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AS the remains of the Forgotten Ten Republican prisoners executed by the British regime in 1920-21 are being exhumed from the yard of Mountjoy jail for a 26-County State funeral on October 14 next, SAOIRSE recalls tributes to two of the Republican Volunteers, Kevin Barry, an 18-year-old with three years service in the IRA and Thomas Traynor, a married man in his forties with a large family, Both Republican soldiers were captured after ambushes on the British Crown Forces in Dublin’s city centre during the height of the Tan War.
Republican Sinn Féin will not be taking part in the 26-County State funeral. If the remains of the ten executed Republicans rest overnight in a church Republicans could pay their respects there and a wreath would le laid by the leadership.
The same policy was adopted by Republicans at the time of the 26-County State’s reinterment of executed 1916 leader Roger Casement in 1965.
As the articles published here illustrate, the ten executed men died for an All-Ireland Republic and their memory cannot be hijacked by Leinster House politicians who are attempting to con the Irish people into believing that British occupation of the Six Counties is ‘normal’ and that the national question has been resolved by means of the unworkable Stormont Agreement of 1998.
The other eight Republican soldiers hanged between November 1920 and June 1921 and buried in Mountjoy prison yard were Frank Flood (19), Bernard Ryan (20), Thomas Whelan (22), Patrick Moran (26), Thomas Bryan (22) and Patrick Doyle (29) all executed on March 14, 1921, and Patrick Maher (22) and Edmund Foley (23) who were executed on June 7, 1921.
Few deaths in Ireland’s chequered history caused such a hue and cry as did Kevin Barry’s and none kept the flood of anti-British sentiment flowing so long.
His name taunted and embarrassed the British almost from the moment they pulled him out from beneath their ambushed truck in Dublin’s Upper Church Street on September 20, 1920. Hanging him a few weeks later, they gave him the martyr cloak and lapped for themselves a fountain of hate which spread far beyond Irish shores. Songs have been written about Barry all around the world, the most famous in Glasgow – Paul Robeson recorded it.
It has been said that Barry’s case drove Lloyd George to tears: had the Archbishop of Dublin flitting from one mansion to another seeking a reprieve; forced British soldiers and some of Barry’s jailers to resign and won non-committed thousands to sympathy with the Republicans cause, England earned only an interest of ill-will.
The facts of course are that Barry was no mere “lad of eighteen summers”, no dreamer from a university lecture hall. For all his 18 ½ years he was a toughened soldier in the Republican forces: had taken part in a number of engagements and was a key attacker in the Upper Church street raid which left the British with three dead against no loss for the Republicans. Barry had taken part in the first engagement involving the loss of British troops since 1916 and he, as it happened, was the first Republican soldier taken in action since Easter Week.
For three years he had been a Republican soldier, as befitted someone from a staunch Republican home, proud of its former Fenian members. But even before that, as a Belvedere student, Barry was charting his course. He wrote and thought of Connolly and Larkin and the rights of Labour. When he was captured, the British had no sentiment crazed youth on their hands. He was silent before his questioners, sneered at his torturers, ignored his court-martial and was defiant to the last. He was typical of the young Republican rank and filers in that autumn of 1920, the revamped militants who rose from the ashes of Easter Week. Seán Cronin, in his study ponders on these points and there is nothing he writes which does not support them.
Kevin Barry is written by a Republican and deals with Republicans and their tactics at the time of Barry’s capture. In such circumstances it could be forgiven for partisanship and sentiment. The partisanship is there, yet not to the point of spoiling, and the sentiment is given short shrift – though readers may pick all they wish to choose from references and extracts at the end of the book.
The account gives fair note of well-meaning people here and in Britain who tried to save Barry’s life on humanitarian grounds, but it never fails to stress the Republican attitude: Barry was a soldier, he would be rescued by his comrades if possible – and indeed they laid many plans – but they would never resort to pleading. Mr Cronin too, sketches the temper of the nation in the autumn of 1920: Balbriggan sacked, police barracks blazing through the country, Black and Tans mowed down, reprisals commonplace.
An interesting feature is some extracts from the essays which Barry wrote in Belvedere. At the time these did not gain the scholarship winner high marks and earned the verdict “piffle”, but they showed Barry as a forward social thinker with a militant character. Mr Cronin, who last year wrote a study of Jimmy Hope has written – as Tom Barry in a foreword says – “without heroics or trimmings. Yet while he keeps Republican Barry firmly placed in the Republican ranks, one cannot help but wonder which Barry did the most in the struggle for freedom: the volunteer under the truck in Upper Church street or that ‘lad of eighteen summers’ made immortal by Eddie Calvert and his silver trumpet.
Kevin Barry is being republished, with the author’s consent, by Irish Freedom Press in September 2001. More details in SAOIRSE October edition or from Republican Sinn Féin Ard Oifig. Tel. 01-8729747.
We publish here a review of the book by Michael Foy in The Irish Times, March 13, 1965 when it first appeared.
THOMAS Traynor, a veteran of Easter Week 1916, was captured following the Pearse Street, Dublin ambush on March 14, 1921. He was hanged in Mountjoy Jail on April 25 that year. The leading article of Misneach, the official paper of Conradh na Gaeilge, of April 30, 1921 was devoted to him.)
“Maidean Dé Luain seo d’imigh tharainn do crochadh Tomás Mac Tréinfhir, príosúnach cogaidh le Sasana, i bpríosún Bhaile Átha Cliath. Sin é an cúigiú príosúnach déag atá curtha chun bás ag Sasana ó thosaigh an cogadh seo.
“Tógadh Tomás Mac Tréinfhír ’na phríosúnach ar an 14ú Márta le linn catha ar shráid Bhaile Átha Cliath. Bhí arm teine aige. Do cuireadh ‘na leith go raibh sé ciontach i mbás póilín a marbhadh sa chath agus do trialadh. Cé ná feachtas ag caitheamh oiread is urchar é do fuarthas ciontach agus do daoradh chun a chrochta é. Fear cnag-aosta ab eadh é , dathad éigin bliain d’aois, agus fágan sé baintreach agus mórán clainne ‘na dhiaidh.
“Is truaimhéileach an sgéal é fear dá shaghas á chrocha gan aon fhínnéacht dhírceach ’na chloinne, ach ní har thruaimhéilí an sgéil is ceart dúinn cuimhneamh. Ní fiú biorán a aois, ná a mhuirear, ná cóir nú éagóir a thrialach.
“Dá mba ógánach nea-spleách é gan bhean gan chlann agus go bhfaghadh sé triail chó cóir agus a fuair éinne riamh, dá mbeadh fínnéacht chó díreach agus chó deimhnitheach ’na choinne agus bhí i gcoinne aon phríosúnaigh riamh, ní dhéanfadh san éinní dá bhás ach dún mharbha.Do dún-mharbhadh Tomás Mac Tréinfhir, fé mar do dún-mharbhadh na cheithre príosúnaigh déag éile atá curtha chun báis ag Sasana ó thosach an chogaidh.
“Cá bhfuair Sasana ceart chun a príosúnaigh chogaidh a thriail agus a chur chun báis mar gheall ar ghníomh cogaidh a dhéanamh? Admhuighean Sasana coga bheith ar siúl anso in Éirinn, ach san am chéanna aon Éireannach a tógtar ’na phriosúnach le linn catha ní saighdiúir é ach cuirptheach nú muirdréir.
“Má’s coga é is saighdiúir gach éinne atá páirteach ann, agus an saighdiúir a cuirtear chun báis i dtaobh gníomh cogaidh a dhéanamh is dún-mharbha, nú búistéireacht, a bhás.
“Ní chaoinimíd bás ár saighdiúirí, mar is eol dúinn gurb ar son an tSaorstáit a thugan siad a n-anam, ach ní ghéillfimid go deo do cheart Shasana chun a príosúnaigh chogaidh a mharbha i leith is gur cuirpthigh iad.
“Tá ráflaí síochána ar siúl arís an tseachtain seo. Creidfimid iad nuair a stadfaidh Sasana de bheith ag tabhairt fén Saorstát agus ag dún-mharbha a shaighdiúirí.”
(Summary: Traynor was a middle-aged man with a large family and he was found in possession of a gun in the vicinity of the ambush. There was no direct evidence linking him with the action.
However it was not on these ground that Misneach opposed his execution. It denied the right of the English government to put him on trial and execute him. He was captured and a prisoner of war. He was not a criminal but a soldier of the Republic.)
“Saorstát” was the term used for the Republic in 1919-21. Poblacht was the term in the 1916 Proclamation and ever since 1921.
THE prediction on August 20 by the EIU (Economist Intelligence Unit) that the second Nice Referendum will be held in conjunction with a general election would, if true, expose Bertie Aherns big lie, Republican Sinn Féin has said.
Ard Chomhairle member Seán McGoldrick said that claims that a second referendum was needed in order to have a ‘proper’ debate will be forgotten as the Dublin government uses every trick at its disposal to get people to change their vote. The EIU yesterday gave a “60pc probability” to the Second Nice Referendum and a General Election being held simultaneously Seán McGoldrick said it “wouldn’t be surprising” if the Leinster House parties tried to force people to vote along party lines on Nice to push it through on the second attempt.
“It would only go to show, once again, the low opinion they have of the Irish people. Having heard the peoples verdict on Nice they misrepresented it and betrayed it to their colleagues in Brussels. It would not be surprising that they would seek to manipulate people into voting yes the next time, using whatever means necessary, short of an actual debate.”
EMGANN, the Breton Independence Movement of the Left, has demanded the immediate liberation of all political prisoners in the French State, including seven Breton activists. The statement was sent to SAOIRSE on August 8 last:
“Emgann notes the declaration by Messrs Benhamias and Lipietz, both members of the Greens, in favour of the political prisoners belonging to different ‘minorities’ of the French state. We, on our part, are particularly conscious of the lot of the seven Bretons who are at present in prison and who have been mentioned by Mr Benhamias.
“The existence of political prisoners proves, if that were necessary, that the Breton question is eminently a political problem, and that it should therefore be treated as such, without being an object of overstatement or orchestration by French political leaders. We support, furthermore, the demands of Corsican and Basque political movements and humanitarian associations, who are campaigning for their own prisoners.
“Freedom for the political prisoners, now!”
ON September 15, 1981 Cuban President Fidel Castro gave the opening speech to the 68th conference of the Interparliamentary Union which was held in Havana. The following are Castro’s remarks on the hunger strike by Irish Republican political prisoners in Northern Ireland. Rather than listen to the truth, the British delegation at the conference walked out, joining representatives of the US, Chinese and Salvadoran governments.
In speaking of international politics, we cannot ignore what is happening in Northern Ireland. I feel it is my duty to refer to this problem. In my opinion, Irish patriots are writing one of the most heroic chapters in human history.
They have earned the respect and admiration of the world, and likewise they deserve its support. Ten of them have already died in the most moving gesture of sacrifice, selflessness and courage one could ever imagine.
Humanity should feel ashamed that this terrible crime is being committed before its very eyes. These young fighters do not ask for independence or make impossible demands to put an end to their strike.
They ask only for something as simple as the recognition of what they actually are: political prisoners. The men for whom we ask solidarity in this conference are neither Marxist-Leninists nor Communists, they are militant Catholics.
How can such a cold and demonic Holocaust be tolerated in the very heart of the West?
We can never get used to crime, be it in Ireland, El Salvador, Angola, Namibia, South Africa, Lebanon or elsewhere.
The stubbornness, intransigence, cruelty and insensitivity of the British Government before the international community concerning the problem of the Irish patriots and their hunger strike until death remind us of Torquemada and the atrocities committed by the Inquisition during the apogee of the Middle Ages.
According to legend, in its early days, Rome was once besieged. Two young Roman soldiers had been taken prisoner. When, in an attempt at breaking them, the besiegers threatened to burn them alive, they spontaneously put their hands in the flames to show their contempt. It is said that their gestures impressed the enemy so much that the siege of Rome was lifted.
Most tyrants tremble before men who are capable of dying for their ideals, after 60 days on hunger strike! What were Christ’s three days on Calvary, an age-old symbol of human sacrifice, compared to their example?
It is high time for the world community to put an end to this repulsive atrocity through denunciation and pressure.
IN AN official statement from the Peerless Rugs Workers’ in occupation on August 21, 2001 at the factory in Athy, Co Kildare the strikers gave the reasons for their actions.
“There are a number of reasons for the current situation in Peerless Rugs [Athy, Co Kildare]. They range from anger at the management for their diabolical attitude and treatment of their workers’, to disillusionment with the trade union official’s apparent inability to secure a reasonable redundancy package, to disappointment at the lack of positive action by the main political parties, particularly the government.
“Firstly, the workers’ are angry, but quite frankly not surprised, at the way their lively-hoods and self-esteem have been taken away by a company who made no investment in the factory and made no reasonable attempt to improve a well established and long standing niche in a highly competitive industry. Workers who have spent between fourteen and twenty-seven years in a business have a wealth of experience and a lot of knowledge to offer any company serious about making a business a success. Instead we were told we were no longer viable and of no use to the company. After that length of time to be told that and that the company owes us nothing is both insulting and soul destroying.
“Secondly, we feel disillusioned and to some degree betrayed by the trade union movement. Despite the fact that the Labour Court recommended we should receive three week’s plus “The Act”, SIPTU now say there is nothing more they can do for us. Remembering that this recommendation came from the highest industrial relations body in the country it now transpires that nobody is legally bound to pay it. So much for the ‘proper channels’ and sticking to industrial procedure. We are members of the largest trade union in the county, outnumbering such organisations as the IFA at a ratio of six to one. Yet they tell us there is nothing more that we can do. That may be the way they think but we feel there is always more can be achieved.
“Which brings us to the third element of our predicament. Despite various meetings, outcry, lip service and expressions of sympathy for our situation from the main political parties, nothing has changed. We are very grateful to our local councillors for the genuine help they have given us and their tireless lobbying in various circles on our behalf. We also appreciate there is only so much they can do.
At the end of the day it is only the TD’s and members of government who can rectify this travesty. They are the ones who must stop the likes of Martin Buckley and the Reffond Group treating workers with contempt. How can these people be allowed to walk away from their responsibilities to 65 workers, their families and their town, and claim they owe us nothing.
“Not only that but to allow them to carry on trading elsewhere under different guises as if nothing had ever happened is fundamentally and morally wrong. The receivers, KPMG, are not legally bound to deal with any Labour Court recommendations, only to ensure our statutory entitlements. It now transpires that the Revenue Commissioners are the preferential creditors. In this case the government have the power to waive the outstanding tax owed to them to provide us with at least what was awarded to us by the Labour Court.
“In conclusion, we would appeal to everyone to support us in our march next Friday. It is a time for solidarity amongst the workers of the area as our basic fundamental rights are at stake here. This type of exploitation will continue unless we stand together and show these type of companies and indeed the government that we have had enough and it is time for change in statutory entitlements and conduct such as that of the Reffond Group will not be tolerated.
“The workers of Peerless Rugs are a united and determined group of people who are prepared to do whatever it takes to see that justice is done. It is not a case of holding on for as long as we can; but for as long as it takes. We are not going away.”
KILDARE Republican Sinn Féin spokesperson Des Dalton called on August 22 for all workers in Athy to support the Peerless Rugs workers’ march in Athy on Friday, August 24.
The workers have been in occupation of the factory since July 24 when they were informed by the owners that the factory was closing with no offer of a redundancy settlement. As a result the workers locked both the owner and receiver into the factory until 1.00am the following morning when they were released on the promise of a meaningful settlement.
“Seven weeks later and despite being awarded a redundancy settlement of three-and-a-half weeks per year of service by the Labour Court the Peerless Rugs workers and their families have not received a penny. Not only that but workers’ savings in the company have disappeared. One worker alone is at a loss of £1,100. This can only be described as theft. What is clear is that whilst workers and their Trade Unions are bound by agreements such as ‘Partnership 2000’ employers are free to ride rough shod over worker’s rights flouting agreements left right and centre,” Des Dalton said.
ON Saturday, August 4 Bobby and Geraldine McNamara were visited at their home in Tipperary by members of the Special Branch from Tipperary town.
They had come to inform Bobby that following a raid on loyalist premises in the Six Counties by the RUC, a list of names, presumably a hit-list, was found and Bobby’s name and address was on the list of approximately 60 names.
Vice-President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Long, who visited the family after being informed of the situation said: “The McNamara family were understandably quite shocked and are taking the matter very seriously. All our members should be very vigilant, especially since we are not prepared to accept any agreement which does not have British withdrawal first and foremost on the agenda.”
Bobby McNamara, who was a prisoner in Portlaoise in the 1970s and who was on hunger strike for 47 days, said his main concern was for the safety of his two children.
“I have been a Republican all my life and I cannot sell out at this stage even if many of my former comrades did. I did not give six years of my life in jail and endure harassment and intimidation for a Stormont assembly and surrender. My family fully supports Republican Sinn Féin and will continue to do so.
Bobby also expressed grave concern for the Continuity IRA prisoners in Portlaoise jail who went on hunger strike to regain the same rights that he and many others fought for.
“This situation should never have been allowed to develop and I call on the governor of Portlaoise to restore to the prisoners their rights as agreed when they ended their hunger strike and to take measures to ensure that such intimidation cannot happen again.”
Members of Republican Sinn Féin in Roscommon, Monaghan and Dublin have also been visited by the Special Branch and told their names were on a loyalist death list.
REPUBLICANS, friends and well-wishers throughout Clare and Limerick were delighted to hear of the 100th birthday in July of Catherine Dickinson from Limerick.
Catherine, the oldest resident of Carrigoran Nursing Home, Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co Clare, was up to her retirement to the nursing home seven years ago a resident of Crecora Avenue, Ballinacurra Weston, Limerick city.
She has over 80 offspring including great-great-grandchildren. She is a veteran of the War of Independence, the Tan War and the Civil War. She carried dispatches for the Republican Movement and was a Republican of the most steadfast and staunch variety in the most dangerous of times as anyone who knows her will tell you.
Originally of Palliskenry farming stock, and upon moving to Limerick city in 1920 married Christy Dickinson, also a veteran of the struggle for Irish freedom. Sadly, Christy died in 1962.
“The only thing she speaks of now is the IRA to whom she was devoted,” said her grandson Noel Dickinson. Catherine had five children, Larry, Quilty, Co Clare, Christy, Tony, Maura, all of Limerick city and the late Nora Gough, Limerick.
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