By Peadar O’Donnell ; first published in January 1963.
When James Connolly preached Irish Independence he drew on himself the notice of men as dedicated as he to that cause and startled them with the intensity and urgency of his views. Basing himself on the Irish Citizen Army , fashioned within a trade union in the great lock-out of 1913, he made no secret of his plans for an armed uprising , and he and Padraig Pearse found common ground easily , within the situation created by the outbreak of war in 1914.
To Pearse , and those around him , England’s difficulty was Ireland’s opportunity and so , too , with James Connolly - but Connolly looked farther afield. The failure of the Socialists in Britain , France , Germany etc to make a stand against imperialist war was to him a great crime. He saw in an armed uprising in Ireland , in that setting , not merely a chapter in Ireland’s fight for freedom , but a page in the story of world revolution - a signal to the workers within the warring nations that the hour for civil war had struck.
There were those who argued that in sharing leadership in the Rising , Connolly turned aside from socialism into nationalism but people who urged that view understood neither the national question nor socialism - but such a view was inevitable: British Socialists had to rationalise their failure to make a serious effort to save him from execution , and there were those in Ireland , too, who needed to excuse themselves for denying him…….
THE PETER BERRY PAPERS……. The Top Secret Memoirs of Ireland’s Most Powerful Civil Servant : Dirty Tricks, Election ‘69/ Spying on a Unionist Politician/ Keeping the (State) Taoiseach informed/ The Garda Fallon Murder/ Advice to Jack Lynch- ‘Fire the pair of them…’/ Vivion De Valera’s advice to O’Malley/ Rumours of a Coup D’Etat/ The Internment Plot, November 1970/ Secret Meeting with William Craig.
From ‘MAGILL’ magazine , June 1980.
MAY 21ST 1970 :
” At this time there was a general bank strike and accounts were frozen. Events were shaping in the direction of criminal charges being preferred , and the police feared that if the strike ended suddenly , bank documents would be cleared , and they were anxious to examine the accounts in the Baggot Street Branch of Allied Irish Bank to scrutinise the movements of moneys from the account ‘Belfast Fund for the Relief of Distress’.
As I was returning from lunch in Leinster House to my office in 42/46 St. Stephen’s Green South , I walked along the East Side of the Green to the traffic controls at the corner of Leeson Street where I stopped as the lights were red : a man , whose face was vaguely familiar but whose name I did not know , stopped beside me and spoke to me. I thought that he was a civil servant from the Office of Public Works or from Government Buildings. He expressed sympathy for the rough treatment that I had been given in the Dail debates earlier in the month in which Deputy Kevin Boland had named me.
As the lights changed and we were separating , he said - “If you want to know when the money for arms is coming , look under the names of ‘White’ and ‘Agnes Kelly’ in the AIB bank in Baggot Street.” Then he muttered that it galled him that people paying sixty guineas for suits of clothes were mixed up in this……”
PAT Ó SNODAIGH AND AENGUS DOHERTY !
Pat Ó Snodaigh and Aengus Doherty (!) are two career politicians that have more in common than the desire to hang-on to their lucrative ‘jobs’ in an ex-Republican party which is presently occupying seats in two anti-Republican institutions in Ireland , Stormont and Leinster House - both also share a liking for the black (and otherwise coloured!) stuff , and we’re not talking about Guinness (or lager!) .
In April 2006 -the same month in which Aengus acquired , free-of-charge to himself , more than €2700 worth of taxpayer-supplied ink cartridges (despite Leinster House being closed for 2 weeks Easter Holidays that same month)- the then four-years-in-the-’job’ Deputy Ó Snodaigh apparently took offence that those in charge of the Leinster House stationery stores were then recording all withdrawals of material and , on April 27th , he sent them an ‘official’ PSF-headed letter , featuring his own photograph, querying why they now recorded such information : in mid May he received a reply to his query telling him that in March that year (2006) it was decided by those in charge of printer ink and associated material that, as it is taxpayers money that is being (ab-)used to purchase those supplies , a record should be kept as per “…..acceptable standards of internal control (procedure)…”
Up until March 2006 (ie in 2002 , 2003 , 2004 , 2005 and in January and February 2006) no such records were kept , so perhaps some of those who, up until March 2006, had helped themselves, unrecorded, to as much printer ink etc as they (and others!) wanted , took offence at then being asked to sign for it?
Finally - when this issue first drew ink to paper (!) in February of this year , Aengus attempted to defend his position by claiming that “…..nobody ever contacted me from Leinster House , the staff or anybody else….nobody ever raised with me , in Leinster House, the cost of it or that it was excessive or anything else..” And we suppose he has a point : when you ‘earn’ €1930 a week like he does (not counting ‘expenses’ and nixer/freebies!) you don’t have to concern yourself with the price of things. Especially when it’s the State taxpayer that’s footing the bill…..
CABHAIR RAFFLE HELD ON EASTER SUNDAY , 8TH APRIL 2012 , IN A VENUE ON THE DUBLIN-KILDARE BORDER : AND NOT IN TIPPERARY…….
On Easter Sunday last , whilst some of our colleagues were holding an Easter Commemoration in Deansgrange , Dublin , and others were ‘dry running’ the ‘props’ required for Easter Monday (ie assembling the stage , lectern , music and amplification systems in a workshop in Dundrum , Dublin, for fault-finding purposes) , myself and five others were safely (and warmly !) secured in a hotel on the Dublin-Kildare border , preparing to hold a 650-ticket raffle for the CABHAIR organisation.
I’m told that a soccer match and two rugby games were being played elsewhere that day (….or was it two soccer matches and one rugby game ? Or was the horse-racing still on…?) but , whatever and/or whichever combination it was , the hotel lounge was practically standing room only - which was great for bar business and great , also, for our wee ‘enterprise’ as well , to the extent that a good few ‘punters’ were offering us more than twice face value per raffle ticket - even if we did have some left for sale , which we didn’t (130 sold in forty minutes!) we wouldn’t have sold them for more than the two Euro price per ticket. Now for the “Tipperary” connection : James , Marie , and their young lad , Derek , from Clonmel in Tipperary , were in the hotel for a family gathering and took a gamble with us - and it was a ‘good bet’ , as Marie won the first prize , €200, on ticket number 258 , her hubby James won second prize , €100 (tkt 257) and the young lad , Derek , won third prize , €40 (247). And we had a mini-party afterwards to prove it…..!
Aishling , from Ballyfermot , who bought her ticket from Pat M , won fourth prize of €20 (311) , Eddie D. won fifth prize , €20 , on ticket number 182 , which he bought from Jimmy , prize number six , €20, went to M M ,on ticket 558 , ‘Nomlas’ bought ticket number 462 from Paddy Mac and won seventh prize of €20 and the last prize was won by ‘Loin’ , €20 , ticket 634 , sold by B+A.
We enjoyed ourselves no-end in the hotel , in fantastic , lively and loud company , we ’spread’ a good few bob around the place and , most importantly , raised a tidy sum of money for the CABHAIR organisation , which sends every cent - no ‘expenses’ taken - directly to the families and/or dependants of the Irish Republican Prisoners which it looks after. All-in-all , a great way to spend three hours , even if I’m none the wiser as to who won the soccer match. Or the rugby game. Or if my horse is still running……!
Thanks for reading,