Sunday, December 29, 2013

Meanwhile in Wales- The Welsh Republican Manifesto of 1950

Important sentiments for all:



No movement that seeks to assert the fundamental historic and moral right of the Welsh Nation to freedom and independence can acknowledge any ties whether real or formal which tend directly or indirectly to bind Wales and her people in subjection to English or any external sovereign institutions. Wales is a nation and her loyalty is to herself, as her sovereignty is in herself and in her historic and undivided nationhood. We cannot, consequently, accept allegiance to the English Crown as a condition imposed upon or attached to our freedom and independence. Furthermore, the Welsh nation is essentially a community of the common people (y werin bobl). Therefore the movement that is to enshrine the spirit of our liberation and express and conduct the struggle for freedom must aim at establishing a Republic of Wales, which will be the symbol of our independence as a nation and of the democratic community of our people.

The people, that is, the so called common people, everywhere are striving towards a fuller and more fundamental democratic order based upon the recognition of the political, social and economic equality of all men, an order in which men and women shall enjoy a larger freedom and in which nations and national life will be fully recognised. The Welsh national movement must not only accept this as its basic outlook, but must become its interpreter and guiding spirit. To succeed in this mission the Welsh national movement must renounce the political forms, social canons and economic precepts associated with the decaying and discredited aristocratic-imperialist civilization, of which the English Empire is one of the best examples, and of which the English Crown is its classic emblem and protector. That civilization all over the world is under challenge from two directions, namely, from nations which are becoming conscious of their nationhood, and at the same time from men and women who are becoming increasingly conscious of the commonalty of all humanity. In a real democratic society, as distinguished from the formal democracy of our time, there are no gradations of rights, with larger rights for some and lesser right for others, either as between men in their society and work, or as between nations and peoples. The doctrine of social stratification with its superior and inferior classes, with its privileged and unprivileged and with its higher and lower orders must be renounced and its institutions abolished. The Welsh national movement of liberation must, therefore, of necessity be a revolutionary movement aiming at the overthrow of all those powers which hold men and nations in political or social or economic servitude. In our progress towards the goal of our freedom as a nation and a people a new social and moral synthesis will be created which will at once be the assurance and the expression of a new civilization. We feel that an acceptance of the forms and symbols of the old will effectively defeat the reality and substance of the new civilization.

We would, consequently, set forth as our aims and objectives for a free and independent Wales and declare as follows:

I. That Wales must be a sovereign democratic Republic subject only to such authority as it may accept or subscribe to as a member of the community of free nations.

2. That the King of England whether in person as liege lord or through any constitutional agency as monarch shall have no jurisdiction in or dominion over Wales or any person in Wales.

3. That no Welshman or Welsh woman shall owe allegiance to or be the subject of any liege lord or any other person.

4. That there shall be in Wales no hereditary or other titles or any other form of political or social or economic prerogatives or distinctions nor any privileges which are not shared or capable of being shared by all.

5. The people of Wales shall be a free people in a free country and not subject to any servitudes whether political, social or economic and shall enjoy in their society a status of unqualified equality. All class distinctions whether based on claims of birth or property shall be abolished.

6. The Republic of Wales shall be founded upon the unreserved recognition of the dignity and worth of the human personality and shall guarantee to the people of Wales without distinction the unrestricted rights of the moral person in order to secure and promote the fullest development of the individual person and of the national life.

7. It shall be the aim of the Republic of Wales to bring to consummation the idea of the democratic society in all fields of human activity and interest and establish the principle of co-operation as the democratic basis of our economy in the form of co-operative organisations or guilds in which the work, the responsibilities and the fruits shall be shared by all who work.

8. To the same end ownership shall be by and for use only. All the archaic forms of land tenure shall be abolished and land, houses and all other properties shall vest in those who for living purposes or for work use them either individually or in co-operation as co-owners.

9. The Welsh language as the native language of the Welsh people shall be the first and official language of the Republic of Wales but in the circumstances which have resulted in Wales through English rule the English language shall be used as a second language and as such shall be officially recognised.

10. It shall be a primary aim of the Republic of Wales to increase the acreage of Welsh land under food production and to establish a balanced Welsh economy by means of a vigorous policy of land settlement and development of rural trades and industries.

11. The Republic of Wales shall live in close association with all the other Celtic peoples and shall endeavour in every way to co-operate fully with all other nations and particularly with its near neighbours in the Republic of Ireland, Scotland and England.

12. The Republic of Wales must have and take its place and play its part in the international community of nations.

Published by The Welsh Republican Movement at Glaslwyn, Cwmoernant, Carmarthen, and printed by Gee & Son, Ltd., Denbigh.Price 2d.

Sean Garland, Operation Harvest, and Brookeborough

At the following page there's an excellent two-part interview with Sean Garland in which he describes his experiences in the IRA during the 50's and during Operation Harvest (including the attack on Brookeborough- see the last quarter of Part 1)
(Sorry there isn't  a link for interview specifically)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Curragh internees- 1958

Various obits (Jim Columb, Jim Woll, Paddy Harney)

 The following are some obituaries of 50's men who died in the late 90's from the RSF paper "Saoirse."  

Jim Columb

Republicans were deeply grieved at the death on March 28 in the Mater Hospital, Dublin of Jim Columb (65), a veteran of the 1956-62 Campaign in the Six Occupied Counties. He had been in failing health for some time.
A native of Dernaferst, Gowna, Co Cavan, Jim lived and worked in Dublin for the latter part of his life. He is remembered with strong affection by all Republicans who were in contact with him down the years.He himself was an unswerving and no-nonsense Republican and a soldier in the very best sense who commanded respect at all times.

At the removal to St Colmcille’s Church, Aughnacliffe, Co Longford on March 29 the coffin was draped in the Irish Tricolour. There was a huge turn-out of the local community together with Republicans from Longford and surrounding counties.

Among the gifts presented during Mass the next morning were his fishing rod and a Long Kesh harp. Hymns sung in Irish included Ag Críost an Síol and Caoineadh na dTrí Mhuire.

Councillor Seán Lynch, Aughnacliffe, presided at the graveside ceremony in the adjoining cemetery. He spoke highly of Jim Columb whom he had known all his life. He and Jim went to school together at Polladoey NS and were in the same class. They had joined the Republican Movement together in the 1950s.

“Jim Columb was,” he said, “above all else a Republican soldier. He remained loyal and true to the end with the courage of Cúchulainn and the determination of Cathal Brugha.”

Éamon Larkin, South Armagh represented An Ard Chomhairle, Republican Sinn Féin and the attendance included Republicans from North Louth and South Armagh who were comrades and friends of Jim Columb.

Ruairí Ó Brádaigh in his oration quoted Brendan Behan’s poem The Dead March Past (in an Easter commemoration parade). Jim Columb was very proud to have shouldered Behan’s coffin when he was given a Republican funeral in 1964.

A highly-skilled plasterer by trade, Jim was noted as a good worker. During his time in Dublin he showed himself a caring human being by visiting any local people while in hospital there and by helping others to find work and arrange accommodation in the city.

A report received by the GHQ Staff officer in charge of training in the western and midland counties in 1956 indicated that “Volunteer Columb shows exceptional determination and fighting spirit and is a natural soldier”.

As was to be expected he was engaged in active service in 1957 against the British armed Forces of Occupation in south Fermanagh. Eventually he was arrested with four other Cavan men on the Monaghan side of the Fermanagh border and sentenced to six months imprisonment for “refusing to answer questions”.

Jim refused to recognise the court and in Mountjoy joined immediately in a hunger strike then in progress for political status which had been withdrawn. Ten days later the strike ended in total success. Removed to the Curragh Concentration Camp on expiration of sentence. Jim took part in the mass escape of December 1958 but was shot in the knee and recaptured.

On release in 1959 he carried on as an active Republican and when the Workers’ Party/Democratic Left broke away in 1969 he rejected them. Right through the 1970s and early 1980s until ill-health overtook him he was active in a support capacity in the South Armagh-North Lough Border with Liam Fagan of Ravensdale and Séamus Heuston of Keady, both of whom have now passed on.

From 1986 on he stood by Republican Sinn Féin, Cumann na mBan, Fianna Éireann and the Continuity IRA. There was no easy road or no shortcuts to freedom, he would contend.

A permanent peace, so earnestly desired by all, would come when the British armed forces evacuated Ireland. The British government would leave our country only when compelled to do so, was his stance.

Jim Columb’s father, Johnny, had served in the Longford Brigade, IRA against the Black-and-Tans and he himself had given service all his life in good measure.

“Leaba i measc na bhFíníní go raibh aige de shíor.” Sympathy is expressed to his sisters Anna (Minnesota), Maureen (Donegal), brothers Mel (Gowna), Seán (New York), Frank (Dublin) and Fintan (Manchester).

Among the many floral tributes was one from the US in the names of Peter Quinn, Longford, Pat McGirl, Leitrim, Frank Skuse, Cork and Seán Cronin, Kerry — all of them comrades from the 1950s.

Jim Woll

On March 12, 1998 Jim Woll of Cloyne, Co Cork passed to his eternal reward in the Mercy Hospital, Cork. On March 14 his remains were removed from his daughter Rosaleen’s house to Cloyne Church, with full Republican honours. The guard of honour which accompanied Jim’s remains to the church was drawn from East Cork Graves Association and old comrades and was led by a lone piper.
Jim’s funeral Mass was on Sunday March 15. Chief celebrant of the Mass was Father Fitzgerald accompanied by personal friends of Jim’s, among whom were Fathers’ Herlihy and Slattery.

In a homily Father Fitzgerald described Jim as a warm-hearted person who was always worried about others. Jim would always ask about others who were sick in the area and never complained about his own illness. He was also a loving father and grandfather. Fr Fitzgerald also said that once Jim’s mind was made up that was it. He said he had very strong views on the national issue and these views also have to be respected.

After Mass accompanied by an East Cork Graves Guard of Honour and preceded by a lone piper, his remains were taken a short distance to the family grave in the adjoining cemetery. After blessing and prayers, his coffin was lowered into the grave by personal friends of his.

A decade of the rosary as Gaeilge was followed by the playing of the last post by Pat Varian on the bugle. Norman O’Rourke finished off proceedings when he played a lament on the Pipes.

It has to be said that the large gathering of mourners behaved impeccably, as one could hear the proverbial pin drop such was the quietness and dignity during the proceedings. It was surely a mark of the respect that the people of his beloved Cloyne and District and indeed all over Cork held for Jim.

Jim Wall was involved in Republican activities from the 1930’s right up to shortly before his death.

The 1940s found Jim in The Curragh concentration camp, where he spent a number of years. Conditions could be described as atrocious, but he emerged in the mid-1940s more committed than ever. Later he became the owner/driver in his own lorry business.

Again he risked all. In 1954 Armagh Barracks was stripped of all the contents of its armoury. The booty was safely delivered by Jim’s V8 truck. A song entitled My little V8 truck was composed at the time to celebrate the event. No need to add who owned and drove same. Had the Omagh raid been successful some months later, Jim was ready to deliver the captured arms. Many Republicans travelled in this lorry to camps preparing for the 1956-1962 campaign. When the time came they travelled North in the luxury of self same truck.

While the 1960s were relatively quite, Jim’s lorry was always an instant platform for speakers at the parades or meetings, especially for the Boys of Clonmult and the Manchester Martyrs Commemorations locally.

At this time of his life he became IO for the Republicans in East Cork. Even this was to bear fruit in later years as information he gathered, on two occasions, foiled planned ambushes on local Republicans.

In the 1970s he was again in the thick of things. Suffice to say he put his life, freedom and business on the line on a lot more than one occasion. The 1980s were only a little less hectic.

In the 1990s he became Chairman of the reconstructed East Cork Graves Association. It was as if he knew that he only had a limited amount of time to do all that was needed to the graves and monuments in the area. He was ruthlessly efficient in getting his work done. Jim was helped by fellow members in collecting money and running Wolfe Tones concerts.

These concerts were hosted to raise the considerable sums of money needed to totally refurbish the Republican plot in Midleton. Most of the Republican monuments in the area were in addition cleaned and repointed .

There is only one monument for Jim and it is a 32-County Republic, nothing less. Ní bheidh a leithéid againn arís.

On the business side he was a great time keeper and worked like a slave, indeed only part of his exploits would fill this paper. “Wollway” was what his business went by. It was a unique achievement to deliver four loads of sugarbeet to Mallow from East Cork in a day, at a time when all beet had to be hand picked. Once I heard him remark that “those bags are a bit small, it takes too long to fill the lorry”. “Those bags” were from 16-20 stone each, filled with wheat. Hoping that this gives people a feel for Jim’s attitude to life.

His life could be summed up Dia, Domhain agus a Chlann. Condolences are extended to his daughter, Rosaleen, son Séamas and his grandchildren, James, Stephanie, Raymond, Claire and Tanya and other relatives and his many friends on their loss.

Go ndéana Dia trócaire ar a anam dílís.

Paddy Harney

Republicans were deeply grieved by the death in Beaumont Hospital, Dublin on March 14 of life-long Republican Paddy Harney of Athlone.

There was a huge turn-out at the removal from his home at Cloonrullay Beálnamullia, Co Roscommon to Drum Church, Athlone. The coffin was draped in the Tricolour and Guard of Honour of Republican Sinn Féin comrades escorted the hearse.

A piper and a concert flautist played during Mass next morning and also accompanied the funeral to the local cemetery. Seosamh Ó Maoileoin, Co na h-Iar-mhí led the immense attendance in a decade of the Rosary in Irish.

“Paddy Harney, affectionately called Packey, was an honourable and uncompromising Republican whose principled stand all his life involved much sacrifice for himself and his family”, said Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Féin at his graveside in Drum cemetery, Athlone on March 16.

He went on; “Packey joined the Athlone Unit of the IRA in the early 1950s while he was still in his twenties. After returning from the funeral of Seán Sabhat in Limerick in January 1957 he was arrested for taking part in a Guard of Honour at the funeral of veteran Republican Paddy Givern of Monksland, Athlone.

“He was sentenced to three months imprisonment in the political wing of Mountjoy jail. On his release he found his employment as a railway man with CIE taken from him.

“Three months later again he was taken in the internment swoop of July 1957 and held without trial in the Curragh Concentration Camp.

“He had but to sign a form undertaking to secure immediate release and the return of his job with CIE.

“Packey refused and he and his wife Teresa and four young children suffered much distress and privation as a result.

“A year and three months later he was released unconditionally and resumed activities with Republican Sinn Fén. He found work in Dublin, returning to Athlone at weekends, and after some years his job as a railway man was restored to him.

“In the late 1960s he was among those who set up a public meeting locally for Civil Rights leaders from the Six Counties. Later he assisted families suffering distress and helped refugees from the North.

 Mourners at the funeral re-called how the local parish priest attempted to have Teresa pressurise Paddy to sign the form while he was in the Curragh.

“His first duty is to his wife and family”, said the PP.
 “No”, replied Teresa, “his first duty is to God and his country.”
 End of encounter.

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam dílis cróga.

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sean South of Garryowen

 Sean South of Garryowen
By Seams O Dufaigh

Sad are the homes round Garryowen
Since long lost their joy and pride
And the banshee cry links every vale
Around the Shannon side
That city of the ancient walls
The broken treaty stone,
Undying fame surrounds your name,
 Sean South from Garryowen

T'was on a dreary New Years Eve
As the shades of night came down
A lorry load of volunteers approached the border town
There were men from Dublin and from Cork, Fermanagh and Tyrone
And the leader was a Limerick man
 Sean South from Garryowen

As they moved along the street
Up to the barracks door
They scorned the danger they might meet
The fate that lay instore
They were fighting for old Ireland's cause
To claim their very own
And the foremost of that gallant band
Was South from Garryowen

But the sergeant foiled their daring plan
He spied them trough the door
From Sten guns and from rifles
A hail of death did pour
And when that awful night had passed
Two men lay cold as stone
There was one from near the border town.
And one from Garryowen

No more will he hear the seagull's cry
Over the murmurring Shannon tide
For he fell beneath a Northern sky
Brave Hanlon by his side
They have gone to join that gallant band
Of Plunkett, Pearse and Tone
A martyr for old Ireland
Sean South from Garryowen

May God reward those gallant men,
May heaven be their home
In Brookburogh Town, where they were shot down
In a cabin they lay cold
They never feared the R.U.C.,
Or the B men on patrol
O'Hanlon from the border
And South from Garryowen

(There are several inaccuracies in the song, which was written shortly after the event. 1) He was not from Garyowen, though its a good poetic term and 2) he was not the leader of the column, the then-unknown Sean Garland was. Details aside it well captured the spirit that roused the nation behind the new martyrs.)
 (Photo: Last cartoon penned by Sean South shortly before his death. Apologies for blur, and GRMA to GB for sharing)

"The Patriot Game" - Fergal O'Hanlon

   The Patriot Game
 By Dominic Behan

 Come all ye young rebels, and list while I sing,
 For the love of one's country is a terrible thing.
 It banishes fear with the speed of a flame,
 And it makes us all part of the patriot game.

 My name is O'Hanlon, and I've just turned sixteen.
 My home is in Monaghan, and where I was weaned
 I learned all my life cruel England's to blame,
 So now I am part of the patriot game.

 This Ireland of ours has too long been half free.
 Six counties lie under John Bull's tyranny. 
But still De Valera is greatly to blame 
For shirking his part in the Patriot game.

 They told me how Connolly was shot in his chair,
 His wounds from the fighting all bloody and bare.
 His fine body twisted, all battered and lame
 They soon made me part of the patriot game.

 It's nearly two years since I wandered away
 With the local battalion of the bold IRA,
 For I read of our heroes, and wanted the same
 To play out my part in the patriot game.

 I don't mind a bit if I shoot down police
They are lackeys for war never guardians of peace
 And yet at deserters I'm never let aim
The rebels who sold out the patriot game*

 And now as I lie here, my body all holes
 I think of those traitors who bargained in souls
 And I wish that my rifle had given the same
 To those Quislings who sold out the patriot game.

 Dominic Behan himself sings it:

 *- This verse almost certainly reflects the personal views of Behan (a working class Dubliner) rather than near-sainted O'Hanlon's. Along with the one about Connolly, and De Valera, it is usually left out. The result is a more anti-war lament, rather than the clearly republican song Dominic intended it to be.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Volunteer Sean O Cheallachain (Cork)

This past June saw the death of Border Campaign veteran Vol Sean O Cheallachain (Callahan) of the Cork Brigade. Sean took part in the raid on Omagh Barracks in 1954, but was among group that became separated from the column in the ensuing fray. He was arrested along with 7 others (including 2 other Cork men) and given ten years in Belfast Gaol. During the trial he declared from the dock "God will reward me for service to my country and my place in the IRA will be filled tenfold." After his release in 61 he rose to become the O/c of the IRA in Cork. He died on June 27th 2013. Fellow Omagh prisoner Tom Mitchell gave the oration at his funeral.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Edentubber 2013 Oration

The text of the oration at this year's Edentubber commemoration by Francis O'Donaghue, a Border Campaign volunteer. Quite a few surviving Harvest campaign veterans were in attendance. First posted at

Sunday, December 1, 2013

A Letter from Brendan Behan (1954)

 After Omagh Barracks raid, Brendan Behan wrote this letter to the Editor of "The Dublin Evening Mail" expressing his thoughts about the way in which the press misportrayed the op eration and the 8 volunteers arrested in the wake of the raid.

(Taken from page 59 of "The Letters of Brendan Behan.")

 3rd December, 1954

Sir- I should like to point out to some of your correspondents that:

(1) The IRA is not a sectarian organization.
(2) The district in which the raid was carried out was obviously not enemy territory as far as the raiders were concerned, for the men accused of it were greeted by such demonstrations of approval by the local populace, and their captors showered with so much abuse that, according to the newspaper reports, the streets of Omagh are now cleared before the treason felons-elect or British military, or police come within miles of the court.
(3) I don't know whether these men are the ones who raided Omagh Barracks, but they have as good a right, who ever did to try the old method of physical force in getting rid of England as the prudent members have to try their more modern (Redmond, Wooden bridge, 1914) method of promising England a hand in her next war for civilization, which, I presume, also means taking a half share in the belt of a hydrogen bomb.
(4) It is not fair to the lowest criminal to cry him down before the case is heard, much less give the green light to the british empire to do what she will to these men.

   Now I cannot claim even to be an external associate of theirs, but I am damn sure I am nearer the feelings of the less glib section of the people of Ireland, viz, the vast majority, who haven't got as much time as you and I to be writing to the papers, when I say in their regard:
"We love them yet, we can't forget
The felons of our land."

  Brendan Behan
  70 Kildare Road, Crumlin