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April 12, 2006

Pearse Jordan's Family Slams Legal Log-Jam

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News About Ireland & The Irish

BT 04/12/06 Family Slams Legal Log-Jam In Pearse Jordan Case
SW 04/15/06 Bullying Sergeant Went From Deepcut Barracks To Iraq
BN 04/11/06 Belfast Security Barriers Come Down
RT 04/12/06 Changes To US Immigration Plan Considered
HC 04/12/06 Kennedy Continues A 40-Year Struggle
IT 04/12/06 McGuinness Condemns Hijacking
IT 04/12/06 PSNI Use Of Horses Dismissed As A 'Ridiculous Initiative'
SF 04/12/06 Orde Told To Catch Himself After Publicity Stunt
BB 04/11/06 Twenty-Three To Face Ardoyne Riot Trial
SF 04/12/06 SF MEP Demands Equality For Irish Language In Schools
IT 04/12/06 Infected Swan Found In Scotland Was Migrant
IM 04/12/06 Inside The World Of Dissident Republicanism
IT 04/12/06 Opin: The Blair North Project Changes Nothing Yet
IT 04/12/06 Opin: I Just Don't Know The Libel Law
IT 04/12/06 Opin: Rising And Early Independence Brought Prosperity
IM 04/12/06 Opin: 1916 - Just What Are We Celebrating?
IT 04/12/06 How Adams Suggestion Of A Weekend Away Was Spurned
SF 04/12/06 Sinn Féin Announce Details Of Easter Commemorations
IT 04/12/06 Crowds Expected At 'Independence Sale'
RT 04/12/06 Museum Director Slams Rising Auction
SF 04/12/06 Crowe Says State Should Have Saved Historical Documents
RT 04/12/06 Disturbances At Dublin Rising Auction
KA 04/11/06 GAA Museum Commemorates 1916 On Tuesday
BN 04/12/06 Govt 'Has Expressed No Interest In 1916 Memorabilia'
SW 04/12/06 Ireland’s Easter Rising
BB 04/12/06 Funding To Save Rare Pearl Mussel
BN 04/12/06 TD Hits Out At Rise In Price Of Pint
BN 04/12/06 President Pays Tribute To Michael Davitt
IT 04/12/06 Eyre Square To Reopen After Refurbishment
IT 04/12/06 Man Rescued After Fall From Tramore Cliffs
IT 04/12/06 Former Congressman Joe Kennedy To Give Dooley Eulogy


Family Slams Legal Log-Jam In Pearse Jordan Case

Disputed death case delayed until 2007

By Michael McHugh
12 April 2006

Delays in a landmark House of Lords hearing on a
controversial Troubles state killing have prolonged the
agony of scores of victims, a representative of the family
has said.

The case of 1992 victim Pearse Jordan will not be heard
until 2007 and a member of the lobby group Relatives for
Justice have hit out at the log-jam.

A 14-year history of legal proceedings has taken the family
to the Court of Appeal and even the European Court in
Strasbourg and the latest action surrounds a key article in
the Human Rights Act 2000.

Deputy Director of Relatives for Justice Andrea Murphy said
she did not expect the case, involving the disclosure of
state documents and the power of coroners to make findings
on state culpability, to be heard before 2007.

"This is a huge issue for the families because their
grieving and ability to move on has been suspended by the
courts," she said.

"If we are moving forward into a new era then inquests into
cases which happened before the Human Rights Act should be
compliant with the standards upheld today.

"The state is saying that the right to an Article 2 inquest
will not be granted retrospectively for cases which
happened in the past."

Mr Jordan was unarmed, but was shot in the back three times
by RUC officers in an incident in Belfast.

Campaigners want the coroner to return a verdict of
unlawful killing. However he is prevented under current law
from doing this.

"The case has been postponed and postponed. We have a
number of outstanding inquests which are all to do with
killings in controversial circumstances where people have
been killed by the state or where there were allegations of
state collusion," Ms Murphy added.

"Those cases are not being heard until the Jordan hearings
are over so we have a number of families who are all
waiting on the same thing."

Many of the cases centre on Tyrone, some involving the SAS
killing of members of the IRA in a Loughgall ambush.

A related matter being dealt with by the same panel of Law
Lords focuses on Martin McCaughey who, along with Desmond
Grew, was killed by soldiers on October 9, 1990.

A spokesman for Madden and Finucane, solicitors, who
represent the Jordan family, confirmed that the case would
probably not be heard until 2007.


Bullying Sergeant Went From Deepcut Barracks To Iraq

Socialist Worker 1996, 15 April 2006
( )

Simon Basketter

An officer who served at the notorious barracks where
several recruits died went on to work for a private army in
occupied Iraq.

Sergeant Michael Dauscha was dismissed from the army after
being caught stealing from a supermarket. He stands accused
of being involved in systematic cruelty at the Deepcut
barracks. He ended up working for a private army in Iraq.

In March’s official report into four deaths at the Deepcut
army base he was identified only as Sergeant BB and slammed
for his “foul abuse” of recruits. The ex-staff sergeant was
at Deepcut for 13 months between 1998 and 1999.

Last month’s report by QC Nicholas Blake accused Sergeant
BB of hitting male and female recruits, making crude sexual
taunts at women and humiliating others at Deepcut in
Surrey. He once rode a bike over three squaddies.

Dauscha was not at Deepcut when four teenage recruits died
between 1995 and 2002 and the report did not implicate him.
But the military police recommended he face 11 abuse
charges from his time there.

Dauscha ended up working in Iraq for security firm Aegis.
Aegis has a $293 million Pentagon contract to coordinate
the dozens of private security forces operating in Iraq as
well as providing its own teams of bodyguards to the

There are 50 private security companies in Iraq, with an
estimated 20,000 hired guns working for them. Aegis is
supposed to coordinate them all.

Aegis Defence Services had profits of £62 million last
year. Rt Hon Field Marshal Lord Inge, the former head of
the British army, is a non excutive director of Aegis.

Inge sat as part of the team that cleared the government
over its claims of weapons of mass destruction in the
Butler report. Right wing novelist Frederick Forsyth is
also a major shareholder.

Despite now being sacked from his £80,000 a year Baghdad
post with Aegis, Dauscha said, “They’ve been very
supportive. I’ll probably be going back to Iraq shortly.”

Aegis is run by Tim Spicer, a former army lieutenant
colonel. Two soldiers in a British military unit under
Spicer’s command shot and killed a Catholic teenager, Peter
McBride, in Northern Ireland in 1992. The soldiers were
subsequently convicted of murder, yet Spicer has
steadfastly defended them.

Peter McBride’s mother Jean McBride told Socialist Worker,
“The last thing the poor people of Iraq need is a man who
tries to justify the murder of unarmed civilians, which he
has done in Peter’s case. This is one foreign fighter that
the Iraqis should definitely expel.

“It is noticeable that the violent instructor was dismissed
following his conviction for theft while Guardsmen James
Fisher and Mark Wright, who murdered Peter McBride, remain
serving soldiers.” Both soldiers have served in Iraq in the
last year.

Videos implicate Aegis

Rod Stoner, a former British army officer and Aegis
employee, who worked for the company between 2004 and 2005,
posted videos on the internet implicating Aegis in shooting
civilians in Iraq.

According to a statement from Stoner, “We don’t know
whether it was an innocent civilian or whether that was an
insurgent—we don’t know, because we never stop.”

The series of “trophy” videos appear to show security
guards in Baghdad randomly shooting Iraqi civilians.

All of the shooting incidents apparently took place on
“Route Irish”, a road that links the airport to Baghdad.

In one of the videos, a car is fired on at a distance of
several hundred yards before it crashes into a taxi. In
another, a white civilian car is raked with machine gun
fire as it approaches an unidentified security company

Bullets can be seen hitting the car before it comes to a
slow stop.

Despite denying that the videos had anything to do with
Aegis employees, the security company got a high court
injunction last Friday against Stoner.

This closed down the website and prohibited him from
speaking to the press.


Belfast Security Barriers Come Down

11/04/2006 - 18:26:29

Belfast tonight took another major step towards normality
with the removal of the final security barriers within the
city centre.

Barriers, erected during the Troubles to thwart
paramilitary attacks, were dismantled from outside the bus
station in Glengall Street and near Jury’s Hotel on the
Grosvenor Road.

Other barriers, including one at the junction of the city’s
main shopping thoroughfare Royal Avenue and North Street,
have also been dismantled over the past week.

The move was welcomed by Northern Ireland Office Social
Development Minister David Hanson and by Joanne Jennings of
Belfast City Centre management as a further sign of
Belfast’s development as a modern, vibrant European city.

Mr Hanson said the disappearance of the barriers would help
stimulate more confidence in the city.

“It will contribute positively to the economic and social
vitality of the city and will help to promote the city as a
leading European regional capital and the primary retail,
leisure and business destination in Northern Ireland,” the
minister added.

The barriers were removed in the week when an initiative
was launched to extend the opening hours of Belfast city
centre shops and cafes to 7pm.

At the launch of that initiative yesterday, the city’s Lord
Mayor Wallace Browne said extended opening hours would make
Belfast more attractive to visitors and had proven a huge
success in other UK cities like Bristol and Manchester.

City Centre Management spokeswoman Joanne Jennings said
tonight’s development and the extension of opening hours
were significant.

“The removal of the barriers is momentous,” she said.

“It is a visible sign of the changes that have been taking
place in Belfast and of how life is being transformed here.

“Coming in the week of extended opening hours, its
significance should not be lost.

“Businesses should be commended for taking the opportunity
to breathe new life into a city centre which tended to die
after 5.30pm. The removal of the barriers is a first step
in the city centre’s revival and a signal of increased
confidence in Belfast.”


Changes To US Immigration Plan Considered

12 April 2006 10:28

Reports say Republican politicians in the United States are
considering changing two key provisions in a tough
immigration bill passed by the House of Representatives.

It follows a series of large-scale nationwide protests over
US immigration policy in recent days.

One of the controversial measures would turn millions of
undocumented immigrants into criminals and the other has
raised concerns that people who provide them humanitarian
relief would be punished by law.

Senior Republicans have now indicated that this was not
their intent.

Democrats say Republicans are feeling the heat from the
hundreds of thousands of people rallying against the bill.

Senator Edward Kennedy said millions of people had made
their voices heard in support of a comprehensive US
immigration reform plan and now was the time for action,
not empty rhetoric.

Agreement on a Senate bill, which would have to be merged
with the House of Representatives legislation, also broke
down last week.


April 12, 2006, 12:50AM

Kennedy Continues A 40-Year Struggle

Senator's first piece of legislation, signed in '65, was on

New York Times

WASHINGTON - To Sen. Edward Kennedy, the complex issue of
immigration policy is simple enough.

"We are the land of opportunity," he said. "Our streets may
not be paved with gold, but they are paved with the promise
that men and women who live here — even strangers and
newcomers — can rise as fast, as far as their skills will

While those words could have been part of his speech Monday
to those rallying on the National Mall, they were delivered
more than 40 years ago on the floor of the Senate as the
Massachusetts Democrat managed his first major piece of
legislation — an immigration bill.

Decades later, the liberal leader and descendant of Irish
immigrants is back in the thick of another immigration
fight, pushing for a bipartisan compromise that would
toughen border security while providing a route to legal
status for millions of illegal residents. And some of the
fight is with his own Democratic colleagues.

Some Democrats worried

Kennedy's drive to strike a deal with Republicans is making
some in his party nervous. They worry the senator, in his
desire to bring about immigration law changes, will cede
too much to Republicans and the end product will fall short
on the guest worker and citizenship provisions favored by
most Democrats. They believe Kennedy made similar
miscalculations when he cut initial deals with Republicans
on Medicare drug coverage and education policy.

"Just about everyone in the caucus is worried that without
safeguards that this is headed into an unfair, unbalanced
bill," said one Democratic senator who did not want to be
named in discussing internal criticism of Kennedy.

Republicans acknowledge that Kennedy served as a valuable
ally last week when he broke with the Democratic leadership
in its efforts to blame Republican recalcitrance for the
collapse of the immigration legislation. Kennedy, in a
split with Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, the Democratic
leader, said he was sympathetic to the Republican demand to
offer amendments — a key sticking point with Democrats.

"He certainly helped, by our lights, to make it a more
truthful understanding of what happened and that leaves the
door open for us when we come back," said Eric Ueland,
chief of staff to Sen. Bill Frist, the majority leader.

The subject of immigration runs deep in Kennedy family
lore. According to a biography by Adam Clymer that focused
on Kennedy's legislative accomplishments, the senator used
to regale his staff with how his grandfather, John F.
Fitzgerald, had opposed a literacy requirement on new
immigrants while serving in the House in 1897.

Opponent of quotas

As a senator, John F. Kennedy opposed quotas on immigrants
from outside Western Europe, a cause Kennedy and another
brother, Robert, pursued as members of the Senate. They
took on Southern lawmakers who objected to giving Africans
the same opportunity to immigrate as those from Great

"This is one of his core issues, one of the things he has
been concerned about the longest," said Clymer, a former
reporter for the New York Times, whose book recounted
Edward Kennedy's 1965 floor speech.

Kennedy said Tuesday that he believed the setback was
temporary. "I think the momentum in our caucus is strongly
in favor of immigration; there is a difference on tactics,"
said Kennedy, noting that the situation is far different
for Republicans who are split over the idea of allowing
illegal residents a chance to qualify for citizenship.

As he took in Monday's immigration rally, Kennedy said he
heard the echoes of the civil rights movement and concluded
change is inevitable.

"There is too much velocity to deny it," Kennedy said.
"This is an extraordinary grass-roots movement and ...
really one that we will have to answer."

former New York Times reporter whose book recounted
Kennedy's 1965 floor speech


McGuinness Condemns Hijacking

Mark Hennessy, Political Correspondent

The armed hijacking of a lorry carrying €300,000 worth of
vodka in Co Meath on Monday has been strongly condemned by
Sinn Féin's chief negotiator, Martin McGuinness.

"Let me unreservedly condemn the attempted hijacking of a
truck in Co Meath," the Sinn Féin leader declared

"Our view is that anyone involved in activity of this
nature, no matter what political party they support, needs
to be arrested, charged and brought to court before a jury
of his peers.

"Republicans should not be immune from prosecution. We are
just like anybody else. If we break the law, we should be
arrested, charged and prosecuted before a judge and a jury.

"That is a very straightforward position," said Mr

Rejecting criticisms levelled by the Democratic Unionist
Party's Jeffrey Donaldson, he said: "I think Jeffrey is
missing the point. The IRA had no hand, act or part in the
raid in Co Meath. That will become clear as the days
progress.The IRA was not involved."

Sinn Féin was not responsible for ensuring that all people
of a republican viewpoint were not involved in crime of any
kind," Mr McGuinness stated.

People from other political parties have been jailed over
the years for a variety of crimes: "It is not my
responsibility to deal with that. It is the Minister for
Justice's responsibility and the Garda's responsibility,"
he added.

© The Irish Times


PSNI Use Of Garda Horses In Belfast Dismissed As A 'Ridiculous Initiative'

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

The DUP and Sinn Féin have united in opposition to new-
style cross-Border initiative by police.

Both parties dismissed as "a stunt" the PSNI's use of two
horses borrowed from the Garda for use in Belfast.

Two PSNI officers have completed training in mounted
patrols in Dublin in preparation for a two-day experiment
in loyalist east Belfast, thus angering the DUP. A photo-
shoot involving a mounted patrol on the Falls Road
yesterday later provoked condemnation from Sinn Féin.

One caller to a BBC Radio Ulster phone-in referred
pointedly to the PSNI's 50-50 recruitment policy and asked
if the horses were drawn from both Catholic and Protestant

Councillor Jimmy Spratt, who fought the Westminster
election last year in East Belfast for the DUP, is sharply
critical of the idea. "It is a two-day stunt. I cannot
describe it as other than that." Mr Spratt is also chairman
of the local District Policing Partnership which advises
the PSNI locally on community affairs.

"I was absolutely appalled and, indeed, other members of
the district police partnership were also appalled at the
police even suggesting such a stunt," he added. He called
the experience a "ridiculous initiative".

Sinn Féin's Fra McCann accused the PSNI of deliberately
disrupting life on the Falls Road in order to engage in a
cheap publicity stunt. "Today the PSNI paraded down a
section of the Falls Road on the back of two horses
accompanied by the usual media pack," he said.

"However to facilitate this publicity stunt, in addition to
the horses which we are told have been borrowed for the
occasion from the guards, there was a significant armed
PSNI presence both on foot and in patrol vehicles.

"Hugh Orde would need to catch himself on. This type of
stunt does not impress anybody in areas like west Belfast.
In fact if anything it causes even more annoyance, with
local people's lives disrupted further by an unnecessary
PSNI presence in their community."

Further mounted patrols are planned. Two horses from the
Garda's mounted unit will be brought North over the months
ahead for up to a week at a time.

Mounted patrols were resumed in Northern Ireland in 2004
for the first time in 80 years.

Assistant Chief Constable Roy Toner said the police service
was always examining fresh ways to tackle crime and provide
highly-visible patrolling.

"There is evidence that mounted patrols, if properly tasked
and deployed, can achieve positive results in crime
reduction and detection," he said.

Some 17 British police forces have mounted units and the
Garda has 16 horses available for patrols.

"We are very grateful to the Garda for their support and
are looking forward to the opportunity of assessing the
benefits for our service," Mr Toner added.

© The Irish Times


Hugh Orde Told To Catch Himself On After Falls Road Publicity Stunt

Published: 11 April, 2006

West Belfast Sinn Fein Assembly member Fra McCann has
accused the PSNI of deliberately disrupting life on the
Falls Road in order to engage in a cheap publicity stunt.

Mr McCann said:

"Today the PSNI paraded down a section of the Falls Road on
the back of two horses accompanied by the usual media pack.
However to facilitate this publicity stunt in addition to
the horses which we are told have been borrowed for the
occasion from the Guards, there was a significant armed
PSNI presence both on foot and in patrol vehicles.

"This is similar to a stunt performed for the cameras in
Derry last year when two PSNI members were placed on
bicycles and given armed back up to pose for the cameras in
a nationalist part of that city never to be seen again once
the cameras left.

"Hugh Orde would need to catch himself on. This type of
stunt does not impress anybody in areas like West Belfast.
In fact if anything it causes even more annoyance with
local people‚s lives disrupted further by an unnecessary
PSNI presence in their community.

"Getting policing right is about dealing with the
outstanding issues. It is about proving to communities like
West Belfast that the PSNI are capable of anything other
than political policing. Parading down the Lower Falls on
horseback for the benefit of the media does nothing to
advance this agenda." ENDS


Twenty-Three To Face Ardoyne Riot Trial

A total of 23 people - including a boy of 13 - are to stand
trial at Belfast Crown Court in connection with a riot in
the north of the city last July.

Each of the defendants appeared at Belfast Magistrate's
Court on Tuesday, where they were charged with riotous
assembly on 12 July, 2005.

The charges arise from disorder at the front of Ardoyne

The trouble flared when nationalists attacked police after
an Orange Order parade passed through the area.

A crowd of men and teenagers attacked police lines at the
shop fronts, pelting officers with bricks and other

A preliminary hearing was held at the Laganside Courts
Complex before Magistrate Des Perry.

A prosecutor told the hearing: "The Crown submits that
based on the papers, there is a case to answer."

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/11 14:56:07 GMT


Sinn Féin MEP Demands Equality For Irish Language In Schools

Published: 12 April, 2006

Sinn Féin MEP Bairbre de Brún has today demanded that the
‘Irish language is treated no less favourably than other EU

Ms de Brún made her comments after concerns were raised
that the British Government’s ‘Draft Education Order
(Northern Ireland) 2006' has stated that of the courses
offered by a school at key stage 4 “at least one shall be a
course in an official language of the European Community
(other than English and Irish)."

Speaking today Ms de Brún said:

“This proposal would treat Irish less favourably than other
EU languages. English would not be treated less favourably
because the position of English in the curriculum means
that schools would already offer this subject. However,
Irish is not already catered for in the same way in
English-medium schools, and this proposed clause could have
considerable consequences when it comes to the provision of
scarce resources.


Infected Swan Found In Scotland Was Migrant

Seán Mac Connell, Agriculture Correspondent

Irish cats would have to be kept indoors to prevent them
from catching avian flu, Minister for Agriculture and Food
Mary Coughlan said yesterday.

The Minister had been asked by journalists what would
happen if cats here were to pick up the disease from ill or
dead infected birds as had happened in Germany.

The Minister said the advice would be to keep cats inside
homes to prevent them having contact with infected birds.

While there has been an increase in the number of telephone
calls reporting dead birds to the Department of
Agriculture, there was relief in veterinary circles here at
the news the sole Scottish H5N1 infected bird was a

Initially, it had been thought the swan found dead in
Cellardyke Harbour had been a native Mute swan.

Yesterday, Scottish officials said the infected bird was a
Whooper swan and it may not have had contact with the
native Mute swans which live in Scotland and do not have
migratory patterns.

Whoopers breed in Iceland, Scandinavia and northern Russia
and spend the winter in Britain and parts of continental

The swans also winter in Ireland, mainly on the west coast
but would already have left the country for their breeding

Scottish officials believe the bird may have wintered in
continental Europe and died making its way back to Iceland
to breed.

The Department of Agriculture confirmed the vaccination of
exotic birds with the H5N2 strain of avian flu had been
carried out.

© The Irish Times


Inside The World Of Dissident Republicanism

National Miscellaneous Feature Wednesday April 12,
2006 00:02 by Terry

The Real I.R.A.

As we approach the 90th anniversary of the
Easter Rising this article looks at anti-Agreement
Republicanism by reviewing its press.

The three main dissident republican political organisations
are the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the 32 County
Sovereignty Movement, and Republican Sinn Fein. This
article reviews their publications, which are The Starry
Plough, The Sovereign Nation, and Saoirse.

These groups are all much much smaller than the mainstream
or ‘Provisional’ Sinn Fein, but given the latter’s
acceptance of the Unionist veto aka the principle of
consent, that is that changes in the constitutional
arrangement for Northern Ireland must be endorsed by its
electorate, as well as their downsizing of the military
arm, it is the dissidents rather than the Provisionals who
carry on the spirit of what Irish republicanism meant for
most of the 20th centuary.

Related Links: Conflict Archive CAIN Wikipedia on Real
I.R.A. Ireland's Own, republican website Davy Carlin
article on dissidents The Nationalism Project: site for the
study of nationalism

Racked by splits, with a poor reputation, incapable of
using its chosen means – military force, which is in any
case incapable of realising its goal, and with its
erstwhile comrades going down the path of the Workers Party
one might see this as the nadir of Irish republicanism.

However throughout the much of the 20th centuary Irish
republicanism meant isolated micro groups, this was the
case in the 1940s, the 1950s, and the 1960s. Rather than
being an inevitable by-product of the “British presence”
republicanism became a significant mass phenomenon at two
particular junctures, firstly as part of the international
backlash against the Great War (1918 to 1923) and secondly
by taking advantage of a crisis produced by the left wing
mass agitation around civil rights issues (1968 onwards).

The Starry Plough

Of the publications of dissident republican organisations
the Irish Republican Socialist Party’s The Starry Plough is
easily the most intelligent. Though as we shall see that is
not an achievement worthy of great acclaim.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party, or I.R.S.P., is the
political wing of the Irish National Liberation Army
(I.N.L.A.), and collectively they are known as the
Republican Socialist Movement.

The issue of The Starry Plough I looked at was number 1 of
series 11, and appears to be undated, though I bought it
late January 2006, and it seems to have been current for
then, that is, this is the winter 05/06 issue.

The front page editorial is an interesting piece, which
sharply distinguishes the I.R.S.P. from the strategies of
other dissident republican forces, rejecting “republican
unity” as “no other republican group shares our analysis.”.

It slates the continuing attempts by the Real and
Continuity I.R.A.s to mount a ‘military campaign’, writing
that: “Those who have engaged in armed struggle have waged
an ineffectual sporadic and pointless campaign totally
divorced from the reality of everyday life in the North of

Another article inside the paper points out that as the
Provisionals were unable to achieve anything approaching
victory from their ‘military activity’, and no one today
has the capacity to even imitate them, it follows that
there is nothing to be gained from continuing the ‘armed
struggle’. The I.N.L.A. went on ceasefire in 1998.

The editorial also points out recent splits within the
ranks of the other dissidents (both in the Continuity and
the Real) and criticises their obsession with the
Provisionals. We are getting to the interesting parts now,
it also claims that: “There are huge issues affecting the
working class that need to be tackled now and if
republicans are not in the forefront of the class struggles
then Irish republicanism will become an irrelevance to the
needs of the Irish working class.” .

“ The only road forward is the political road. Only be
engaging in the everyday struggles of the working class can
we make revolutionary republicanism relevant to the class.
Come join with us in the only struggle that will make a

There are a number of things which can be said about this,
but most appropriately to a review, how does the rest of
the paper reflect this agenda?

Disappointingly the answer is not at all. One quarter of
one page is given over to class politics – a brief report
on the Joanne Delaney case, with no details of any actions
around this apart from a cut and paste of a sample letter
of protest to Dunnes Stores management. With only an e-mail
address to send this to, kinda curious for something in a
print publication, it looks suspiciously like this was cut
and pasted straight off indymedia.

A report on Maoists in Nepal gets over twice as much space.
The Catalan nationalist movement gets six times as much
coverage. Most of the paper is taken up with party news and
party history.

More fundamentally, as with much left republicanism,
socialism and class politics does not appear as an end in
itself, rather as a means to a republican end. It basically
can be read as ‘do this, we will win support, which can
then be used for THE cause’.

Also republicanism isn’t relevant to class struggle, there
isn’t an objective relationship between one and the other,
collective opposition to one facet of capital, say
privatisation, contains seeds within in it for the
suppression of capital (socialism), but doesn’t relate at
all to a project to establish a unitary state in Ireland.
I’m not at all sure how the I.R.S.P. would go about making
the links between water tax (for instance) and the
necessity to establish an independent united Ireland.

As I said much of the rest of the paper is taken up with
party history, a bit on the origins of the 1987 feud, and a
bit on Gino Gallagher, assassinated in another Republican
Socialist feud in 1996.

These sections are interesting, generally the parts of the
Republican press which is of most interest are the
historical sections, without them one would be often
relying on the journalists’ version of events. A version
which is obviously very biased against these groups, and
inclined to emphasis pathology and criminality over
politics. But then the I.N.L.A. gave them plenty of
ammunition down the years for such an approach.

The historical articles seem to be beseeching that so and
so murdered in this or that feud was a communist, was
political, was a thinker. Though that said the analysis
offered of the feuds is, after all, for the most part, that
apolitical militarist elements were seeking to get rid of
the political types. How that is squared with claiming that
one of the factions in ’87 – the Irish Peoples’ Liberation
Organisation (I.P.L.O.) suffered from a “mish mash of half-
baked and badly digested Marxism.” is unclear.

I can’t really comment on the exact ins and outs of the
internal blood letting which has dominated the history of
the I.R.S.P./I.N.L.A. since its founding 32 years ago.

However, supposing that all the Paul Williams type stories
in corporate media about I.N.L.A. drugs related gangsterism
are untrue, and for that matter I don’t see the logic to an
organised crime consortium maintaining a political
organisation; let’s take it for granted that all that is
untrue, and that what is left of the Republican Socialist
Movement rejects adventurist militarism and criminality and
wants to build a serious class based political movement.
Well the cross they bear, that of carrying the history of
the I.N.L.A./I.R.S.P., a history of sectarian murder,
militarism, gangsterism, and insane internecine violence,
doesn’t really offer them much prospects for doing so does
it? Like it or not the letters I N L and A are gonna be
forever associated with chaotic sprees of murder being
carried out by different parts of the organisation against
each other.

The Sovereign Nation

‘The Sovereign Nation’ is the publication of the 32 County
Sovereignty Movement (32 C.S.M.), this is the political
wing of the Real I.R.A., which split from the Provos in
1997 and gave us the Omagh bombing, that being the single
incident which accounted for the greatest loss of life
during the Troubles, and which took place in the only town
in which the 32 County had electoral representation. This
tendency recently underwent a split with some of its
prisoners now affiliating to a body called the ‘New
Republican Forum’. I looked at the July-August 2005 issue
of The Sovereign Nation. There are some parts of this
publication which are just plain odd.

Page nine for instance, given over to an article entitled
‘Revolutionary Activism and the State: Security and
Counter-Insurgency’, this is a ‘security culture’ how to
guide and I would swear it was lifted straight from an
American eco-anarchist publication. The language ‘direct
action movement’, ‘activist’, ‘security culture’, all
suggests very very strongly that is where this article came
from and even more weirdly there is a picture of a black
bloc. This illustrates the futility of the psuedo-
militarist path some eco-anarchist types in the United
States have gone down – one would question how liberatory a
tactical approach is if it can be adopted by very
authoritarian commandist nationalist groups. It also
underscores what The Starry Plough would say about the
inability of dissident republicans to launch a serious
‘military campaign’, or what some would say about their
infiltration, I mean you couldn’t really imagine the Provos
at the highpoint of their ‘campaign’ searching through
Green Anarchist for tips now could you?

Page 11 is the really really odd one though. This contains
a full page interview with Shamil Basayev, or Amir Abdallah
Shamil Abu-Idris as he prefers to call himself. Making ‘The
Sovereign Nation’ possibly the first Irish republican
newspaper to carry the immortal line: “In the name of
Allah, the Merciful, the Compassionate. Glory to Allah,
Lord of the Worlds, who created us as Muslims and delivered
us with a Jihad on His direct path. Peace and blessings be
upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, his disciples, and all
those who follow his direct path to the Day of Judgment.”

Basayev is the leader of Chechen insurgents who has claimed
responsibility for: hijacking a civilian Aeroflot flight in
1991 and threatening to blow it up, the Budyonnovsk
hospital hostage crisis in 1995, the 1999 invasion of
Dagestan (which launched the Second Chechen War), the 2002
Moscow theatre hostage crisis, and the 2004 Beslan school
hostage seige.

Basayev is a Wahhabi, a member of the virulently bigoted
sect of Islam, predominant in Saudi Arabia, known as
Wahhabism. Wahhabism persecutes religious minorities,
oppresses women, and of course, looks forward to the
massacre of Jews. In total since 1975 the Saudi authorities
have spent over 70 billion U.S. dollars on promoting
Wahhabism in the Islamic world. This process, kick started
by the profits bonanza of the oil crisis, is an important
part of the current rise of Islamic fundamentalism.

While some of their former comrades would criticise
hardline anti-Agreement republicans for turning a tactic –
armed struggle, into a principle (and many leftists would
have said the same of the Provos), the 32 C.S.M. seems to
have elevated it into a political philosophy. The Basayev
interview led me to look at the international section of
their website, which unites big bearded Chechen religious
fanatics, with Hamas, with Columbia’s FARC, with what seem
to be Turkish Leninists of one variety or another. Guns
appear to be the common denominator.

This is an organisation which has a military fetish,
something which wouldn’t really make it unique in the
culture of Irish Republicanism (see songs, murals, websites
of action films, general fondness for uniforms).

On to more pedestrian things, a more theoretical article on
page ten brings us to the central dilemma for post-Good
Friday Agreement militant republicans. This article attacks
the Provisionals for supporting ‘National Self-
Determination’ as opposed to ‘National Sovereignty’: “this
means that if a majority of people in Ireland as a whole
decide that there will be no united Ireland until a
majority of people in the North decide to, that constitutes
national self-determination rather than a partitionist

Yeah the sound of waking-up-to-smell-the-coffee.
Republicanism could square ‘self-determination’ for 32
Counties but not for 6 Counties on the basis that, under
international law, part of a “national territory” didn’t
have a separate right to ‘self-determination’ (where that
leaves pre-1922 Ireland is unclear), however when it
becomes blatantly obvious that the 32 county ‘nation’ would
‘self-determine’ partition you are entering into a
problematically contradictory political territory. This
means rejecting ‘National Self-Determination’ for ‘National
Sovereignty’. How you figure that one out is beyond me.
What isn’t gone into is what the above admission means for
a programme of armed struggle to force a British
declaration of intent to withdraw coupled with, in the
interim period prior to withdrawal, talks and votes on a
new constitutional arrangement, which would most likely not
produce the 32 C.S.M.’s united independent Ireland.

The 32 C.S.M.’s main political activity seems to have been
a submission to the United Nations on Britain’s denial of
sovereignty to Ireland. A truly quixotic effort. One would
suggest they contact their friends in Hamas for information
on the value of United Nations’ resolutions.


Saoirse is a Gaelic word meaning freedom, and this is the
paper of Republican Sinn Fein (R.S.F.). I looked at the
February 2006 edition, though it could have been any one in
the last ten years as it doesn’t go in much for variety.

R.S.F. broke from the Provisionals in 1986, unveiling its’
military wing, the Continuity I.R.A., much later. This
split was over some traditional Republican theology which
didn’t recognise the 26 County state and as such didn’t
take seats in the Dail. In addition the ditching of Sinn
Fein’s previous policy on a federal Ireland with a
parliament for each province was an exacerbating factor.
R.S.F. has been largely a Southern movement, as has been
the case with the Real I.R.A./ 32 C.S.M., though they
apparently do get support in areas of the North which are
not republican strongholds and wherein Catholics are a
small minority. The I.R.S.P. is more Northern.

The leadership of the R.S.F. split included a fair slice of
the 70s leadership of the Provisionals, responsible for the
disastrous 1975 ceasefire, that, and their long
inability/unwillingness to blow anything up/shoot anyone,
it being over ten years after the split before they started
up ‘military operations’, seems to have reduced their
attractiveness to Provos disillusioned with the peace
process in the 90s. The R.S.F./C.I.R.A. grouping also
recently suffered a split, with a number of its’ prisoners

Saoirse is a more regular publication than The Starry
Plough or The Sovereign Nation, coming out monthly. It is
however much less interesting, lacking the intelligence of
the first (well given the context) or the sheer madness of
the second (Basayev).

Motions to the R.S.F. 2005 Ard Fheis sought a greater focus
on wider issues beyond just ‘Brits Out’, for example
Shannon and Corrib Gas, both of which can be fitted into
the Republican discourse of sovereignty.

This isn’t reflected in Saoirse, which is very much single
issue ‘national question’ focused. Unlike the 32 C.S.M.
R.S.F. claims socialism, though it is much less staunch
about this than the I.R.S.P. .

The major article in this issue of Saoirse is focused on
the then upcoming Love Ulster demonstration in Dublin on
the 25th of February, with a white on red banner headline
‘oppose loyalist march’ on the front page.

There is much rhetorical flourish in the article about
Wolfe Tone, Thomas Francis Meagher, and non-sectarianism.
Republicans are, objectively, engaged in a communal
conflict rather than an anti-colonial one, and any amount
of invoking the cold dead spirits of United Irishmen or
Young Irelanders will not make any bloody difference to

As an aside the article shows how out of touch R.S.F. are.
It rhetorically asks would “nationalist parades, of
whatever kind, or even civil rights marches” be allowed
“down Belfast’s Royal Avenue? The British forces would
certainly stop them.”

Except since the early 90s such things have happened, there
have been nationalist parades and protests in Belfast city

Saoirse doesn’t explain how opposing the march would
contribute to their goal of an independent united Ireland.
It claims, as one of the three reasons to oppose the march,
that it is a dry run “softening up process” for a visit by
the Queen of England

To believe such we must believe that the Love Ulster march
was, rather than a protest against the two governments, a
conspiracy by them, devised in the strange belief that the
population of Dublin, many of whom follow the royal family
in celebrity magazines and tabloids, would find a parade of
loyalist madmen less offensive than a state visit by the
Queen, and would be acclimatised for such a visit by this
apparently less distasteful event.

This strangeness, and references to “British backed death
squads”, is an attempt to frame the march and opposition to
it in Ireland versus London terms. This is a part of the
contradictions of Irish republicanism most pronounced in

It cannot be sectarian, blatantly communal or follow an
overtly ethnic rather than civic nationalism. It cannot do
this as conferring a status other than part of the Irish
nation onto Unionists would also confer ‘national rights’
(in the ideology of republicanism) onto Unionists and hence
grant them a right to separate, much as the bulk of Ireland
exercised a right to separate from the U.K. .

So despite the communal nature of the conflict, and despite
the fact if one is to get to a united independent Ireland
you’ll have to fight your way through the Unionist
population to get there, republicanism veils itself behind
platitudes from the 18th and 19th centuries, and aims to
continually deny the indigenous aspects of the conflict.

Ironically if it were less sophisticated and more given to
religious sectarianism like loyalism it would be better
equipped to purse its ends.

According to some histories a factor in the ousting of that
part of the 70s Provo leadership which went on to form
R.S.F. was that willingness to attempt to accommodate
Unionists, a willingness which, of course, flew, and flies,
in the face of the reality that Unionists are the enemy,
more than Whitehall.


Opin: The Blair North Project Changes Nothing Yet


Tony Blair's latest political initiative on Northern
Ireland resembles one of Gordon Brown's budget statements;
it looks somewhat different once you get beyond the pre-
spun headlines, writes Frank Millar, London Editor

Last Thursday's prime ministerial pronouncement in Armagh
seemed perfectly straightforward - and it amounted to a bad
day for the Democratic Unionist Party. That is as certain
as the party's inevitable public denial that it might in
any way misread or miscalculate its relationship with 10
Downing Street.

Rather like Sinn Féin, the DUP likes to be taken at its own
monolithic estimate of itself. Yet the fact remains that
the party's so-called "modernisers" were lined-up ready to
welcome Blair's plan for a transitional Stormont Assembly.
Nor was it just the modernisers who appeared to presume too
much of their new friends in Number 10. Traditionalists,
too, had anticipated Thursday's statement as an additional
"present" for the Rev Ian Paisley on his 80th birthday.

This is the stuff of which tensions are made in the higher
reaches of the DUP leadership. In the immediate fallout
from Thursday, some sources implied that other DUP
colleagues were getting too close to Blair, and, crucially,
had failed to dilute the key paragraph in the joint
communiqué threatening a "step-change" in Anglo-Irish co-
operation in the event of failure of the devolution
project. The retort is that the offending paragraph would
have been much more threatening without behind-the-scenes
DUP influence. And, in fairness, both sides had covered any
potentially exposed flank by disavowing in advance any idea
of a deadline for DUP compliance. However, for a party
which triumphed on the back of David Trimble's perceived
weaknesses in negotiation, there would seem to be some
lessons here in how Downing Street does business.

That said, the DUP now appears content that the famous
"pendulum" has already begun to swing back. Indeed, the
process of retreat may have begun almost as soon as Blair
and Taoiseach Bertie Ahern took to the podium last
Thursday, for it was instantly clear that the prime
minister had got the tone badly wrong.

In his scripted remarks Blair might have sounded even-
handed, telling the DUP and Sinn Féin what each must do to
recognise and engender confidence in the other.

However, it was "Plan B" as defined in the communiqué which
suggested that the prime minister had already made his
judgment, that Sinn Féin would find it next-to-impossible
to fail the test, and that in reality the DUP was
considered the only real obstacle to progress.

It is difficult to see how else the parties were intended
to read the threat: "If restoration of the Assembly and
Executive has to be deferred, the governments agree this
will have immediate implications for their joint
stewardship of the process.

"We are beginning detailed work on British-Irish
partnership arrangements that will be necessary in these
circumstances to ensure that the Good Friday agreement,
which is the indispensable framework for relations on and
between these islands, is actively developed across its
structures and functions.

"This work will be shaped by the commitment of both
governments to a step-change in advancing North-South co-
operation and action for the benefit of all."

The BBC's Northern Ireland political editor Mark Devenport
got it in one, asking Blair what impact he thought this
threat might have on loyalists - and why Sinn Féin should
co-operate when the promised outcome would be roughly what
republicans wanted anyway.

And it seems that, if they hadn't understood it well enough
in advance, Number 10 also quickly got the point. Within 24
hours senior Whitehall sources were explaining in effect
that there was an element of double-bluff at work here.
When asked why there was only "punishment" planned for the
unionists, the sources told The Irish Times the initiative
was predicated on the belief that Sinn Féin president Gerry
Adams wants the Executive reinstated, and that "nobody is
suggesting any massive extension of Anglo-Irish co-

The implication was that Adams knew this - in which case he
would not have been surprised by Secretary of State Peter
Hain's subsequent assurance to unionists that nobody was
talking about anything like "joint authority", which he
observed would be a breach of the Belfast Agreement.

The DUP will also have benefited from the keen insight of
David Trimble, who pointed to the contradiction at the core
of the British-Irish communiqué with its assertion that the
Good Friday accord remains "the indispensable framework for
relations on and between these islands". As the former UUP
leader remarked, the governments' Plan B prescription for
bilateral co-operation might signal a reversal to an Anglo-
Irish Agreement Mark II - but it would not be compatible
with the multi-party agreement of 1998, which has at its
core an inclusive political settlement within Northern

And there was a further encouragement for the DUP when
President Bush called on all sides to demonstrate
leadership and seize the opportunity to work together. His
press secretary said, the president urged "full support for
civilian policing throughout Northern Ireland and an
unequivocal commitment to the rule of law and the
renunciation of all paramilitary and criminal activities."

Blair had little to say on this subject last Thursday. But
we can expect to hear more in the months ahead as the DUP
and Sinn Féin continue their battle to determine the shape
and pace of the agenda. After all the hype, the only
certainty is that nothing has changed yet.

© The Irish Times


Opin: I Just Don't Know The Libel Law


Michael McDowell has promised a Bill to reform the
defamation laws every two months for each of the last three
years. It appears he is soon to deliver on these serial
promises and also on a promise to introduce a privacy Bill,
writes Vincent Browne.

No doubt when he gets around finally to doing this he will
be lionised in the media, or rather lionised again in the
media, for although the media is disconcerted at times by
his tantrums, broadly it supports his reactionary agenda.

The Bill to reform the libel laws may make no significant
change at all to the current legal position on libel,
although it will be presented as a radical departure. I
write this hesitatingly because I do not know what the law
on libel is at present, but neither does Michael McDowell
or anybody else. And the reason we do not know what the
legal position is on libel is because a few years ago a
judgment of the High Court radically changed the law on
libel, but since this was not appealed to the Supreme Court
we don't know whether the changes introduced in that
judgment would stick. But if the law is as the judge,
Aindrias Ó Caoimh, in that case (Hill v Duckworth) said it
was, then Michael McDowell's Bill will change very little.

That Hill v Duckworth case arose from a pamphlet written by
an English barrister, Louis Blom Cooper, for Duckworth
publishing company about the Birmingham Six case. And in
the pamphlet there was the suggestion (outrageous, in my
opinion) that the Birmingham Six were in fact not quite as
innocent of the Birmingham bombings as was popularly
believed since they were cleared by the English Court of
Appeal. (Anyone who seriously believes those men were not
innocent is, in my view, off his/her head but that is
another matter.)

Not surprisingly one of the Birmingham Six, Patrick Hill,
sued for libel and did so in the Irish High Court. Under
the libel laws as we have known them, Hill would have had
an open and shut case. Any jury here would have found what
was published an outrageous libel and would have awarded
very handsome damages.

However, the defendants, Duckworth and Louis Blom Cooper,
pleaded the defence of "qualified privilege" and cited in
support of their defence the judgment of the House of Lords
in the case taken by Albert Reynolds against the Sunday

"Qualified privilege" is a defence known in the law of
libel which applies where there is an interest or duty to
communicate certain information on the part of the person
communicating the information, and an interest or duty to
receive the information concerned on the part of the
recipient. This applied to private communications, say,
between a former employer and a prospective employee of a
worker communicating information relevant to the
suitability of the worker for further employment. But now
the idea of "qualified privilege" has been extended to
communications in a democracy between sovereign people and
the media, where obviously there is a right to communicate
and a right to receive communication relevant to the
conduct of public affairs.

This essentially was what the House of Lords held in the
Albert Reynolds case: that if the media, in reporting on
matters of public interest, made reasonable efforts to
establish the facts and published the material without
malice, then qualified privilege would apply. The decision
changed the law of libel at a stroke and when followed here
the law of libel seemed to have been changed at a stroke
also. But we can't be sure since the Supreme Court did not
have a chance to uphold the judgment of Aindrias Ó Caoimh
or to reject it.

Michael McDowell's Bill apparently will put in legislative
form these changes or changes very similar to them. But
will it change the law? His Bill also will probably include
provisions for some technical changes to do with lodgements
and apologies, which are important but not central.

On the privacy issue all the indications are that Michael
McDowell has missed the point. The point is that while
there is protection for privacy in the Constitution it is
not of much use, since most people would never take an
action for invasion of privacy for the very taking of an
action would cause further invasion of privacy.

So the only protection that can be relevant is that
afforded by an independent agency that would act,
independently of the person wronged, in cases where there
were unjustifiable invasions of privacy. Act, that is, in a
way that would deter future invasions of privacy, ie
through stiff penalties for improper invasion.

The idea of self-regulation by the media is even more
ludicrous than the idea of self-regulation in the medical
and legal professions. It has to be an independent agency,
independent of government and of the media, established
under statute, which would mean that its decisions would be
reviewable by the courts, which ultimately would determine
the proper boundaries of privacy and the justifications for

Have no doubt any change will be presented with triumphal
self-congratulation - but will it make any difference?

© The Irish Times


Opin: Rising And Early Independence Brought Prosperity

Home Rule would have made us dependent; we got out from
under British rule just in time, writes Garret FitzGerald.

The first point I would like to make about 1916 is that it
was a product of desperation. For, as my father Desmond
FitzGerald was to write a quarter of a century later, the
Rising was launched by men for whom in the autumn of 1914
the Volunteer movement, "on which all our dreams had
centred, seemed merely to have canalised the martial spirit
of the Irish people for the defence of England.

"Our dream castles toppled about us with a crash. It was
brought home to us that the very fever that had possessed
us was due to a subconscious awareness that the final end
of the Irish nation was at hand."

Only a rising could rekindle the almost extinguished flame
of Irish nationalism, he and his friends believed.

Many of those writing about the events of Easter Week 1916
have concentrated on challenging the morality of that
Rising - by anachronistically seeking to apply values of
the late 20th century to a Europe where in many states
issues of peace were still being decided by emperors and
kings - and where only two states, France and newly-
independent Norway - had democratic governments elected by
universal suffrage.

That does not mean that those who launched the 1916 Rising
were unaware that their decision had moral implications.
Not alone was this the case with those like my father, The
O'Rahilly and of course Eoin Mac Neill and Bulmer Hobson,
respectively president and secretary of the Irish
Volunteers - all of whom believed that it was a mistake to
proceed with this venture after the loss of the arms on the
Aud had made military success impossible. It was also true
of some of the leaders themselves.

For, when later my father came to write his memories of the
period, he recorded that in the many discussions he had
with Pearse and Plunkett in the GPO during that
extraordinary week "time and again we came back to one
favourite topic which could not be avoided. And that was
the moral rectitude of what we had undertaken . . . We
brought forward every theological argument and quotation
that justified that Rising" (Desmond's Rising, page 142).

Ninety years later it seems to me absurd that people should
be concerned to sit in judgment on men who, in
circumstances unimaginably different from the world of
today, in my father's words "with calm deliberation decided
on a course with the full knowledge that the decision they
had made meant their own inevitable death - and made that
decision when their people were far from expecting it of
them; when the very people they sought to serve were more
likely than not to blame them for their act.

"I doubt if what may be called the loneliness of that act
will be realised. It is one thing to go forward into danger
leading a warlike people; it is a very different matter
when the thought of such a thing has not entered people's
minds; when if they did consider the matter they would only
exclaim at its foolishness."

Clearly, there is much hindsight involved in what passes
for today's conventional wisdom that condemns 1916 as
"undemocratic". Many who now hold that view have been
hugely influenced by a belief that the roots of the IRA
violence in Northern Ireland are to be found in 1916.

It is true that the IRA and Sinn Féin have sought to use
1916 as an excuse or cover for their violence against the
unionist community in Northern Ireland, and far too many
people have allowed them to get away with that tactic. But
the truth is that neither the often sectarian motivation of
the IRA in Northern Ireland nor the ruthlessness of their
campaign against its unionist community find any parallel
whatever in the 1916 Rising. It is not difficult to imagine
the horror with which the 1916 leaders would have greeted
today's attempts by the IRA to justify their past actions
by reference to what happened in Dublin 90 years ago.

Another case often made against the Rising is that it was
unnecessary. We are told that Home Rule would have been
conceded after the first World War. That may well be true,
but it does not follow that Home Rule would then have led
peacefully onwards to Irish independence. That is frankly
most unlikely. Indeed, I would describe this thesis as
alternative history gone mad.

Firstly, there is little reason to believe that Britain
would have permitted Ireland to secure independence
peacefully at least until many decades after the second
World War. Secondly, long before that point could have been
reached, the growth of the welfare state within a United
Kingdom of which Ireland remained a part would have
involved a scale of financial transfers from Britain to
Ireland that would have made the whole of our island even
more financially dependent upon Britain than Northern
Ireland is today.

By the time that Britain might finally have been prepared
peacefully to concede independence to our part of Ireland,
the financial cost of such a separation would have been so
great for our people - probably entailing a drop of 25 per
cent or more in living standards - that it is highly
unlikely that the Irish people would have been prepared to
accept such a sudden and huge drop in their standard of

The truth is that we got out from under British rule just
in time - at a moment when the cost of the break was still
bearable, involving as it did only a small reduction in
public service salaries and in the very limited social
welfare provisions of that period. And, of course, without
the independence thus secured in the aftermath of the
Rising we could never have become a prosperous and
respected state and member of the EU. For it is only
because we became politically independent that we have
enjoyed the power - which Northern Ireland lacks today - to
adopt policies enabling us, somewhat belatedly, to catch up
with the rest of Europe, including Britain, in terms of
national output and living standards, and to join that
Union in our own right, rather than as a subordinate region
of the eurosceptic UK.

Without the impetus to early Irish independence provided by
the Rising, it seems to me impossible to make a credible
case for the emergence of a successful Irish State by the
end of the 20th century. Indeed, I have never heard anyone
even attempt to make a case for a successful Irish economy
being achieved on the basis of a move to Home Rule rather
than independence in the early 1920s.

It is only by ignoring completely this fundamental economic
equation that those who seek to advocate retrospectively
the delayed Home Rule route to independence have been able
to give a spurious credibility to their case.

Of course, the men who launched the Rising were as unaware
of what was to become in time the compelling economic case
for early Irish independence, as they were unaware of the
retrospective criticism they would face in the late 20th
century because of the outbreak of sectarian violence in
Northern Ireland half-a-century after their initiative had
culminated in the emergence of an independent Irish State.
But we know - as they may have hoped, but could not have
known - that within less than eight years their action
would have brought into being an internationally-recognised
independent State.

Desmond's Rising - an Autobiography by Desmond FitzGerald
is republished today by Liberties Press.

Tomorrow: Eoin Ryan MEP on how his grandparents saw the
Rising as just one step in a lifelong campaign

© The Irish Times


Opin: 1916 - Just What Are We Celebrating?

National History And Heritage Opinion/Analysis
Wednesday April 12, 2006 10:53 by Andrew Flood - WSM 1916
Working Group wsm_ireland at yahoo dot com

Freedom, left republicanism and anarchism.

An anarchist analysis of the 1916 insurrection and the war
of independence / tan war in the context of the struggle
for socialism in Ireland and internationally. Concentrates
on the 'unknown' intense class struggle that ran alongside
the war of independence and the role republicanism played
in the suppression of that struggle in the interests of
nationalist unity. Asks what is freedom and shows how
anarchism originated amongst earlier European left
republicans as an answer to the limitations of

Money issued by 1919 Limerick soviet

1916 - just what are we celebrating?

There is something very odd with the official commemoration
of 1916. The same government which is celebrating an
insurrection against imperialism 90 years ago is today -
against the wishes of the majority of the Irish people -
allowing Irish airports to be used in support of an
imperialist war. And whereas the 1916 proclamation referred
to "the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of
Ireland" successive southern governments have shown
themselves to be on the side of international corporations.
Currently this has manifested itself in the manner in which
the Corrib gas fields off Co. Mayo have been handed over to
the Shell corporation.

The program of the insurrection

The reason they can get away with this hypocrisy is because
the 1916 proclamation is long on rhetoric about "dead
generations" and "august destiny" but short on any sort of
concrete program, never mind one that addressed the needs
of the working class. The 1916 proclamation says very
little about the sort of Ireland the rebels wanted to see.
This has allowed every party in the south to claim to stand
in its tradition in the 90 years since it was first read

The rising was heroic and it did shape the face of modern
Ireland, but is there much in the rising for anyone on the
left to celebrate? This blow against imperialism after all
is somewhat undermined by the description of German
imperialism in the second paragraph of the proclamation as
"gallant allies in Europe". And the promise that "The
Republic guarantees .. equal rights and equal opportunities
to all its citizens" holds no threat to European capitalism
of today which also claims to stand for such things.

Despite the fact that the Ireland of the time was deeply
divided, right down to the formation of two rival and armed
militas the proclamation simply "claims the allegiance of
every Irishman and Irishwoman" despite "the differences" ..
"which have divided a minority from the majority". The
bitter sectarian divisions that already existed in the
Belfast working class were unlikely to be overcome in such
a manner!

The left and 1916

Connolly has been quoted as saying at an Irish Citizens
Army rally a week before the rising that ".. if we should
win hold on to your rifles because the Volunteers may have
a different goal. Remember we're out not only for political
liberty but for economic liberty as well" so certainly the
left at the time was aware of the missing equality from the
proclamation. As usual in reaching a compromise between
socialism and republicanism the socialist element had to be
pushed to one side.

Despite this sections of the Dublin left made a real
contribution to the rising. Not only was James Connolly a
socialist but around 20% of the combatants were from the
Irish Citizen Army whose origins lay in a revolutionary
syndicalist union, the ITGWU. Other participants in the
rising recorded that for at least some of them "this
military revolution was to be followed by the industrial
revolution".[1] But that left was destroyed by the rising
and although the ICA was to be reborn in name, in reality,
as Frank Robbins imprisoned for 2 years after 1916, said
"the majority of the new members, strange as it might seem,
did not hold or advocate the social and political views
that had motivated those who fought in 1916" (2)

The state which arose was hostile to the interests of Irish
workers and even during the War of Independence the IRA was
to act against the struggles of those workers again and
again. As Ernie O'Malley (OC 2nd Southern Division, IRA)
summarised "There was land trouble in the South and West.
The Dail, afraid of the spread of land hunger, used the IRA
to protect land owners; the IRA who were in sympathy with
those who wanted to break up estates carried out the orders
of the Minister of Defence." (3)

Class struggle during the War of Independence

The events of 1916 are quite well known - what most people,
even those on the left, are unaware of is that intense
class struggle was waged in the years between 1918 and
1923. There were 5 general strikes in southern and western
Ireland between August 1918 and August 1923 and 18 general
local strikes, twelve of these in 1919. In the course of
these workers took over the running of towns and cities
across Ireland, most famously with the 1919 Limerick Soviet
but this happened even in the small town of Dungarvan. In
1918 for one month in Dungarvan;

"Nothing could be bought or sold without a union permit.
Nothing could enter the town without union permission.
People who tried to break the blockade had their carts
overturned and their goods destroyed .. The strike
committee set up its own rationing and distribution system"

Landless labourers across Ireland took part in land
occupations and in cattle drives. Workers occupied their
workplaces and sought to keep production going.

Pitched battles were fought between workers and police,
republican police and even self styled 'white guards' set
up by employers. Of the General Strike of April 1920 the
Manchester Guardian noted "the direction of affairs passed
during the strike to these [workers'] councils, which were
formed not on a local but on a class basis. In most places
the police abdicated, and the maintenance of order was
taken over by the local Workers Council .. In fact, it is
no exaggeration to trace a flavour of proletarian
dictatorship about some aspects of the strike".

Yes as historian Emmet O'Connor notes "Despite the proved
value of the strike .. Dail Eireann never sought to invoke
it, or attempt to manipulate political strikes once they
had begun. Employing a weapon of social conflict would have
run counter to Sinn Fein's integrationist strategy"5]

This was a time of militant syndicalist struggle across the
European working class. In Ireland some of these workers
would have been IRA members but the methods of struggle
they used were not those of the Irish republicanism but of
Italian anarchists, French syndicalists, British trade
unionists and even Belfast shipyard workers. The sole
contribution of the War of Independence, and in particular
the IRA's targeting of the forces of 'law and order', was
the creation of a vacuum in which these workers' struggles
could progress much further than might have been otherwise

The price of success

This lack of 'law and order' meant that for the British and
Irish capitalist class Sinn Fein came to be seen as a way
of returning to business as normal. The forces of the crown
could no longer guarantee the law and order needed to keep
business as usual, perhaps the IRA could play that role.
Sinn Fein started to prove that it could be trusted to
manage capitalism in southern Ireland on May 17 1920 in
Ballinrobe, Co Mayo. That day the first public Arbitration
Court was held by Sinn Fein. This found against small
holders who had occupied a 100 acre farm. Although the
small holders defied the court decision and remained in
occupation, in the words of a Dail pamphlet "the Captain of
the local company of the IRA descended upon them with a
squad of his men- sons of very poor farmers like themselves
- arrested four of them, and brought them off to that very
effective Republican prison - an unknown destination" (6)

Peadar O'Donnell who was OC of 2nd brigade IRA (Derry and
East Donegal) writing in 1963 observed "Many an IRA man in
jail in '22 and '23 cursed his use as a defender of pure
ideals to patrol estate walls, enforce decrees for rent,
arrest and even order out of the country leaders of local
land agitation" (7) In other words the IRA could protect
the rich in a way that the RIC were no longer capable of.

This was Irish republicanism at its most militant period,
it was simultaneously a period when Irish workers were at
their most militant. Yet the direct actions of these
workers were seen as a hindrance to the republican struggle
- something that threatened unity. Breaking these workers'
struggles was the way that the Dail won the allegiance of a
large section of Irish capitalism. It demonstrated that
unlike the British state it could maintain law and order
and protect the property and land of the wealthy from the
working class.

It's worth noting that these accounts from senior IRA
officers emphasise either that the rank and file IRA men
involved in suppressing the land occupations were
themselves poor labourers or that they were unhappy with
the role they were ordered to play. Ernie O'Malley further
observed that "The farm labouer could understand the city
workman, and was organised in labour unions with him. The
movement as a whole was hostile to labour claims even
though labour had helped to prevent conscription, had not
contested the last election, and was now refusing to carry
armed troops" (8)

The limits of left republicanism

So while left republicanism may look like an attractive
short cut to socialism it is one based on building on sand.
The weakness of republicanism is not in its failures but in
its successes because success requires building nationalist
unity, whether that be military as during the War of
Independence or political as in the Peace Process. The
price of such unity is constant - the marginalisation and
removal from the agenda of any prospect of social

Anarchism arose out of an understanding of the limits of
socialist republicanism. Because of this it didn't reject
the core concepts of the republic, it built on them. What
do we mean by this?

What is Freedom?

Everyone, from George Bush and Michael McDowell talks of
being for freedom but what does freedom mean? We have
already seen how the 1916 proclamation talked only of
"equal rights and equal opportunities" but left aside any
mention of economic equality even though at least one of
the signatories, James Connolly, knew this was a
requirement for any real freedom.

Liberty, Fraternity, Equality was the slogan that
encapsulated the French revolution and captures the debate
that was to follow, a debate out of which anarchism
eventually emerged. The words sound fine but what do they
mean? Does equality simply mean equality before the law,
something that now exists in theory in the western world.
Or does it mean equal access to all that is produced. In
that debate is the gulf between Bush's Republican party and
anarchist communism.

In the context of Ireland republicanism really starts just
before the 1798 Rebellion. Rebellions before this date were
about a return to more traditional rulers or whether we
would be ruled by a protestant King of England or a
catholic King of England. Whatever the mythologies built up
by loyalism on the one hand and Irish nationalism on the
other freedom, for the mass of the people, was never really
on the agenda.

The 1798 rebellion however aimed at bringing in a new and
democratic form of society. Contained within some of the
various rebel factions was a 'levelling' agenda that talked
in the language of the times of economic liberty. The Poor
Man's Catechism, published anonymously in the 1790's

"I believe in a revolution founded on the rights of man, in
the natural and imprescriptable right of all citizens to
all the land ... As the land and its produce was intended
for the use of man 'tis unfair for fifty or a hundred men
to possess what is for the subsistence of near five
millions ...".

National unity V the 'men of no property'

In the South today we live in a 'republic' but it is one
where not much more than fifty or a hundred men possess
what "is for the subsistence of near five millions". In our
republic 10 families owned almost all of the land suitable
for housing around Dublin and because of this in the last
decade they have become multi millionaires.

Right from the origins of republicanism across the globe it
represented an alliance which included those who wanted to
go a lot further than political liberty and recognised that
equality also required fundamental changes in property laws
etc. The men of no property are not just key figures in
1798, they appear in every republican insurrection on the

The story of anarchism starts with the republican revolts
that broke out all across Europe in the year 1848. These
revolts saw the emergence of very distinct working class
movements that sought to introduce socialism as part of
fight for the republic - the development of what today and
in the Irish context we might call socialist republicanism.

The origins of anarchism in left republicanism

One republican active in those years was the Russian left
republican Michael Bakunin who was later to become an
anarchist. At this time the Slavic people were under the
yokes of no less than four Empires, those of the Russian
Czar, Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans (modern day Turkey) and
the Prussians.

The republican revolts of 1848 saw Bakunin participate in
the Slav congress in Prague and publish 'An appeal to the
Slavs'. This appeal has many things in common with later
socialist republican statements, for instance the call for
revolutionary Slavic unity against the German, Turkish and
Magyars occupations "while we stretched our fraternal hands
out to the German people, to democratic Germany". As
Connolly was to do later he sought to present socialism as
an inevitable part of winning the republic. Bakunin at this
time, like Connolly before 1916, expected the best
republicans to become socialists once they realised this -
Bakunin going so far as to claim that; "Everybody has come
to the realisation that liberty was merely a lie where the
great majority of the population is reduced to a miserable
existence, where, deprived of education, of liberty and of
bread, it is fated to serve as an underprop for the
powerful and the rich." The Appeal to the Slavs ends with
"The social question thus appears to be first and foremost
the question of the complete overturn of society."(9)

Bakunin began to reject left republicanism after the 1863
Polish insurrection when he saw that the Polish
nationalists were more interested in Ukrainian land than
the support of the Ukrainian Slavs and that they were more
afraid of Polish peasant insurrectionists than the Czar. In
other words if they could not keep the working class in
check the Polish capitalists were willing to sacrifice the

The anarchists break with left republicanism

Bakunin went to Italy where he worked on an international
project of revolutionary organisation with republican
exiles from many countries. They sought a way to develop
republican organisational structures and a set of
principles that would see the abolition of class society
rather than just swapping a foreign boss for a domestic

The sort of new society they advocated was a radical
advance in Europe of the 1860's and remains both relevant
and radical today. They argued that

"the advent of liberty is incompatible with the existence
of States."

"the free human society may arise at last, no longer
organised ... from the top down... but rather starting from
the free individual and the free association and autonomous
commune, from the bottom up"

"labour being the sole producer of social assets, anyone
enjoying these without working is an exploiter of another
man's labours, a thief, and work being an essential
underpinning of human dignity, the only means by which man
actually conquers and creates his freedom, all political
and social rights must henceforth be extended to workers

Thus Anarchism emerged in an organised form as a result of
a group of experienced left republican revolutionaries
drawing the conclusion that the achievement of real freedom
meant breaking with nationalist class alliances and looking
instead to international working class rebellion. But they
carried some of their republican tradition with them, not
least the emphasis on individual freedom. Perhaps the best
one sentence summary of anarchism expresses this, again
from Bakunin that

"Liberty without socialism is inequality and injustice"

but this is not simply a critique of republicanism, it is
part of a couplet, the other half of which is a republican
criticism of the tendency of socialists to see individual
freedom as an irrelevancy, that is

"Socialism without Liberty is brutality and slavery".

The lessons of 1916

If the goal of the 1916 insurrection was freedom for the
people of Ireland then it failed, and not just because of
the treaty and partition. Because the left sacrificed all
mentions of economic equality the state that arose in the
south could and does base itself on the proclamation.
Ironically writing some 17 years before 1916 Connolly
himself had highlighted what this would mean when he wrote
"After Ireland is free, says the patriot who won't touch
socialism, we will protect all classes, and if you won't
pay your rent you will be evicted same as now. But the
evicting party, under command of the sheriff, will wear
green uniforms and the Harp without the Crown, and the
warrant turning you out on the roadside will be stamped
with the arms of the Irish Republic. Now, isn't that worth
fighting for?"

In 1916 admist the imperialist slaughter of the First World
War Connolly decided that this limited program was worth
fighting for. 90 years on we can admire those involved in
the insurrection but at the same time the insurrection is a
demonstration that even the most left of republicans, as
Connolly then was, find themselves forced to drop the
working class elements of their program in the interests of
nationalist unity. Anarchism argued left republicanism was
a dead end in the fight for freedom in 1866, Connolly's
sacrifice in 1916 only served to confirm this.


This text is an extended version of the contribution I gave
to the Anarchism and Republicanism debate with Tommy
McKearney at the Anarchist bookfair.


How Adams Suggestion Of A Weekend Away Was Spurned

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams once suggested to David
Trimble they make an effort to get to know and understand
each other better. However, the former unionist leader
rebuffed the notion, a BBC film revealed last night.

In a film profile of Mr Trimble which coincides with the
formal announcement of his elevation to the House of Lords,
he described Mr Adams's suggestion. "He developed this
theme to the point where it was even suggested we go away
at weekends together, at which point (my) mind was
certainly boggling," he says.

"I listened to this being said, at great length, and then
leaned over towards Mr McGuinness and I said: 'You know
Martin, just because you get to know someone better, it
doesn't mean you like them any more'."

David Trimble - Out in the Cold, which was broadcast last
night, confirmed the former First Minister's view of his
own and the UUP's contribution to the peace process. "I
think I can say that without me we would not have made as
much progress as we did . . . Of course others contributed
as well but I think there were points at which certainly
the contribution of the Ulster Unionist Party and arguably
my own personal contribution were crucial."

Mr Trimble defended the Belfast Agreement which he said at
the time would underpin the Union. "That agreement is the
best agreement that unionists have ever had," he said.

When he was asked if Downing Street had deceived him, he
simply replied: "You might say that, I couldn't possibly

Both Tony Blair and Bertie Ahern testify to his personality
and his reputation for blunt speaking.

The prime minister said: "I don't think even David's
closest friends would say he's always easy to deal with, he
isn't. He can be extremely, well, feisty is perhaps the
politest way of putting it."

The Taoiseach chose more direct language to describe the
Trimble temper. "David was not the sort of guy who would
sit there, holding the temper inside himself. He did what
is probably correct to do - he let fly."

Daphne Trimble offered her view of her husband. "David is a
buttoned-up sort of person. He wouldn't find it easy to
express emotions in words."

Nonetheless Mr Blair concedes the scale of the Trimble
contribution to progress in the late 1990s and up until the
UUP leader lost his Westminster seat at the 2005 general

"For David to enter talks with Sinn Féin, now seems quite a
minimal move, but at the time it was an extraordinary and
fundamentally important change," he said.

© The Irish Times


Sinn Féin Announce Details Of Easter Commemorations

Published: 12 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Vice President Pat Doherty MP today released
details of the main annual Sinn Féin Easter Commemorations.
Mr Doherty said that this weekend would see tens of
thousands of republicans taking part in marches,
commemorations and wreath laying ceremonies across the

Mr Doherty said:

"This year marks the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Easter
Rising. It is an important time for Irish republicans. It
is a time for remembering our friends and colleagues who
have given their lives in pursuit of our republican ideals
and goals. It is a time for reflecting on these ideals.

“Events organised by Sinn Féin’s National Commemoration
Committee will take place in all 32 Counties. It is a very
positive development that the Irish Government has also
decided to mark the anniversary with a commemorative event
in our capital city and Sinn Féin will participate in this
event on Sunday.

"At this time each year Republicans recall the words of the
1916 Proclamation - an historic document - one of the most
progressive documents ever written. The Proclamation spells
out the demand for social and economic justice and
democracy, of cherishing all the children of the nation
equally, irrespective of colour, religion, gender, ability
or race, equally.

"Easter is also a time of renewal - a time when we as Irish
republicans rededicate ourselves to the legitimate and
achievable goals of independence and unity for the people
of this island.

"The past year has undoubtedly been a momentous one for
republicans and the peace process. The historic decisions
taken by the IRA in the course of the past 12 months have
presented enormous challenges for all of us, not least the
unionists and the two governments. Yet despite the progress
made unionism has yet to agree the share power on the basis
of equality and respect.

“But simply commemorating the events of Easter 1916 is not
enough. Learning the lessons of 1916 means putting the
issue of Irish unity at the top of the political agenda. It
means the Irish government driving forward a process which
will deliver national reunification.

"There are over 100 commemorations throughout the island
and scores more smaller events. Internationally many Irish
exiles will also take part in commemorations. I am calling
on people to wear an Easter Lily and to make this years
Easter Commemorations and events bigger and better than
ever before." ENDS

Sinn Féin Easter Commemorations - 2006

Friday, 14th April

Dublin (Arbour Hill) Assemble at 2.30pm Speaker Sean Crowe

Saturday 15th

Dublin City Assemble at 1.30pm Speaker Gerry Adams MP

Dublin (Phibsboro) Assemble at 11am Speaker Mary Lou
McDonald MEP

Dublin (Ballyfermot) Assemble 12 noon Speaker Cllr Críona
Ní Dhalaigh

Armagh(Mullaghbawn) Assemble 8pm Speaker Cllr Toireasa

Belfast ( Whitewell) Assemble 5pm Speaker Cllr Paul Butler

Tyrone (Coalisland) Assemble at 3pm Speaker Bairbre de Brún

Waterford City Assemble 3pm Speaker Cllr David Cullinane

Armagh (Portadown) Assemble 12.30pm Speaker Cllr Padraig

Easter Sunday 16th

Belfast Assemble 3pm Speaker Gerry Adams MP

Cork City Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Martin McGuinness MP

Derry City Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Martina Anderson

Armagh(Crossmaglen) Assemble 11am Speaker Cllr Toireasa

Donegal(Drumboe) Assemble 3pm Speaker Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin

Tyrone (Carrickmore) Assemble 3pm Speaker Gerry Kelly MLA

Mayo (Castlebar) Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Caitríona Ruane

Waterford (Ardmore) Assemble 3pm Speaker Martin Ferris TD

Armagh (Newry) Assemble 12.30pm Speaker Eibhlín Glenholmes

Sligo Town Assemble 3pm Speaker Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Armagh (Lurgan) Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Alex Maskey MLA

Louth (Dundalk) Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Conor Murphy MP

Derry (The Loup) Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Declan Kearney

Fermanagh (Roslea) Assemble 3.30pm Speaker Jim Gibney

Galway City Assemble 3pm Speaker Micheal MacDonncha

Monaghan Town Assemble 3pm Speaker Mitchel McLaughlin MLA

Kilkenny (Mooncoin) Assemble 12noon Speaker Kathleen

Cork (Youghal) Assemble 11am Speaker Cllr Sandra McLellan

Limerick City Assemble 12.30 Speaker Cllr Pat Treanor

Kerry (Tralee) Assemble 3pm Speaker Barry McElduff MLA

Laois (Portlaoise) Assemble 3pm Speaker Cllr Killian Forde

Longford Town Assemble 3pm Speaker Davy Hyland MLA

State Commemoration in Dublin City – Pat Doherty MP,
Bairbre de Brún MEP, Arthur Morgan TD, Sean Crowe TD and
Michelle Gildernew MP

Easter Monday 17th

Dublin (Dun Laoghaire) Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Pat Doherty

Wexford (Enniscorthy) Assemble 2pm Speaker Martin Ferris TD

Armagh City Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Conor Murphy MP

North Belfast (Ardoyne) Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Cllr Pearse

Downpatrick Assemble 6pm Speaker Caral Ni Chulain

Tyrone (Ardboe) Assemble 2pm Speaker Eibhlín Glenholmes

Derry (Swatragh) Assemble 2.30pm Speaker Philip McGuigan

Donegal (Pettigo) Assemble 3pm Speaker Cllr Matt Carthy

Wicklow (Brady) Assemble 11.30pm Speaker Cllr John Brady

Westmeath (Athlone) Assemble 3pm Speaker Cllr Joe Reilly

Easter Tuesday 18th

Antrim(Toomebridge) Assemble 4.30pm Speaker Michelle
Gildernew MP

North Belfast (Ardoyne) Assemble 1pm Speaker Arthur Morgan


Crowds Expected At 'Independence Sale'

Alison Healy

Huge crowds are expected today for one of the most
significant auctions of 1916-related documents and

The "Independence Sale" by James Adam and Sons and Mealy's
Auctioneers will auction about 1,000 documents relating to
1916 and its aftermath. The 450-lot sale, which starts at
11.30am will continue until about 9pm, with a two-hour

The lot attracting most interest is the earliest
autographed manuscript of the national anthem. It is
expected to make between €800,000 and €1.2 million. The
document is a folded page, probably from a copy-book, with
the text of A Soldier's Song by Peadar Kearney written in
pencil on both sides of the page. The music, by Paddy
Heeney, is written in pencil on a separate sheet.

It is accompanied by a handwritten letter of provenance
from Séamus de Búrca, Peadar Kearney's nephew and

A manuscript verse of the song, auctioned as part of a
Peadar Kearney archive, was withdrawn from a Whyte's
Auctioneers sale on Sunday at €460,000. The seller was
seeking about €500,000. Whyte's are still in contact with a
couple of bidders about the sale but it is expected that
another bid will not be made until after today's auction.

Stuart Cole, director of James Adam and Sons, said there
was huge interest in today's sale.

While the auctioneers have put a rough estimate of €2
million to €3 million on the auction, Mr Cole said it was
impossible to predict what some of the lots would make. He
pointed to the "surrender" letter by Patrick Pearse sold
recently. Adam's put an estimate of €50,000-€70,000, but it
made €700,000.

He said Tom Clarke's medal was a significant item. It is
expected to make from €10,000 to €15,000 but Mr Cole said
that it could fetch much more, given that a Victoria Cross
could make up to £100,000 .

Other significant lots include the Tricolour believed to
have flown from the GPO during the Rising and one of the
few surviving copies of the Proclamation.

The €25 auction catalogue has already become a collector's
item for some, who got Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to sign their
copies when he visited the Adam's salerooms on St Stephen's
Green last week. The salerooms can accommodate about 500
people today but telephone and online bids will also be

Meanwhile, an archive of about 15,000 historical documents
will go on public display in Ballina, Co Mayo, at the end
of this year or early next year. The Jackie Clarke Library,
which is to be located in the former Moy Hotel, has been
bequeathed by a former businessman in Ballina to his native

© The Irish Times


Museum Director Slams Rising Auction

12 April 2006 12:41

The Director of the National Museum of Ireland has said the
leaders of the 1916 rising would not have wanted
memorabilia to be sold at auction.

Dr Pat Wallace also said the State should not have to pay
unreasonable amounts of money for historical items.

He was speaking ahead of today's auction in Dublin of more
than 500 items from the 1916 Rising and War of

Earlier, two Ógra Sinn Féin members were arrested following
a disturbance at the auction.

There were minor scuffles during protests at the sale of
items which they said should be held by the Irish

The first draft of the national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann,
is going under the hammer in what has been billed as the
most significant auction in Irish history.

Penned by Peadar Kearney in 1907, The Soldier's Song, is
expected to attract bids of up to €1.2m.

Today's auction at James Adam & Sons and Mealy's
Auctioneers is being held at St Stephen's Green and will
continue until this evening.

It includes other significant historical pieces including
an original Proclamation of Independence dating to the
Easter Rising in 1916.

The sale is being hosted to coincide with the 90th
anniversary of the Rising.


Crowe Says State Should Have Intervened To Save Historical
Documents From Speculators

Published: 12 April, 2006

Speaking outside the Auction rooms of James Adams and Sons
on Stephens Green this morning, where a collection of
historical material related to the campaign for Irish
independence and 1916 in particular is on display, Sinn
Féin TD Seán Crowe said, "It is a disgrace that this
auction is going ahead."

He said, "The government should have prevented it happening
until they had ascertained the importance of the documents
such as the national anthem and the final letters from
Pearse and McDonagh. If these documents are purchased by
private investors they will be lost to future generations

"The Government should not have to compete with speculators
and foreign investors to obtain valuable and irreplaceable
historical documents.

"The government would have the power to intervene if it
bring forward the necessary legislation. There is precedent
for this - they were able to intervene to acquire paintings
and artefacts such as the Ardagh Chalice, Tara brooch etc.
Important historical documents should be treated the exact

Deputy Crowe went on to say, "This material represents part
of our shared heritage. It is part of what we are as a
people and a country. This sale amounts to nothing more
than the vulgar prostitution of our collective history. I
have no doubt that much of this material will be bought up
by private speculators with an eye to the 100th anniversary
of the Rising in ten years time.

"This material should be on display in our museums for all
to see. It should not become the personal trophies of a
select few or worse still viewed by profiteers as an item
that will increase in value as we approach the 100th
anniversary." ENDS

Deputy Crowe said, “This is our shared heritage. It is part
of what we are as a people and a country. This sale amounts
to nothing more than the vulgar prostitution of our
collective history. I have no doubt that much of this
material will be bought up by private speculators with an
eye to the 100th anniversary of the Rising in ten years

"This material should be on display in our museums for all
to see. It should not become the personal trophies of a
select few or worse still viewed by profiteers as an item
that will increase in value as we approach the 100th


Disturbances At Dublin Rising Auction

12 April 2006 12:09

Two Ógra Sinn Féin members were arrested following a
disturbance at an auction of historical Irish memorabilia
in Dublin.

There were minor scuffles during protests at the sale of
items which they said should be held by the Irish

The first draft of the national anthem, Amhrán na bhFiann,
was due to go under the hammer in what has been billed as
the most significant auction in Irish history.

Penned by Peadar Kearney in 1907, The Soldier's Song, was
expected to attract bids of up to €1.2m.

Today's auction at James Adam & Sons and Mealy's
Auctioneers on St Stephen's Green at 6pm included other
significant historical pieces including an original
Proclamation of Independence dating to the Easter Rising in

The sale was hosted to coincide with the 90th anniversary
of the Rising.


GAA Museum Commemorates 1916 On Tuesday

The G.A.A. Museum will commemorate the 1916 Rising with an
evening event in Croke Park on Tuesday next April 18 at

The event, entitled “Echoes of Easter Week”, will
commemorate the events of Easter 1916 through music, poetry
and a historical lecture focusing on the role played by
G.A.A. members in the events of the Rising and its

Professor Mike Cronin (Boston College, Dublin and author of
Sport and Nationalism in Ireland) will deliver a lecture on
the role of the G.A.A. and its members in the events of
Easter 1916, including the lead-up to the rising and its

G.A.A. President, Seán Kelly, will provide a welcome and
introduction to the evening’s events.

The Enniskillen Scout Band will provide music while Micheál
Ó Muircheartaigh, G.A.A. commentator will act as MC for the

Tickets, priced at €15 (adults) and €10 (concessions), are
available to purchase from the G.A.A. Museum, Croke Park.
Early booking is advised.

Further information available from Ann-Marie Smith at The
G.A.A. Museum – Tel: (01) 819 2323;

Email: or


Govt 'Has Expressed No Interest In 1916 Memorabilia'

12/04/2006 - 07:22:28

The Government is coming under fire for failing to express
an interest in purchasing memorabilia from the Easter
Rising that is due to go on auction today.

A total of 450 items related to the 1916 uprising are due
to go under the hammer at a Dublin auctioneers in a sale
that could be worth up to €3m.

The lot attracting most interest is a manuscript of the
national anthem signed by author Peader Kearney which is
expected to make between €800,000 and €1.2m.

The auctioneers say the Government has expressed no
interest so far in any of the items going up for sale,
which means many could end up being purchased by foreign

Sinn Féin TD Sean Crowe has expressed disappointment with
this, saying it flies in the face of the Taoiseach's calls
for people to get involved in commemorating 1916.

Heritage campaigner Vincent Salafia, meanwhile, said the
State should have a responsibility to purchase the items as
they are part of the heritage of every Irish person.


Ireland’s Easter Rising

At a few minutes past noon on Easter Monday 1916, Irish
Republican leader Padriac Pearse emerged from the General
Post Office in Dublin and read out a proclamation
announcing the birth of the Irish Republic. Overhead a
banner announced, “We serve neither King nor Kaiser”.

Pearse had arrived there following a rising in Dublin which
had caught the British government, army and police off

Indeed it had even caught the more moderate sections of
Irish Republicanism off guard. When they heard rumours of
the rising they sent out public messages saying there were
to be no activities over the Easter period by Republicans.

A small but determined minority had ignored the order and
the rising had gone ahead, with the added involvement of
the Irish Citizen Army, led by the revolutionary socialist
James Connolly.

Though it was greeted with little public support or
enthusiasm by Dubliners, or indeed the Irish population as
a whole, its impact was to be enormous.

It would give birth to the movement that over the next few
years would drive Britain out of 26 counties of Ireland,
and lay the basis of the modern Irish state.

Furthermore it sent shock waves around the world. Here, at
the height of the First World War, a rebellion had been
staged in Britain’s oldest and closest colony.

British shock and panic quickly turned to fury and
brutality. For six days a battle was waged in the streets
of Dublin, before the Republicans were finally forced to

Their relative isolation was proved when the fighters were
arrested. Crowds gathered that were at best curious and at
worst hostile to the insurgents.

However that tide would quickly turn, and the little known
Republican leaders who signed the proclamation would become
household names to succeeding Irish generations.

The tide first began turning when the full ferocity of the
British response began to emerge. Sixteen of the leaders
were executed. Day after day another set of executions
would take place.

Details of the executions would quickly become public
knowledge. The most shocking being the execution of
Connolly. He was in terrible pain and was so badly wounded
that he had to be strapped to a chair in order to be

In addition to the executions, 3,500 people were arrested
and interned.

People may have thought the rising foolish, but few could
begin to consider this response as anything other than
extreme in its brutality and cruelty.

What had begun as an action of a small minority would, over
the next five years, become the symbol for the overwhelming
majority of the population in their desire to see British
rule smashed in Ireland.

Why that change? First of all, although the rising was
isolated, the issues that drove the rising were real and
had deep roots in Irish history and the experiences of
everyday life under British rule.

British rule had been brought to Ireland by bloody force.
It had involved robbing people of their land, religious
persecution and draconian laws.

It had overseen the great Irish famine and allowed over a
million people to die of starvation, while mainly English
landlords had evicted the starving from their homes and
food stuffs were being exported.

Furthermore it had denied the Irish population any real say
in how the country was run. As a result of this Irish
opposition to British rule had created periods of
revolutionary resistance, such as the United Irishmen
rebellion of 1798 and the Fenian uprising a generation

Such periods tended to be followed by longer periods where
moderate reform would be called for. These movements sought
to use parliament and elections to push through “home
rule”—a form of devolution—for Ireland.

Although the home rule movement had at times had a radical
tinge to it, in the years leading up to the rising it had
become a deeply conservative and cautious movement.

Its entire strategy was based on holding the balance of
power at parliament in London between Liberals and
Conservatives, thus forcing the Liberals to grant home

The full bankruptcy of this approach became clear as
Britain embarked on the path to the carnage that was the
First World War.

The Liberals demanded that Irish nationalists support the
war effort, with vague promises of home rule when the war
ended. Nationalist leader John Redmond responded by acting
as a recruiter in Ireland for the British army. Two of his
sons were killed in the war.

Against this background of betrayal the young radical
republicans became restless for action. They were joined in
their restlessness by Connolly.

Four years before the rising Connolly had been a key leader
in the major confrontation between the workers and bosses
in Dublin, which had resulted in the Dublin lock out.

This hugely heroic struggle was eventually defeated by a
combination of the British government, Irish employers, the
Catholic church and, crucially, the betrayal of the TUC
union leaders.

Now Connolly viewed a world heading to imperialist carnage
with horror. His horror and impatience were further
increased by the first talk of partitioning Ireland into
two separate states north and south.

With chilling clarity Connolly predicted that such
partition would create a “carnival of reaction” on both
sides of the border, setting Protestant worker against
Catholic worker.

He had come to the conclusion that there must be a
rebellion, and lined up the Citizen Army alongside the
Republican forces on that sunny Easter Monday morning.

The initial isolation of the rising therefore belied the
undercurrents that would turn it into an event of huge
historical importance.

If the executions and arrests began to provoke sympathy,
then the growing threat of conscription turned the sympathy
into growing militant resistance.

As the First World War dragged on the British government,
which up to that point had made the entry of Irish men into
the British army a voluntary affair, began to talk openly
of conscription in Ireland.

Such was the fury at this proposal that even Redmond
opposed it. But it was not the moderate nationalists, but
the militant Republicans who would grow dramatically in
size and influence as a result of the crisis.

The war ended before conscription could be introduced. But
in the general election at the end of the war the
Republicans—standing on a ticket of abstention from the
Westminster parliament and the setting up of their own
parliament—won overwhelming support everywhere apart from
the north.

The triumph of the Republicans destroyed Redmond’s more
moderate nationalists. The Irish Republican Army (IRA) grew
until it could claim an armed unit in every parish in

The British declared the new parliament illegal and for the
next three years the IRA waged a guerrilla war which forced
the British to the negotiating table.

A shameful and messy compromise was reached which allowed
the partition that Connolly had warned against, and the
modern 26 county Irish state was formed. Northern Ireland
was also created, dominated by pro-British Protestants.

For years political leaders in southern Ireland vied with
each other to claim to be the true inheritors of 1916.
Fianna Fail, the major Irish capitalist party, was founded
and led by Eamon de Valera, a participant in the rising. He
would spend many years as prime minister and later become

In 1966, the 50th anniversary of the rising, there were
huge state-backed celebrations. But a few years later the
rising was being treated almost as an embarrassing
incident, best forgotten.

The reason was that the northern state had exploded. A
state built on naked sectarianism had been met by huge
resistance in the form of a civil rights movement.

Out of the crisis the Provisional IRA emerged and suddenly
armed resistance, risings and the like were seen as
dangerous things to celebrate.

As the southern leaders began to run for cover, a set of
historians began to emerge to give credibility to their

These “revisionist” historians began to pour scorn on the
rising, to argue, despite all evidence to the contrary,
that the home rule approach was the better one.

They claimed this would have resulted in an Irish state
without the sectarianism and bloodshed. Furthermore they
poured scorn on the “blood sacrifice” of the rising.

They remained strangely quiet about the massive
bloodletting and carnage of the First World War, where
workers died for no other cause than the power and profits
of their bosses.

Therefore it is important that the rising not be forgotten,
rewritten, dismissed or hidden from history. Of course
there were many weaknesses to the rising. Its chance of
military success were almost nil, a number of its leaders
idealistic, romantic and religious.

Nevertheless its historical importance, its statement of
anti-imperialism, of opposition to the First World war and
the flame of resistance it lit, means it is an event worth
remembering and celebrating.

Lenin, the leader of the Russian Bolshevik Party, responded
to those socialists who wanted to dismiss the rising as
nationalist or religious, by arguing about its importance
and its potential.

That modern Irish capitalists, politicians and historians
want to disregard it tells us that he was essentially

James Conolly: 'For the working class'

“We are out for Ireland for the Irish. But who are the
Irish? Not the rack-renting, slum-owning landlord; not the
sweating, profit-grinding capitalist; not the sleek and
oily lawyer; not the prostitute pressman—the hired liars of
the enemy.

“Not these are the Irish upon whom the future depends. Not
these, but the Irish working class, the only secure
foundation upon which a free nation can be reared.

“The cause of labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of
Ireland is the cause of labour. They cannot be dissevered.

“Ireland seeks freedom. Labour seeks that an Ireland free
should be the sole mistress of her own destiny, supreme
owner of all material things within and upon her soil.

“Labour seeks to make the free Irish nation the guardian of
the interests of the people of Ireland, and to secure that
end would vest in that free Irish nation all property
rights as against the claims of the individual, with the
end in view that the individual may be enriched by the
nation, and not by the spoiling of his fellows.”

From Workers’ Republic, 8 April 1916

For more from James Connolly, visit the Marxists Internet


Funding To Save Rare Pearl Mussel

Scientists at Queen's University in Belfast have been given
funding to help save the freshwater pearl mussel.

This mussel is an engendered species all over the world and
it is feared it may become extinct if it is not protected.

The scientists hope to breed about a million young mussels
for re-introduction to rivers in NI.

The three-year project will be carried out at the
Ballinderry Fish Hatchery in County Tyrone.

Scientists at Quercus, the Research Centre for Biodiversity
and Conservation Biology at Queen's are taking part in the

Freshwater pearl mussels were once common in many rivers in
Northern Ireland but habitat degradation, deteriorating
water quality, decreasing abundance of host fish and pearl
fishing have been blamed for the drop in numbers.

Recent surveys have identified small populations remaining
in only a few river systems.

Research suggests that this globally endangered species
will disappear from Northern Ireland unless adequate
protection and management is provided.


Dr Jane Preston, principal scientific investigator, said
the project would make a "significant contribution" towards
stabilising and improving the status of the freshwater
pearl mussel .

"Pearl mussels are an important part of our social heritage
and have a cultural significance beyond their ecological
importance," she said.

Graham Seymour, director of natural heritage in the
Environment and Heritage Service, said the project would
build on previous research.

"We aim to expand the current hatchery system at
Ballinderry into a semi-natural, riverine habitat in a
nearby mill race and to investigate the feasibility of re-
introduction of mussels into suitable rivers," he said.

Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2006/04/12 06:13:23 GMT


TD Hits Out At Rise In Price Of Pint

12/04/2006 - 10:51:06

Members of the public must not be ripped off by planned
increases in the price of the pint, it was claimed today.

Fianna Fáil TD Martin Brady accused drinks giant Diageo of
greed over its plan to raise the cost of a pint by four
cents on May 1 and will be raising the issue with the
Director of Consumer Affairs.

“It smacks of greed and efforts must be taken to ensure
drinkers are not being ripped off,” he said today.

The Dublin North East Fianna Fáil TD insisted that the move
was remarkable given that many drinks products were falling
in popularity.

Guinness brewers defied public opinion by increasing the
price of the pint a year ago, he added.

“I will be immediately contacting the Director of Consumer
Affairs to ensure that any increase is transparent and that
both the brewery and publicans are meeting all their legal

“Something must be wrong when the price of a pint in Dublin
can vary from just over €3 to €6, depending on where you

"It is now more important than ever that every pub displays
its prices prominently at all entrances so as consumers can
shop around. The best weapon we have against those who
overcharge for drink is to boycott their premises.”

“In addition I am appealing to all other breweries not to
follow the lead of Guinness by increasing their prices,”
concluded Deputy Brady.


President Pays Tribute To Michael Davitt

12/04/2006 - 07:04:56

President Mary McAleese is to visit the UK today to mark
the centenary of the death of Land League founder Michael

The head of state will unveil a plaque and attend an
exhibition in honour of Davitt in Haslingden, Lancashire
where he lived with his family from 1853-1867.

Mrs McAleese will also be a guest of honour at a civic
reception hosted by the Irish Democratic League Club.

The president will also use her two-day UK trip to visit
Jesuit public school, Stoneyhurst College as well as Irish
communities and voluntary groups in nearby Sheffield and

Michael Davitt was born near Foxford, Co Mayo during the
Famine but moved to Lancashire in 1853 when his family was
evicted from their farm.

He began working in a cotton mill at the age of 10 but lost
his right arm after an accident with a spinning machine.

The Land League was founded in 1879 with Charles Stewart
Parnell as resident and Davitt as secretary.

In 1882 Davitt was elected an MP for Co Meath and later for
West Mayo.

Davitt died in Elphis Hospital, Dublin on May 30, 1906 from
septic poisoning.


Eyre Square To Reopen After Refurbishment

Galway's Eyre Square reopens tomorrow after a €9.6 million
redevelopment project.

The work on the project was halted last June after the
original contractor, Samuel Kingston Construction, pulled
out. But another contractor - SIAC Construction - stepped
in and the square is due to be re-opened to the public

Galway City manager Joe McGrath said it would be a good day
for the people of Galway.

"There will still be some small continuing works but the
people of Galway will have their square back tomorrow
afternoon," he said.

The new square will contain 20 per cent more green space,
new granite paving, 120 trees, and a children's play area.

Businesses in Galway city centre had complained loudly
about the disruption caused by the long-delayed project,
which began in February 2004.

"I think that while there were undoubtedly difficulties,
the major business associations such as the Galway Chamber
of Commerce always supported it," said Mr McGrath.

He told RTE radio that the original redevelopment budget of
€2.4 million only covered the cost of the paving contract
and did not include the cost of planning and consultation.
The final cost of the project will be €9.6 million.

© The Irish Times/


Man Rescued After Fall From Tramore Cliffs

Last updated: 12-04-06, 06:04

A man has been rescued after falling off a cliff at
Donraile Walk in Tramore, Co Waterford.

The 28-year-old man fell nearly 30 metres when he tried to
save his dog, who had fallen over the cliff edge.

An RNLI lifeboat crew, civil defence rescuers and gardai
were involved in the rescue operation. Both man and dog
were rescued.

The man was taken to Waterford Regional Hospital to be
treated for minor injuries.

© 2006


Former Congressman Joe Kennedy To Give Dooley Eulogy

Dan Keenan, Northern News Editor

Former US congressman Joe Kennedy will deliver the eulogy
today at the funeral of Ray Dooley who was chief executive
of the Children's Rights Alliance for four years until

Mr Dooley (54) died of cancer at his home in Howth, Dublin,
on Sunday.

While in the US he worked for former Boston mayor Ray Flynn
and also for the former congressman as well as for senator
John Kerry.

Mr Dooley was chief operating officer in the city of Boston
from 1984 until 1990 and held a variety of other
consultative and public positions and charities in the city
dating back to the early 1970s.

He worked to help the marginalised in Boston, especially
the poor and children.

He led the successful reelection campaign for Mr Kerry in
1996 and also served as Mr Kennedy's chief of staff.

Jillian van Turnhout of the Children's Rights Alliance
said: "During his time as chief executive he worked
tirelessly to make Ireland one of the best places in the
world to be a child. He brought passion, enthusiasm and
commitment to all that he did. He touched many hearts and
minds. He will be sadly missed."

The funeral service will take place at the Church of the
Assumption, Howth at 11.30am today.

© The Irish Times

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