101 years ago on this day 28th April 1916 – The North King Street massacre.

Easter 1916: British soldiers murdered Dublin families in their homes and buried them in their yard.


AS THE dust settled over Dublin City and the Volunteers who had made a heroic stand at Reilly’s Fort were ordered to surrender – a gruesome discovery was made in the basement of the licensed premises at 177 North King Street.

A young boy named George Fitzgerald was working as a porter in the cellar of the bar washing bottles when he got a “heavy smell” as Guinness workers were removing barrels. He noticed blood on the barrels which splashed onto his shoes. 
They spotted that the floor of the cellar had recently been dug up and after removing some clay they found the bodies of the missing foreman Patrick Bealen and Jameson Distillery worker James Healy. This grim discovery was only the beginning.
Twelve more civilians had been brutally murdered by British soldiers in the area of North King Street. Another man was also killed on nearby Little Britain Street.
In the North King Street area, British troops faced ferocious resistance from the Irish Volunteers’ Four Courts garrison. 
Suffering heavy casualties, the British were forced to use armoured cars made of flatbed lorries seized from Guinness Brewery with smokeboxes bolted on the back to move around the area. 
They often backed the cars up to the doors of houses before breaking their way into the homes. In one incident, a British soldier attempting to club in a door with the butt of his rifle killed his comrade when the weapon discharged.
British General Lowe had issued an order that no attempt was to be made to take prisoners in the area as they had ‘placed themselves outside the law’. British soldiers took this as confirmation that they could execute anyone they suspected of being a rebel.
Commandant Paddy Holohan of Fianna Éireann, who was based in the Four Courts area, described the scene as the British troops arrived:
“An armoured car appeared again, and its fifteen occupants jumped out and proceeded to fire into every house along North King Street, the few occupants lying face down whilst the bullets pounded the walls over them… The attacking British clambered to the rooftops, and from this vantage rained down bombs on the street until the answering bullets dislodged them.”
The British then began to break down the doors of homes and bore through the walls towards the rebels positions. 
In one incident a British officer “lost his head” according to the rebels and ordered a charge up the street against the entrenched rebel positions. The charge was cut down, leaving eight British soldiers dead.
After the British soldiers broke down the door of number 177 they rounded up the family hiding in the basement and placed them under guard. Patrick Bealen even chatted with the soldiers and made them tea before he was brought down to the cellar and shot in the back.
Civilians in the area said that between 6pm on 28 April and the following morning, British soldiers had carried out a house-to-house massacre of men and boys. There was outrage across Ireland when newspapers published accounts of the atrocities. Dublin Corporation voted by a margin of 22 to 1 for an inquiry into the incident.
The Freeman’s Journal spoke for many when it wrote:
“If an unarmed man is found in the exact place where he ought to be in such a time of turmoil, that is in his own home, his death at the hands of the military needs the most complete justification. When a man determines on Civil War he does not usually choose his own fireside as the scene of combat. If he is found there unarmed, the presumption is altogether in favour of his innocence. Even should his roof have been made the roost of a sniper it is no proof of the householder’s guilt. Had the military acted upon any other principle in Merrion Street, Northumberland Road and round Merrion Square those fashionable districts would have been decimated. There can hardly be one code for North King Street and another for Merrion Square.”
The Kerryman newspaper, reporting on the discussion at Dublin City Hall where Alderman Laurence O’Neill spoke of the appalling massacre, said:
“As one who lived in the vicinity of North King Street, and was personally known to some of the poor people who were killed, and as one who saw poor people shot down like dogs before his eyes, he should say that he could never forget the sights that he witnessed. He should never forget a poor young boy stark and stiff in a corner. He could almost hear the plaintive wail from him: ‘Oh good Lord, is there no one to save me’.”
Lieutenant Colonel Henry Taylor of the Staffordshire Regiment dismissed the numerous witnesses who claimed the soldiers had engaged in wholesale slaughter in North King Street. Telling the inquest:
“No persons were attacked by the troops other than those who were assisting the rebels, and found with arms in their possession”.
He went on to justify the murder of Healy and Bealan by claiming his troops had been under fire from “practically every house in the portion of King Street and other buildings overlooking it” and singling out their house:
“The premises number 177 North King Street were indicated to me as one of the houses from which the troops had been repeatedly fired upon.”
Defending the actions of the soldiers, General Maxwell said:
“No doubt in the districts where fighting was fiercest, parties of men under the great provocation of being shot at from rear and front, seeing their comrades fall from the fire of snipers, burst into suspected houses and killed such male members as were found. It is perfectly possible that some were innocent but they could have left their houses if they so wished and the number of such incidents that have been brought to notice is happily few. Under the circumstance the troops as a whole behaved with the greatest restraint”
Speaking in the House of Commons in July 1916, Irish Parliamentary Party MP for College Green, John Dillon Nugent – a nationalist and long-time critic of Irish republicans – contrasted the treatment of civilians in the Four Courts area by the British with that of British personnel captured by Irish forces:
“The Home Secretary, too, should know that the Metropolitan Police that were taken prisoners in the Four Courts were properly treated by the Sinn Féiners. They were actually guarded lest any attack might be made upon them by anyone until they were released and handed over to the War Office.”
Speaking of the rampage in North King Street, he said:
“Once the military come into possession of a particular street they do not satisfy themselves with trying to get into the houses. I was able to send to the Prime Minister a letter indicating that at one of the most respectable business houses in the street the military knocked at the door, and before there was time to open the door they fired through it and shot a young girl of eighteen who was in the hospital till about two weeks ago. This was at the corner of North King Street and Smithfield. There was no shooting at that particular point. This young girl, Cullen, is ruined for life.”
He also denounced claims that those responsible had ‘seen red’ and were not acting under orders:
“He [Dr Louis Byrne, Dublin City Coroner] had seen one back yard where three men had been buried for three days and then removed – buried in this yard manifestly with the object of concealing them. He saw another place where a poor boy had been shot in a small back room. He saw the boy’s mother who thought him asleep and when she went to rouse him, found him shot. He had been put up against a wall near the window and shot from the door, and it was impossible he had been shot through the window.”
No British soldiers were ever charged with the murders on North King Street 
The Victims:
Number 27: Peter Lawless (21), James McCarthy (36), James Finnigan (40) and Patrick Hoey (25) murdered by soldiers at the Louth Dairy building and buried in the back garden
Number 91: Edward Dunne (39) found murdered in his home
Number 170: Thomas Hickey (38), Peter Connolly (39) and Christopher Hickey (16) were killed by British soldiers using bayonets and then buried in the yard
Number 172: Michael Hughes (50) and John Walsh (34) – shot dead in front of Ellen Walsh
Number 174: George Ennis (51) and Michael Noonan (34) – murdered by British soldiers
Number 177: Patrick Bealen (30) and James Healy (44) – murdered by British soldiers and buried in the cellar
Coleraine Street: John Beirnes (50) shot dead by a British sniper firing from a window
    Little Britain Street: James Moore was shot dead

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

THE MEEHANS AND THE MAGUIRES

On The 23rd Oct 1971 TWO SISTERS MAURA MEEHAN AND DOROTHY MAGUIRE WERE SHOT DEAD IN A CAR BY THE BRITISH ARMY.

Please excuse the graphic nature of this post,Westminster is trying to push for a statute of limitations providing immunity for war crimes in Ireland ending the “witch hunt” by those of us seeking justice,to say our family has been to hell and back is an understatement as justice has been denied us due to national security,”it’s not in the publics interest to know”,”sensitive material”,corrupt historical enquiries team blocking release under the freedom of information act,while murder by the state,rules of engagement,article2 of the human right to life and a petition to Westminster seeking truth have been rejected due to the slanderous libelous nature of my quest for truth,Strasbourg and Brussels commission on human rights have asked England for truth recovery and parliament refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing and refuse to answer to calls for transparency,I ask the help of the brotherhood to share this violation of what I consider a war crime and an insult to humanity on behalf of my mother,oglach Maura Meehan,30,and her sister Dorothy Maguire,19,unarmed cumann na mban,executed by greenjackets regiment,while not on active service,but took the initiative to protest dawn raids on the lower falls on the 23rd of October,1971,there can never be a statute of limitations for state approved executions during occupation,it’s international law and needs attention or mistakes of the past are easily forgotten

With Many thanks to: Gerard Meehan – The Irish Brotherhood.

Submission to the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižniks, concerning the shooting dead of sisters Dorothy Maguire & Maura Meehan by British Soldiers, October 23rd 1971, West Belfast.

A follow-up to a previous story concerning the murder of Maura Meehan and her sister who were murdered by the British Army: 

With many thanks to: Geard Meehan, Meehan and Maguire family’s, https://www.facebook.com/groups/174928556038780/.

Remembering with pride & honor Mara Meehan and Dorothy two sisters, executed by the so-called (brave British army) then the Brits laied to cover their backs (cowdly British Bastards) #JusticeForTheSisters.

A few pictures of a few memories shared in Ireland and New York, the first is from Patti and myself added to the friends of Irish freedom collection of republican memorabilia, the ballymurphy memorial wall with an Honour to the hunger strikers and unveiled by my childhood friend and blanketmen Ginger mccoubrey,I tagged Peter Kavanagh rip for the same reason as he was both a friend and blanketmen himself, crip mcwilliams passed on before I could friend him but also a dear childhood friend and cellmate in the crum as was jonjo oreillly,next is the two pictures of Maura and Dorothy placed at the antriom memorial plot where both lie,with two Easter lilies placed in my name by my sister Margaret Kennedy who humbled me by this kind gesture,all credit is hers and paid back by two tears rolling down my cheek I take as a sign from heaven,last but not least is the program from the event I attended where Cathleen O’Brien introduced the dais invited guests then added details to a packed house in Gaelic park stadium in the Bronx highlighting details of this travesty of justice,the day ended by a preist who introduced himself and gave me his card,he will be attending an ancient order of Hibernians and wishes to mention this case and hopefully share nationwide throughout the states,I might sign up to stay aware of any local events that could possibly demand truth recovery for the Meehan and Maguire combined family and friends walking a similar path.

With many thanks to: Geard Meehan – Friends of Mara & Dorothy.

‘The Che Guevara of the IRA’

 The Legend of ‘Big Joe’ McCann 
2 November 1947 – 15 April 1972
If, before the death of Bobby Sands in 1981, there was a name most likely to survive in the popular memory of ‘the Troubles’—to join the ranks of Kevin Barry and Seán South—it was ‘Big Joe’ McCann. There were a number of reasons. First, the local legend that flourished after he was gunned down on the streets of Belfast grew out of the reputation he achieved in life. McCann, who joined the Republican movement as a teenager in 1963, was known both for his physical bravado and for his quick intelligence. Stories circulated of his exploits during the set-piece Official IRA gun-battles during the Falls Road curfew in July 1970 and at Inglis’s bakery in the Markets district of south Belfast in August the following year. Staff captain of the 2nd Battalion of the Belfast Brigade and ‘on the run’, the 24-year-old McCann was reputedly the most wanted man in the North when he was killed by British Paratroopers on 15 April 1972. The tributes paid to him by his comrades at the time—‘a born leader’ according to The United Irishman—were to be expected. More revealing are the recollections, decades later, of two Dublin journalists of the deep impression that ‘Big Joe’ made upon each of them. Kevin Myers writes of his good looks, charisma, innate wisdom, gravitas and ‘curiously ironic and knowing sense of humour’. Pádraig Yeates remembers ‘an incredible character, the only genuine hero I ever met out of the Northern troubles’.
Then there is the manner of his killing. As he ran away from a foot patrol after being fingered by a Special Branch officer, pursuing Paratroopers opened fire. Initial reports claimed that McCann was shot repeatedly while lying wounded on the pavement. The shooting was followed by three days and nights of widespread rioting in which three British soldiers were killed—one in Belfast, two in Derry. Armed and uniformed Official IRA men patrolled the Turf Lodge housing estate. From prison the UVF leader, Gusty Spence, wrote a letter of condolence to McCann’s widow: ‘He was a soldier of the Republic and I a Volunteer of Ulster and we made no apology for what we are . . . Joe once did a good turn indirectly and I never forgot him for his humanity’.
The full-scale military-style funeral was the largest seen in Belfast to that date. Led by a lone piper and McCann’s Irish wolfhound, over 200 women carried wreaths and over 2,000 men marched behind. Up to 20,000 people lined the route. Well-known politicians such as Paddy Devlin, Paddy O’Hanlon and Bernadette Devlin attended. Official IRA chief-of-staff Cathal Goulding delivered the graveside oration. The British prime minister, Edward Heath, wanted to know why arrests had not been made, while the secretary of state for Northern Ireland, William Whitelaw, conceded that killing McCann had made ‘a martyr of him’. Time magazine thought so too, and speculated that the shooting and the consequent street violence had scuppered all hope of Catholics accommodating themselves to the new direct rule, Stormont-less, regime.
But there had been (and would be) numerous republicans shot by the security forces in controversial circumstances. Plenty of others have, like McCann, been commemorated in ballads. And since the 1790s large, stage-managed funerals-as-political-demonstrations have been a staple of republican mobilisation. The crucial reason for McCann’s posthumous local fame is a photograph (in fact two photographs shot in rapid succession by Ciaran Donnelly). In the early hours of 9 August 1971, British troops swept through nationalist areas of the North rounding up republican suspects for internment without trial, and touching off some of the worst violence of the Troubles. On 10 August a group of six Official IRA volunteers, led by McCann, took over Inglis’s Eliza Street bakery in the Official stronghold of the Markets, and in a fierce firefight pinned down a large contingent of British soldiers. During the exchange a photographer captured the profile of McCann in silhouette, hunkered down, an M1 carbine resting on his knee, a Starry Plough flag fluttering above him and a truck-barricade blazing before him.
It is an image so dramatic and so visually striking that it seems almost composed. The print media snapped it up. It first appeared in the Daily Mirror and later received much wider, transatlantic, circulation in a photo-spread in Life Magazine (it did not, however, as has been claimed, feature on the cover). Life’s commentary certainly burnished the legend:
‘At right, crouched beneath the Irish Republican tricolor, a professional IRA terrorist who goes by the name of Joe awaits a counterattack by British infantry during the battle of Eliza Street. “Joe was a tall, thin man who moved only in leaps and crouches”, reports Life correspondent Jordan Bonfante, who with photographer Terence Spencer covered the fighting last week. “He was an absolute hero to his men, mostly neighborhood irregulars, and as he directed them with grunts and waves of the American semi-automatic carbine he carried in one hand he looked as though all Ireland were at stake on Eliza Street.” For twelve hours before being surrounded and broken up, Joe and his men had effective control of the whole downtown market area in east Belfast.’
The September issue of The United Irishman displayed the picture on its front page, headlined ‘Army of the People’. The Provisionals’ An Phoblacht also ran it. Weeks after his death The United Irishman referred to ‘the now world-famous picture of Joe McCann’, which ‘far more than words epitomised the courage of the man’. A poster based on the picture proclaimed ‘Joe McCann, Soldier of the People’.

With many thanks to: James Connolly.

44th anniversary of 11-year-old Francis Rowntree murdered by the British Army.

Francis Rowntree 11-years-old

11-year-old Francis Rowntree suffered extensive skull fractures and lacerations of the brain. After he was shot at point blank range by the British Army with a rubber bullet and died in hospital on April 22nd 1972.

Today marks his 44th anniversary.

The already lethal bullet had been doctored to make it even more deadly, with a battery inserted inside to cause maximum damge to innocent victims.

This was a common tactic used by the cowardly British Army across occupied Ireland.

Rest in Peace little man. – feeling heartbroken.

With many thanks to: Pat Gillan, Chaírde ar an Arm Náisiúnta Fuascailte na hÉireann.

 

IRA Volunteer Hugh Coney, a native of Coalisland, Co Tyone, was shot dead by the British Army while attempting to escape from Long Kesh on 6th November 1974.

Following the introduction of internment in August 1971, the internees were initially held in Magilligan Prison, Co Derry, and the Maidstone Prison Ship, moored in Belfast Lough.

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Oglach Hugh Coney - Coalisland, Co Tyrone.

https://m.facebook.com/dakota29#!/Seachranaidhe/posts/908936895852752?ref=m_notif&notif_t=like&soft=notifications

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Maidstone Prison Ship - moored at Belfast Lough
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Magillign Prison - 1970s.
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Magilligan Prison - as it is today.

For more information on Oglach Hugh Coney, please click on the link below for more details:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maze_Prison_escape

Maidstone Prison Ship click on the link below for more details:

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HMP Maidstone in the harbour of Algiers. Alongside HMP Safari and HMS Sahib

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Maidstone_(1937)

With many thanks to: Stephen Codd (Stiofán Mac Óda) :
https://m.facebook.com/dakota29#!/StiofanMacOda?fref=nf&pn_ref=story&ref=bookmarks

– IRNF:
https://m.facebook.com/dakota29#!/groups/611797022229595?notif_t=group_activity&ref=m_notif