Thursday, January 22, 2015

Laochra Uladh

 Laochra Uladh was a group, led by Brendan O'Boyle (Belfast) which began with high hopes of either seizing control of the IRA or forming a rival organization, but ultimately ended as a one man bombing campaign which cost O'Boyle his life in 1955.

The following is the best history of the group (gives a good picture of republican Belfast as well):

Saoirse article, under "Remembering the Past" on page 14:

For more information on O'Boyle's activities in the USA, see "The IRA" by Tim Pat Coogan.

Cork Volunteer Pipe Band- Part 4

 The fourth and (maybe) final part of Jim Lane's series on the Cork Volunteer Pipe Band is at the following link (and parts 1-3 for those who haven't seen them).
Part 4 covers the members and activities in the 50's and 60's, their role in funerals during Operation Harvest, and their decline after the 70's.

Míle Buíochas to Jim for taking the time to record this history.

Richard Behal's War: Part 1

     "Richard Behal, in a hide-out near Dublin (Photo by Terrence Spencer/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)"

   In the early 1960's, Kerry volunteer Richard Behal led a series of raids in the South that included an attack on the power supply during Princess Margret's visit to Ireland, a damaging attack on the then-fastest British warship, and a daring escape from Limerick prison. In the process Behal ran afoul of the Free Staters, the British, and barely escaped the death penalty from the IRA itself.
   He tells his story in his own words here for the first time. Part Two to follow:

Article on the escape:

(The Brave Borderer- before Behal got to it)

Vol. Jerry Madden (Cork) RIP

This past October 16th, 2014, saw the death of Cork Republican Jerry Madden. Jim Lane writes: "Gerry Madden endured 51 years of pain and suffering, following his injuries in an explosion at Cork's Republican Plot on 17th March 1963. Along with Dessie Swanton, who was killed in the explosion, he sought to protest the presence of DeValera at the cermony." He spent a month in the hospital afterwards and lost both a leg and an eye. A recovery committee was formed to cover his expenses with branches in Cork Dublin and New York, where the Clan na Gael supported his and Swanton's cause even though the IRA did not. While not accepted back into the IRA, he remained a highly active member of Sinn Fein and the Irish Revolutionary Forces and took part in many protests in the 60's and 70's. That he was obviously disabled did not spare him from the Gardai's wrath on these occasions. He was also on the editorial board of the IRF's "An Phoblacht."

More on the "Swanton Affair" here:

Vol. Bill O'Shea (Kerry) RIP

 Bill O'Shea (1934-2015) from Ballylongford, Kerry, joined the IRA in 1954. He took part in Operation Harvest and saw action along the border. He fought in later years as well and did much to help shelter volunteers on the run. Local republicans cite him as an inspiration. He died on January 12, 2015, shortly after his 81st birthday. RIP.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Vol John Madden

 Veteran of 1950s border campaign passes away.

(From the workersparty website)
The death occured on 19th April 2009 of comrade John Madden of Turner's Cross, Cork.

John had been ill for some time but his death still comes as a great loss to his friends and comrades in Cork and around Ireland.

John Madden was born into a large family to parents Joseph and Mary Madden on the southside of Cork in the early 1930s. The family was strongly republican but also strongly class conscious and it was no surprise that John joined the republican movement as a youth.  In 1956 he was one of a group of Cork IRA volunteers who participated in the Border Campaign but was ultimately captured (*at Dunmore, Tyrone- ed.) and spent several years interned at Belfast's notorious Crumlin Road prison.

After his release from internment John returned home and immediately became active again in the republican movement. He soon became an organiser for the movement and strongly supported the move towards a socialist position being promoted by people like Cathal Goulding and Tomás MacGiolla.  John had been interned with Sean Garland, Des O'Hagan and others who were promoting a left position and he remained loyal to the Goulding during the 1969 / 70 split.

John was a candidate for Sinn Féin (Official) in 1974 and almost succeeded in being elected onto Cork Corporation for the South Central Ward.  He remained a solid supporter of the Workers Party right throughout his life.

John was not the only member of his family active in the republican movement. Several of his brothers were also involved, including his brother Barty who died last August.

The following oration was given at John Madden's funeral by his longtime friend and comrade Sean Garland, member of the Ard Comhairle of the Workers Party and former Party President:-

A Chairde

Nuair a chuala mé go raibh John Madden básaithe bhí an bhrón orm.  Comrádaí agus cara dhilis domsa le caoga blain anuas b’é John. Cuireann bás John isteach go mór ar a chlann agus ar a chairde.  Fear ciúin croga macánta atá imithe.  Már a deirtear, ní bheidh a leithéid aris againn.

It is a privilege and an honour for me to say a few words to the memory of John Madden.  To his brothers and sisters – Sheila, Eddie, Gerry and Barry and to his large extended family – on behalf of the Ard Comhairle, members and supporters of the Workers’ Party - we convey our most sincere sympathy on their, and indeed our, great loss.

It is with deep sadness that we are gathered here to say farewell to a loyal comrade and friend, a man much loved by his family and all those who met with him over his lifetime.

My own experience of meeting with, and getting to know, John Madden began in Crumlin Road Jail, Belfast in the late 1950s and over the course of the following years, I came to know a comrade who was serious and always concerned as to how the Irish people and the working class in particular could achieve freedom and justice in this world.

John was a man who did not give his mind to many; he was quiet and was a great listener.  Never hasty in his judgements he was very well respected by all his fellow prisoners.  His contribution to debates was always considered and to the point.

In the years following his release from prison he was always available to help in the rebuilding of the movement into its development of The Workers’ Party.

All of what John did in life, in work and in politics, was based on an inherent integrity which he inherited from his parents, Joseph and Mary.  As part of a large family he learned the hard way that the working class had to be united and most importantly conscious of their class and of who the enemy is.  The Madden family have a proud tradition through many years of their involvement in the struggle for a united Socialist Irish Republic.  Barthy and John who left us within a very short space of time demonstrated over their lives the very best examples of working class heroes and we, in the Workers’ Party, are the poorer for their passing.

As a nation we are living in very difficult times.  Attack after attack is being made on workers and their families while the banks, developers, speculators and politicians who caused the crisis are being allowed to escape any consequences.

In this week the 93rd Anniversary of the Easter Rising it is to men like John Madden, whom we look to, who over the many decades along with other fine comrades – Malachy McGurran, Martin O’Leary, Desmond Swanton, Cathal Goulding – refused to accept the status quo to which the working class had been consigned.  John Madden had no hesitation on taking up the policies and strategies which Cathal Goulding, especially, called for and brought about their adoption by the Party.  To me and to many other comrades in the Party, John Madden was a Republican in the tradition of Wolfe Tone - the unity of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter, a Socialist in the tradition of James Connolly – the working class are the incorruptible inheritors of the fight for Irish freedom.  It is a matter of great sadness that John’s last years were blighted by the dreadful illness of Alzheimer’s which deprived him of the ability to play a full and meaningful role in life.

As we face an uncertain future with constant attacks on public sector workers -teachers, nurses, Gardaí, fire fighters, county and city council workers who are daily being called upon to make more and more sacrifices whilst the greedy are allowed to escape any punishment it is time for workers and their families to realise where their true interests lie.  It is with each other, to work together against a common enemy and in the coming June elections to kick out those who have brought such hardship and suffering on the most deprived section of society.

Let me leave you with this thought – the John Madden I knew and admired as a comrade and friend knew that it is not the task of the working class or of any Left Party to save capitalism.  Rather it is their duty to abolish capitalism and to replace it with a system which puts the needs and concerns of people first and foremost in a new society.

Thank you comrades and friends

Vol. John Joe Ruane

John Joe Ruane

(Obit from Saoirse, May 14, 1998. Ruane was a membeer of Teeling Column and took part in the attack on Derrylin Barracks.)

Republicans in Galway and throughout Connacht were saddened to learn of the death on Saturday, April 11 of John Joe Ruane from Athenry.
Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, President of Republican Sinn Féin, delivered the oration on Easter Tuesday, April 14 at the graveside following a Republican funeral at which John Joe was given last honours by his comrades in Republican Sinn Féin in Galway.

“John Joe Ruane’s part in the Republican Movement over his lifetime came in direct succession to that of Liam Mellows, the Loughnane Brothers, the IRA Volunteers executed in Athlone and Tuam and Tony D’Arcy who died on hunger-strike in Arbour Hill, Dublin , in 1940,” Ruairí Ó Brádaigh said.

“He followed fearlessly in the path of his comrades, Seán Sabhat, Fearghal Ó hAnluain and Pat McManus, who gave their lives in the late 1950s. Ten days before his death on Easter Saturday, John Joe insisted on attending a Comhairle Ceanntair meeting of Republican Sinn Féin in Athenry. He was faithful to the very end.

Described by a South Armagh Republican as a ‘a most civil man’, he was a political activist and an agitator for social and economic rights for the Irish people.

He put his life on the line with his comrades in 1956-62, worked in elections for Paddy Ruane, Frank Glynn, Murt Qualter and most recently for Tomás Ó Curraoin in Co. Council and Údarás na Gaeltachta elections.

“He was prominent in the fish-ins at the Salmon-Weir Bridge in Galway and at the bridge in Spiddal in the late 1960s. John Joe sought to break the power of the river-lords, just as landlordism was brought down by a previous generation.”

“As a hurler and later an administrator of the GAA, as a consistent Republican, he won peoples’ affections. Known throughout Ireland at demonstrations and comemorations, he was always to the fore with zeal and without fear, physically and morally. We salute your life’s work for Ireland and her people, John Joe.”

“Ar dheis Dé go raibh d’anam uasal”

Photo: Vol Noel Hughes

Noel Hughes of the Dublin Brigade (joined in 52, interned in 58) marches against the water charges last year.