Category Archives: Repression in 26-county state
The tribute below is from the Eirigi site, here.
Republican activists in South Dublin woke to the sad news last Thursday morning that the 1950s veteran Donal Ó Sé had passed away. Although Donal had lived in the same house on the Dundrum Road for the last forty years, his life story began far away in the village of Kilgarvan in South Kerry where he was born in 1937.
Donal’s earliest days on this earth were a time of simultaneous joy and tragedy for his family – joy in his arrival and tragedy in the passing of his mother who died in childbirth.
As was common with such tragedies at the time, family members stepped forward to help rear the infant Donal – in his case a childless aunt and uncle who had returned to Ireland after spending decades in the United States. While still a child tragedy again visited the young Donal’s life, with the death of his beloved Unlce Jim.
As the ten-year-old ‘man of the house’ Donal had to grow up fast, helping his adoptive mother Minnie with the many chores that came with running a small holding in 1940s Ireland. It was during these formative years that he developed both a strong work ethic and a deep hatred of injustice of every type.
His republican beliefs too developed as he moved through his teenage years – influenced by the rich republican history of his native county and by his adoptive parents who had supported the republican cause from America during the revolutionary period.
At some point in his late teens Donal joined the Irish Republican Army, a fact that became known to all when he was arrested along with 37 other republican volunteers during training maneuvers in Glencree, Co Wicklow in 1957.
Among the detained republicans were many who went on to become well-known national political figures including Seamus Costello, Sean Garland, Proinsias De Rossa and Peter Pringle.
Following a period of detention in Mountjoy Prison, Donal was moved to the internment camp in the Curragh, Co Kildare. The government of Eamon De Valera had introduced internment without trial earlier in 1957 in response to the IRA’s ill-fated ‘Operation Harvest’.
Unwilling to wait patiently for De Valera to release him, Donal took part in a mass prison break in December 1958. While many other prisoners were captured during the escape or shortly afterwards, Donal escaped the immediate area and remained at large until a general amnesty for all republican prisoners was introduced.
In the early 1960s he emigrated to England where he worked in the construction sector as a carpenter, until his republican activities attracted the attention of British police. A rapidly arranged trip back across the Irish Sea took Donal to Dublin where he gained employment with Dublin Corporation and met his future wife.
Donal Ó Sé remained a committed republican throughout the rest of his life as evidenced by his trade unionism, his love of Gaelic Games, traditional music and the Irish language. In the years leading up to his death Donal offered his support to Éirigí For A New Republic – the party he felt best represented the politics he believed in.
Donal Ó Sé was a quiet, unassuming man of few words. That quietness was not borne out of shyness or lack of confidence. Quite the opposite. It was a quietness borne of a deep understanding of the modern world and an absolute belief in Irish republicanism.
Donal had no need to shout from the hilltops about his exploits or his politics. He knew exactly who he was and what he believed in. Like thousands of other republican activists of his generation he did what he did because it was the right thing to do and he did so without any expectation of fame or fortune.
His republicanism manifested itself in the support that he offered to friend and stranger alike – in his instinctive rallying against injustice – in his support for oppressed people across the globe – in his political campaigning – in the unconditional love that he gave to his family.
Éirígí For A New Republic takes this opportunity to offer our deepest condolences to Donal’s wife Geraldine, his son Eoin and to their wider family during this most difficult of times. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.
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 →
Posted in Border Campaign/Operation Harvest, British state repression (general), Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Saor Eire
Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association benefit, featuring Eimhéar Ní Ghlacaín, going out via Kevin Barry House, Good Friday Night, 8pm (Ireland time)
A paypal link will be made available for donations to the IRPWA.
Get your song requests in early for a shout out – and don’t forget, wear your Easter lilies with pride.
Please add photos in the comments of you wearing your lillies during the live gig.
(Mick wrote an article about Saor Eire which appeared on this site in 2011; this is an updated and expanded version of that article, including new material added by former Saor Eire members; the article has been proofed and edited by me – PF)
The 1960s was a time of upheaval and change in conservative Irish society; social attitudes, fashion and music, for instance, all changed dramatically. New social movements reflected the thinking of a new generation that, in particular, wanted more freedom. The huge student-worker protests of May-June 1968 in France, the Vietnamese struggle to remove the US, its allies and their Vietnamese toadies, the US civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movements, and the national liberation struggles in Latin America and Africa galvanised opposition to the existing order. In Ireland, these events inspired people, especially the new generation, into action. This was especially the case around the civil rights movement in the north of Ireland. Among the new organisations which emerged here as a result of this new ferment and revolutionary idealism was the Dublin-based Saor Éire (SE) or, to give it its full name, the Saor Eire Action Group.
Saor Éire Action Group was established in the late 1960s by former members of the Republican Movement and newer young Irish political left activists coming together. As an organisation they claimed to have their roots in the Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in Border Campaign/Operation Harvest, British state repression (general), Civil rights movement, Economy and workers' resistance, Fenians, Fianna Fail, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Ireland and British revolution, Officials, Other blogs, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Saor Eire, Social conditions, Uncategorized, Unionism, Women in republican history, Workers rights
This is an interview that Mick did recently with Kevin Keating, a veteran activist in Dublin. Kevin’s many years of activism go from the IRA to the fused People’s Democracy (merger of the original northern-based PD and the southern-based Movement for a Socialist Republic), which became Socialist Democracy in the later 1990s.
Kevin has very serious health problems these days. Happily, this was one of his better days.
See also the interview with John McAnulty of SD. John was a leading figure in People’s Democracy in Belfast over decades. Mick spoke to him last October about the experience of 50 years of struggle. See here.
Posted in 1981 hunger strike, 21st century republicanism and socialism, Anti-household and anti-water tax, British state repression (general), Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, EU, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Hunger strikes, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, Partition, Peter Graham, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, Trade unions, Workers rights
Frank Keane is one of the living people I most admire and respect. The questions for this interview were written by myself and Mick Healy, and Mick conducted the actual interview. Mick has done more than anyone to retrieve the story of Saor Eire, which disbanded in 1973, and its significance and relevance.
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, Border Campaign/Operation Harvest, British strategy, Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, Irish politics today, Officials, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Saor Eire, Workers rights
Commemoration in 1997, marking the 25th anniversary of the death of Irish revolutionary fighter Máirín Keegan. Frank Keane is the main speaker.
Posted in Civil rights movement, Commemorations, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Ireland and British revolution, Mairin Keegan, Partition, Political education and theory, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, six counties, twenty-six counties, Women, Women in republican history
The article below first appeared in the July 29, 1922 issue of The Workers Republic, the paper of the newly-established Communist Party of Ireland. The civil war had begun just a month earlier. The CPI aligned with the anti-Treaty IRA and agitated for it to adopt a social programme pointing to a workers’ republic, not just a republic.
Sean McLoughlin was actually the senior surviving commandant of the Easter Rising of 1916. On the Friday evening, as the Rising was drawing to a close, the 21-year-old had so impressed James Connolly and other leaders that he was appointed overall military commander. This was done due to the incapacitation of the badly-wounded Connolly, the original commandant-general of all the insurrectionary forces. McLoughlin then led the break-out from the GPO and into Moore Street.
McLoughlin later worked closely with Roddy Connolly in founding the original, short-lived CPI and was active in workers’ struggles during the civil war, including workplace occupations and the formation of soviets.
I have broken up some of the longer original paragraphs. Also the article referred to both the Labour Party and labour (the working class with capital ‘L’; I have put the latter in lower case to differentiate them.
On the political side, it should be noted that the true perfidy of the Irish Labour Party was not grasped yet, although they had gone along with the Treaty – something which should have given the game away. But a section of revolutionaries still saw them as being a party which Connolly had helped found and this produced illusions.
The text I used is taken from the appendices to Charlie McGuire’s Sean McLoughlin: Ireland’s Forgotten Revolutionary (London: Merlin, 2011).
by Sean McLoughlin
The Republicans have only one object, a purely sentimental one, as far as the masses are concerned – the establishing of a Republic, separated completely from Britain. This is supported by the Communists and the advanced labour elements, in so far as it is a revolutionary step, in helping to smash British imperialism, but the masses are not swayed by these questions of high politics. They are moved by economic pressures, and will not respond to sentimental appeals, no matter how impassioned they may be, And the masses are correct.
In the first place they are tired of war. In the second, they see that, no matter who wins, they will still be slaves grinding out their lives for wages and ruled with a rod of iron by bosses and landlords, and they cannot summon up enthusiasm enough to enable them to fight on behalf of wage-slavery.
The Republicans Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in British strategy, Counter-revolution/civil war period, Economy and workers' resistance, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Labour Party, Political education and theory, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Sean McLoughlin, Secret police, Social conditions, Toadyism, Trade unions, Workers rights
Marisa McGlinchey’s book should be read by all radical republicans, Marxists and anyone else genuinely interested in national liberation and socialism in Ireland.
Don’t be put off by the fact that the back cover features praise for the book from the likes of Lord Bew of the Stickies and Richard English, both of whom have carved out well-rewarded academic niches writing attacks on republicanism and producing material that can only aid British imperialism. Their reasons for praising the book are entirely different from those of anti-imperialists.
There are two key strengths to this book.
One is that it is based on on a substantial set of interviews (90 in all) the author conducted with republicans opposed to the Good Friday Agreement and the Provo leadership’s move into the service of the British state and the statelets which are the result of partition in Ireland and the Provos’ move from sort sort of vision of socialism to embracing the market and capitalist austerity.
The other strength is that she largely lets the interviewees speak for themselves, rather than trying to stitch them up. Thus, for instance, she refrains from referring to them in the book as “dissident” republicans – the book’s sub-title was chosen, presumably, by the publisher. Instead, she refers to them by the much more accurate term of “radical republicans” and treats them as rational political activists rather than some kind of pathology.
The interviewees, some of whom are now dead and some of whom have left the organisation they were in at the time they were interviewed, cover the gamut of radical republican groups, some of which are linked to armed organisations and some of which are not. Thus the interviewees include independents and members of Eirigi, RNU, Saoradh, the IRSP, RSF and the 32CSM. They range from younger activists such as Louise Minihan to veterans who go back to the 1956-62 border campaign and even earlier, such as Peig King and Billy McKee. Some of the activists support Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 21st century republicanism and socialism, 32-County Sovereignty Movement, éirígí, British state repression (general), British strategy, Censorship, Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Elections, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Imperialism (generally), Interviews, Ireland and British revolution, IRSP, Officials, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - current, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Public sector/cuts, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Repression and resistance in the six counties today, Repression in 26-county state, Republican Network for Unity
by Stewart Reddin
Robert (Bob) Andrew Doyle was born on 12th February 1916 at 15 Linenhall Street in Dublin’s northwest inner city. He was the second youngest of five siblings. Bob’s parents, Peter Doyle and Margaret Alldritt, were married in Dublin on 13th November 1904. Peter, aged 20 at the time, was employed as a seaman and lived on Upper Dorset Street with his three sisters. It appears that both his parents were deceased by 1901 as his eldest sister Anna, aged 20, is recorded in that year’s Census as head of the family.
Bob’s mother Margaret was 19 when she married and she lived in Kilmainham with her family. Alldritt is not a common surname in Ireland (in his biography, Brigadista, written in conjunction with Harry Owens, Bob’s mother’s family name is recorded as Aldridge, however the birth, marriage and census records confirm her family name was Alldritt). In the 1911 Census there were just seven Alldritt families recorded in Ireland; four were located in Dublin and three in Co Antrim. All of the Alldritt families were Protestant, with the exception of Margaret’s family who were Catholic.
Following their marriage, Peter and Margaret lived at 18 Moore Street, later moving to 33 King’s Inn Street where they shared a room with Margaret’s parents, Ignatius and Margaret Alldritt, and sister Annie. According to the 1911 Census Bob’s grandmother Margaret was 75 years of age (she was born in 1836 almost a decade before the Famine) and was 20 years older than his grandfather Ignatius. Bob’s grandparents had married in the Catholic church of St Andrews in 1874 and his grandmother was 50 years of age when she gave birth to Bob’s mother.
By 1911 Bob’s father was employed as a marine firefighter in Dublin’s docks and his mother Margaret had given birth to three children. However, two of her children had died in infancy and only one, Mary aged four, was surviving. Sadly, this was an all too familiar feature of working-class life in Dublin at the turn of the twentieth century.
High unemployment, overcrowded accommodation (one third of all families in Dublin lived in one room dwellings) and lack of public sanitation resulted in Dublin having the highest infant mortality rate (142 per thousand births) of any city in Ireland or Britain. Following the redevelopment of the area around North King Street and Church Street in 1915 Peter and Margaret moved to a newly built home at 15 Linenhall Street.
The wretched slums of Dublin
Linenhall Street is enclosed within a triangle of main thoroughfares — Church Street to the west, North King Street to the south and Henrietta Street to the north. In the 1700s the area was at the centre of Dublin’s burgeoning linen industry. It was the site of the city’s magnificent Linen Hall with its splendid façade, distinguished by a domed gated entrance which faced onto Linenhall Street.
However, by the late 1700s the linen industry in Dublin had Read the rest of this entry →
Posted in 1930s and 1940s, British state repression (general), Counter-revolution/civil war period, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Free State in 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, General revolutionary history, Historiography and historical texts, Housing, Imperialism (generally), Internationalism, Irish Citizen Army, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Public events - Ireland, Repression in 26-county state, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures, Social conditions, The road to the Easter Rising, War for Independence period, Workers rights