Category Archives: Border Campaign/Operation Harvest
Political activist and radical photographer Séamus O’Riain,1937-2014
by Mick Healy
“There are those of us who try to follow the path once taken by Casement, Pearse, Connie Green and O’Hanlon. We seek to put through the charter that was bought with blood of our glorious dead in 1916, which the Free State Regime failed to do, a charter that would make an All-Ireland Workers Republic.” – Séamus O’Riain, HM Prison Brixton, September 1967.
Séamus (Ryan) O’Riain was born into poverty on September 2, 1937 to Katherine Ryan in Dublin. When Katherine married a Tom Ryan, Séamus was fostered out to a family called Corbally; unfortunately he was to end up in Drainages children’s detention centre in County Offaly. What’s more, he remained there for about three years before he was reunited with Katherine and step-father Tom at 51 Viking Road, Arbour Hill, Dublin. (Drainages treated the children more like slaves than children, stated a commission in 2009 that inquired into child abuse at the detention centre.)
O’Riain became an accomplished photographer; his employment for a number of years was with Jerome Photography Studio at 4 Henry Street, Dublin. He created hundreds of remarkable images which are a vital history of Republican and left-wing activity. Moreover, the photographs with his Phoenix Company in London featured Brendan Behan, The Dubliners and Tom Barry, the former Commander of the IRA’s Third West Cork Flying Column during the Irish War of Independence. Tom Barry praised him in a letter dated 24, August 1977, “A hundred note of thanks for your splendid set of photos. They are the finest I have ever seen and I have, unfortunately, had hundreds taken.”
Seamus’ association with radicalism went back to his youth when he joined the IRA along with his comrade Liam Sutcliffe, during Operation Harvest (the IRA 1950s border campaign). Like others of his generation, O’Riain Read the rest of this entry
Phil O’Donoghue and Operation Harvest
This is the story of Phil O’Donoghue who in 1954 joined the Irish Republican Army in Dublin and subsequently participated in Operation Harvest/the Border Campaign. On New Year’s Day 1957, Phil was a member of a military column during a raid against an RUC barracks in Brookeboroug, in which Seán South and Fergal O’Hanlon lost their lives. Along with 38 volunteers he was arrested at an IRA training camp in Wicklow and was imprisoned in the Curragh camp.
O’Donoghue became the National Organiser of the 32-County Sovereignty Movement that was founded on December 7, 1997.
This interview was done by Mick Healy who sent it on to me, along with the intro above.
Seán Cronin on The Untold Story of The Clan na Gael (1992 talk, New York)
Seán Cronin was originally an officer in the Free State army, who subsequently joined the IRA and became chief-of-staff planning and overseeing Operation Harvest (1956-62). Later he lived in the USA and became US correspondent for the Irish Times. He is the author of several books too, most famously Irish Nationalism: a history of its roots and ideology (Dublin, Academy Press, 1980). Here he is in New York, 1992, speaking on Clan na Gael, the Fenian organisation in the United States in the 1800s and 1900s.
Photos of Vol Bobby Sands, Vol Jimmy Roe
Public talk: Che and Seamus, Friday, October 18, 6pm
This month marks the anniversary of the murders of two outstanding revolutionaries.
Seamus Costello was murdered in Dublin on October 5 and Che Guevara in Bolivia on October 9. Che in 1967 and Seamus in 1977.
Come along and find out about these two great fighters for human emancipation.
Speaker: Dr Philip Ferguson
Friday, October 18, 6pm,
Seminar room, third floor, public library,
Moray Place, Dunedin (NZ).
Frank Keane and the Irish revolution
“The magistrate in his summing up said that he had no doubt whatsoever that I was politically involved. This should stand to my benefit at a later stage and should really nail the lie that I’m a gangster, a criminal”. – Frank Keane, Brixton jail, 14th August, 1970.
Frank Keane, who is now over eighty years of age, was born on May 8, 1936 in Peter Street, Westport, Co. Mayo. He was once regarded as a dangerous political opponent by the Irish establishment.
Frank was the eldest of three brothers and a sister and was educated at the local Christian Brothers School. In 1952 he moved with his family to North Road, Finglas in Dublin. The following year he joined the Jackie Griffith Sinn Fein Cumann. (The cumann was named after a republican activist shot dead by the Free State special branch in Dublin on 4 July 1943.)
Frank volunteered for active service during Operation Harvest, the IRA 1950s border campaign. With training/recruitment officers interned or on the run, he enlisted in the Read the rest of this entry