Tuesday, February 25, 2014

POW List

 "The message from the jails has always been the same: 'Don't worry about us. We will meet the future with courage. Your job is to carry on.'" - Sean Cronin, "Resistance"

A POW list from the United Irishman, undated but most likely from late 55 or 56.

Cathal Goulding, Canning, and Stevenson (MacStoifain) were serving 8 year sentences for the Feldstead raid.

 Leo McCormick had been arrested for "possession of documents" but when the 56 campaign started the sentence was changed to internment.

Joe Campbell, a 40's man - possession of gelignite, later commuted to internment as above.

JP McCallum was arrested in Liverpool - possession of ammunition.

Kevin O'Rourke was charged with possession of a revolver, ammo, detonators, and explosives.

Hugh Brady was lifted with 13 others at an AOH hall. While all but Hugh and one other were released, he was charged with ownership of a 303 Lee Enfield. He later stood as a candidate.

The eight from Eamon Boyce to Liam Mulcahy were all arrested during or shortly after the Omagh raid. Most stood as candidates in the 57 election.

The three lifers were lifted after the Aborfield raid with some of the arms. Joe Doyle declared from the dock that "These arms were to be used against the British army of occupation in Ireland. We have no regret and do not apologize for our raid on Arborfield. Our only regret is that it was not a success."

Saoirse, January 05
"Resistance" Sean Cronin
The Secret Army, Bowyer Bell

Sunday, February 23, 2014

"These principles.."

   The Army Council speaks its mind in 49 rgarding the "Ireland Act" and the increasing idea that the 26 counties were "the republic."

An explanation of Republican principles from the UI 1956:

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Seamus Costello and Operation Harvest


Emerging Leader
Eamonn Mac Thomais

IT WAS IN THE early fifties that Seamus came along to me at the Easter commemoration concert in the Gaiety Theatre and he asked to join the IRA. I asked him how old he was, he said he was fifteen. So I said, look son, you are too young. Join the Fianna. No, he says, I want to join the IRA. Well, I said, come back in a year's time and we'll see what we can do for you. So I thought that was the end of him, but lo and behold a year passed by and the next Easter commemoration concert in the Gaiety he walked up and looked at me straight in the eye and says "Do you remember me?" I said I did all right. "Well", he says "I'm sixteen now and I want to join the IRA". He was a very striking looking young fellow. Jet black hair, very good looking, inclined to be thin and lanky at that time. Unusual from the ordinary run-of-the-mill fellows that joined the IRA. Most lads who joined the IRA were 19, 20, 25 or even 30 years of age, so a sixteen-year-old was something of a seven-day wonder. However, he did his twelve weeks course on the recruit staff of the IRA and was transferred into a unit and was fairly active in it.

Several months later we organised a weekend camp on the mountains and the Special Branch looked as if they were moving in, so we decided to get all the stuff away. Someone said we had a van. Now, motor transport was very hard to come by at that time and the fact that we had a van was another seven-day wonder. I said O.K., where's the driver? Who walked up but Seamus. Seamus was not only the driver but it was his van. It was used by his family to deliver the milk in Bray and deliver guns on weekends. So from that day on, Seamus was always in on the organising of the parades and meetings, and getting the stuff to and from places.

The time Joe Doyle was in jail in England, Mrs. Doyle sent for me and told me there was a man in Bray - she didn't know who he was - who was collecting a lot of money for the Cumainn Comhaire and was spending this money in the pub. He was boasting in the pub that he was drinking IRA money. So I decided to get someone to find out all about him, and Seamus Costello was given the job. Within about a week he had a report for me - exactly who the man was. He was a bus driver in Donnybrook, he had the number of the bus he drove and the time he left Donnybrook garage every night. So we picked him up and, well, I suppose the rest of the story is history. But the Cummainn Comhaire got back their money. Mrs. Doyle was very pleased and so was everyone in Bray.

This had a great boost for the movement in Bray from the point of recruiting. A number of people came forward. It added a great prestige to the movement, and I think looking back on the issue, it was wonderful how Seamus was able to organise the whole finding out, exactly who he was, and not only that but the exact moment we could pick him upon the road.

He was a very determined person, great ability to organise, totally dedicated. That was the thing about everybody in those years. It was seven days a week, and 24 hours a day. I think someone put it in a nutshell when he said that you were an IRA man even when you were asleep in bed. And Seamus was one of those.

He moved from the Army into Sinn Féin circles and became very active in Sinn Féin in Bray. This was long before he came up to the Ard Comhairle of Sinn Féin and standing for elections. He was always in the two organisations, which again was unusual. Most people were either in Sinn Féin or in the IRA but Seamus was in both. In the 1956 campaign he was involved in the preparation. The idea was to build in a supply of arms for easy availability to the columns. In this, like in all his work, he was meticulous, every detail checked and nothing left to chance.

He was arrested and interned in the Curragh. Here as ever he was extremely active. He wasn't in jail at all - he was in a university. He organised classes and gave lectures. When he wasn't engaged politically, he was helping to dig the tunnel. I didn't take part in any of this activity. I used to lie on the bed and read. He was always 'on' to me about the Legion of Mary. He'd come and sit on my bed, begging to be told stories of the Rising and other bits of history.

For a long time I would take no notice. I would go on reading until eventually I'd get so annoyed, I'd tell him to so-and-so off with himself. Now, he'd say, do you hear the Legion swearing, and he'd fall all over the bed laughing. He never tired; he had boundless energy - always active.

In the 1967 local authority elections he stood as a Sinn Féin candidate both for Wicklow County Council and for Bray Urban District Council. One Sunday morning I spoke at seven after-Mass meetings all over the county. We came back through Bray and there was Seamus on a platform holding forth. He asked me to speak. At this stage my voice was only a whisper and I told him it just wasn't any use me speaking as no one could hear me. Ah, well, he says, I'll tell you what you'll do. Here is a page of the register, you can do a bit of canvassing. This was typical of the man. He spared no one, not least himself. The movement was what mattered, nothing nor nobody else.

In the early sixties Seamus had risen very high up through the ranks, and was in the leadership capacity. He became very popular and had a large following. He was very highly regarded. He was a very forceful speaker, very determined. He was a socialist to his fingertips, and all the work in the sixties in connection with the workers and in the Arigna mines, the ground rents, the evictions, the housing action committees, Seamus was involved in all this.

He stepped out into military circles, into leadership. At the 1966 Easter commemoration parade from St. Stephen's Green to Glasnevin he was Chief Marshall. There were thousands of police - the spectators were outnumbered by three to one and the parade was outnumbered by about ten to one. The police had told us the IRA flag must not fly. Seamus said, yes, that's O.K. We are not to fly the flag, very good, that's O.K. He got out ten or twelve of the tallest fellows to line the front and another ten or twelve to line the back, and he put the blue IRA flag in the centre, and he says: "Now here is the order - this flag is getting to Glasnevin cemetery, 1 don't care how it is getting there, but there it is getting".

It was a running battle from Suffolk Street corner to Glasnevin, but the blue flag of the IRA was carried all the way through the streets of Dublin that day. Baton charge and counter charge and counter baton charge took place. Several people were arrested, but the flag got to Glasnevin. That was the type of determination, which characterised his whole life.

Someone asked me a couple of years ago, what sort of a fellow is this Costello? The split had occurred and of course Seamus and I were in opposite camps. So I thought and I said, well I'll tell you what sort of a fellow Costello is:

'If you are living in Co. Wicklow, the finest man to represent you would be Seamus Costello, because if there was anything wrong with your tap, or your light, or the rain was coming in through the roof, Costello is the man".

He had a way of getting things done for other people. He was always in the constituency, driving around in the car. No matter how trivial it was, he was always at hand to help other people. The whole motivation of his life was doing something for the movement.

We did split. In the Intercontinental Hotel, as the split came, I got up to walk out, and as I got to the door, he caught me by the arm, and he said, "Not you Eamonn, don't go". I said, "I'm sorry Seamus, I have to go". I walked out. It was a very sad occasion, a very moving occasion - a movement split to smithereens that we had spent our whole lives trying to build - all of us thinking we were doing the right thing.

I didn't see Seamus for a long number of years after that. One day not so long ago I was going down the quays, a car shot out and nearly knocked me down. I looked and saw Seamus. He lowered the window and smiled. I said, you wouldn't knock me down. Ah no, Eamonn, he said, I wouldn't knock you down. We had a short chat. I asked him how the wife and kids were getting on, how he was doing himself. "Ah", he says "still at it, doing a bit". That was the last I saw of Seamus Costello.

 (Excerpt from "Costello
A biographical and political analysis of his life and achievements:")

SEAMUS COSTELLO was born in Old Connaught Avenue, Bray, County Wicklow in 1939. He attended Ravenswell National School in Bray. In 1950, at the age of eleven, he moved with his family to Roseville on the Dublin Road in Bray. There were nine in his family, Seamus being the eldest.

His first interest in politics came when he read of the arrest of Cathal Goulding in Britain in 1953 following an arms raid on the Officers Training Corps school at Felstead in Essex. Costello subsequently "devoured" newspapers, according to his family, and at the age of 15, on one of his many visits to Croke Park, he bought a copy of the United Irishman and immediately applied to join the republican movement. However, he was told to "come back next year". Costello did and was accepted into the ranks of the IRA and Sinn Féin.

The first Sinn Féin cumann was started in Bray in the same year, comprised mostly of members of the Dun Laoghaire cumann, their activity confined to United Irishman sales. However, it wasn't long before it was being sold in every area in Co. Wicklow.

During the campaign of 1956-62 Seamus, at the age of 17, commanded an active service unit in South Derry, their most publicised actions being the destruction of bridges and the burning of Magherafelt courthouse. Those under his command described him as strict but radiating confidence. Once while resting in a safe house a grenade exploded and set off the full magazine of a Thompson machine gun. Miraculously no one was killed. Seamus took the brunt of the explosion and was knocked unconscious. He received back injuries, lost half a finger and was moved back to Dublin for treatment.

He was arrested in Glencree Co. Wicklow, in 1957 and sentenced to six months in Mountjoy. On his release he was immediately interned in the Curragh for two years. Seamus, as a prisoner was described by fellow internees as quiet, rarely joining others in playacting, preferring deep discussion and reading. He was a member of the escape committee which engineered the successful escape of Ruairi O'Bradaigh and Daithi O'Connell amongst others. He is remembered by one internee reading Vietnamese magazines and it impressed Seamus that peasants badly armed but with a deep political ideology could defeat their enemies. In later years he always referred to his days in the Curragh as "my university days." He took part in the critical analysis of the 50's campaign, agreeing that it had failed due to lack of popular involvement as distinct from popular support.

On the ending of internment in 1959 Seamus assisted in the re-organising of the Republican Movement or as he put it "the cars started flying around again."

In 1962 he took up a job as a car salesman and, indicative of his drive and strong personality had little trouble in becoming salesman of the year of his firm. He successfully fought an attempt to sack him because of his political affiliations by threatening to stay outside his firm's offices every day until he was reinstated.

Meanwhile he began to build a strong local base in Co. Wicklow. He maintained that republicans should build a strong home base and that these could then be linked up together at a future date. He also became full time political organiser for Wicklow at this period and developed a strong link with every conceivable organisation in Wicklow that dealt with the interests of the working class. He managed to involve the Bray Trades Council in the 1966 Easter commemoration and helped found a strong Tenants Association in Bray. He also became involved with the Credit Union movement and farmers' organisations. During this period (1964) he married a Tipperary woman Maoiliosa who became active in the republican movement.

In 1966 he gave the historic oration at the Wolfe Tone commemoration in Bodenstown which marked the departure to the left of the republican movement, the result of years of discussions within the movement ably assisted by Seamus.

"We believe that the large estates of absentee landlords should be acquired by compulsory acquisition and worked on a co-operative basis with the financial and technical assistance of the State. . our policy is to nationalise the key industries with the eventual aim of co-operative ownership by the workers. . . nationalisation of all banks, insurance companies, loan and investment companies..."

But Seamus always maintained not only the right to use armed force but the necessity for workers to be armed and this remained his position up to his assassination.

"The lesson of history shows that in the final analysis the Robber Baron must be disestablished by the same methods that he used to enrich himself and retain his ill-gotten gains, namely force of arms. To this end we must organise, train and maintain a disciplined armed force which will always be available to strike at the opportune moment". (Bodenstown 1966).

He pushed for Sinn Féin to contest the local election of 1967 in selected areas and he stood with Joe Doyle in Bray. Indicative of his organisational abilities is the fact that not only were Sinn Féin the only political party to canvass every house in Bray but they won two seats on Bray Urban Council, one on Wicklow Co. Council and collected more money during the election than they had actually spent during the campaign.

At council meetings Costello and Doyle always put their cumann's views in accordance with what had been decided at their meetings. A strong attempt was always made to involve the people's organisations in any controversy or local issue. Seamus headed huge deputation's of local organisations to council meetings and demanded they be heard.

He demanded the public not be barred from council meetings. So insistent was he that unsuccessful moves were made to have him removed from the council. He became involved in all local problems; housing, road repairs, water and sewerage, access to local beaches, land speculation, etc. and such national issues as ground rents, the anti-EEC campaign, anti-repression campaigns, natural resources, the national question, etc.

Meanwhile Seamus and Sinn Féin continued to build their strong links with local bodies always striving to show them their own strength while getting overall republican socialist policies across.

County Wicklow he felt was Ireland in miniature.

"It has within its borders all the problems common to a nation - small farmers trying to eke out a living on poor mountain farms; inadequate housing, and industrial workers with a depressed standard of living". (RTE election broadcast March 1968)


"........In the years since his death I have spoken to many of his former comrades who worked with him in the 50's campaign and in the subsequent reorganisation of the republican movement. Without exception, regardless of political or personal divisions, they have all said that from the beginning they felt that Seamus had leadership qualities. He had the decisiveness and clarity to understand a political situation, and, let it also be said, he had the necessary ruthlessness to carry through his ideals against all the odds. The first big decision for him came in 1959 at the age of 19 when, having spent 2 1/2 years in prison and internment camps, he declined to take the easy way out, to say that he had done his bit for Ireland and get on with living his own life. He had decided that the system was rotten and needed changing. There were no half measures. He had entered on a life-long commitment.

The state of the republican movement in 1962 with the ending of the 50's campaign was one of total disorganisation and demoralisation. Many simply drifted away to ordinary jobs or emigrated, feeling that all the years of hardship, imprisonment and slow patient work had come to nothing. The sales of the United Irishman had fallen by 80% since the high point of 1956. To people who had grown to regard the republican movement as the guardian of all that was good in the Irish political tradition, the early 60's were a disheartening time. In the South the multinationals were coming in at a big rate, attracted by tax concessions and massive grants. Fianna Fail were dropping their Republican rhetoric.

Instead of bleating about partition, Lemass began to tell the Irish people that in time the border would simply wither away. Those who talked of the republican tradition and British imperialism seemed an isolated and irrelevant fringe.

Seamus did not drift away but began to look at the problems of the republican movement in relation to the changing political situation. Their main conclusion was that the 50's campaign had failed because it had failed to gather mass support. They realised that it took political activity to get people out on to the streets, that emotional sympathy or pub republicanism are no use unless they are channeled in the right direction by political direction. Seamus and his comrades were increasingly influenced by James Connolly, because Connolly had realised that military means alone were not enough, that the armed struggle must be combined with the political and social. In 1966 he set the direction for the new left-wing turn of the republican movement at the Bodenstown commemoration:

"We believe that the large estates of absentee landlords should be acquired by compulsory acquisition and worked on a co-operative basis with the financial and technical assistance of the State... our policy is to nationalise the key industries with the eventual aim of co-operative ownership by the workers... nationalisation of all banks, insurance companies, loan and investment companies..."

The housing agitations in Dublin, Wicklow, Dun Laoghaire and Sligo, the ground rents agitations, the union struggles, all played their part in attracting new blood to the republican movement. In the years which followed, Seamus built up Wicklow Sinn Féin from scratch, starting up tenants associations in Bray, starting up agitations about land and access to beaches. But however deep his commitment to building a local organisation, however deep his commitment to fighting for the rights of the workers of Bray and Wicklow, Seamus resisted the temptation to become a parish-pump politician."....
       ---"Man of dedication and determination"
NiaIl Lenoach

"In 1954, shortly before the armed campaign of the late 50's there was, as Seamus himself put it, "absolutely no republican organisation in Co. Wicklow". The first Sinn Féin cumann was started in Bray in May of 1955. It had six or seven members, most of whom had been members of the Dun Laoghaire cumann. Its only activity was the sale of the United Irishman. "Of the new members who joined at that time along with the others who came in during the 50's campaign, not one was drawn from a traditional republican background". They had no preconceived ideas about revolutionary political action.

As the northern campaign waned, the movement in Bray showed signs of disintegration. By the end of 1962 there were four or five active members, and this small group set itself the task of "putting the organisation on its feet". By the middle of 1963 "we had about a dozen very active people". (1)

Between 1963 and 1967 the republican movement underwent a radical change in outlook, policies and activities. Seamus Costello was one of those most directly responsible for that change, and Wicklow was to become a proving ground for the new radicalism.

Seamus had participated in the disastrous armed campaign of the 50's. He had joined with great enthusiasm in a military adventure, which he believed would inspire the Irish people to take up the fight once more against the British occupation of the northern six counties. But he was soon to realise that heroism and self-sacrifice were not enough. The campaign fought in the mountainous border regions did not have the desired result. People throughout Ireland were more concerned with the pressing social problems of the day, with increasing unemployment and mounting emigration.

Seamus continued to accept that the fight against the British was correct and necessary, but he now realised that it would not be won by a small though gallant band divorced from the vital social issues of the day. He now saw that there were many strands to the anti-imperialist struggle and many related links to liberation. To hold the national question as being above all other issues was to isolate oneself from the Irish people and to make defeat inevitable."
    -- "Seamus - The People's Councillor"
Tony Gregory

"His ASU's most publicised actions were the destruction of bridges and the successful burning of Magherafelt Courthouse. It was during the campaign that I first met him, and although only five years older, he was already a veteran of armed struggle. Members of the ASU found him to be strict, radiating with confidence and his mild manner and sense of humour were positive aids in providing leadership. During a period of lying low in safe billets, a grenade exploded and set of the full magazine of a Thompson sub-machine gun, luckily killing no one, but knocking Seamus unconscious, and left him with back injuries. He also lost half a finger, and as a result left the action to return to a hospital in Dublin for treatment. On his release he was immediately arrested and lodged in Mountjoy as a guest of the state for six months. Once again on his release he was re-arrested and interned in the Curragh Concentration Camp where he joined the escape committee which sprang Ruairi O'Bradaigh and Daithi O'Connaill among others. In later years he was to refer to his Curragh experience as "my university days".
----Fionbarra O'Dochartaigh

"At Magherafelt, County Derry, Costello's column had to settle for their secondary target, the courthouse. The caretaker and his family were moved out, the rooms saturated with a mixture of creosote, petrol, and paraffin, and the building lit. The IRA men were long gone before anyone noted the blazing courthouse."
    - J Bowyer Bell, "The Secret Army," pg 289
  The column had 9 men, according to John Maguire. The courthouse is now rebuilt as a tourist attraction.

(All quotes except the last from the irsp.ie website. Photos from GB)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Index of posts on Saor Uladh

 This is a round-up of material posted on Saor Uladh and its volunteers.

Liam Kelly, Sedition, and the Pomeroy Riots (updated)

Kelly in the Seanad

Connie Green and the Rosslea Raid:

Bonfires on the Border- Armistice Day 1956 (updated)

 Alo Hand

 Kevin Neville

 Frank Morris
(Apologies for the typos and format- This was an early piece of mine before I learned the value of proof-reading!)

They are something of a blank spot in republican history, known only through a few pages in books. I hope we can fill the gap a little bit. I've also been working on a biography of Liam Kelly, which is in the research stage. If anyone can to contribute to either subject, my e-mail is lublog@hushmail.com

Saturday, February 8, 2014

After '62- Preparing for the Next One

  Waiting for the Next One

     "The Question for those still involved was "What next'? To many...simply preparing for a 'new and better campaign' was the answer. Clandestine recruiting, training, and rearming were resumed. Weapons instruction and drilling took place with small groups in private homes....Emphasis was placed on teaching recruits how to care for and dismantle small arms. Weekend or week-long camps were organized intermittently in secluded districts such as Sleive Bloom Mountains or the Glen of Imaal, where firing practice, explosives training and instruction in battle techniques too place....Becoming accustomed to living and sleeping in rough conditions was an important part of the training. . . The weapons used were quite old..."
- Hanley and Millar, "The Lost Revolution". Pg 27.


"After every attempted action there is a lull; after every setback, a time of inactivity, and after every failure, there is a time of despair"- Cathal Goulding, Edentubber oration 1965

There is a pattern in republican history after the end of each campaign, during which there is a period of fallout, blame, and disillusionment, followed by complete reorganization. Tony Magan was responsible for reorganizing the movement after the 40's campaign, politically and militarily. While many volunteers drifted away or were expelled in the reorganizing process, Cathal Goulding was one of the faithful few who stuck with him. He revamped the Dublin Brigade, training and drilling even when it looked like it was pointless to do so. After the failure of Operation Harvest, he reluctantly found himself in the position Magan had been in, the Chief of Staff of an unsuccessful army looking for its purpose. Much talent was lost with the resignation of people like the three of the "Macs" and Sean Cronin, but he saw that training and promises of a new-but-as-yet-unplanned campaign continued. And similar Magan's political coup in taking over Sinn Fein, he introduced a new direction to the army to repoliticise it. See also ---- Cathal Goulding (under the pseudonym of McNeill) sends a message to the volunteers in 1965.

Report on Goulding's 1965 "There Must be a fight" Speech:

The text of the speech:

The men whom we honour here today died for a cause which promised a glorious future. I think that it is appropriate that I, a man who has been  reared in a period since their deaths, the period of their future, should deliver this oration. Some of the men whom we honour died at the hands of  the Black and Tans.  Two of them, Tommy Halpin and Sean Moran died at this spot. All died so that Ireland might be Gaelic and Free. All died for a future, a glorious future. A future in which Ireland would be governed by Irishmen, owned by Irishmen, an Ireland which would cherish her children equally, which would spread her wealth equally among all her children, an Ireland the charter of which would be the dictum of the Proclamation of Easter Week. They died for a future, for a glorious future, the children of that future, for you and me, for your children and mine, so that we might have our country for ourselves, be kings of our own castle, so that we could enjoy the fruits of our own land, that we might have independence, live in peace and comfort, hold our heads in honour and that Ireland our country could take her place among the nations of the earth.

"The future for which they died would be a glorious one indeed. That future has come and gone, but the glory, the truth and the honour have been missing from it. Their dreams, hopes, objectives are unattained, but their fight has been carried on, their battle cry of freedom taken up. This town of Drogheda, of all Irish towns, has been witness to the continuation of the fight. Some of the finest of your manhood have participated in that fight right up to the present day. You, in this town, have seen some of your best men behind prison bars in the 20's, 30's, 40's and 50's.

"You have seen the remains of Ritchie Goss [executed by hanging in Portlaoise Prison on 9th August 1941] pass through this town on the way to his final resting place in Dundalk. He carried on the fight of the men whom we honour today. He fought for that glorious future, he made the supreme sacrifice.  You in this town have seen the remains of Tommy Harte [executed by hanging in Mountjoy Gaol on 6th September 1940] and Sean McCaughey [died on hunger-strike on 11th May 1946 in Portlaoise Prison] being borne to their final resting places. You too have seen the remains of Sean South [killed on active service on 1st January 1957] and Keegan go southwards on their way to Wexford. You have seen evidence that some have paid more than lip service to the ideals of those honoured. You should know their fight will be continued, continued to the end, continued till Irish freedom has been won, continued till that glorious future for which they died has been achieved.

"The belief is still held today that the only way to rid this country of an armed British force is to confront them with an armed force of Irishmen backed by a united Irish people. There will and must be a fight. We only have to look around to see that we will have to fight on the military front,  the social front, the economic front and the cultural front.  It is unnecessary for me to dwell on the state of our language, our music and our dancing in Ireland today. Official attitudes to our culture can be seen in the amount of attention paid to it in our mass communication media. It is our task to give our language, our music and our games an honoured place among our objectives in the struggle for full independence. The battle on the economic front is second only in importance to the battle on the military front.

"It has been made manifest in the past few weeks that all our country has been sold. We are told by our leader we are in an economic mess, that this is our own making and that we must suffer the consequences.

"The bubble has burst. The handing out of millions of pounds of our money to foreign capitalists has had tragic results. The sell-out has come to a head. Our people were bluffed into believing that this foreign invitation was our salvation, so great a means that they stood by and watched millions being poured down the drain in grants and subsidies to these same foreigners.

"Too well do you know the closure of many of these foreign concerns, too often have you heard of the manna which was to come from England, from France, Germany, Belgium, Japan and America. Now you are told that you have taken too much of this manna. Now you are told that the cause of your downfall was the paltry increases in the wages of the ordinary working man. Nothing is being said of the millions being poured into the pockets of the foreign industrialists.

"Now you are being kept hanging on a string in the hope of charity from Downing Street. We know what kind of charity we can expect from Downing Street. We are going to have to pay a price for even that kind of charity. What is it going to be? You will not be consulted. Those whom you have elected to represent you in Leinster House will not be consulted. No one knows what is going on. But even at this stage it can be seen that our small farmers are going to be sacrificed, that the form of independence that has been won in part of our country is going to be sacrificed. This is the price the politicians of our land are going to pay. You have not been told for what. Is it going to benefit you, is this sell-out going to be of benefit to the poor of the land? If benefits are going to be gained we can rest assured that they will be to the advantage of the privileged class only. I said there would have to be a battle on the economic front, I should have said that the battle on this front has started.

"A man called Father McDyer started the battle some years ago, he proved that by co-operating with one another we can not alone survive but prosper. Now, the co-operative and Credit Union movements are the centre of economic resistance to the foreign sell-out. It is clear that those that govern us have shown nothing but opposition to this movement. Is it because they believe it is not the economic solution to our ills or is it because they see the end result as the ordinary people of this country owning its wealth and sharing it equally?

"Is the fear of our rulers that all will have a certain measure of prosperity instead of the present position in which the privileged live in luxury and the majority live in poverty? Whether they like it or not the battle is on, economic resistance is in progress. The success or failure of this movement relies on the ordinary people. It is up to the worker, the small farmer, the fisherman and the housewife to fight in this campaign. It is up to us to break the grip of the foreign financier, the foreign capitalist (and the Irish ones too), the hire purchase companies, and the profiteers on the economy of our land. It is up to us to see that our money is put to work in our own country and for our benefit. It is up to us to see that our country does not become a playground for the rich foreigners, a land in which we are trespassers in what is rightly our own, a land in which we are poachers of what belongs to us, a land of shoneens and slaves. The men whom we honour did not die for such a land, we owe it to them and to ourselves, that it does not become so.

"Of all the ideals for which Irishmen have fought and died, none has been greater, none has been of more importance to them, none has been nobler than the guarantee enshrined in the Proclamation of Easter Week — Equal Right and Equal Opportunities for all the children of the nation. Are Equal Rights and Equal Opportunities available to all the children of this country? Are they available to the children of any part of this country? Do the opportunities available to a child in this country depend on the abilities which God has given that child or do the opportunities which he gets depend on how much money his father has? Well do you and I know that the latter is so. Well do you know that there is one law for the rich and one law for the poor. To bring about a position in which equality of opportunity can be guaranteed we must have independence. We will have to fight for that independence on the fronts we have mentioned, we will have to unite our people and united we will have to rid our country of the last vestige of British influence.

"In the Ireland of today with all those tea parties, charity balls and big shot entertainment’s we tend to forget that part of our country is occupied by an armed force of British soldiers. The majority of us tend to accept it as inevitable that they remain there but there are some, there have always been some to whom the kernel of the whole national problem lies in the military occupation. The men whom we honour here today believed that such was the case. The men in the '40's believed it. Sean South and the men of '56 believed it. The belief is still held today, the belief that the only way to rid this country of an armed British force is to confront them with an armed force of Irishmen backed by an united Irish people.

"The British forces in the six counties will be confronted by such a force. It is inevitable that they will be. This military camp combined with the economic resistance camp can be successful. It will be successful if we unite and fight for it."

---- Some photos of a training session by the Dublin Brigade in the mid sixties. Cathal Goulding, Mick Ryan, and Leo Steenson (all 50's men) make appearances. According to Sean Swan, a british company had offered the IRA 200£ to allow them to film the training session and the camp (modeled on their real ones) in the video was quickly "conjured into existence" for the occasion. Assault training:
Conducting searches and taking prisoners:
(Photos from the 67 edition of "The Easter Lilly" by Sean O'Callaghan. Background from "Official Irish Republicanism" by Sean Swan. Go raibh mile maith agt to GB for the photos in all of this post)

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Tyrone Remembers

 Tyrone Remembers- Some news from 1964 on commemorations in Tyrone. Ruairi O'Bradaigh (Rory Brady) gives the oration. Also of interest is the death of Liam Kelly's father and tributes paid to him, and Liam Kelly at work in the USA.
   Note the border campaign is referred to on the bottom right as lasting from "1955-58" - not 56-62 as it is today- and the group "Northern Republican Society" of NYC.


Monday, February 3, 2014

Vol John Duffy - RIP


(Saoirse, May 2010)

On May 7th 1963 the last IRA volunteer of the 1956-63 campaign to give his life for Ireland died. He was John Patrick Duffy of Derry city. Aged 18 he was the youngest to die in the campaign and he was accidentally killed while engaged in training.

On May 14 the Irish Republican Publicity Bureau issued a statement dealing with the tragedy:

“The shooting incident in Derry City on May 7, in which a member of the Republican Movement, 18-year-old John Duffy, lost his life, was the result of a tragic accident. While weapons were being checked for defects, John Duffy handed a revolver by the butt to another member of the Movement. The revolver was loaded and a bullet was accidentally fired. “The sympathy of the entire Movement is tendered to the family of the dead youth. No blame is attached to the other man, who barely had the revolver in his hand when the shot went off.”
The statement was signed “J McGarrity, Secretary”.

The Irish Times of May 10 reported on the shooting and the inquest as follows:

“The inquest on John Patrick Duffy (18) the Derry apprentice baker who was found shot dead at 158 Bogside, Derry on Saturday night, was opened and adjourned yesterday. The proceedings lasted less than a minute and the only evidence called by Head Constable JR Williamson was that of identification. This was given by Duffy’s father, John Patrick Duffy, an unemployed bus conductor of 54 Malin Gardens. He said that the last time he saw his son alive was about 4 pm on Saturday. The body of his son was brought to his home by the undertaker on Sunday night.

“The City Coroner, Mr Cecil Milligan said that there being no further evidence he would adjourn the inquest sine die until some more evidence was forthcoming.

“The police search of the city continued for trace of Michael Joseph Montgomery* (25) whose home is the 158 Bogside and who has not been seen since the shooting. Road blocks were maintained in all streets leading out of the city and on the Border. City and country buses were examined. Police visited about 200 houses in the city and questioned many men.

“It was learned yesterday that they had found a revolver from which it is believed the fatal shot was fired. It was discovered on waste ground not far from 158 Bogside. On the previous night tracker dogs led to the discovery of an arms dump, buried in waste ground which included machine guns, revolvers, hand grenades, kit bags, safety fuses and Army books.

“The police are satisfied that there was a third man in 158 Bogside at the time of the shooting. “Further details of the shooting show that when Mrs Doris Montgomery, a few minutes after heating the shot, went downstairs, her husband was there and “the third man” had disappeared.

“Young Duffy was then in the livingroom and it was learned that Montgomery told Mrs Montgomery that the youth had been badly wounded as a result of an accident.

“It is also learned that Montgomery then took his wife to the home of his parents in Creggan Terrace and told her to have a priest brought to 158 Bogside.

“The gun which was found near 158 Bogside and which is believed to be the weapon from which the fatal shot was fired, had five chambers loaded and there was a spent bullet casing in the other chamber.
“Derry police have detained a 25-year-old Derryman for further questioning.”

The picture which accompanied the Irish Times report showed one Thompson sub- machine gun, six magazines for same, two revolvers, a hand grenade, about 500 rounds of ammunition and a coil of black fuse, alleged to have been discovered by sniffer dogs on waste ground in the general area of the shooting.

In July 2008, 50 years after their deaths, a roadside monument was unveiled at the Mullan Border crossing near Swanlinbar to the memory of Pat McManus and James Crossan. John Duffy’s name and date of death were also included on the memorial.
Suaimhneas síoraí go raibh aca triúr. Cuimhneófar ortha.

The Special Correspondent in Belfast of the Irish Times wrote on May 10, having visited Derry on Sunday, May 8. He reported: “The city had not seen such intense police activity since the outbreak of violence in the North in 1956.” He went on: “The authorities believe that they have nipped in the bud plans to stage a wave of incidents not only in Derry, but at points further inside Northern Ireland. The police searches were still going on tonight [May 9].”

He quoted Stormont Home Affairs Minister Faulkner. He mentioned the throwing of a hand grenade at an RUC sergeant in Keady, Co Armagh last week to “give the lie to the suggestion that the IRAhave ended their attacks on Ulster”.

*Better known to republicans as Mickey Montgomery. He was a formidable and well-loved figure in the Derry Brigade, later leading the OIRA and INLA in the city. Unfortunately, his experiences whilst being tortured during Internment (he was one of the 14 "Hooded Men") took a hard toll on him and he died in the early 80's.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Remembering the Cypriot Connection

 Photo of Cathal og Goulding with a plaque presented posthumously to his father by EOKA veterans.

The plaque reads:
"To our dearest comrade Cathal Goulding
In remembrance of the difficult but glorious days we had together in the British prisons.

Your Cypriot comrades in the British prisons 1956-1959"


(One important fact absent from the following articles is that it was Joe Christle and his group who were behind the successful escape attempt. More on that to follow)

Cypriot solidarity recalled


A bond of friendship and solidarity lasting over 50 years was celebrated in Dublin last month. The occasion was the launch of the English language edition of Cypriot and Irish Political Prisoners held in British prisons 1956-1959.

The author Vias Livadas, a veteran of the Cypriot independence struggle and former political prisoners spoke movingly of the friendship forged in extreme adversity between the Irish Republican prisoners and he and his fellow countrymen.

The Pearse Centre was full to overflowing as the large crowd mixed with Irish Republican and Cypriot veterans of this fascinating episode in anti-colonial history. Also in attendance was the Cypriot ambassador to the 26 Counties Sotos Liassides and Prof Frixos Joannides, formerly of University College Dublin. Also in attendance was former Mid-Ulster TD Tom Mitchell as well as Republican Sinn Féin joint Vice- Presidents Cathleen Knowles McGuirk and Des Dalton as well as Ard Chomhairle member Des Long.

The ceremony mixed Irish traditional music with a reading by Anna Barron of Padraig Pearse’s ‘The Fool’.

The launch was chaired by life-long Republican activist and veteran of the 1956-62 Resistance campaign, Charlie Murphy, whose brother Donal was one of the Republican prisoners held in Wormwood Scrubs prison in England during the 1950s. Veteran EOKA resistance fighter and political prisoner Renos Kyriakides recalled with emotion his first contact with Irish Republican prisoners in Wormwood scrubs prison in August 1956.

On entering the prison the EOKA prisoners faced a gauntlet of abuse and threats from the ordinary English prisoners encouraged by the Prison warders. In the food hall they were met by the first friendly faces when they met the three Irish Republican prisoners held there, Donal Murphy, Sean Mac Stiofain and Manus Canning who introduced themselves, together the small group of Irish and Cypriot revolutionaries faced down the English mob. It marked the beginning of comradeship which over 50 years was still very evident for all at the launch to see.

Manus Canning recalled the conditions endured by the Cypriot and Irish political prisoners giving a graphic description of the inedible food. He also shared his command of the Greek language a legacy of his time spent in Wormwood Scrubs. The book was launched by author and historian Tim Pat Coogan who said that both countries had been subjected to partition. “But whereas Ireland historically had to deal with only one major power Cyprus is tossed like a cork in a storm set off by many cyclones.”

The author Vias Livadas spoke of the historical links between Ireland and Cyprus. Both were nations locked in a common struggle for nationhood against a common enemy he said. Vias Livadas said that the Irish and Cypriot prisoners were known as “the rebellious team” and their “permanent goal” was escape. Indeed the only successful escape from Wakefield prison was the fruit of the cooperation between Irish Republicans and EOKA when Seamus Murphy scaled the wall to freedom.

The intention of the EOKA fighters if their escape had been successful was to join the Resistance campaign in Ireland, if this had come about it would have been an almost unique practical demonstration of international solidarity

A remarkable story of connected with the escape is recounted in the book relates to a Cypriot woman Katina Pilina who donated her dowry of #500 - a huge sum of money at the time -towards supporting the escape plan. In 2007 when attending the launch of the Greek language edition of the book in Cyprus, Seamus Murphy finally met the woman who gave up her dowry to aid his escape.

Katina Pilina travelled to Dublin for the launch and a presentation was made to her by Seamus Grealy who was one of the principal people involved in organising the escape.

Presentations were also made by the Cypriot EOKA veterans to Maire Mhic Stiofain widow of Sean Mac Stiofain, Charlie Murphy accepted on behalf of his brother Donal, the family of the late Joe Doyle, Manus Canning, Seamus Murphy and Cathal Og Goulding on behalf of his late father Cathal Goulding.

This historic and at times moving event ended with a rendition of Brendan Behan’s ‘The laughing boy’ in Greek by historian Manus O’Riordan.

Vias Livadas’ Cypriot and Irish Political Prisoners sheds light on a shared chapter in Cypriot and Irish revolutionary history when international solidarity against imperialism and colonialism was lifted beyond mere lip service and proved that the spirit of comradeship and resistance could transcend language, miles or prison walls.


The passing of Vias Livadas is mourned by not only his own countrymen, but also Irish Republicans, as the passing of a true friend and comrade in struggle. Over 50 years ago bonds of comradeship, solidarity and friendship were forged in British prisons between the revolutionaries of Cyprus and Ireland which have endured to the present day. Leaving aside political differences, Vias Livadas and his generation of Cypriots wrote a heroic chapter in their nation’s history resisting the British occupation of their country, a struggle which the Irish people could readily identify with.

IF one goes into an in-depth study of Irish and Cypriot history and the legacy of conflict that has been evident in both countries, it becomes apparent that Cyprus and Ireland share a number of parallels.

When Irish President Mary McAleese visited Cyprus, she spoke of the similarities between the two islands, adding that both countries were divided with “a legacy of mistrust”.

The tale of a joint Cypriot-Irish escape plot from the British prison of Wakefield of 1959 proves, however, that this legacy does not extend to the political prisoners of EOKA and the IRA, who did not appear to have any problem in trusting each other.

Even though the plot was largely unsuccessful on both the part of EOKA and the IRA, the two nationalist organisations fighting against British colonial rule in the 20th century, none of the prisoners that were incarcerated together in the British prison for around four years have ever forgotten what EOKA fighter Vias Livadas describes a “special relationship with our brothers-in-arms”.

In an interview with the Cyprus Sunday Mail , former IRA volunteer Seamus Murphy, the only one of the five prisoners involved in the plot that actually managed to escape, tells of the unique relationship between the Cypriot and Irish prisoners as well as the attempted escape.

“The punishment I had received at the time was imprisonment for life, back in 1955 as the Cypriot struggle for independence was beginning,” he said.

“The Cypriot prisoners that were brought to Wakefield were placed in the same wing as us and we all interacted and spoke to each other about our various experiences during work in the tailor shop and the exercise yard. We talked about anything and everything, from politics to how to defeat the British. Anybody fighting the British Empire was a great friend of ours,” he said.

The interview, that took place just before an event marking the launch of Livadas’ book Cypriot and Irish political prisoners in English prisons, was interrupted by the arrival of another EOKA fighter, Renos Kyriakides.

Murphy leaped out of his chair and engaged in a long embrace with Kyriakides, telling me what a great man he was. The old friends had been re-united after 50 years, but it seemed that they had not spent a day apart.

As we got back to business, Murphy told me of the extent of the relationship between the prisoners.

“A number of our lads started learning Greek, two IRA guys had learnt the language at one stage. After more than 50 years, I heard two of the prisoners who were at Wakefield communicating with each other over the phone in Greek,” he said.

Livadas’ book has been dedicated to Nicholas Ioannou, an EOKA fighter the prisoners believe was killed by the British Special Branch after the British authorities became aware of his part in their plans of a joint escape.

Murphy said that before his death, Ioannou had visited Dublin and the contacts between EOKA and the IRA in Dublin had been established.

According to Murphy, the prisoners spent a lot of their time discussing how to escape from Wakefield.

“We actually had a number of different plans, many of them quite extreme to be honest. We had even thought of attacking the prisons using an airplane, however strange that may sound.

“There were five men that had been earmarked for the escape. Two of them were EOKA men [George Skotinos and Nicos Sampson], another two were IRA, myself and Joe Doyle, while there was also a fifth with us, Tony Martin, who had deserted the British army in Cyprus and fought on the side of EOKA before he was arrested,” he said.

When I asked Murphy how they managed to keep the attempted escape a secret, he attributed this to the trust that the men had with each other.

“We definitely kept very low key and only on the morning did the other Cypriot prisoners become aware of what we were planning. I had actually told Vias [Livadas] because we were extremely close, but not many people knew what we were up to.”

“On the day [February 12, 1959], we had prepared thoroughly, we had smuggled in a number of hack saw blades so that we can cut through the bars and men who had come all the way from Dublin were expecting us on the other side. They had cars, money and clothes with them and two safe houses had been rented in Manchester.
“I was the only one who actually managed to escape on the night by scaling the wall and made my way back to Ireland with the help of the other IRA men.

“Thankfully, the Cypriot struggle for independence ended later on in the year and the other prisoners were also released.”

Additional information from the Cyprus Mail and the book 'Irish and Cypriot Political Prisoners in Britain, 1956 to 1959,' by Vias Livadas, one of the EOKA leaders then serving a life sentence in a British prison for his part in the struggle for Cypriot independence.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

An Cumann cabhrach Launched- 1953

 "Republican Aid Committee Launched"
(Taken from "Saoirse", November 2003)

IN November 1953 a committee to raise funds to provide for the dependants of Republican Prisoners was formally inaugurat- ed in Dublin. The committee was named Cu mann C a b h r a c h (Republican A i d Committee).

    It had been informally in existence since the previous July when Joe Campbell of Newry was sentenced to five years for possession of explosives.
It was simply called the Republican Aid Committee for the first few months.
     Then in October three Republicans were sentenced to eight years in England. There would be demands on a prisoners' dependants' fund for sometime and it was decided to put matters on a firm footing.
The committee became known as An Cumann Cabhrach, subtitled Republican Aid Committee, and its terms of reference and structure set out clearly in a small folder that Republicans called it's constitution.

The objects of the Committee were stated to be:
(a)to raise funds to provide for the dependents of Republicans Prisoners.
(b) To look after the welfare of such prisoners pending release.
(c) To create a Central Fund from which grants may be made at the discretion of the Committee in cases of distress arising directly out of Republican activities.

The structure was laid down as follows:
    "The governing body shall be the Central Committee which shall be composed of a Chairman (sic), Secretary, and Treasurer, and at least four members, with powers to co-opt. The quorum for meetings shall be five.
The Central Committee shall elect three Trustees for the funds of the Committee. The Central Committee shall be empow- ered to set up Sub-Committees, if necessary, to deal with different branches of the work. Branches will be formed under the direc- tion of the Central Committee to organise local collections, céilithe, etc,to help the fund.

 All monies raised (by Branches or other- wise) shall be paid into the Central Fund, and all grants will be made direct from that fund. All account books and minute books in use by the branches shall become the property of the Committee and shall be open to inspection by the Central Committee on request."

It should be noted that all funds raised were to be paid into the Central Committee fund and all disbursements were to be made direct from that fund.

In that way all Republican prisoners and their dependants would be assisted in equal manner, regardless of personal popularity or other circumstances such as prominence, etc.

The front page of the folder of constitution read as follows:

An Cumann Cabhrach, the Republican Aid Committee (For the Relief of Republican Prisoners and their Dependants).

The address was then given: c/o United Irishmanoffice,Seán Treacy House, 94 Talbot Street, Dublin.

The back page read: November 1953 Central Committee: Chairman: Donal O'Connor. Secretary: Tomás Ó Dubhghaill. Treasurer: Mrs E Woods. Committee: Gearóid Ó Broin, Seán Goulding, Miss Dillon, E Ní Sculláin, Mrs McGlynn. Trustees: Joe Clarke, Laurence Grogan and Mrs Russell.

The imprint was: Ardiff Printer, Kilmainham.

   Donal O'Connor was the owner of the Castle Hotel, Gardiner Row, Dublin and a veteran Republican of the 1916-23 period. Tomás Ó Dubhghaill was a trade union official, President of Sinn Féin and had been a Republican prisoner during the 1940s. Ella May Woods had served a ten-year sentence in England from 1939.
    Gearóid Ó Broin was a motor mechanic who had once been an organiser with Aitirí na h-Aiséirí. Emily Ní Sculláin came from a Republican family and with her sister was very active with the staff of An tÉireannach Aontaithe/The United Irishman. Rita McGlynn, neé McSweeney, had served a sentence in England in the 1940s while at the same time her husband-to-be Paddy McGlynn was in prison in the 26 Counties. Indeed the majority of the Central Committee had been Republican prisoners themselves.


Of the trustees, Joe Clarke was a 1916 Veteran who with Larry Grogan had served the Republican Cause right through from the 1920s. Mrs Russell was Lily Coventry of Dublin who had married a brother of Seán Russell and was active all her life. She spend a period interned without trial in Kilmainham jail in 1922-23.

The flavour of the activity of An Cumann Cabhrach may be obtained from this letter to a Donegal man who had offered to help. It was signed Tomás Ó Dubhghaill and went as follows:
"In reply to your note of the 5th instant we are anxious to get branches formed of the Republican Aid Committee in all the local areas.
If you can manage to get a few people together in Lifford who would be willing to form a branch to organise weekly collections, to run functions céilithe, etc to raise funds for the Committee, we would be very glad. Any funds raised should be sent to the Treasurer c/o this office as the Central Fund will have the responsibility of looking after boththeprisoners themselves andtheirdepen- dants whether in Dublin, London or Belfast. I am enclosing an official collection book. You should arrange to send on any funds you collect each week and a receipt for same will be sent to you. The book itself should be returned periodically for checking."

The valuable work done by An Cumann Cabhrach forseveral decades had beencarried out since the 1916 Rising by various bodies: Irish National Aid and Volunteers' Dependants' Fund, White Cross, Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants' Fund, Green Cross in the 1940s, Green Cross 1973 from that year on, etc, etc.

( Refs. An tÉireannach Aontaithe/The United Irishman, October and November 1953 and Irish Independent,