Monthly Archives: March 2014

Get involved in the éirígí local election campaigns

This May will see éirígí candidates stand for election to local authorities in Wexford, Wicklow, Dublin and Belfast. Although éirígí previously fielded candidates in the 2011 local elections in Belfast, this will be the first time that the party will contest elections on both sides of the border simultaneously.

A total of eight candidates will represent the party from the rural hinterland of New Ross on the Wexford / Waterford border, to the flats complexes of Dublin’s inner city, to the sprawling housing estates of West Belfast. Citizens of the towns, cities and counties that gave birth to the 1798, 1916 and 1969 insurrections are again on their streets, calling for the overthrow of the ancien régime and the establishment of a new all-Ireland socialist republic.

Between them the eight éirígí candidates have many decades of experience of political struggle in all of its forms. Trade unionists, community activists, Irish language advocates, former political prisoners all coming together to stand on a single, coherent ideological platform. The candidates are: Read the rest of this entry

Damo does Down Under

DamienDuxThe great Damien Dempsey is currently touring New Zealand.  Last night I caught him at the Dux De Lux bar in Christchurch.  For a review of the gig, see here:



Dublin meeting: Carrie Twomey on the 1981 hunger strike and whether an acceptable British deal was on the table

carrie-twomey-2012-1-24-15-40-15A group of independent Dublin republicans have organised the meeting below for Carrie Twomey, author of 55 Hours, a step by step account of the negotiations between Brendan Duddy (“Mountain Climber”), Margaret Thatcher and Gerry Adams during of the Long Kesh 1981 Hunger Strikes. Her talk will be followed by a Q & A.

Using the timeline created with documents from ‘Mountain Climber’ Brendan Duddy’s diary of ‘channel’ communications, official papers from the Thatcher Foundation Archive, excerpts from former Taoiseach Garrett Fitzgerald’s autobiography, David Beresford’s Ten Men Dead, Padraig O’Malley’s book Biting at the Grave, and INLA: Deadly Divisions by Jack Holland and Henry McDonald, Danny Morrison’s published timelines, first person accounts and the books of Richard O’Rawe and Gerry Adams, the fifty-five hours of secret negotiations between British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Gerry Adams’ emerging IRA leadership group are examined day by day.

In the run up to this period of communication, the IRA prisoners on protest issued a statement that made clear it would be acceptable to apply the demands they were seeking to all prisoners – in other words, the issue of special category status would be set aside or fudged. This broke the logjam; the impending death of hunger striker Joe McDonnell added urgency to communications seeking an end to the protest.

Saturday 5th of April @ 14:00hrs
The New Theatre,
Connolly Books,
Essex Street,
Dublin 2.

This is an independently run event and ALL are welcome to attend.  You can also watch the video  of a public meeting on the subject at the Teachers Club in Dublin on February 22 featuring Richard Rawe whose book Blanketmen was the first major work to discuss the British offer and what happened to it; see here.

Liam Daltun (1936-72): a man of great charm and knowledge

LiamDaltunby Mick Healy

Writing about the great events in Ireland (1913 Lockout-1916 Rising) Lenin described the Citizens Army as ‘the first Red Army in the World’ and remarked that the Irish workers had set an example for workers everywhere.  Within a little more than a year of the events of the 1916 Rising a ‘similar body of armed men’ in Russia shook the world. Russian workers carrying rifles and wearing scarlet armbands appeared on the streets of St Petersburg and Moscow. Under the leadership of Lenin and Trotsky the insurrectionary seizure of power was organised which led to the founding of the first Workers State.  – Liam Daltun, The Irish Militant, May 1966.

Liam Daltun was born in February 1936 in Westmeath and moved with his family to Ballymun, Dublin in the 1950s. His first employment, for about two years, was in Gael Linn, an organisation founded to foster the Irish language. He spoke Irish with a perfection rarely found outside of the Gaaeltacht. Dalton was a particularly gifted linguist, as he also spoke French, Spanish, Italian and Russian.

His radicalism began in his youth when, at 18 years of age, he joined the IRA in 1954. He later left the IRA and operated with the breakaway Joe Christle group (Saor Uladh) during the 1950s republican Border Campaign. The Christle group, including Daltun, blew up nine customs posts along the border in 1956. Around this time he was arrested in Dublin; his trial was held the next day.  At a time when Irish republicans refused to recognise the authority of the courts, he Read the rest of this entry

Another 1,000 hitter

Another piece featured on the blog has just reached 1,000 hits.  It’s the first part of Liam O Ruairc’s three-part history of the Provos:

A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three

Top 20, as at March 17, 2014

Starting at #1 and working downwards, the top pieces on the blog are:

The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on

Saor Eire – Marxist and republican

Politics and the rise of historical revisionism

Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922

The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century

Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography

A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three

The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’

Interview with veteran socialist-republican Gerry Ruddy

Remembering Máirín Keegan, 1932-1972

Chapter 4: The Home Rule Crisis

Republicanism and the national independence struggle, 1916-21

A history of the Provos – part three

In review: Joost Augusteijn on Patrick Pearse

The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921

Remembering Peter Graham, 1945-1971

A History of the Provos – part two of three

The Rossville Street (Derry) Bloody Sunday murals

The Re-Imaging Programme in the six counties

Smashing H Block and republicanism today: an interview with F. Stuart Ross

Republicans of the 1940s and De Valera’s repression of republicanism

Main speaker: Noel Hughes, local historian
14:00 @ The Cobblestone, Smithfield, Dublin, 15/03/2014
This event is free to the public. Bígí Linn.


Getting back into stride

Folks will have noticed that not much material has gone up on the bog in recent weeks.  This is purely because I have been swamped with work-work.  As of next week, this load will lighten and I’ll back into stride with getting stuff up regularly again.


Sinn Fein on the run as Irish settlement slips further to the right

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness: another sticky patch in the 'peace process'

Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness: another sticky patch in the ‘peace process’

by John McAnulty

Another week, another crisis. The Irish peace process continues to have popular support (or at least widespread public indifference), but its internal contradictions see it constantly spiral out of control. It is clear that Peter Robinson’s threat to resign as First Minister marks a new stage in the decay of the Irish settlement.

As with all political manoeuvres in the North of Ireland, appearance does not match reality. We are told that the current crisis arises from the dismissal of the court case against John Downey on charges relating to the Hyde Park bombing of 20th July 1982, and the disclosure of letters of comfort held by almost 200 “On the Run” (OTR) republicans that assure them that there are no active police investigations involving them. In a small number of cases royal pardons were issued by the British. The relatively secret processes were minor elements of a wider settlement where both loyalist and republican prisoners were released on license after serving two years of their sentence.

The stench of hypocrisy hangs heavily here. “On the Runs” was a very public issue. When it fell off the agenda everyone understood that a private deal had been struck with the British. Tony Blair’s henchman, Jonathan Powell, reported that the DUP accepted the “OTR” settlement as long as it was kept secret and attached to the earlier Trimble leadership. The issue was referred to in the Eames-Bradley public report on resolving issues of the conflict. At least two confidential reports were presented to the police authority and the arrangement was referred to in court cases.

So why a political explosion around an issue that, at least in its broad outlines, was fully understood by all the politicians?

Resolving the past?

The matter is obscured by the insistence of all concerned that the difficulty lies in arriving at a consensus on the past. Once we agree on the past the current divisions will resolve themselves and we will be able to move on. Yet in other conflicts, no matter how bloody, no one has to agree a common view of the conflict. The issue is resolved and history moves on on the basis of that resolution. So the claims that we must resolve the past, at least on the part of unionism, are simply a cover for Read the rest of this entry

Anti-austerity protest, Dublin, Thurs, March 6