Category Archives: Secret police

Peter Graham – revolutionary militant

Peter holding Young Socialists banner, Dublin 1968

Peter holding Young Socialists banner, Dublin 1968

by Mick Healy

“In 1966 we in Ireland celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rebellion (1916). The writings of James Connolly, which prior to then had been read little, and then only by the older hands’, began to be read more widely. The younger generation found through his writings that he was not quite as the Christian Brothers in school taught – “only the 7th leader’ of 19l6.” They found in his writings Connolly the revolutionary, the worker, the union organiser and Marxist”.
– Peter Graham, Workers Fight, June 1968.

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Funeral of Peter Graham, Dublin, 1971; Tariq Ali at centre

Comrades who have read about the Irish Revolution know something about the contributions made by Nora Connolly O’Brien, Michael Davitt, Liam Mellows and Frank Ryan, but many do not understand the important contributions made by significant but lesser-known figures such as revolutionary Marxist Peter Graham.  Peter came from 46 Reginald Street in the Liberties of Dublin and attended Bolton St College of Technology. Working as an electrician in CIE he was a shop-steward for the Electrical Trade Union.  He joined the Labour Party, but discontented with their lack of radicalism shifted over to the Communist Party.  Disillusioned with their reformism, he left and became involved with Irish Workers Group and then the League for a Workers’ Republic, an organisation openly declaring itself revolutionary and Marxist, identifying with the Trotskyist current of Marxism.

With single-minded dedication he was the Read the rest of this entry

Remembering IRA C/S Charlie Kerins, hanged in Dublin, Dec 1, 1944

I got this from Jim Lane’s facebook page; I assume Jim wrote it:

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Charlie Kerins was born in Tralee County Kerry in 1918. At the age of 17 he joined his local unit of the IRA and took part in action against the Blueshirts in the area. In 1942, Charlie travelled to Dublin to join the GHQ staff, then under extreme pressure from the Free State Government of Fianna Fáil. Hundreds of IRA members had been arrested and interned without trial or sentence.

A year later, when Hugh McAteer was arrested, Charlie became Chief of Staff. He moved about the city under the name of Charles Hanley, constantly on the run and with a price on his head.
These were dark days for the IRA; its ranks had been depleted by constant arrests at the hands of former comrades who had taken the Free State shilling and were now members of the Broy Harriers. One of these men was Sergeant Dinny O’Brien.

Dinny O’Brien had fought with his two brothers, Larry and Paddy, in the Marrowbone Lane garrison in 1916; afterwards they had fought together in the Tan War and in 1922 Paddy was shot dead by the pro-Treaty forces in Enniscorthy.

Dinny O’Brien stayed in the IRA until 1933, when, along with a number of other IRA men, he was inveigled into the Broy Harriers on De Valera’s plea that “we need you to fight the Blueshirt menace”. Within a few years, he was fighting and hunting his own, as rapacious as the most dyed in the wool Stater. In his time, he cut down quite a few republicans, Liam Rice and Charlie McGlade among them, shot while resisting arrest. O’Brien built up his own secret network in pubs, hotels, at stations and among the news vendors on the streets. By 1942, he had turned into a vicious and determined hunter and the IRA gave the order that he was to be Read the rest of this entry

Abolish the Special Criminal Court

Sign the petition to abolish the Special Criminal Court:

https://my.uplift.ie/petitions/abolish-the-special-criminal-court

The Special Criminal Court was set up by Fianna Fail in 1972 as part of their attempt to suppress the national liberation struggle that had re-erupted in the late 1960s.  The ‘Soldiers of Destiny’ were worried that there was mass support in the south for the struggle in the north, especially following the burning down of the British embassy in Dublin in early 1972 after the British Army massacre of peaceful protests in Derry on Bloody Sunday.

The southern state sought to regain the initiative and repression of republicans through things like juryless courts, secret evidence and so on was the order of the day.

One of the most notorious of the Special Criminal cases was the Sallins train robbery case in 1976.  A mail train was held up and robbed and the state, worried about the rise of the Irish Republican Socialist Party, arrested five members – Osgur Breatnach, Michael Plunkett, John Fitzpatrick, Nicky Kelly and Brian McNally.  ‘Confessions’ were beaten out of four of them.  Evidence of the beatings was simply dismissed by the judges and the men were convicted on the basis of confessions alone, although two jumped bail and fled the country.  It took four years before several convictions were overturned, but the last one took until 1984.

Know Your Rights public meeting, Belfast, Dec 5

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1916, 2016: them and us

This first went up on the site back on April 28 this year; I’m putting it back up on the home page because it remains relevant.  I’ll be highlighting it continuously as long as I need to!

indexOne of the products of the end of the Provisionals’ armed struggle in the six counties and their signing up to, and enthusiastic participation in, an internal settlement there is that the kind of historical revisionism that was officially-backed from about the mid-1970s until the end of the 1990s has become outmoded.  The kind of nonsense delivered up by the likes of a would-be Sebastian Flyte such as Roy Foster is now surplus to requirements.

Instead, there is a new war over ‘1916 and all that’.  The southern establishment is much more relaxed about recognising and celebrating the importance of 1916 than they have been at any time since the explosion in the six counties at the end of the 1960s and start of the 1970s.  On the other hand, the establishment is vitally keen on tying the 1916 rebellion and subsequent war for independence into its own history.  They want to present the events of 1916-21 as finding their natural and logical conclusion in the establishment and development of the 26-county state.

Moreover, they want to show that this state and its population, or certainly its ruling elite, have ‘matured’ to the level of putting the old ‘enmity’ with England behind them.  ‘We’ can now recognise the ‘sacrifices’ made by Orangemen in the First World War and also commemorate men from nationalist Ireland who joined the British imperialist army and died on the slaughter fields of that war.  It’s all just part of Ireland’s rich and diverse Read the rest of this entry

Interview with republican veteran George Harrison

g-harrisonTwo months before George Harrison died, he gave a lengthy interview to the Rustbelt Radical blog.  Rustbelt has a lot of really good stuff on it, and I thoroughly recommend the site.  The person behind it is an American Mid-West marxist.  Please do go and listen to the interview – here’s how Rustbelt Radical describes George Harrison:

George was an immensely humble and decent man, belying all the media images of an IRA gun runner. Immediately at ease as we had cake and coffee served to us, the 89 year-old gave us recollections of a long life well lived in a room full of manifestations of those memories. Pictures of hunger strikers, of Bernadette McAliskey and her children hung on the wall, posters and papers from the movement were on the tables. His nurse and friend Prissy was there, along with her daughter, and it is Prissy’s voice you will hear at the very end of the interviews describing the beautiful relationship the two of them had and his impact on her.

In this lengthy interview George talks about Read the rest of this entry

Special Branch thugs assault éirígí election workers in Ballyfermot

éirígí press statement:

On Thursday evening (February 6) two éirígí election workers were assaulted by a member of the Garda Special Detective Unit – more commonly known as the ‘Special Branch’.  The assaults mark a significant escalation in the ongoing campaign of harassment of éirígí activists by the Dublin government’s political police.

The incident occurred at 20.50 on Claddagh Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin as three éirígí activists finished up delivering local election material to homes in the area.  As the trio, Scott Masterson, Daithí O’Riain and Dónall Ó Ceallaigh were walking along Claddagh Road a Red Ford Mondeo, registration number 04 D 1915, approached the footpath at speed before coming to a dramatic halt.

As the vehicle came to a halt the passenger shouted at the three activists through his open window.  As the passenger did not identify himself the three activists sensibly continued to walk onwards.The passenger then attempted to exit the Mondeo, again shouting as he did so. It was at this point that the individual first identified himself as a Garda. In his haste to exit the vehicle the as yet unidentified individual tripped and stumbled. 

Having recovered his footing the individual then proceeded to firmly grab Scott Masterson by his two biceps and forcibly attempted to push him backwards, an effort which Masterson peacefully resisted.

During this unprovoked assault the individual was continuously shouting and demanding Masterson’s name in a very aggressive manner.  When asked by Masterson to produce identification to confirm that he was a Garda, as all plain-clothes Gardai are required to do, the individual said that he would not.  Masterson then informed the individual that he would not reveal his name until Read the rest of this entry