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)

1 comment:

  1. Where it says "see also" it should read "see also for two An-tOgach issues and a lecture by Liam McMillan on the period"