Volunteer Kevin Lynch from the small, North Derry town of Dungiven who had been imprisoned since his arrest in 1976.

A well-known and well liked young man in the closely-knit community of his home town, Kevin was remembered chiefly for his outstanding ability as a sportsman, and for qualities of loyalty, determination and a will to win which distinguished him on the sports field and which, in heavier times and circumstances, were his hallmarks as an H-Block blanket man on hunger strike to the death.

Kevin Lynch was a happy-go-lucky, principled young Derry man with an enthusiastic love of life, who was, as one friend of his remarked – a former schoolteacher of Kevin’s and an active H-Block campaigner: “the last person, back in 1969, you would have dreamed would be spending a length of time in prison.”

The story of Kevin Lynch is of a light-hearted, hard-working and lively young man, barely out of his teens when the hard knock came early one December morning nearly five years ago, who had been forced by the British occupation of his country to spend those intervening years in heroic refusal to accept the British brand of ‘criminal’ and in the tortured assertion of what he really was – a political prisoner.

PARK

Kevin Lynch was born on May 25th, 1956, the youngest of a family of eight, in the tiny village of Park, eight miles outside Dungiven. His father, Paddy, (aged 66), and his mother, Bridie, (aged 65), whose maiden name is Cassidy, were both born in Park too, Paddy Lynch’s family being established there for at least three generations, but they moved to Dungiven twenty years ago, after the births of their children.

Paddy Lynch is a builder by trade, like his father and grandfather before him – a trade which he handed down to his five sons: Michael (aged 39), Patsy (aged 37), Francis (aged 33), Gerard (aged 27), and Kevin himself, who was an apprenticed bricklayer. There are also three daughters in the family: Jean (aged 35), Mary (aged 30), and Bridie (aged 29).

Though still only a small town of a few thousand, Dungiven has been growing over the past twenty years due to the influx of families like the Lynches from the outlying rural areas. It is an almost exclusively nationalist town, garrisoned by a large and belligerent force of RUC and Brits. In civil rights days, however, nationalists were barred from marching in the town centre.

Nowadays, militant nationalists have enforced their right to march, but the RUC still attempt to break up protests and the flying of the tricolour (not in itself ‘illegal’ in the six counties) is considered taboo by the loyalist bigots of the RUC.

Support in the town is relatively strong, Dungiven having first-hand experience of a hunger strike last year when local man Tom McFeeley went fifty-three days without food before the fast ended on December 18th. Apart from Tom McFeeley and Kevin Lynch other blanket men from the town are Kevin’s boyhood friend and later comrade Liam McCloskey – himself later to embark on hunger strike – and former blanket man Eunan Brolly, who was released from the H-Blocks last December.

SCHOOL

Kevin went to St. Canice’s primary school and then on to St. Patrick’s intermediate, both in Dungiven. Although not academically minded – always looking forward to taking his place in the family building business – he was well-liked by his teachers, respected for his sporting prowess and for his well-meant sense of humour. “Whatever devilment was going on in the school, you could lay your bottom dollar Kevin was behind it,” remembers his former schoolteacher, recalling that he took great delight in getting one of his classmates, his cousin Hugh (‘the biggest boy in the class – six foot one’) “into trouble”. But it was all in fun – Kevin was no troublemaker, and whenever reprimanded at school, like any other lively lad, would never bear a grudge.

Above all, Kevin was an outdoor person who loved to go fishing for sticklebacks in the river near his home, or off with a bunch of friends playing Gaelic (an outdoor disposition which must have made his H-Block confinement even harder to bear).

GAMES

His great passion was Gaelic games playing Gaelic football from very early on, and then taking up hurling when he was at St. Patrick’s.

He was excelled at both.

Playing right half-back for St. Patrick’s hurling club, which was representing County Derry, at the inaugural Feile na nGael held in Thurles, County Tipperary, in 1971, Kevin’s performance – coming only ten days after an appendix operation – was considered a key factor in the team’s victory in the four-match competition played over two days.

The following season Kevin was appointed captain of both St. Patrick’s hurling team and the County Derry under-16 team which went on in that season to beat Armagh in the All Ireland under-16 final at Croke Park in Dublin.

Later on, while working in England, he was a reserve for the Dungiven senior football team in the 1976 County Derry final.

Kevin’s team, St. Canice’s, was beaten 0-9 to 0-3 by Sarsfields of Ballerin, and he is described in the match programme as “a strong player and a useful hurler”. Within a short space of time after this final, Kevin would be in jail, as would two of his team mates on that day, Eunan Brolly and Sean Coyle.

QUALITIES

The qualities Kevin is remembered for as a sportsman were his courage and determination, his will to win, and his loyalty to his team mates. Not surprisingly the local hurling and football clubs were fully behind Kevin and his comrades in their struggle for the five demands, pointing out that Kevin had displayed those same qualities in the H-Blocks and on hunger strike.

He was also a boxer with the St. Canice’s club, once reaching the County Derry final as a schoolboy, but not always managing as easily as he achieved victory in his first fight!

Just before the match was due to start his opponent asked him how many previous fights he’d had. With suppressed humour, Kevin answered “thirty-three” so convincingly that his opponent, overcome with nervous horror, couldn’t be persuaded into the ring.

At the age of fifteen, Kevin left school and began to work alongside his father. Although lively, going to dances, and enjoying good crack, he was basically a quiet, determined young fellow, who stuck to his principles and couldn’t easily be swayed.

Like any other family in Dungiven, the Lynches are nationally minded, and young Kevin would have been just as aware as any other lad of his age of the basic injustices in his country, and would have equally resented the petty stop-and-search harassment which people of his age continually suffered at the hands of Brits and RUC.

The Lynches were also, typically, a close family and in 1973, at the age of sixteen, Kevin went to England to join his three brothers, Michael, Patsy and Gerard, who were already working in Bedford.

Both Bedford and its surrounding towns, stretching from Hertfordshire to Buckinghamshire and down to the north London suburbs, contain large Irish populations, and the Lynches mixed socially within that, Kevin going a couple of times a week to train with St. Dympna’s in Luton or to Catholic clubs in Bedford or Luton for a quiet drink and a game of snooker. He even played an odd game of rugby while over there.

But Kevin never intended settling in England and on one of his occasional visits home (“he just used to turn up”), in August 1976, he decided to stay in Dungiven.

INLA

Shortly after his return home, coming away from a local dance, he and nine other young lads were put up against a wall by British soldiers and given a bad kicking, two of the lads being brought to the barracks.

Kevin joined the INLA around this time, maybe because of this incident in part, but almost certainly because of his national awareness coming from his cultural love of Irish sport, as well as his courage and integrity, made him determined to stand up both for himself and his friends.

“He wouldn’t ever allow himself to be walked on”, recalls his brother, Michael. And he had always been known for his loyalty by his family, his friends, his teammates, and eventually by his H-Block comrades.

However, within the short space of little more than three months, Kevin’s active republican involvement came to an end almost before it had begun. Following an ambush outside Dungiven, in November ’76, in which an RUC man was slightly injured, the RUC moved against those it suspected to be INLA activists in the town.

On December 2nd, 1976, at 5.40 a.m. Brits and RUC came to the Lynch’s home for Kevin. “We said he wasn’t going anywhere before he’d had a cup of tea”, remembers Mr. Lynch, “but they refused to let him have even a glass of water. The RUC said he’d be well looked after by then.”

Also arrested that day in Dungiven were Sean Coyle, Seamus McGrandles, and Kevin’s schoolboy friend Liam McCloskey, with whom he was later to share an H-Block cell.

Kevin was taken straight to Castlereagh, and, after three days’ questioning, on Saturday, December 4th, he was charged and taken to Limavady to be remanded in custody by a special court. The string of charges included conspiracy to disarm members of the enemy forces, taking part in a punishment shooting, and the taking of ‘legally held’ shotguns.

Following a year on remand in Crumlin Road jail, Belfast, he was tried and sentenced to ten years in December 1977, immediately joining the blanket men in H3, and eventually finding himself sharing a cell with his Dungiven friend and comrade, Liam McCloskey, continuing to do so until he took part in the thirty-man four-day fast which coincided with the end of the original seven-man hunger strike last December.

LONG KESH

Since they were sentenced in 1977, both Dungiven men suffered their share of brutality from Crumlin Road and Long Kesh prison warders, Kevin being ‘put on the boards’ for periods of up to a fortnight, three or four times.

On Wednesday, April 26th, 1978, six warders, one carrying a hammer, came in to search their cell. Kevin’s bare foot, slipping on the urine-drenched cell floor, happened to splash the trouser leg of one of the warders, who first verbally abused him and then kicked urine at him.

When Kevin responded in like manner he was set upon by two warders who punched and kicked him, while another swung a hammer at him, but fortunately missed. The punching and kicking continued till Kevin collapsed on the urine-soaked floor with a bruised and swollen face.

In another assault by prison warders, Kevin’s cellmate, Liam McCloskey, suffered a burst ear-drum during a particularly bad beating, and is now permanently hard of hearing.

DETERMINATION

Even as long ago as April 1978, just after the ‘no wash’ protest had begun, Kevin was reported, in a bulletin issued by the Dungiven Relatives Action Committee, to “have lost a lot of weight, his face is a sickly white and he is underfed”.

His determination, and his sense of loyalty to his blanket comrades, saw him through, however, even the hardest times.

His former H-Block comrade, Eunan Brolly, who was also in H3 before his release, remembers how Kevin once put up with raging toothache for three weeks rather than come off the protest to get dental treatment. It was the sort of thing which forced some blanket men off the protest, at least temporarily, but not Kevin.

Eunan, who recalls how Kevin used to get a terrible slagging from other blanket men because the GAA, of which of course he was a member, did not give enough support to the fight for political status, also says he was not surprised by Kevin’s decision to join the hunger strike. Like other blanket men, Eunan says, Kevin used to discuss a hunger strike as a possibility, a long time ago, “and he was game enough for it”.

Neither were his family, who supported him in his decision, surprised: “Kevin’s the type of man”, said his father, when Kevin was on the hunger strike, “that wouldn’t lie back. He’d want to do his share.”

In the Free State elections, in June, Kevin stood as a candidate in the Waterford constituency, collecting 3,337 first preferences before being eliminated – after Labour Party and Fianna Fail candidates – on the fifth count, with 3,753 votes.

But the obvious popular support which the hunger strikers and their cause enjoyed nationally was not sufficient to elicit support from the Free State government who share the common, futile hope of the British government – the criminalisation of captured freedom fighters.

The direct consequence of that was Kevin’s death – the seventh at that stage – in the Long Kesh hospital at 1.00 a.m. on Saturday, August 1st after seventy-one days on hunger strike.

R.I.P. ~ Kevin Lynch…

A Chathaoirleach, a Uachtarain and all Republican and nationally-minded people !!!

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Seán de Brún

First of all it is an honour for me to be asked to speak here on this very hallowed ground today where many people spoke down through the years; I am not going to go into names. Pearse spoke here a year before his execution in 1915. Theobald Wolfe Tone has been on everybody’s lips young or old.

Maybe that it is not been lectured in the schools or the colleges today because things like that are not fashionable today in this ugly Free State that we live in here in the 26 counties. Theobald Wolfe Tone as people know was of a middle class protestant family, his father at the time being a coach builder of the horse drawn type.

He probably could have turned his back with no need to become involved with the freedom of Ireland, he was probably comfortable enough. But funny enough all those people Robert Emmett included that took part in the 1798 Rising, many of them were of protestant or Presbyterian origin, and to hear that people say today that it was a religious war in the six occupied north eastern counties that the British hold to this present day, it sure tells them that it was not a war of religion and it is not a war of religion, it is a war of occupation.

Among the aims of Theobald Wolfe Tone was to break the connection with England once and for all, a connection that has never been broken. An inspiration that came from Tone and his comrades that inspired the men back after the great hunger that was bestowed on us by the British in 1845 or the common word that they like to use “the potato blight”.

But it was a genocide brought on by the British Crown when they shipped all the food out of Ireland. They don’t want to hear that but it is the bare facts of it. It inspired those men to rise in North America and Canada. They called themselves the Young Irelanders who were prominent in the upcoming fight of 1867 with the Fenians. A fight that carried on but defeat came again, but we were together.

In 1916 Pearse and Liam Mellows rose out against the British Crown. And I’m sure that 1798 was the flame that inspired them when they stood on the steps of the G.P.O. on that Easter Monday morning and proclaimed the Irish Republic, a 32 county Republic in arms in the face of heavy British military presence. Again we were defeated but we were together.

In 1920 we fought the Tan War and again there was the beginning of the signs of freedom when they were defeated in places like Kilmichael and other spots where they were ambushed all over Ireland and then the Treaty came and in 22′ we were divided and Mellows and McKelvey, Rory O’Connor and Dick Barrett were the first four Irishmen to be executed under the new Free State government founded days before the 8th of December when they were executed by the Free State.

The very same men that were beside them, that slept with them on the run previous years. And there is no more evidence of that than in a county in Munster and that’s the county of Kerry where they brought tar and petrol out from Tralee and threw it down on top of their comrades in the Clashmealcon Caves, because they knew where they were because they had used the same dug outs themselves. We were defeated but we were never divided until 1922 and we have been divided since. Joe O’Neill often said that no one ever defeated us except ourselves.

In the sixties we saw many things happening. The 1956 Border Campaign came to an end in 1962. The British were driven out of Aden and Charles De Gaulle came along and saw that it was no longer viable to hold on to Algeria so he gave them their freedom. But no talk of Irish freedom. Right down through the years again in the ’80s many never heard of Nelson Mandela. Twenty-six years in a South African jail, just to sign a piece of paper and he would be released at any time. He stuck it out and became the first black president of his country. Again in the ’80s the Berlin Wall came down, it was applauded here in Ireland by the Free State, in Westminster by the Brits and in America that Gorbachev at last had come along and he had given the Baltic people their freedom. Yet not one word of our freedom.

I remember being here in either ’82 or ’83 and the late Joe Cahill stood on that podium there and he mentioned the Stickies and he called them the despicable Stickies, but all the time they were going down the very same slippery road as those who previously went and sold.

There is no two ways that you can be a Republican. You are either one or you are not. You cannot be serving in Leinster House and Stormont or be part of the ring in Westminster and still be a Republican. You cannot do it, and I am saying to those people today to stay away from hallowed spots like this and to leave it to those who are willing to carry on the torch of Theobald Wolfe Tone and to break the connection with England.

We had two prominent heads of state recently visit our 26-CountyState. The Queen of England was here and indeed was made welcome by many who spoke but never got near her, so therefore the Queen’s visit, let’s face it’ was not a success.

The president of the United States of America came shortly afterwards and he could move around freely and mingle with the people. Not so for the Queen of England. She could not go out and she was protected wherever she went. So that’s a sign that the fear is still in them. The fear of the risen people, who have never broken the chain with Republicanism and who never will break the chain with Republicanism until England are gone once and for all.

Many people are hoodwinked into thinking that this is the beginning of the unification of Ireland. Certainly the majority of the people in the cemetery today would not say so or neither would they think so. It is to strengthen English rule in Ireland. But I hope, lads, that you have your tape recorders over there to bring back the message to them, because we don’t want them here.

We don’t want the British government or any other type of government be it Westminster or Stormont. We want to get rid of them and have an All-Ireland parliament of our own and get rid of that sham that is below in Kildare Street or whatever they call it, Leinster House which is the cause of all the trouble today.

So the Queen’s visit to Ireland was not a normal one, but I suppose if they are to force these things and these things are to happen, there are a couple of points I would like to make before I finish up. I wouldn’t class myself as a Republican, I would class myself as a nationalist Irishman. I might not be good enough or worthy enough to be a Republican when I think of what these people that are buried in cemeteries like this have gone through, but I know one thing, she should never have been brought into the Garden of Remembrance. I know since the demons have been exorcised out of that place, people went down there and Republicans laid wreaths.

Most of all as a Cumann Lúthchleas Gael person I am galled that the GAA allowed her into Croke Park. It tells you the leadership we have in the GAA. But I will tell them when I meet them and I will tell Christy Cooney face to face when I meet him. They let her into Croke Park where in 1920 they shot 13 people and Michael Hogan that the Hogan Stand is called after. An association so gallant as the GAA, it tells you what they are gone to.

The ordinary people on the ground, even who those who were not opposed to the Queens visit that I had spoken to, they were galled that she went into these two places and they were galled that she went into Croke Park. So when you meet them tell them and put it to your clubs and mention it. It may not be carried but let them know that we have an opposition like we had an opposition to the British army being let into the GAA or to foreign games being let into Croke Park.

No, we have nothing against foreign games but we are a separate organisation. We are Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, even though our leaders at the top may not look it, these people who were out there on the grass roots, they are the people.

It is very hard to believe that when you are in Donegal or in Leitrim or any of the so-called Border counties from Louth right through Monaghan and Cavan that you are right on the verges of another country which is completely untrue. And the British for all their might have all the times that they boasted that the sun had never gone down on their mighty empire, today they have nothing left of that empire but the Falkland islands, Gibraltar below in Spain, the Six Occupied Counties of the north-east Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and of course we cannot forget our Celtic cousins who are also occupied and who do not class themselves as English, the Cornish people.

Go raibh mile maith agaibh go leor.

THE MURDERS OF PAT AND HARRY LOUGHNANE BY CORMAC O COMHRAI

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The remains of Pat Loughane

War Of IndependenceONLINE ARCHIVE CHRONICLING THE WAR OF INDEPENDENCE IN CLARE AND SOUTH GALWAY IN THE IRA’S 1ST WESTERN DIVISION AREA.

The murders of Pat & Harry Loughnane By Cormac O Comhrai

The murders of Pat and Harry Loughnane1

By  Cormac O Comhrai

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County Galway saw its share of controversial incidents during the War of Independence. Most, but not all, of these incidents were carried out by the Crown Forces and specifically the R.I C. police force and a new force, the Auxiliaries, which was created in order to help the R.I.C. in dealing with militant republicanism. These incidents attracted condemnation and press attention locally, nationally and internationally. Several of these controversial incidents occurred in November 1920 a month during which the Crown Forces killed a pregnant woman and a Catholic priest in Galway. It was a controversial and bloody month at a national level as well with the killings of Republican prisoners in Dublin Castle and the shootings in Croke Park on Bloody Sunday, the execution of Kevin Barry and the Kilmichael Ambush in Cork. In the same month two brothers disappeared after being arrested by Auxiliaries based in Drumharsna Castle near Ardrahan in South Galway. The names of these brothers were Pat and Harry Loughnane. We have no way of knowing what kind of person Harry was from the scant evidence that remains but we can guess at Pat`s personality. He was loyal to and protective of his family. He was confident and assured. He was a leader. He was a hard worker. He was physically brave. Politically they were both republicans and they were both members of republican organisations. They were, however, on balance neither extraordinary nor leaders of note. They were similar to thousands of young men of their age and background in Ireland at the time. It is not their arrest nor even their murder that makes their case different and significant but the manner in which they were treated in the hours before their deaths, how they met their deaths and the manner in which an attempt to cover these events up that makes their case of interest to historians of the period.

The last census that occurred under British rule took place in 1911. We learn a certain amount and we can infer other things from the information contained in the form that was returned by Loughnane family. This census shows that the Loughnanes lived and farmed in the townland of Derry, in the parish of Beagh, near Gort in the barony of Kiltartan in south county Galway. Like all the other households of the townland the Loughnanes were Catholic. Kate, the mother, is described in that census as being married rather than widowed. By 1920 she was certainly widowed. (This was stated by her daughter Norah in an interview conducted by Ernie O`Malley).2She was fifty six in 1911.3 She was able to read and write and was listed as a speaker of Irish as well as of English. It is safe to assume that given her age and the area in which she lived that she was a native speaker. It is also safe to assume that English was the language that she spoke to her children. Only one of the four children at home on the night of the census was also able to speak Irish. That was Norah who was a school monitress at the time and would go on to become a teacher in Corrandulla. She was sixteen at that time.

Memorial Card for Loughnane Brothers.

The others were Pat who was twenty, Hugh who was nineteen and had emigrated to England by 1920 and Harry who was fourteen. Harry later spent a year in De la Salle College in Waterford preparing to be a primary teacher but had to drop out for health reasons. Katie, another sister, was also teaching in Corofin by 1920. The Loughnanes were one of sixteen households in the townland. Their house was comfortably ranked in the middle tier of the townland`s houses. It was a four room house, three windows in the front with three outhouses: a cowhouse, a stable and a piggery. Only five of the other households had more outhouses with two others also having three.4 Kate Loughnane`s literacy and Norah`s educational ambition also support this idea of a family comfortable if not wealthy. This was backed up by report at the time of their murder and afterwards. By 1920, as well as their own farm of twenty five acres and taking outside tillage, the Loughnanes had bought another farm from money that Pat had saved.5 Like many families whose lot in life was slowly improving during the late nineteenth/ early twentieth century it seems to have been a political household or at least Pat and Harry were both interested in the events that were unfolding around them. Pat had previously been a member of the UIL. The UIL was an organisation that sought change in the lives of those who farmed the land. But it was a broad church and included both conservative and radical elements. In December 1923 the anti-Treaty T.D. Louis O`Dea who was based in Galway City and probably didn`t know the Loughnanes described this period of Pat`s life as Pat: “worked for the uplifting of the poor and the division of the grass lands, to replace the cattle by the people.”6 As well as communal agitation Galway had been rife with violent agrarian trouble for several generations and some prominent republicans in the county were also involved in agrarian agitation. In 1919 Pat Loughnane was one of twelve Beagh men who served terms of imprionment for a riot triggered by a dispute over the grazing of cattle where it was felt that a local farmer had been grazing cattle outside his own land. It seems that Loughnane`s involvement was over stated and the defence focused on securing his release rather than the other defendants. It seems that after Pat became radicalised by the Easter Rising that he regretted the UIL affiliation7 but the desire for change did not evaporate, however.

The 1916 Rising and, more importantly, the mishandling of the Rising by British Forces, the issues of partition and conscription changed the political landscape not totally but hugely in the period between the Easter Rising and the founding of Dáil Éireann in 1919. Galway, as one of the few areas outside of Dublin City that saw a mobilisation and a limited uprising saw hundreds of men, some not actually involved in the uprising itself, arrested, imprisoned or interned. 322 men with Galway addresses were interned in Frongoch Internment Camp alone including men from Gort, Kilcolgan, Ardrahan, Kinvarra, Peterswell, Loughrea8 all in the same general area as the Loughnanes came from. The Loughnanes must have known some of these men or their families through relations, fairs, business or hurling however casual this connection may have been. Both Pat and Harry got swept up in the radicalisation of nationalist opinion in the years 1916-1918. Pat is supposed to have said: “It grieves me to think that we stood by while others suffered. If I only got the least inkling of the Rising and what Sinn Féin stood for, I too, would have done my part.”9 On the first anniversary of the 1916 Rising Beagh was named in the Connacht Tribune as one of seven places in county Galway where republican flags were hung up to commemorate the events of Easter Week.10 Sinn Féin and the Irish Volunteers spread throughout the country but their spread was as dramatic in the West as it was anywhere. Cumainn and companies sprang up all over County Galway. The Loughnanes were to the forefront of this development in their own locality. Pat became the President of the local Sinn Féin cumann and Harry became its secretary.11 According to the South Galway Roll of Honour Pat and Harry both joined the Volunteers in 1917. Pat organised the Volunteers in Beagh Parish and was the commanding officer there.12 Pat, at least, was to go on to become an active Volunteer. Harry seems to have life long health problems13 which may have contributed to a lack of activity. The effects of this sickness are perhaps overstated as Harry was strong enough to be  the goalkeeper of his club hurling team. Pat was the team`s full back. But his health was poor enough for him to have dropped out of education.14

Support for republicanism was very strong in South Galway. The 1918 general election was a straight contest between a stalwarth of the Home Rule Party and a 1916 veteran standing for Sinn Féin. Sinn Féin took 86% of the vote.15 Despite this there was very little I.R.A. activity in the area until the summer of 1921. This was a pattern replicated in many other areas in Galway and in the West. Basically all of the violence used in 1919 in South Galway was directed at large landowners and their workers as well as as a result of neighbours`disputes over land rather than being directed at the police. The only violence directed at the R.I.C. was a shot being fired at Tubber barracks in August.16 If the start date of the War of Independence is taken as the 21st of January 1919 with the killing of two policemen in Soloheadbeg, Co. Tipperary the shot fired at Tubber Barracks can be described as being the first shot of the War of Independence in Galway. Even this action could easily be over land agitation. It wasn`t until January 1920 that the War of Independence could be said to have begun in Galway however. Meanwhile in 1919 the violence over land continued in South Galway. In April and May there were three woundings in Gort including that of a JP and landowner. In June a herd`s house was fired over also in Gort. In October there was a wounding in Kinvara and a house was fired into at Beagh and in November there was another attack at Kinvara when a merchant was shot and wounded. In December a farmer`son was wounded near Loughrea.17 The most significant incident of 1919 in South Galway and the only killing occurred in the summer and that was described by the police as a land dispute.18An ex-policeman named John Carr was killed in a fight outside his home in Tierneevin not far from where the Loughnanes lived. A local man, John Quinn, was arrested, charged with and pleaded guilty to manslaughter rather than murder. Quinn was accused of the assault on his father by Francis Carr,a son of the victim.19  According to Pádraig Ó Fathaigh, an I.R.A. Intelligence Officer in South Galway, the man responsible for the death of Carr was Pat Loughnane who he also named as the captain of the Beagh Company of the I.R.A. This rank may be incorrect as Loughnane was described as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Beagh Company in another republican source.20 Ó Fathaigh also went on to claim that a son of the ex-R.I.C. sergeant joined the Auxiliaries and came home looking for revenge. He claims that Loughnane and an I.R.A. lieutenant disarmed the vengeful son and raided his home for arms.21 This arms raid can be dated to July of 1920 when he was described as being home on leave from the Army. In this report he was called William.22Tom McInerney the I.R.A. O/C in South West Galway when the Loughnanes were arrested also linked their killings with that of John Carr. According to him Pat Loughnane raided the Carr home looking for a pistol. McInerney thought that Loughnane`s weak voice led to his identification. McInerney also claimed that Carr`s son (whom he also calls William) was there when the Loughnanes were murdered.23

RIC Auxialiaries using blood hounds to track the IRA

Up to the Autumn of 1920 the I.R.A. in South Galway was involved in raiding private homes for arms, in destroying barracks that had been vacated by the R.I.C. and in a small number of, mostly low level, attacks on the R.I.C. Pat Loughnane is mentioned in relation to at least two of these incidents (one of them the disarming of Carr the Auxiliary) and it seems likely that he was involved in more of this activity. In fact it is distinctly implausible that he wasn`t involved in more of these actions. He was certainly involved in the destruction of Tubber R.I.C. barracks. He was criticised locally at the time for his perceived recklessness for breaking in the door in order to help destroy the empty station. It was feared that the building might have been mined by the retreating R.I.C.24 He also was involved in the guarding of a policeman, a local, who had come home on leave. The purpose of this was to persuade him to resign. This was unsuccessful. This refusal was then, of course, a security risk for the local I.R.A. but, despite this, the policeman wasn`t shot.25 This tactic had been successful in the same area. One policeman named Moran when home on leave went on to join the I.R.A.26 As the conflict escalated the level of violent activity that Volunteers were involved in and was directed at them spiralled. Graduating from previous activities Loughnane went on to take part in the Castledaly ambush near Gort on the 30th October 1920. The I.R.A. was under the command of Tom McInerney. During the Castledaly ambush an R.I.C. patrol consisting of a sergeant and four constables was attacked when it was about half way between Kilchreest and Peterswell. Constable Timothy Horan (60534) was killed and another policeman, Constable Keane, was seriously wounded. Constable Horan was forty years old and married with a young family. He had spent eighteen years in the R.I.C. He was a native of Kerry.27

British Reprisals

By the time of this ambush I.R.A. activity in Galway was being met by serious reprisals by members of the Crown Forces. These included burnings and the targeting of suspected republicans. In the sixteen weeks between the first instances of police reprisals in July 1920 and the reporting of the Castledaly ambush (inclusive) serious reprisals and breaches of discipline amongst Crown Forces in Galway were reported in twelve editions of the Connacht Tribune. The figure was likely to be higher as a result of the fear of what would happen if certain stories were followed too closely, a fear of attracting further negative police attention etc. A couple of days after the Castledaly ambush Mrs. Ellen Quinn, who was seven months pregnant and sitting outside the front of her house with a child on her lap, was shot in Kiltartan. She was shot from a passing police lorry. A messenger sent to fetch a doctor was also shot and wounded. Mrs. Quinn survived long enough to give a statement blaming the police for her death. The police responsible were defended by Sir Hamar Greenwood, the Chief Secretary, in the House of Commons: “it may be that the firing took place in anticipation of an ambush….the police and military had every right to anticipate ambushes and to prevent surprises.” As well as the murder of Ellen Quinn three houses were also burned to the ground near the ambush site as another unofficial reprisal.28

With the release of the Witness Statements collected by the Bureau of Military History in the 1940s and 1950s the possibility of the Loughnanes being betrayed by an informer has arisen or has risen again. This suggestion has come from those statements collected from Clare rather than from Galway. There is no hint in the different statements in Galway as to who the informer was if there was such a person. The fact was that Pat was still sleeping at home, was obviously in touch with people outside of his immediate family to work at the threshing, must have borrowed or hired the threshing machine. He would have been extremely vulnerable to loose or malicious talk. It is also strange that the locating of an informer that had led to the brutal murder of two of its members would not be mentioned to the South Galway I.R.A. or that if it was mentioned that none of the I.R.A. men from South Galway interviewed by the Bureau would see fit to mention it. The man implicated and shot in Clare was an ex-soldier named John Reilly. He was, according to republican sources, a heavy drinker and a man who kept the company of the police. In Seán Murnane`s statement he states that Reilly was shot because he gave information leading to the murder of the Loughnanes but admits that he knew of no evidence against him and did not claim any intimate connection to the case. A local account of Reilly’s fate calims that he passed on information that the Loughnanes were to be home that he gleaned from a conversation with their father but their father seems to have been dead. It is possible this account made a mistake about the relation but that the rest of the story is accurate but it is also possible that the rest of the story is wrong or garbled.30 To be fair to the I.R.A. in East Clare they were far from trigger happy when it came to dealing with suspected informers. Only two were shot during the course of the conflict despite a large number being named as being suspected in a report from the post-truce period in the late summer of 1921.31 It also doesn`t imply a lack of contemporary evidence that the evidence hasn`t survived until the present day. The I.R.A. was a secret army, where much communication would have been carried out orally or where written communication would have been destroyed. The always limited evidence available from republican activists has to be viewed as a mixture of honesty, selective memories, mistakes, dishonesty and admirable discretion. Retrospectively, although the case against John Reilly seems implausible, it can`t be completely ruled out.

Pond where the bodies were found 1920 – note the damaged wall where the RIC lorry hit it when turning after disposing of the bodies.

Before the raid on their farmstead Norah had had a vivid dream of Pat bleeding and battered. Despite being told of this Pat refused to leave. Rather than it being a case of being fool hardy or being lax in terms of his own personal security Pat seems to have been fully aware of the danger he, as an active I.R.A. man, was in. He refused to leave feeling that if he was absent that Harry would be in danger of being ill-treated. He also didn`t want to leave his mother alone.32 He may have felt that if he was absent that the family home would likely be burned but that if he was present that the Crown Forces would be more likely to direct any misbehaviour towards him. This seems possible but will never be known. If it is true it seems likely that his mother being a widow contributed to this decision. The raid itself that captured Pat and Harry occurred during the day. This may or may not be significant. It could have been a case of acting on a tip off and trying to arrest them while it was known where they were. It may also have been a case of raiding during the day on the assumption that as an active I.R.A. man Pat was likely to be sleeping away from home at night. It could also be the case that they just happened to raid at that time. On the day of the raid the Loughnanes were part of a meitheal threshing corn when a group of fourteen or fifteen Auxiliaries raided the farm. Tragically Pat had wanted to take a break but his mother had insisted on continuing with the work and finishing earlier. As a result of the noise of the machine the approach of the Auxiliaries lorry was not heard. Accompanying the Auxiliaries was a policeman, an old R.I.C. man, who had been stationed at Tubber. It was the policeman who picked the Loughnanes out. Pat was the first to be arrested and was taken to his house to get some clothes when he came out of the house his mother noticed that that there was blood on his jaw. They were asked were they Sinn Féiners or Volunteers which they confirmed. As well as taking away Pat and Harry a cousin of their`s named Healy was told to run for it by the Auxiliaries. When he did this they fired on him but he got away unscathed. When Pat was being led away one of the Auxiliaries told him to: “Bring with you the rifle you had at Castledaly.” After the Loughnanes were arrested the lorry then went to Tubber where a man named Carroll was arrested. Carroll was more fortunate than the Loughnanes. He was sent first to a temporary holding camp in Earl`s Island in Galway city. He was then sent on to Ballykinlar internment camp in County Down where he was to remain until just before Christmas 1921. The Loughnanes wouldn`t make it as far as Earl`s Island. They were taken to Gort R.I.C. barracks and taken from there to Drumharsna. Despite the intercession of a member of the R.I.C. named Doherty the Loughnanes were badly beaten while in custody. The Loughnane family were told that Harry and Pat had escaped out of the Auxiliary post at Drumharsna Castle along with other prisoners As part of this cover up the Loughnanes home was raided in order to search for the missing men. Despite the claims of the Auxiliaries eyewitnesses reported seeing men covered in blood stretched behind a lorry. It seems that they were made to run behind the lorry until they dropped and were then dragged. The bodies were partially burned and then dumped in a pond at Owenbristy near Ardrahan. The bodies of the Loughnanes were found on the 5th December. A cousin of the Loughnanes, Michael “Tully” Loughnane saw this in a dream. He saw Harry in a place that he recognised. Search parties had been out since it had been claimed that they had escaped. “Tully” and another man Michael O`Halloran went to the pond and found the remains. Accounts of their injuries vary with the more severe accounts of their injuries being recorded years later than at the time. While it is possible that with the passing of time that the damage done to the bodies became exaggerated in peoples minds. It is also possible that the extent of the injuries was underplayed at the time out of consideration for Mrs. Loughnane. Michael “Tully” Loughnane who found the bodies did describe Pat as so “battered, bruised and beaten that his face was not recognisable.” Which is severe enough but he downplayed the damage of the fire and claimed that Harry was recognisable and wasn`t as badly disfigured as Pat. The photographs of both bodies clearly show that there was no way that Harry was recognisable. The doctor who gave evidence also confirmed that the bodies were unrecognisable. He gave the cause of death as “laceration of the skull and the brain.” He also described the flesh hanging of the body of Pat and an injury to Harry`s arm.He described severe damage to their skull. Greaney alleged in his article that the letters IV were carved into the body and that Pats wrists and legs were broken.33Another account states that Harry had lost two fingers, his right arm was broken and almost torn away from his body, nothing was left of his face except his chin and his lips. Pat was described as having diamond shaped carvings on his ribs and chest. Both of his arms were broken, his skull was fractured. 34 Regardless of the specific injuries that they received the truth of the matter is that the Loughnanes were very brutally treated. Few atrocities of either the War of Independence or later the Civil War come close to matching the murders in terms of their sheer brutality.

Harry Loughnane’s body

After their discovery the bodies of the Loughnanes were moved to Dungora near Kinvara. There they were waked in a shed. The shed was owned by a republican family named Hynes. Two of this family, Michael and Willie,  were active in the I.R.A.35 The Hynes family home had recently been burned.36 Photographs were taken of the bodies in their coffins. They are harrowing and are not easily forgotten. Not forgotten easily either are the horrified faces of the people around the coffins. The atmosphere in the shed while the bodies were being waked can only be guessed at. It was claimed afterwards that blood flowed from the wounds of the Loughnanes when they were taken out of the water, while they were being taken to be waked and while they were actually being waked.37 The bodies were then transferred to their home church of St. Anne`s, Shanaglish. There the coffins were draped with the tricolour and had the words I.R.A. on them. While the coffins were in the church there was a raid by two R.I.C. men, two Auxiliaries and two soldiers in the presence of a doctor. They opened the coffins and examined the bodies. The funeral took place. A two hundred yard long crowd followed the coffins to the local graveyard two hundred yards from the church. Three volleys of shots were fired over the graves.38After the funerals a Military Inquiry was held in lieu of an inquest into the deaths of the Loughnanes. Mrs. Loughnane requested an adjournment until the family had employed a solicitor but this was refused. Apart from establishing an approximate time of death, about a week before the doctor examined them on December 7th the rest of the inquiry was an exercise in confirming the official version of their deaths in that they had escaped from the Auxiliary post in Ardrahan.39 Not surprisingly the Crown Forces never admitted their responsibility for the Loughnane murders.

Memorial to IRA Volunteers Patrick and Henry Loughnane, Shanaglish Gort, Co. Galway

The killings of Pat and Harry Loughnane were so vicious that it is hard to dismiss some sort of personal motive and Ó Fathaigh and McInerney may well be right to link their deaths with the killing of John Carr in the summer of 1919. It is also possible that the killing of the Loughnanes were the result of the actions of a sadist who was later transferred, dismissed, resigned or came under control and there may be no personal motive connected to the killings at all. There were elements of the Loughnane killings in other killings carried out by the Crown Forces in County Galway. In the killing of Father Michael Griffin his body was buried secretly.40 In the case of the killing of I.R.A. commandant Louis Darcy by Auxiliaries in March 1921 he was also dragged behind a lorry.41 I.R.A. commandant Michael Moran was tortured before being killed at Earl`s Island.42

The killing of the Loughnanes was the only incident where all three elements were combined: severe ill-treatment in custody, dragging behind a lorry and the attempted disposal of the remains in order to cover up the crime. The fact that all elements were present makes these killings unique in a Galway context. The clumsy effort to dispose of the bodies may have been a protective measure to in order to protect the killers from internal discipline or from possible I.R.A. revenge attacks. Whatever the motives of the killers they were responsible for one of the most controversial incidents of County Galway during the entire revolutionary period 1916-1923.

The Men Will Talk To Me – Galway Interviews by Ernie O’Malley. Edited by Cormac Ó Comhraí is now available from www,mercierpress.ie

[1] This article is based on archival material held in NUI Galway, in UCD, in the Military Archives, Cathal Brugha Barracks Dublin, Galway County Council Archives, in the National Archives, London and also online at www.irishnewsarchive.com. I`d like to thank the staff of all of the above institutions for all their help during my research.

[2] O`Malley Notebooks (P17b/136.) (O`Malley UCD Archives)

[3] She was to live for another twenty five years dying in November 1936 (Irish Independent 13 November 1936).

[4] 1911 Census (Available online at www.census.nationalarchives.ie), Connacht Tribune 11 December 1920.

[5] Connacht Tribune 11 December 1920, 15 October 1921.

[6] Connacht Tribune 1 December 1923.

[7] Connacht Tribune 20, 27 September 1919; Norah Loughnane P17b/136 (O`Malley Notebooks (UCD Archives)).

[8]O`Mahoney, S., Frongoch: University of Revolution (Dublin 1987), p. 196-204.

[9] Connacht Tribune 1 December 1923.

[10] Connacht Tribune 12 May 1917.

[11] Eds. McNamara, M. and Madden, M., Beagh: a History (Beagh Integrated Rural Development Association 1995), p. 114.

[12] South Galway Roll of Honour P69/166 (Twomey Papers UCD Archives)

[13] Greaney, B., “Days of Terror in South Galway” in Vexilla Regis: Maynooth Layman`s Annual 1954-55, ps 85-98, p. 88 (Pol 4/7 Papers relating to the Deaths of H and P. Loughnane. (NationalUniversity of Ireland, Galway).

[14] Pol 4/4 Papers relating to the Deaths of H and P. Loughnane. (National University of Ireland,Galway), Connacht Tribune 11 December 1920.

[15] Galway Observer 4 January 1919.

[16] County Inspector`s Report Galway West Riding August 1919 (CO 904/109). The originals of these documents are held in the National Archives, London. This series is available on microfilm and can be seen in NUI Galway.

[17] Connacht Tribune 3 May, 31 May, 7 June, 18 October, 1 November, 22 November, 20 December 1919.

[18] County Inspector`s Report Galway West Riding July 1919 (CO 904/109).

[19] Galway Observer 12 and 26 July 1919, Connacht Tribune 19 July 1919.

[20] Daniel Ryan WS 1007, p. 25. (Bureau of Military History, Military Archives, Cathal Brugha Barracks, Dublin)

[21] McMahan, T.G., Pádraig Ó Fathaigh`s War of Independence: Recollections of a Galway Gaelic Leaguer (Cork 2000), p.64.

[22] Compensation Claims July 1920 CO 904/45.

[23] Thomas McInerney WS 1150, p.9 (BMH Military Archives).

[24] Eds. McNamara, M. and Madden, M., Beagh: a History, p. 114.

[25] Patrick Glynn WS 1033, p 10-11 (BMH Military Archives).

[26] Daniel Ryan WS 1007, p.5. (BMH Military Archives)

[27] Patrick Glynn WS 1033, p 10-11 (BMH Military Archives); Abbott, R., Police Casualties in Ireland1919-1922 (Mercier Press Cork, Dublin 2000), p. 139.

[28] Connacht Tribune 6, 13 November 1920, Irish Independent 5 November 1920,Compensation Claims October 1920 (CO 904/45).

[29] Irish Bulletin w/e 27 November 1920.

[30] Seán Murnane WS 1048, p.18 (BMH Military Archives), also “Spies and Informers in Clare during the War of Independence” :A Talk given by Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc 10 November 2009 in Ennistymon, Co. Clare. Thanks to Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc for these references.

[31]County Inspector`s Report October 1920 (CO 904/113), April 1921 (CO 904/115), E. Clare Intelligence Report (P7a/15) (UCD Archives)

[32] “Memories of November 1920” by Norah Loughnane (Pol 4/11) (NUI Galway).

[33] Memories of November 1920 by Norah Loughnane (Pol 4/11).; Connacht Tribune 11 December 1920, 15 October 1921; 17 December 1921; Greaney, op. cit., p 90-97, Prisoners Statements P80/136 (Desmond Fitzgerald Papers UCD Archives).

[34] Pol 4/4 Papers relating to the Deaths of H and P. Loughnane. (National University of Ireland,Galway).

[35] Michael Hynes WS 1173, p.8 (BMH Military Archives).

[36] Irish Bulletin w/e 4 December 1920.

[37] Pol 4/4 Papers relating to the Deaths of H and P. Loughnane. (National University of Ireland,Galway), Connacht Tribune 11 December 1920.

[38] Connacht Tribune 11 December 1920.

[39] Connacht Tribune 11 December 1920; 15 October 1921.

[40] Connacht Tribune 27 November 1920.

[41] Louis Darcy Court of Inquiry in lieu of Inquest (WO 35/148) (National Archives, London); Plunkett Dillon, G. All in the Blood (Dublin 2006), p. 303.

[42] John D. Costello WS 1330, p.7 (BMH Military Archives).

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[Dublin] Palestine Fight Night Fundraiser

[Dublin] Palestine Fight Night Fundraiser

Friday, 13 April 2012
  • 20:00 until 23:00
  • A night of boxing and entertainment in aid of the IRELAND PALESTINE SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN, is an independent, non-party political organisation, run by volunteers all committed to a just and sustainable peace in the Middle East. Appearances on the night in Croke Pak by the …cream of Irish professional and amateur boxing. We will be holding an auction of boxing and other sporting memorabilia – as well as a raffle featuring some great prizes. Friday, April 13th 2012 · 8:00pm – 11:00pm Location: CROKE PARK, DUBLIN Cost of Entry only €25 for a full night’s entertainment Catered food, bar and DJ. Boxing bouts from lightweight to heavyweight and women’s and men’s boxing. Anyone interested in taking part (even complete beginners) please contact Gary Daly 0872831178 For ticket information contact Gary Daly at gary@garydalyandco.ie or call 087 2831178 Tickets are also available from the IPSC Office – email info@ipsc.ie or call (01) 6770253 for more information. See more
POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Public Event for Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) · By Kevin Squires
 
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History .. Ireland 1848 to 1922 > The Black and Tans

Royal Irish Constabulary

The Black and Tans as a subject still arouses controversy in Ireland. The Black and Tans were mostly former soldiers brought into Ireland by the government in London after 1918 to assist the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) in their work.

For a number of years, the RIC had been a target for the IRB and then the IRA. RIC barracks were frequently attacked and members of the RIC were murdered. Therefore, recruitment to the RIC started to be hit and the RIC found it difficult to carry out its duties effectively, especially in the remote rural areas of southern Ireland. Never knowing if you were going to be the next target did a great deal to undermine morale in the RIC.

In 1919, the British government advertised for men who were willing to “face a rough and dangerous task”. Many former British army soldiers had come back from Western Europe and did not find a land fit for heroes. They came back to unemployment and few firms needed men whose primary skill was fighting in war. Therefore, there were plenty of ex-servicemen who were willing to reply to the government’s advert. For many the sole attraction was not political or national pride – it was simply money. The men got paid ten shillings a day. They got three months training before being sent to Ireland. The first unit arrived in Ireland in March 1920.

Once in Ireland it quickly became apparent that there were not enough uniforms for all those who had joined up. Therefore they wore a mixture of uniforms – some military, some RIC. This mixture gave them the appearance of being in khaki and dark police uniform. As a result, these men got the nickname “Black and Tans”, and it stuck. Some say that the nickname came from a pack of hunting hounds known as the ‘Black and Tans’.

The Black and Tans did not act as a supplement to the RIC. Though some men were experienced in trench warfare, they lacked the self-discipline that would have been found in the Western Front. Many Black and Tan units all but terrorised local communities. Community policing was the preserve of the RIC. For the Black and Tans, their primary task was to make Ireland “hell for the rebels to live in”. Over 8000 Black and Tans went to Ireland and while they found it difficult to cope with men who used classic guerrilla tactics against them, those who lived in areas where the Black and Tans were based, paid the price.

The attitude of the Black and Tans is best summed up by one of their divisional commanders:

RIC and Hussars at an eviction

“If a police barracks is burned or if the barracks already occupied is not suitable, then the best house in the locality is to be commandeered, the occupants thrown into the gutter. Let them die there – the more the merrier.
Should the order (“Hands Up”) not be immediately obeyed, shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching (a patrol) carry their hands in their pockets, or are in any way suspicious-looking, shoot them down. You may make mistakes occasionally and innocent persons may be shot, but that cannot be helped, and you are bound to get the right parties some time. The more you shoot, the better I will like you, and I assure you no policeman will get into trouble for shooting any man.”

Lt. Col. Smyth, June 1920

The most infamous attack on the public came in November 1920. Many people had packed into Croke Park, Dublin, to watch a football match. In retaliation for the murder of fourteen undercover detectives by the IRA, the Black and Tans opened fire on the crowd, killing twelve people. In retaliation for this attack, eighteen members of the ‘Auxies’ (a separate part of the Black and Tans) were killed in Kilmichael, County Cork. The ‘Auxies’ took their revenge for this by burning down the centre of Cork and parading around after this event with burnt cork in their caps. Violence, it appeared, only led to even more violence on both sides.

The Black and Tans were not regular troops. There were many examples of them shooting indiscriminately at civilians as opposed to republican guerrillas. Creameries were also destroyed by the Black and Tans – almost as a way of economically punishing those who may have been helping the IRA. Those experienced in trench warfare fighting a seen enemy, were of little use in Ireland. The Black and Tans were so poorly disciplined and trained for Ireland that their casualty rate was far higher than could have been imagined when the government first advertised for them. The government in Westminster quickly realised that they were a liability as even public opinion in mainland Britainwas appalled by a lot of what they did.

Badge from the tack used by the mounted divisi...

What did the Black and Tans achieve? They served no purpose for the British government as they simply failed to stop what the IRA was doing. However, they did succeed in getting the republican cause a great deal of civilian support simply because of their acts – people may not have joined the IRA, but they were supporters of it and gave what financial help they could to the movement. The Black and Tans were pulled out of Ireland in ignominy.

WRITTEN & POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Susan Geraghty

CHANGE OF VENUE DUE TO St PAULS GAC REFUSING TO KEEP IT’S WORD !

Could as many people please share these details, thank you.
Public Meeting Update re the ongoing incarceration and torture of Marian Price This event will now take place in The Conway Education Centre, Conway Mill 5/7 Conway Street Falls Road Belfsat BT13 2DE.
POSTED ON BEHALF OF :  Colin Duffy
 
A PUBLIC MEETING ON THE ONGOING TORTURE OF MARIAN PRICE

Belfast GAA club backtrack on agreement to host Justice for Marian campiagn meeting. The meeting scheduled to be held in St Pauls GAC Shaws Road Belfast to highlight the ongoing incarceration and torture of Marian Price will now take place in the Conway Mill. The change of venue is due to St Paul‘s GAC refusing to up…hold an agreement that was made weeks ago that they would host the meeting. As a result of this agreement thousands of leaflets and hundreds of posters advertising the event were printed and distributed . I received an email on Monday 27th Feb stating the booking was cancelled as a result of an internal failure to follow procedure. When this was queried I was then told that the Committee would review their decision. I explained the urgency of Marian Price’s situation and that a mass of advertising had already taken place but to be blunt my words had little meaning. I called to the club in person with family members of Marian Price urging the committee to make the right decision, we were told we would have a decision after the meeting. I received a negative response the following morning and at this stage was given two new excuses as to why the meeting should not take place. I was told the club had taken advice from the County Antrim Board and were advised they would be in breach of GAA rule 5.1 and that they also would not be covered by their public liability insurance. After the meeting I checked with a professional independent loss adjuster and he stated that considering the facility has a bar and hosts discos etc. it would be incredulous that their public liability insurance would not cover this meeting. When I sought clarification of rule 5.1 I was told it stated that the club could only be used for GAA purposes. To satisfy my own curiosity I decided to check rule 5.1 of the GAA Rules & Regulations document. It states ‘All property including grounds, Club Houses, Halls, Dressing Rooms and Handball Alleys owned or controlled by units of the Association shall be used only for the purpose of or in connection with the playing of the Games controlled by the Association, and for such other purposes not in conflict with the Aims and Objects of the Association.’ Now the question has to be asked is that if St Paul’s are content to cite section 5.1 of the 2011 GAA rules and regulations, then the GAA as an organisation must be in breach of their own rules as GAA facilities such as Croke park hosts rock concerts and other events that having no connection to the GAA. Whilst sifting through the rule book the it would seem that St Paul’s committee or County Antrim board overlooked rule 1.4. Rule 1.4 states ‘It shall foster an awareness and love of the national ideals in the people of Ireland, and assist in promoting a community spirit through its clubs.’ Yet here we have a club who have failed to honour an agreement to allow a meeting hosted by human rights activists to highlight the internment and torture of one of their community members. I have no doubt the founder members of the GAA were turning in their graves, over the years many GAA activists have been subjected to internment without trial themselves. The GAA has welcomed the British Monarch to Croke Park, has abolished rule 21 and despite rule 5.1 has allowed ‘foreign’ sports to be played in GAA facilities but when it comes to assisting the community will pull the rule book out and use it to assist what many suspect is a political decision. It can not be stated enough that these are not baseless accusations and the correspondence between the organisers of this meeting and St Paul’s Board can be made available for scrutiny. We would call on GAA activists who support human rights and are opposed to the internment without trial of any Irish Citizen to raise this issue as a matter of urgency with anyone with influence within the Gaelic Athletic Association.

POSTED ON BEHALF OF : Pauline Mellon

Oration by Councillor Tomás Ó Curraoin at the Republican Sinn Fein comemoration at the grave of Wolfe Tone, Bodenstown, Co Kildare, June 12 00:

Theobald Wolfe Tone circa 1794. Tone is consid...
Image via Wikipedia

To: Members in Eire Nua Saol Nua

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Oration by An Chomhairleoir Tomás Ó Curraoin, Gaillimh at the grave of Theobald Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown, June 12, 2011

A Chathaoirleach, a Uachtaráin and all Republican and nationally-minded people.
First of all it is an honour for me to be asked to speak here on this very hallowed ground today where many people spoke down through the years; I am not going to go into names.

Pearse spoke here a year before his execution in 1915. Theobald Wolfe Tone has been on everybody’s lips young or old.

Maybe that it is not been lectured in the schools or the colleges today because things like that are not fashionable today in this ugly Free State that we live in here in the 26 counties. Theobald Wolfe Tone as people know was of a middle class protestant family, his father at the time being a coach builder of the horse drawn type.

He probably could have turned his back with no need to become involved with the freedom of Ireland, he was probably comfortable enough. But funny enough all those people Robert Emmett included that took part in the 1798 Rising, many of them were of protestant or Presbyterian origin, and to hear that people say today that it was a religious war in the six occupied north eastern counties that the British hold to this present day, it sure tells them that it was not a war of religion and it is not a war of religion, it is a war of occupation.
Among the aims of Theobald Wolfe Tone was to break the connection with England once and for all, a connection that has never been broken. An inspiration that came from Tone and his comrades that inspired the men back after the great hunger that was bestowed on us by the British in 1845 or the common word that they like to use “the potato blight”.

But it was a genocide brought on by the British Crown when they shipped all the food out of Ireland. They don’t want to hear that but it is the bare facts of it. It inspired those men to rise in North America and Canada. They called themselves the Young Irelanders who were prominent in the upcoming fight of 1867 with the Fenians. A fight that carried on but defeat came again, but we were together.

In 1916 Pearse and Liam Mellows rose out against the British Crown. And I’m sure that 1798 was the flame that inspired them when they stood on the steps of the G.P.O. on that Easter Monday morning and proclaimed the Irish Republic, a 32 county Republic in arms in the face of heavy British military presence. Again we were defeated but we were together.

In 1920 we fought the Tan War and again there was the beginning of the signs of freedom when they were defeated in places like Kilmichael and other spots where they were ambushed all over Ireland and then the Treaty came and in 22′ we were divided and Mellows and McKelvey, Rory O’Connor and Dick Barrett were the first four Irishmen to be executed under the new Free State government founded days before the 8th of December when they were executed by the Free State.

The very same men that were beside them, that slept with them on the run previous years. And there is no more evidence of that than in a county in Munster and that’s the county of Kerry where they brought tar and petrol out from Tralee and threw it down on top of their comrades in the Clashmealcon Caves, because they knew where they were because they had used the same dug outs themselves. We were defeated but we were never divided until 1922 and we have been divided since. Joe O’Neill often said that no one ever defeated us except ourselves.

In the sixties we saw many things happening. The 1956 Border Campaign came to an end in 1962. The British were driven out of Aden and Charles De Gaulle came along and saw that it was no longer viable to hold on to Algeria so he gave them their freedom. But no talk of Irish freedom. Right down through the years again in the ’80s many never heard of Nelson Mandela. Twenty-six years in a South African jail, just to sign a piece of paper and he would be released at any time. He stuck it out and became the first black president of his country. Again in the ’80s the Berlin Wall came down, it was applauded here in Ireland by the Free State, in Westminster by the Brits and in America that Gorbachev at last had come along and he had given the Baltic people their freedom. Yet not one word of our freedom.

I remember being here in either ’82 or ’83 and the late Joe Cahill stood on that podium there and he mentioned the Stickies and he called them the despicable Stickies, but all the time they were going down the very same slippery road as those who previously went and sold.

There is no two ways that you can be a Republican. You are either one or you are not. You cannot be serving in Leinster House and Stormont or be part of the ring in Westminster and still be a Republican. You cannot do it, and I am saying to those people today to stay away from hallowed spots like this and to leave it to those who are willing to carry on the torch of Theobald Wolfe Tone and to break the connection with England.
We had two prominent heads of state recently visit our 26-CountyState. The Queen of England was here and indeed was made welcome by many who spoke but never got near her, so therefore the Queen’s visit, let’s face it’ was not a success.

The president of the United States of America came shortly afterwards and he could move around freely and mingle with the people. Not so for the Queen of England. She could not go out and she was protected wherever she went. So that’s a sign that the fear is still in them. The fear of the risen people, who have never broken the chain with Republicanism and who never will break the chain with Republicanism until England are gone once and for all.

Many people are hoodwinked into thinking that this is the beginning of the unification of Ireland. Certainly the majority of the people in the cemetery today would not say so or neither would they think so. It is to strengthen English rule in Ireland. But I hope, lads, that you have your tape recorders over there to bring back the message to them, because we don’t want them here.

We don’t want the British government or any other type of government be it Westminster or Stormont. We want to get rid of them and have an All-Ireland parliament of our own and get rid of that sham that is below in Kildare Street or whatever they call it, Leinster House which is the cause of all the trouble today.

So the Queen’s visit to Ireland was not a normal one, but I suppose if they are to force these things and these things are to happen, there are a couple of points I would like to make before I finish up. I wouldn’t class myself as a Republican, I would class myself as a nationalist Irishman. I might not be good enough or worthy enough to be a Republican when I think of what these people that are buried in cemeteries like this have gone through, but I know one thing, she should never have been brought into the Garden of Remembrance. I know since the demons have been exorcised out of that place, people went down there and Republicans laid wreaths.

Most of all as a Cumann Lúthchleas Gael person I am galled that the GAA allowed her into Croke Park. It tells you the leadership we have in the GAA. But I will tell them when I meet them and I will tell Christy Cooney face to face when I meet him. They let her into Croke Park where in 1920 they shot 13 people and Michael Hogan that the Hogan Stand is called after. An association so gallant as the GAA, it tells you what they are gone to.

The ordinary people on the ground, even who those who were not opposed to the Queens visit that I had spoken to, they were galled that she went into these two places and they were galled that she went into Croke Park. So when you meet them tell them and put it to your clubs and mention it. It may not be carried but let them know that we have an opposition like we had an opposition to the British army being let into the GAA or to foreign games being let into Croke Park.

No, we have nothing against foreign games but we are a separate organisation. We are Cumann Lúthchleas Gael, even though our leaders at the top may not look it, these people who were out there on the grass roots, they are the people.

It is very hard to believe that when you are in Donegal or in Leitrim or any of the so-called Border counties from Louth right through Monaghan and Cavan that you are right on the verges of another country which is completely untrue. And the British for all their might have all the times that they boasted that the sun had never gone down on their mighty empire, today they have nothing left of that empire but the Falkland islands, Gibraltar below in Spain, the Six Occupied Counties of the north-east Ireland, Wales, Scotland, the Isle of Man and of course we cannot forget our Celtic cousins who are also occupied and who do not class themselves as English, the Cornish people.

Go raibh mile maith agaibh go leor.

ENDS
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