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First the title Civil War in Connacht -- this book concerns principally the war against the Free State in North Galway -- otherwise the Second Defence of the Republic in that area. It does not deal with the Collooney Ambush, Sligo's "Noble Six", the recapture of Ballina or Clifden from Free State forces or the exploits in Roscommon or Leitrim of the Arigna Flying Column
. The narrative is built around notes compiled in 1922-23 by JJ Waldron of Tuam which came into the possession of the author. Waldron says: "In my notes, I give only what the public were told of the day to day actions between the Free State troops and the Republicans and probably the former's point of view".
For instance, the Free State claim that one Republican was "mortally wounded" during the capture of 18 Volunteers following a skirmish at Clúid in February is carried because Waldron had only that version. In fact John Francis Rhatigan escaped without harm from the Free Staters at Clúid and lived as an active Republican until his death in 1972.
In 127 pages of text Nollaig Ó Gadhra provides a masterly framework of the national scene within which the conflict in North Galway took place. As Pat Butler -- RTÉ producer of the recent Ballyseedy programme -- said at the book launch in Tuam on August 31, the author, sharp in wit and intelligence, brings great commitment to his work. "The smell of the wet dog by the fire" emanates from the Tuam narrative: "it has the authenticity of oral history".
Ó Gadhra's coverage of the events surrounding the "Pact" or agreed Election of June 1922 is very good. He gives in full the Catholic Hierarchy's pastoral letter of October 1922 and adds: "Few doubt that this hierarchy support for the Provisional (Free State) Government gave the green light for the executions that began in November 1922".
He goes on to state "those 'democrats' who handed over the powers to the (Free State) army at that time -- and before the Irish Free State was even founded -- were effectively washing their hands of the responsibility they themselves said they had as a Provisional Government and parliament and handing it over to a three-man junta. Any two members of the (Free State) Army Council could sanction the execution of anybody they did not like".
He then gives "insights into the Free State mind" at that time which reminds this reviewer of a statement made to him 45 years ago by an ex-Volunteer who was then a Chief Superintendent of the Garda: "In 1922 you needed men ruthless enough to machine-gun whole battalions of the IRA to make this country fit to live in". He did not say fit for whom to live in!
On page 94 Ó Gadhra says that "weak, uncertain governments, not strong ones, behave like this". Afterwards, in August 1923 the Free State parliament passed an Indemnity Bill to protect its servants against any inquiry, not to mention tribunal for crimes against humanity and war crimes, eg in Kerry.
By the executions in places like Tuam, the Free State Army Council "made certain that all fingers were steeped in bloody executions while the reign of arbitrary military terror existed; so that the blame would not rest with the leaders later on".
It is interesting to compare the Bishops' pronouncement and the hierarchy's refusal to recognise the Second (All-Ireland) Dáil in June 1921 with the courageous and deeply religious letters of the Republican soldiers about to face the firing squads. The Hierarchy's wholehearted espousal of the Free State would undermine their authority in years to come.
Ó Gadhra's analysis of the 1923 election in the 26 Counties and its result is accurate and demolishes the "stepping-stone" theory. The defection and resignations of nine Cumann na nGaedheal (later Fine Gael) TDs in 1924 points this up.
He deals with continuing political opposition after 1923 to the Treaty of Surrender as well as further executions after the April 30 "suspension of offensive" and the unofficial executions eg of Captain Noel Lemass, because he "knew too much", which followed.
It was not the Oath to the British Crown as such, he states "that caused the main problem for Republicans in the 1920s, but what it stood for -- British sovereignty over Ireland and the right to rule in any part of Ireland".
The Ceasefire Order of 1923 was a cessation, we are told, not a political surrender. There was no handover of arms, nor decommissioning, but an order to store them for a more opportune time.
The undemocratic removal from the 1922 Free State constitution of the right to Initiative of 75,000 voters to make laws or amend the constitution is highlighted as well as de Valera's failure to restore it in his 1937 document.
He goes on to mention the Fianna Fáil coercion of the 1940s including firing squads, internment camps and the use of the English hangman, because the 1937 Constitution was another "stepping-stone that would not work either, because it was based on faulty foundations".
Appealing for the tragedy of 1922-23 and its lessons to be borne constantly in mind, Ó Gadhra concludes: "Such an appalling vista must never be allowed to happen again and the surest way to avoid that danger, and to tackle the contradictions it presents for all sides, is to make sure there is open and honest, fresh and original discussion about it".
The book is attractively presented and modestly priced at £9.99. The cover photo shows a party of armed Volunteers of the Third Western Division IRA on patrol in Sligo in a Crossley Tender taken from the British.
Fourteen glossy photographs of historical interest are included, among them one of the Second (All-Ireland) Dáil meeting at Easter 1928. After the defection of Fianna Fáil, they still had a quorum to transact business.
Eighteen appendices, all of which are informative and valuable for the record are attached. They run to 75 pages. The bibliography is important and very comprehensive. It is a pity C Desmond Greaves' Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution is not included.
With the level of history in schools as low as it is at the moment, this book fills a gap and is badly needed. People should read it and reflect on its contents. It belongs on the same shelf as Dorothy Macardle's Tragedies of Kerry. Get it – read it!
— Ruairí Ó Brádaigh
Republicans in Kildare were saddened to learn of the death of Christy Ellis, Celbridge, on August 26. Christy gave a lifetime of unwavering service to the All-Ireland Republic.
He first joined the Republican Movement in 1937 and served alongside leading Kildare Republicans of the time such as Tom Kiely, Jack Guiney, Seán Ashe, who played a key role in the re-organisation of the Republican Movement, following the release of internees in 1945/46, and of course the legendary Frank Driver.
Christy was himself interned in the Curragh Concentration Camp in 1940 and was to spend four years there.
Following his release Christy Ellis emigrated to England in search of employment.
Here his work on behalf of the Republican Movement continued uninterrupted. On his return to Ireland he again resumed his place in the ongoing freedom struggle.
In 1946, 1969 and again in 1986 Christy Ellis remained true to the guiding principles of his life and stood by the All-Ireland Republic of Pearse and Connolly.
Christy was the Leinster Honoree for 1995 at the CABHAIR Testimonial.
Christy Ellis also maintained an abiding interest in GAA affairs, particularly those of his native Kildare, he was Vice-President of Celbridge GFC and was to be found at any fixture involving Kildare large or small. Nineteen-ninety-eight was a memorable year for Christy.
Christy Ellis died as he lived, a true Gael and Republican.
Ar Dheis De go raibh a anam.
The death occurred recently in his native Kilmurry McMahon, Co Clare of Jack Browne, a life-long Republican. Jack, who was in his eighties, was an active Republican for over 60 years.
Jack joined the Republican Movement in the 1930s when Clare was a dangerous place to be a Republican due to harassment by Free State forces in that area.
During his long life he never deviated from his Republican principals.
At his removal and funeral his coffin was covered by the Tricolour, placed there by his friend and comrade Martin Calligan.
The large attendance of his neighbours and comrades included Denis McInerny, Des Brennan, Ennis and Matty Shannon, Doolin.
Joseph Lynch attended on behalf of Comhairle na Mumhan.
Des Long, Vice President, Republican Sinn Féin, delivered an oration over the grave during which he praised Jack's commitment to the struggle over his life; his work on behalf of prisoners and their families.
During the Funeral Mass a local singer, Bill McNamara, with the church choir sang Seán Sabhat.
This he did because, as he said, he was aware of Jack's annual attendance at the Seán Sabhat commemoration.
BROWNE, Sincere sympathy is offered to the family of Jack Browne, Kilmurry-McMahon, Co Clare, who died September 23. Go ndeána Dia trócaire ar a anam. From Cathleen Knowles McGuirk.
BROWNE, The Ard Chomhairle, Republican Sinn Féin extends sincere sympathy to the family of Jack Browne, Kilmurry-McMahon, Co Clare, who died September 23. I measc Laochra na nGael go raibh sé.
BROWNE, Deepest sympathy is expressed to Paddy Browne, Kilmurry-McMahon, Co Clare on the death of his brother Jack Browne. From the Republican Movement, Limerick.
BROWNE, Deepest sympathy is expressed to Paddy Browne, Kilmurry-McMahon, Co Clare on the sad death of his brother Jack Browne. From Republican Sinn Féin, Limerick.
BROWNE, Deepest sympathy is expressed to Paddy Browne, Kilmurry-McMahon, Co Clare on the death of his brother Jack Browne. From Republican Sinn Féin, Clare.
BROWNE, Deepest sympathy is expressed to Paddy Browne, Kilmurrry-McMahon, Co Clare on the death of his brother Jack Browne. From Joe and Nora Lynch, Limerick.
BROWNE, Sincerest sympathy is extended to the family of Jack Browne, Kilmurrary McMahon, Kilrush, Co Clare, on the recent death of Jack, a staunch Republican. From Pádraig Mac Mathúna, Willie Stewart Cumann, Dundalk.
BROWN, Sincere sympathy is extended to Michael Brown, Fenit, Co Kerry on the recent death of his mother. From Kerry Comhairle Ceantair, Republican Sinn Féin.
ELLIS, Sincere sympathy is extended to the family of the late Christy Ellis, Celbridge. From Kildare Comhairle Ceantair.
GOULET, Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Yann Goulet, Breton Nationalist and Irish Republican who died recently. From Comhairle na Mumhan, Republican Sinn Féin.
GOULET, Deepest sympathy is extended to the family of Ballyseedy memorial sculptor Yann Goulet who died recently. From the Ballyseedy Memorial Committee, Matt Leen, Stephen Brosnan, George Rice, John Godley, Maurice Dowling, Tom Tuohy, John O'Brien, Vincent Fuller, James McCannon, Maitiú Ó Dubhdha, Jackie O'Sullivan, Tom Lawlor, John Mangan and John Foran.
LOMBARD, Sincere sympathy is extended to the fanily and friends of Dick Lombard, Cork, who died recently. From Cumann Mac Curtáin-Mac Suibhne, Cork.
McDONAGH, Deepest sympathy is extended to John McDonagh, New York, on the death of his mother Cassie. From the staff of SAOIRSE, Dublin.
McMANUS COYLE, Deepest sympathy and kindest regards to Stephen Coyle and family, Glasgow on the death of his mother Margaret 'Maimie' McManus Coyle, a solid Irishwoman and a sound Republican. From Máirtin Ó Catháin, Doire Cholm Cille. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.
McMANUS COYLE, Sincere sympathy is extended to Stephen Coyle and family, Glasgow on the death of his mother Margaret. From the Ard Chomhairle, Republican Sinn Féin.
McMANUS COYLE, The Central Committee of CABHAIR (Irish Republican Prisoners Dependants Find) extend deepest sympathy to Stephen Coyle and family, Glasgow on the death of his mother Margaret.
MOLLOY, Deepest sympathy is extended to Charlie Molloy and the Molloy family on the death of his wife Peggy. From Republican Sinn Féin, Limerick.
O'SULLIVAN, Deepest sympathy is extended to Christina Garvey O'Sullivan and her husband Jer jnr on the death of his mother Nora O'Sullivan, St Joseph's Terrace. Cahersiveen on September 14. From John Houlihan, Droumroe, Currow, Killarney, Co Kerry.
O'SULLIVAN, Deepest sympathy is extended to the O'Sullivan family on the recent death of Nora O'Sullivan on September 14. From Jim O'Shea, St Joseph's Terrace, Cahersiveen, Co Kerry. O'Sullivan, Deepest sympathy is extended to the fanily and friends of Denis O'Sullivan, Cork, who died recently. From Cumann Mac Curtáin-Mac Suibhne, Cork.
TWOMEY, Deepest sympathy is extended to the Twomey family, Tipperary, on the death of Seán, beloved father and husband and life-long Republican. From Comhairle na Mumhan.
TWOMEY, The Seán Treacy Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Tipperary extend their deepest sympathy to the Twomey family on the death of Seán.
TWOMEY, Deepest sympathy is extended to the Twomey family on the death of Seanie. From Bobby and Geraldine McNamara.
KEENEY, Jimmy -- 15th Anniversary. In loving memory of our friend Jimmy who died on October 18, 1984. From the Wolfe Tone Cumann, Tallaght, Dublin.
LONG, Rory -- 2nd Anniversary. In proud memory of Vol Rory Long, Óglaigh na hÉireann, who died September 2, 1997. Always remembered by his comrades in the Republican Movement, Limerick. Rory, the torch of freedom is still burning and won't be quenched by traitors or Free Staters.
LONG, Rory -- 2nd Anniversary. In proud memory of Vol Rory Long, , who died September 2, 1997. Sadly missed by Republican Sinn Féin, Limerick.
LONG, Rory -- 2nd Anniversary. In proud memory of Vol Rory Long, Óglaigh na hÉireann, who died September 2, 1997. Remembered with pride by Fianna Éireann, Limerick.
McCLELLAND, Tony -- 20th Anniversary. In proud and loving memory of Vol Tony McClelland, killed on active service October 16, 1979. Always rememebred by the Trainor family, Armagh city. Sleep Irish soldier, sleep.
CONGRATULATIONS to Díog and Declan on the birth of their baby daughter who arrived on September 24 at Holles Street Hospital. From Cathleen Knowles McGuirk and family.
COMHGHAIRDEAS to Ruairí and Patsy Ó Brádaigh on their 40th wedding anniversary. From Des and Annette Long, Limerick.
COMHGHAIRDEAS to Ruairí and Patsy Ó Brádaigh on their 40th wedding anniversary. From Líta Ní Chathmhaoil.
COMHGHAIRDEAS to Joe and Nora Lynch on their 40th wedding anniversary. From Des and Annette Long, Limerick.
CONGRATULATIONS and best wishes to James and Margaret McDonagh on their upcoming marriage. From Seán McGoldrick, Dublin.
The funeral took place on Sunday, September 19 of Mrs Letitia Branley of Glenade in north Leitrim. A member of a staunch Republican family, her husband John Michael is chairman of the Kieran Fleming/Tony McBride Cumann, Republican Sinn Féin, Glenade.
Her coffin was draped in the Tricolour at the removal from her home to St Michael's Church, Glenade and during the procession to Conwell Cemetery the next day.
Declan Curneen chaired the proceedings at the graveside. He expressed the sympathy of the Republican Movement to Letitia's husband, John Michael, their sons, daughters, grand-children, great-grand-children, relatives and friends.
Jim Mannion, Manorhamilton, laid a wreath on behalf of Republican Sinn Féin. Joe O'Neill, Bundoran, gave the oration and spoke of how he had known Mrs Branley over many years and all during that time she was supportive and had a warm welcome for Republicans in her home.
In his address to the large attendance Joe paid tribute to the many people in Ireland like Letitia Branley who, by their strong background support, made it possible for others to take a more active role in the Republican struggle.
Seamus McGowan, Uragh, Kinlough, ended the tribute with a decade of the Rosary in Irish.
The shooting war between the British Army and the IRA is over and we should welcome that.
— Mitchel McLoughlin, Channel 4 News, August 25, 1999.
One of the incidental benefits of the current political process for the [Provisional] republican movement is the level of state or European funding available to fringe groups, such as ex-prisoners organisations and local community initiatives. To this extent, a type of salaried bureaucracy has replaced the more traditional methods of fund-raising, both legal and illegal, within the broader [Provisional] republican movement. It has the added benefit of keeping people on board who may otherwise become disenchanted and look elsewhere, should the current process run into the sand.
— Magill magazine, September 1999.
We were lied to. It's not the ceasefire, it's the basis of the negotiations that is the problem. It's the lies we were told, that we'd never go into a Unionist Assembly, there'd never be decommissioning, when all along they knew that's exactly what they were going to do. Either they lied to the two Prime Ministers . . . or they lied to the membership.
—Ex-member of Provisionals military organisation, Magill magazine, September 1999.
We haven't gone away you know.
— RUC member's jibe to nationalists in Ballymurphy, Belfast, after publication of the Patten Report.
Martin McGuinness said: "If we create a new policing service, we will have effectively disbanded the RUC" . . . Mr Ruairí Ó Brádaigh of Republican Sinn Féin said the aim of the new police force would be to "defend the six-county statelet".
— Irish Times, September 10, 1999.
Mr Gerard McCann said the report should be rejected outright. "You can change the RUC's name, give it a new oath and uniform, but it's still the RUC. It will still be enforcing the partition of this country and upholding British laws. No republican could ever join or support a force that does that.
Mr Paddy McCartney said: "The changes are cosmetic. If the policeman who takes you to Castlereagh is a Catholic, what difference does it make? If the policeman holding a plastic bullet gun speaks Irish, are we supposed to say he is all right?"
— Views on the Patten Report on the Falls Road, Belfast, Irish Times, September 10, 1999.
But, asked if Sinn Féin envisaged a situation where it would recommend young Catholics joining the force, Mr Adams did not rule out such a move in the future.
— Irish News, September 11, 1999.
The idea that the force should be politically accountable is not radical at all. What is radical is that nationalists and republicans who have spent years trying to dismantle the Northern state are now offering to make it work.
— Sunday Business Post, September 12, 1999.
In the absence of any real progress in the surrounding society, the renewed calls for the swift removal of the most contentious rule in the GAA's Official Guide are as misguided and as consigned to failure in the current climate as they were a year ago.
— GAA columnist, Des Fahy, Irish Times,September 14, 1999.
Can Gerry Adams persuade his supporters that a reformed Northern Ireland is not just worth policing but by extension, worth preserving?
— Tommy McKearney, former Republican prisoner, September 16, 1999.
In order to save Northern Ireland from a bloody revolution, inspired by IRA terrorism, the Patten report on policing must fail.
— Ulster Unionist deputy leader, John Taylor, Irish News, September 17, 1999.
It seems that there is no end to the amount of money that the British Government is willing to pump into areas like West Belfast. Has anyone wondered why? Are we being systematically bought off in return for abandoning our dream of a United Ireland?
. . . It is time for those who call themselves republicans to truly examine what they want and whether they are as content to recognise partition as Francie Molloy and his colleagues seem to be.
— Letter-writer to the Andersonstown News, Belfast, September 18, 1999.
Anticipating an early return to his homeland, the East Timorese resistance leader, Mr Xanana Gusmao, came to Australia from Jakarta yesterday to begin setting up a government-in-exile.
— Irish Times, September 20, 1999. When brought before an Indonesian court some years ago he refused to recognise its right to try him as an East Timorese.
Many people were genuinely shocked when a White House spokesman declared that the US was not the policeman of the world and that it was not in the US's vital interests to intervene in East Timor.
— Irish Times, September 20, 1999, letter to the Editor.
It is time that we recognised that economic and geo-political interests dictate the foreign policy of the "great powers".
— Letter-writer, Irish Times.
This is a tropical Northern Ireland in many ways.
— Brig David Richards of the British army contingent in East Timor, Irish Times, September 24, 1999.
But when (following Portuguese withdrawal in 1975), after a brief civil war -- won by the Frente Revolucionaria de Timore Leste Independente (Fretelin) -- East Timor declared itself independent, Jakarta invaded and adopted colonial Portugal's approach: East Timor became the 27th province of Indonesia.
— Irish Times, September 25, 1999.
If the pro-Jakarta militias and the Indonesian army want to push the idea of partition for East Timor, they might be able to completely stall the deployment of (UN forces) Interfet in the western part of East Timor.
— Irish Times.
The Indonesian army appears to be withdrawing -- as seen yesterday in Dili -- but, in what amounts to a policy of "Timorisation", it is leaving behind a loyal fifth column -- the heavily armed militias.
— Irish Times.
I treat the whole thing as a farce. This report will be treated like all the rest. Even if it was implemented in full, I don't think it would make any difference. Removing their badges and changing the name won't make any difference, he said.
— Hugh Jordan, father of RUC shoot-to-kill victim, on the Patten Report, Ireland on Sunday, September 26, 1999.
[Unionist Premier Brian Faulkner] asked how an MP elected on a united Ireland ticket could be credible to his own electorate as a member of a government trying to improve life in Northern Ireland as part of the UK.
— Sunday Tribune, September 26, 1999. Are they credible in 1999?
. . . the Continuity IRA leadership has refused to join [an alleged new umbrella grouping] and remains an independent organisation. It is the only Republican paramilitary group (sic) not on ceasefire.
— Irish Times, September 27, 1999.
It [CIRA] has carried out three attacks since Omagh. It opened fire on an RUC Land Rover in Co Armagh last September. It launched gun attacks on RUC bases in west Belfast and Lisnaskeagh, Co Fermanagh, in January and May respectively. No-one was injured.
— Irish Times.
It is a deceptive document, worse than a fudge.
— Frank McGuinness, playwright, on the 1998 Stormont Agreement, Marian Finucane Show, RTÉ Radio One, September 27, 1999.
As the Peace Process (sic) develops, [Provisional] Sinn Féin's position becomes closer to the SDLP's on all issues.
— Brian Feeney (ex-SDLP member), columnist, Irish News, September 29, 1999. He's right -- they're both 'Stooping Down Low' now!
The Revenue Commissioners, even though the Oireachtas repeatedly voted them extra powers, kept giving the fat cats every break while screwing the little people. They now say they'll do the divil and all to clamp down on the Ansbacher scoundrels. But when it counted, despite being aware of the extent of tax evasion via concealed deposit accounts, they went along with the operation of an unjust system.
— Tallyman, Sunday Tribune, September 29, 1999.
It was clear from their bearing, the timbre of their voices and their general interest in source material that their time in British universities had been very important for them, that they were happier reading Hansard than going through lists of people who died on coffin ships.
— Writer Colm Tóibín on the historians at University College Dublin where he studied, in his new book The Irish Famine (Profile Books).
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