Talking of technology, given the level of aggression and subliminal violence that now passes for social discourse in contemporary Ireland perhaps I could do with one of these cameras? The country of a “Hundred Thousand Welcomes” is well and truly dead. Instead we have a country where verbal abuse is so casual on the streets as to be the norm and violent confrontations can be witnessed on the thoroughfares of our major cities on a regular basis.
From the Irish Times:
“Campaigners have called on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to take urgent steps to save the buildings that housed the last headquarters of the Provisional Government established in the 1916 Rising.
Relatives of the signatories of the Proclamation of the Republic expressed their shock and anger today at the condition of the buildings on Dublin’s Moore Street following a visit to the site.
James Connolly-Heron, great grandson of Citizen Army leader James Connolly, Helen Litton, great niece of the Irish Republican Brotherhood’s Tom Clarke and Lucille Redmond, grand-daughter of The Irish Volunteer’s Thomas McDonough visited each of the buildings at 14-16 Moore Street this morning. It was the first time the campaigners were given permission to enter the buildings which have been closed to the public since 2008.
The buildings, which date back to 1763, were designated national monuments in 2007 but now face an uncertain future after development company Chartered Land, was granted permission for an 800,000sq ft development on the nearby 2.7-hectare site of the old Carlton Cinema on O’Connell Street in 2010.
A special advisory committee of Dublin City Council recommended recently that Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan withhold the ministerial consent required for development of the site.
Speaking after this morning’s extensive tour James Connolly-Heron expressed his outrage at the “shameful” and “shocking” condition of the buildings.
“I am staggered, I am shocked, I am appalled,” he said.
“These buildings have been abandoned. A cursory glance from the outside would tell you that. But if you walk through them they are in a shocking condition. It’s actually shameful at this stage how they have been allowed to deteriorate.”
Number 16, which he described as “the most important house in the terrace,” is in the “worst condition imaginable”.
Calling on Taoiseach Enda Kenny to intervene, Mr Connolly-Heron said securing the future of the historic buildings is now “a political decision”.
“We’ve been now waiting for two years for a meeting with the taoiseach about this and that meeting is now imperative.”
“It’s imperative that we meet the taoiseach. It’s imperative that Minister Deenihan takes action. And that action needs to be immediate action. There can no longer be any delay in this – it’s too important.”
Proinsias Ó Rathaille, grandson of Michael Joseph O’Rahilly (The O’Rahilly) who died on a street adjacent Moore St after leading a sortie from the GPO in an attempt to break free said he was “horrified” at the condition of the buildings.”
Given the neo-colonial impulses of the Irish political establishment I fully expect ordinary Irish citizens to go on being “horrified” at the deliberate destruction of our non-British heritage. In fact those impulses are perfectly summed up by one of the Comments left beneath the article:
”Noel Walsh: The G.P.O. is memorial enough for any number of republican insurrections.
[a better memorial would be] … a pluralistic democracy with freedom and equality for all in accordance with the basis our Christian traditions and in peace with our siblings on these British Isles. Our culture would blend with our Anglo Irish heritage in the languages and traditions of Ireland augmented by the status of our Irish nationhood.
What did we get? Rome Rule, Irish Aristocracy (self appointed ones lacking the good manners of their colonial forebears), and random self appointed elites…”
As opposed to the old Anglo-Irish colonial elites chosen by bloodline and the barrel of a gun? Sometimes one wonders if this is 21st century Ireland or 19th century? Honestly, the twisted world-view of the British Apologists on this island-nation never cease to amaze. For more information on the campaign to save the 1916 Battlefield Quarter you can listen to some audio interviews by Newstalk radio.
Just a quick post to note the passing of Dolours Price, veteran Republican activist and a former Volunteer of the Irish Republican Army, who died at her home in Mullach Íde on Wednesday. While much of the British news media and their parasitical sycophants in the Irish press have taken a certain delight in her passing those who knew Dolours and the personal price she paid for her commitment to the cause of Irish freedom will not forget her. Journalist Ed Moloney and author Anthony McIntyre have written a short tribute and addressed the issue of Dolour’s contribution to Boston College’s “Belfast Project”. In a different vein Irish blogger Fitzjames Horse has posted probably the best summation of the places and times that shaped Dolours Price and an entire generation of Irish men and women who grew up beneath the shadow of the British and Unionist regime in the north-eastern corner of Ireland. Britain reaped what it sowed and in the Price sisters it sowed a whirlwind.
My thoughts are with her children, sisters and broader family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam uasal.
- Dolours Price, RIP (thebrokenelbow.com)
- Death of Dolours Price opens up possibility that her taped oral history will be published (sluggerotoole.com)
A number of national and local newspapers are claiming that the small Continuity Irish Republican Army (or CIRA) has issued a threat against Irish citizens serving in the British Armed Forces, designating them as legitimate military targets. The reality, of course, is that this has always been the case. Military operations against the British Army or other branches of the British forces are unable to distinguish between British-born soldiers and those born outside of Britain. Numerous members of locally-raised British militias in Ireland, in particular the infamous Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR) and later Royal Irish Regiment (RIR), were killed in attacks by the Republican Resistance over the last four decades. All those who died or were injured were serving soldiers of the British Army and by virtue of being born on the island of Ireland they were also technically citizens of the nation-state of Ireland.
Some have claimed that these new threats represent a departure from a policy followed by the CIRA (and other Irish Republican guerilla organisations) originally implemented in the mid-1950s which restricted military operations in Ireland (that is south of the border). The most notable example of this principle was Army Standing Order Number Eight which precluded direct attacks on Óglaigh na hÉireann or the Irish Defence Forces. However a strict policy barring military operations in the south of Ireland was never formerly put in place nor, given the nature of the guerilla war, could it ever have been. And this is certainly not the first time that threats have been issued to Irish citizens serving in a British uniform, even in the recent past.
So, putting media hype to one side, the more important question relates to which organisation it is that is issuing these threats? We are told it is the Continuity Irish Republican Army, a Republican traditionalist breakaway from the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army which came about as the result of an acrimonious General Army Convention in September of 1986. Yet the CIRA itself has been subject to frequent internal divisions with two serious splits so far: the first in 2005-2006 and the second in 2010. The latter dispute (over political and military strategies as well as worries over the corrupting “criminalisation” of the organisation and the association of some activists with drug-gangs) eventually resulted in two rival Continuity IRAs, both of which maintain pockets of support dotted around the country. However neither can claim more than a hundred members between them (and that’s being generous).
The divisions in the CIRA were matched elsewhere with the minuscule political party Republican Sinn Féin or RSF (a 1986 split away from Provisional Sinn Féin), experiencing several challenges of its own. Of late so complicated have RSF divisions become that it is now difficult to know who or who isn’t a member of Republican Sinn Féin. There are least two (or possibly three) groups claiming the title. There are even two rival (but almost identical) newspapers, Saoirse and Saoirse Nua, and a dozen or so websites of unknown allegiance. One faction is headquartered in Dublin while its rival is based in Limerick and neither have made any real effort to establish a separate public identity, adding to the confusion for outsiders.
However both are currently busy publicising and briefing against the other. We have the “official” leader of “Dublin” RSF, Des Dalton, describing the rival “Limerick” RSF as a front for criminal gangs while one of the leaders of that latter Republican Sinn Féin rejects the Dublin-based RSF as falsely claiming the party title. Media reports about the Continuity IRA are all very well but it would help if the authors of the articles actually investigated those they were reporting on. Then we might be able to see the truth through the hysteria.
UPDATE 08/01/12: The Irish media finally catches up with the reporting here on An Sionnach Fionn. From The Limerick Leader:
“A WAR of words has erupted between dissident republicans in Limerick after threats were made against any Irish person who “dons a British Army uniform”.
However, Des Dalton, president of Republican Sinn Fein, has dismissed the statement saying those who took part in the commemoration were not members of his organisation.
“They are not Republican Sinn Fein. A number of them were dismissed from Republican Sinn Fein and they have been using our name and abusing our name over the last almost three years,” he said adding that he attended a separate commemoration ceremony at Mount Saint Lawrence on Sunday afternoon.
However, Joseph Lynch of Republican Sinn Fein in Limerick has reacted angrily to Mr Dalton’s claims insisting the event he organised was legitimate.
“They walked away from us two years ago and we carried on the traditions of Republican Sinn Fein and we hold that name,” Mr Lynch told the Limerick Chronicle.
“They are politically bankrupt. They are old people run by four old women from an office in Dublin and it annoys them to see that there are young people within Republican Sinn Fein carrying on the traditions of the movement,” he added.”
- Continuity IRA Prisoners End Dirty Protest In Maghaberry (ansionnachfionn.com)
- “Northern Ireland” 48% Protestant, 47% British – So Why Is Ireland Still Partitioned? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Fantasy Troubles Part 4 (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Rsf New Year Statement (thefivedemands.org)
- Dissident IRA issue death threat against Irish citizens serving in British Army (irishcentral.com)
- Rsf New Year Statement 2013 (fiannaiochta.wordpress.com)
- Police foil Christmas plot to kill Irish soldier in British army (guardian.co.uk)
Well what is one to make of all this then?
The Irish news media is reporting that a close associate of the late Alan Ryan, widely believed to have been the Officer Commanding the Dublin Brigade of the Real Irish Republican Army, has been wounded in a so-called “punishment shooting” in Ballyfermot. Ryan was murdered last September in a gun attack by two hired assassins acting on behalf of Dublin’s powerful crime gangs in a response to the Real IRA’s violent attempts to “tax” criminal activity in the capital to fund the organisation and its renewed campaign of armed resistance in the Occupied North of Ireland. The circumstances of Alan Ryan’s death remain controversial following allegations that the open surveillance of the suspected Republican by Garda officers was withdrawn shortly before the fatal attack but his funeral garnered enormous publicity for the Real IRA – both good and bad.
According to the Irish Independent:
“The injured man sustained a gunshot wound to his right knee at Le Fanu Road, Ballyfermot, Dublin, at about 12.10am. Gardaí believe he was attacked by a number of men and that he may have been shot in a vehicle that then left the area.
He was taken by ambulance to St James’s Hospital, where his injuries are said not to be life-threatening. The man is in his 30s and is from Dublin city centre.
He was well known to key Real IRA member Alan Ryan, who was shot dead in north Dublin in September.
Gardaí are now trying to establish if the man shot yesterday was targeted by Real IRA members known to him, or criminal elements the Real IRA has been feuding with.”
The newspaper article goes on to claim that the shooting may stem from internal dissension within the Real Irish Republican Army. According to several reports and rumours doing the rounds the amalgamation of the Real IRA with several other Republican Resistance groups to form the “new” Irish Republican Army has led to an increased emphasis on politics and military discipline within the organisation as fears by some traditional Republicans of a descent into “narcoterrorism“ have grown.
The leadership of the new movement is predominantly composed of northern-based veterans of the guerilla campaigns in the North of Ireland and some believe that it is now seeking to purge the alliance of the criminal fringe that has prospered around the edges of the Real IRA over the last five years. As part of this new sweep the Irish Central is reporting that the Sunday Times newspaper has published details of an alleged mass dismissal of over one hundred Volunteers or supporters from the “new” Irish Republican Army believed to have been involved in criminal activities or otherwise thought to be unreliable or potential security risks. Meanwhile speculation is growing that the leadership of the “new” IRA is attempting to put “clear blue water” between itself and Ireland’s criminal underworld, specifically the drug cartels.
During the height of the Long War the Provisional Irish Republican Army and Ireland’s mainly Dublin-based criminal organisations tended to avoid confrontation with each other. The Dublin Brigade of the Provisional IRA imposed a modest “taxation” on the crime gangs, occasionally upping the stakes to take a share in larger criminal enterprises, while limited co-operation occurred in the areas of cross-border smuggling and money laundering. Direct conflict was relatively unusual as the gangs rarely felt confident enough to oppose the insurgent organisation (or organisations). The notorious crime-lord Martin Cahill was an exception to this rule and ultimately paid for his activities (including seeking an alliance with the British Unionist terror groups in the north-east of the country) with his life.
However the slow descent into criminality by the outliers of the Republican Movement in the late 1980s and 1990s, in particular the rival factions of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) and it off-shoots, transformed the dynamic between the criminal underworld and the insurgent one. The crime gangs of Dublin no longer feared the Republican military organisations and became increasingly willing to seek confrontation, especially where areas of mutual interest butted up against each other.
Now the Irish crime scene is dominated by up to a dozen major drugs cartels in the cities of Dublin, Cork and Limerick who have no hesitation in using violence against any opponents, be they other criminals, innocent members of the general public or servants of the state. With a ready access to weapons, explosives, vast amounts of money and a steady stream of willing gang members any current Republican insurgency would find itself in a difficult situation tackling the powerful organised crime groups.
Claims and counter-claims instead focus on the “new” IRA moving away from confrontation with the drug gangs and establishing a “cold peace”. Whether this will include the continued “taxation” of criminal activities to support the armed resistance, albeit at “agreed levels” is debatable. Some believe that the nascent Republican Resistance would rather have access to the crime gangs’ apparent contacts in the European arms’ markets and smuggling routes than any amount of financial returns. However it is understood that Alan Ryan’s closet comrades have steadfastly opposed any shift in policy, especially one that prevents military action against those responsible for the slaying of their Dublin commander.
- “New” IRA Prisoners End Their Dirty Protest In Maghaberry Prison (ansionnachfionn.com)
In my 2011 review of historian Liz Gillis’ new Irish Civil War study “The Fall of Dublin” from Mercier Press I wrote that:
“…one of the accusations made by some Republicans in the aftermath of the Fall of Dublin was the use of British troops in the assaults on the Republican forces entrenched in the city. Certainly this is given some credence in a paragraph by Gillis describing a mutiny of Pro-Treaty soldiers at Portobello Barracks:
‘Frank Carney, supplies officer at the barracks, was ordered to hand over weapons and other materials that were to be used in the assault:
He was about to obey the order when he recognised the officer receiving them as a British officer from the Phoenix Park depot [the British Army HQ]. Realising it was an alliance with British against Republicans that he was being called upon to take action, he refused to comply and resigned. Several men resigned with him and all were placed under arrest.’
However there is little other evidence of direct involvement by the British Forces in the fighting, though British troops were kept at the ready in bases around the city to intervene if need be and the British provided the artillery, heavy machine guns and armoured vehicles that the Free State forces used to swing the battle in their favour. Further offers from the British including the use of warplanes to bomb and strafe Republican positions were rejected. But later in the war direct British military assistance, particularly from the Royal Navy, was accepted so perhaps British ‘advisers’ were present during the battles at the Four Courts and maybe elsewhere? Certainly as the war progressed the Free State army increasingly resembled a ‘demobbed’ British Army in Ireland.”
Now new evidence has emerged to prove that the British Occupation Forces in Ireland did participate directly in the earliest stages of the Civil War. Indeed they played a pivotal role in the events that were to propel Ireland into the internecine conflict that was to scar the country for generations to come. First comes an article from Irish Central describing a new BBC radio documentary revealing the memoirs of Lance-Bombardier Percy Creek, a British soldier who served in Ireland during the Revolution:
“A newly discovered military memoir has claimed that British Army artillery crews were commandeered by Michael Collins at the start of the Irish Civil War.
The claim contradicts official accounts that Collins turned down an offer of soldiers and artillery from the British to end the three month occupation of the Four Courts by anti-treaty forces.
The claims have been broadcast by the BBC in Britain in a radio programme featuring the memoir of Lance Bombardier Percy Creek of the Royal Field Artillery.
His book was discovered by Open University academic William Sheehan and broadcast by BBC Radio 4’s Document series.
The Irish Times reports that Creek claims in the book how his unit of howitzer artillery was sent to Fermanagh, but later told to march by night to Dublin and ‘told not to speak to anyone and to keep as quiet as possible.’
The Irish National Army had failed up to then to disperse the anti-treaty forces occupying the Four Courts under the command of Rory O’Connor.
The Irish Army’s shrapnel blasts proved ineffective which is why, Creek claims, his unit was given the orders to fire two heavy rounds.
He recalled: “We then saw the shell rip into a wall of one of the courts. Then, all became quiet and I think the officers and dignitaries were all very tense.
“We only fired two rounds and quickly limbered up and went back to the rest of the battery. The situation in Dublin was very tricky.”
The broadcast recalled how Creek’s sergeant and commanding officer were worried beforehand because of the presence of Irish soldiers in the Royal Field Artillery unit.
He said: “A few days later we went to some docks and the whole battery was shipped back to Fishguard.”
Historian William Sheehan told The Irish Times that the Creek memoir is significant. He said: “It shows that the agenda was being driven by the British cabinet in London.
“Ministers there, including Winston Churchill, were concerned that anti-Treaty forces in Munster and elsewhere would mobilise to surround the National Army troops encircling the Four Courts.
The Nottingham-based academic added: “Collins was not a victim, but there is evidence that he was certainly not in control of what was going on around him. He’s choiceless. He is essentially doing what the British wanted.”
Collins’s biographer Tim Pat Coogan told the BBC programme he did not know if Creek’s version of events was accurate, but ‘it could have happened.’
University of Dundee professor Dr John Regan told the BBC that the account ‘complicates things’. He said: “It suggests that the British were there for the opening shots of the Irish Civil War.””
Creek’s testimonial has now been given greater weight with collaborative proof from British government files, as detailed in an article from today’s Irish Times newspaper:
“Lance-Bombardier Percy Creek had no intention of trying to overturn one of the State’s foundation stones when he sat down decades afterward to write of his time in the British army.
Last week sections of his memoir were published. In these he claimed that he and other British gunners were employed to shell the Four Courts in the opening chapter of the Civil War.
Despite the rumours then, and later, it had always been generally accepted that Michael Collins used British equipment and ammunition, but not troops. Creek’s account calls into question this version of history, however. Despite Creek’s doubters last week, and there were many, his account is backed by British cabinet minutes from late June 1922.
Open University academic William F Sheehan, formerly of University College, Cork, examined the cabinet papers for information that would support, or cast doubt, on Creek’s account.
Faced with the killing of Gen Henry Wilson in London, London demanded immediate action against the Four Courts, held by anti-treaty forces since April. During a meeting before noon on June 28th, ministers were told that the British commander in Ireland, Gen Nevil Macready, did not then believe Collins would ask for troops.
“(Lord Cavan, chief of the imperial general staff) thought it was a great pity that the provisional government had not asked the imperial troops to carry out the task for them,” the minutes record.
By 7.45pm, British ministers were back in conclave. The news from Dublin was not good: four 18-pounder guns had been lent, but they were now short of ammunition. New supplies could be shipped, but they could be 24 hours away: “The danger of delay was that reinforcements might arrive from other parts of Ireland for Republican forces,” the minutes record.
Lord Cavan reported that a Royal Artillery officer “had, at the request of the provisional government been giving its forces advice on how to use 18-pounder guns. However, 18-pounders “were not of much value for this kind of fighting” and “heavier ordnance” was needed “against such solid buildings”.
Michael Collins, however, was “not willing to employ it, apparently because the use of such material would require the employment of the regular (ie British) troops”.
Believing that Collins and the provisional government could yet fall to anti-treaty forces, British ministers feared that the delay in seizing the Four Courts could force it to act. “If the British troops had to undertake the task in the end, it would now be much harder and a new plan would have to be formed,” the June 28th minutes record.
Then come the paragraphs that back Creek’s version of events. He says he and his unit were first shipped to Fermanagh and then told to march by night to Dublin.
“Information was received just before the meeting that the provisional government were willing to employ British gunners and to utilise 60-pounder guns,” according to the minutes. Indeed, the Irish were discussing accepting troops.
The provisional government “must be supported in every way, and the operation must not be allowed to fail”, British ministers agreed. Emergency stores of 18-pounder ammunition were to be sent.
A few hours later, British ministers convened again, sending a telegram to Collins: “By all means use the 300 18-pdr high-explosive shells as soon as they arrive, but this will be little use without heavier guns and good gunners. Do not fail to take both. Both are available. It is essential to take the 60-pdr, its gunners and it is ammunition and most desirable to use the six-inch howitzers as well and all together.”
Later that day, the Four Courts was briefly, but heavily, shelled and “the greater part of the building” captured by Collins’s forces, who were now titled Free State, not provisional government, forces.
However, Churchill was concerned about charges in Dublin already circulating that Collins had acted “at the behest” of the British , which had “reacted adversely on public opinion”.
Addressing fellow ministers, he said they should “dwell on the fact that they should avoid any suggestion that the Free State government was acting on British inspiration, and to lay stress on the fact that they have undertaken the task on their own initiatives”.
The cabinet minutes lack a definite declaration that Creek and his men were deployed, but Sheehan believes that, together with Creek’s account, they make a compelling case.”
We now have two eyewitness accounts, that of Frank Carney, a Pro-Treaty IRA and Irish National Army officer, and Percy Creek, a British artilleryman, along with contemporaneous British government papers, all strongly suggesting that the British participated directly in the Battle of the Four Courts in 1922. We also have the numerous claims and rumours reported in Dublin city and elsewhere from this period of British Forces acting on behalf of the Free State government.
The case for the prosecution would seem unanswerable.
Two PC games for you, one old and one new – and both as Gaeilge.
The first is the multilingual platformer Dead Hungry Diner from the Derry-based Irish startup company Black Market Games, which is now available in Irish as An Caife Craosach. A report from TechCentral:
“Irish-speaking gamers will have something fun to look forward to for Halloween with the release of the first computer game as Gaeilge. Foras na Gaeilge, the North/South Irish Language Promotional Body, and Black Market Games have released An Caife Craosach (Dead Hungry Diner), funded through the Scéim Nuálachais.
The game is a fast-paced action-puzzler where the player chooses the character of Gabe or Gabby, orphan twins from Ravenwood Village, to serve the restaurant’s unique customers. The aim of the game is to seat, serve and satisfy a variety of monsters but you need be quick before they get impatient and leave without paying.
Lee Fallon from Derry-based Black Market Games said: “Given that we are an Irish gaming company we thought that a game in Irish would appeal to Irish speaking gamers. We were surprised to hear that it hadn’t been done before and were delighted when Foras na Gaeilge came on board.”
An Caife Craosach is available in DVD or through Digital Download. It can be purchased or downloaded from www.deadhungrydiner.com…”
“TALL, BROAD, bald and bearded, Owen Harris, lead game designer for BitSmith Games, could be one of the characters from Kú. The company’s new videogame takes inspiration from Celtic folklore, with a dash of steampunk, and is currently in the final stages of development, in Dublin’s Digit Games incubator. Here, Harris discusses the game’s Irish roots
Why the Táin and why the Cú Chulainn myth?
I’ve always been interested in Ireland’s ancient history. There’s so much there that hasn’t been exposed. People like Tolkien dipped heavily into our past for inspiration. Greek mythology is everywhere – I don’t know how many harpies I’ve killed in videogames. But I’ve never killed a púca, or fought a Fomorian. And these are interesting archetypes, so the chance to show that people in a game is exciting. When we showed it overseas, people had inklings of these cool stories and given the chance to be exposed to it, they jump at it.
Do you think audiences are more open to something they’re only vaguely familiar with?
The biggest surprise with international audiences was with the Irish language. You can play it completely in Irish. Very few people in this country seem interested in that, but Americans, Germans and Scandinavians are as interested in seeing the language… as much as our mythology …we’re talking about going back to these old, primal stories that are part of what built our people’s psyche. And I think if Irish people were exposed to it in a modern way, they would be much more interested than they currently are.
Is that why you’ve introduced that steampunk element?
We started building it over a year ago at the height of all the stories about economic doom, so I guess we pulled in what was going on at that moment. I think it fits quite well – the idea of Ireland returning to this tribal time.
Is there a fear of alienating Táin purists?
Some people will be upset that we didn’t do a more direct translation. My response to that would be that these stories grow out of an oral tradition where it was constantly changing. …We’re inspired by the Táin; we’re not trying to re-tell it.
How was Foras na Gaeilge involved?
They’ve been a tremendous support. They looked over what we were doing and they’re helping us make sure the Irish translation is to the highest standard. There’s a huge amount of people learning Irish in the US. We want to make sure that if it’s being used as a tool, that it is correct.
What about the game’s look?
Our artist Basil [Lim] spent a lot of time in pre-production going to museums, looking at the Book of Kells, our native plants, trying to bring all of that influence and create this style that looks somewhere between Mad Max and Cú Chulainn. It’s probably the thing we’re proudest of in the whole game – blending Celtic and futuristic style.
Kú will be available for iPad in November, with versions for PC and Mac to follow.”
Website World Irish has an audio interview with Owen Harris, bitSmith’s game designer, that is well worth a listen. As someone who works in Ireland’s IT industry, albeit exclusively with the big international brands, it’s great to see indigenous Irish companies like this establishing themselves. For assistance with the introduction of the Irish language into your business Foras na Gaeilge operates the comprehensive support service GNÓ Mean Business. Gaeltacht-based companies can also seek Irish language support and investment from Údarás na Gaeltachta.
For more on Irish and Celtic mythology see my articles here.
Hmmm. Micheál Martin, leader of the discredited centre-right Fianna Fáil party, has stated at the annual Wolfe Tone Commemoration in Baile Uí Bhuadáin that the local population in the North of Ireland are citizens of the Irish state. Well, sort of. Discussing the high rates of child poverty in Belfast the Irish Times reports that Martin says on behalf of FF that:
“As a Republican Party we have to care about these issues. As long as any Irish citizen is being failed by politics, we need to take an interest and do what we can to address it.”
So, if the people of Belfast are Irish citizens, by virtue of being born and living in the city of Belfast, then surely they should be living under the jurisdiction of the state, the same as the rest of us? Surely they should be accorded the same legal and constitutional rights as other citizens of the state, even those, say, born and living in the city of Dublin? Surely they should be participating in the national legislature of the state through their elected representatives, just as we do? And surely Fianna Fáil, the “Republican Party”, should be standing for election in Belfast and elsewhere across the north-east of Ireland seeking a mandate from all the citizens of the state, not just those south of the border?
Or is all this talk of Irish citizens in the North of Ireland just another piece of Opposition rhetoric that is quickly forgotten when taking up the greasy reins of power?
What other nation in Europe would have such little regard for its history? What other nation in Europe would be so willing, so eager, to destroy the physical embodiments of its identity?
The community campaign to thwart the destruction of the 1916 Battlefield Quarter of Dublin City centre continues, as it has done for the last several years, with no end in sight as it struggles against the unrelenting nihilism of Ireland’s political and business cabals. Now a new documentary from TG4, Iniúchadh – Oidhreacht na Cásca, investigates allegations that Dublin City Council abused its powers to procure the site for the development company Treasury Holdings and more incredibly that an unprecedented secret agreement was signed between Dublin City Council management and the developer Joe O’ Reilly of Chartered Land, an agreement made without the knowledge of the city’s elected councillors.
From the Irish Times:
“Dublin City Council should be the first to investigate allegations of wrongdoing between the council and developers of the historic 1916 site in Moore Street, Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn has told the Dáil.
Sinn Féin deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald called for Government action following allegations of what she called “backstairs deals” between officials in the council and a developer, to the advantage of that builder.
The allegations were made last night in a TG4 documentary, Iniúchadh – Oidhreacht na Cásca, about the proposed development of the Moore Street area, where the leaders of the 1916 Rising met for the last time and signed the surrender.
Calling for Government action, Ms McDonald described the allegations in the programme as “one of the biggest planning scandals” in the State.
The “vandalism” of the site through the development of a shopping centre could not go ahead without the say so of Minister for Heritage Jimmy Deenihan, and she said the matter had been on his desk for months.”
Today’s Irish Times has a lengthy examination by Úna Mullally of the Irish arts scene that is well worth reading:
“Imram, the Irish-Language Literature Festival takes place from October 11th to the 20th, and offers a dynamic programme. There are familiar names participating: Louis de Paor, Dairena Ní Chinnéide, Micheál Ó Conghaile. And there are familiar names discussed: Pádraic Ó Conaire and Seán Ó Ríordáin among them. But there is a current of energy flowing through the festival that those used to the traditional narratives of the Irish language in the arts might be surprised by.
There is an indoor and outdoor multimedia installation by Ceaití Ní Bheildiúin; a dance piece called Ré written by Daithí Ó Muirí and choreographed by Fearghus Ó Conchúir; contemporary prose from Éilís Ní Anluain; the Mouth On Fire theatre company reading Beckett’s poetry in Irish; The Cohen Project sees poets Liam Ó Muirthile and Gabriel Rosenstock translate some of Leonard Cohen’s work into Irish, with Liam Ó Maonlaí, David Blake, Hilary Bow and the Brad Pitt Light Orchestra providing the music.
Next week, a two-day symposium is being held in Dublin aiming to “explore, challenge and provoke notions of contemporary arts practice in Irish.” The symposium, titled Fás agus Forbairt’ (Grow and Develop) is hoping to bring together contemporary artists who are currently working in Irish and artists who may speak Irish but whose work is in English.
In music, the Kilas and the Ó Maonlaís were flying the flag for Irish-inflected contemporary music from the 1990s on, and that’s still the case. The annual Seachtain na Gaeilge Ceol compilation CDs feature contemporary Irish artists singing Irish-language versions of their songs. While the overall result might be nice, there’s a sense of tokenism about it, even if, on occasion, these songs are occasionally brought to a live setting.
But things are changing. Temper-Mental MissElayneous, an upcoming Dublin rapper, has a tendency to drop Irish rhymes into her raps accompanied by bodhrán instead of beats, namely with her track Cailín Rua. And Daithí, a Clare fiddle player who has managed to successfully fuse traditional strains with contemporary electronic music, recently sampled the singer Mary O’Hara in one of his tracks, a trick last pulled by Massachusetts band Passion Pit in their break-out single Sleepyhead.
From the Puball Gaeilge tent at Electric Picnic to Manchán Mangan’s theatre work, there is an edge to the Irish language in a contemporary artistic context, and that edge is growing as those in charge of funding continue to quietly seek out more non-traditional targets. But a new generation of artists also need to take the leap. Perhaps next week’s Fás agus Forbairt symposium will put a real structure around such tentative, yet quickening steps.”
- United In Hatred – Anglophone Fundamentalists In Ireland (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Young And Irish – And Opposed To Anglophone Supremacists (ansionnachfionn.com)
- The Success Of Líofa 2015 In Ireland, And The Cooish In The Isle Of Man (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Big Boost For TG4 Audience Figures (ansionnachfionn.com)
- A Scottish Map Of Scotland – But Where Is The Irish Map Of Ireland? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Dragging Ireland Back To The Middle Ages (ansionnachfionn.com)
- An Ghaeltacht – Empowering The Young (ansionnachfionn.com)
From the Irish Examiner.
“Campaigners have renewed calls for state intervention to stop the “disrespectful” demolition of the area surrounding the historic 1916 Rising battlefield site.
As Sinn Féin gears up to appeal for support from Government TDs to save and restore the monument in the Dáil today, James Connolly’s great-grandson said it was a modest demand.
James Connolly Heron, who has been fighting for the restoration of the Moore Street site for the last 10 years, said Nama-funded plans to tear down surrounding buildings to make way for a shopping centre need to be blocked.
“People are waking up to the fact that we have four years until the centenary,” said Mr Connolly Heron.
“We need something to show the Gathering in 2016. Are we going to show people a monument to the rising, or are we going to show them a shopping centre that is a monument to the Celtic Tiger?”
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has got behind the Moore Street campaign, which aims to restore the row of houses from 14 to 17 – where the rebel leaders met for the last time – and turn the area into “a cultural educational centre of excellence”.
Deputy Adams has secured backing from some Fianna Fáil and Independent TDs, while Labour has previously gone on the record in support of the initiative.
But Mr Connolly Heron warned the mission must not be eclipsed by political point-scoring.
“That would be dishonouring the people we are trying to honour,” he went on. “It doesn’t belong to any party, it belongs to the people.”
Sinn Féin will propose a Dáil motion during private members’ time tonight and tomorrow night.
The motion, which was drafted by descendants of the signatories of the 1916 Proclamation, including Mr Connolly Heron, already has the support of over 50 opposition TDs.
It asks for the Government to support the proposition to ensure the site is protected and preserved, and that the surrounding buildings, streets and laneways are retained with a view to developing the area as a historic and cultural quarter.
Sinn Féin will need the support from more than 30 additional TDs to gain a majority in the Dáil to pass the motion.”
- Éamon Ó Cuív – Republican Dissident? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Easter Rebellion should be Remembered.. (spartcus.wordpress.com)
- Deenihan to make decision on Moore St site ‘as soon as possible’ (thejournal.ie)
The annual commemoration of Éirí Amach na Cásca or the Easter Rising of 1916 and the commencement of the Irish Revolution is upon us yet again. Some ninety-six years ago on Easter Monday, 1916, members of several Irish Republican organisations came together to unite in a general insurrection against British rule across the island of Ireland. Orchestrated by the secret revolutionary movement of the Bráithreachas Phoblacht na hÉireann (BPnahÉ) or in English the Irish Republican Brotherhood or IRB (popularly known as Na Fíníní or the Fenians), the organisations which took to the streets of the capital city and a number of other towns and districts around the country were to shape Irish history for decades to come. They included:
Óglaigh na hÉireann (ÓnahÉ) “Irish Volunteers (IV)”
Arm Cathartha na hÉireann (ACnahÉ) ”Irish Citizen Army (ICA)”
Cumann na mBan (CnamB)
Na Fianna Éireann (NFÉ)
The Hibernian Rifles (HR)
Together they now comprised the new Arm Poblachtach na hÉireann (APnahÉ) or in the English language the Army of the Irish Republic or Irish Republican Army (IRA) whose purpose was to defend the Irish Republic and the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic proclaimed on the steps of General Post Office or GPO in Dublin. Unfortunately confusion about the timing and nature of the uprising meant a national insurrection failed to materialise and instead a number of isolated risings took place around the island of Ireland (largely in Dublin city and county, but with smaller actions in Waterford, Wexford, Meath, Louth, Tyrone, Fermanagh and Galway). After several days of fighting during which much of the city-centre of Dublin was destroyed by British ground and naval artillery, the Forces of the Irish Republic in the capital surrendered to the far larger British Occupation Forces which had now flooded the country with reinforcements. Within days fighting around the rest of the island came to a halt as well (though in fact skirmishes both in Dublin and elsewhere continued for some time, principally through sniping and isolated attacks).
How People Viewed The Rising
The reaction of the general public in Dublin, the centre of British rule in Ireland for 800 years and the most thoroughly colonised region of the island outside of the north-east, was mixed. Within the large local British or British Unionist population (Protestants and Roman Catholics who viewed themselves as Irish and British or exclusively British), the majority feeling was of hostility to the “Rebels” and support for the British state in Ireland. Since this community was closely invested in the continuance of British rule to protect its privileged political, social, economic and cultural standing in the country it was the one that was the most vocal it its expressions of loyalty to Britain and calls for “retribution” against the “Rebels”, their supporters, families and communities. Indeed when captured or surrendered Irish Republican revolutionaries paraded by the British Forces through British Unionist areas of the city came under verbal and physical assault from crowds of mainly working-class and some middle-class British loyalists publicly mixing together in ways that probably hadn’t been seen since the last visit of a British head of state to the island. Earlier during the actual fighting stage of the Rising crowds of British Unionists had also lined the streets to cheer passing British troops in the more middle-class southern suburbs of the city, after the soldiers had disembarked from transport-ships arriving from Britain.
On the other hand the reaction of the Irish or Irish Nationalist community in Dublin, the majority one in the region, was much more complex. Living under absolute and virtually unbroken British rule for centuries had inculcated in it the idea of the absolute might and mastery of the British Empire: not just in Ireland but across the globe (a belief encouraged by the British state itself through every aspect of intellectual life, from education to literature). The suggestion that Irish people could successfully rise up against the British in Ireland seemed like madness and simple wish fulfilment to most ordinary Dubliners. Most men and women simply couldn’t imagine such a thing happening (however much they may have desired it). Living in the “police state” created by British colonial rule, where the conspicuous presence of the paramilitary police force of the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and dozens of British military garrisons around the island was a daily reminder of the might of Britain, very few could imagine anything else. Just as importantly generations of Irish people had been made to believe, through centuries of British propaganda, that the Irish as a race were “unfit” to govern themselves: too uneducated, unintelligent, uncivilized.
Fearing the reaction of the British to the “Rebellion” (and with good reason given the traditional savagery of British responses in the past) many in the Irish Nationalist community adopted a wait-and-see approach to the would-be revolution. If it failed, as most fully expected to happen, they did not want to be seen to be on the wrong side – by the British. The Irish people knew through long and bitter experience that those perceived by the British authorities as being “traitors” or “treasonous” in their attitudes would have found themselves at the very least forced into unemployment, perhaps homelessness and impoverishment too (and this in a city where institutional discrimination against the Irish Nationalist community remained commonplace and malnutrition, starvation and disease was rampant in the Nationalist inner-city ghettos). Worse they could have been arrested or interned without trial, and possibly “deported” or exiled from the country by British diktat. And, the greatest fear of all, they could have simply been rounded up and executed by the British Forces in a series of mass retributions or communal punishments from which there would be no escape.
Yet the history of the Easter Rising is replete with accounts of civilian men, women and children risking their lives to help the revolutionaries throughout the capital city and county. What’s more remarkable is the breadth of people who lent aid and succour to the insurrectionists, a breadth that seemed to cut across class divisions and boundaries. From washerwomen to businessmen, dockers to doctors, barmen to teachers, hundreds of people, both during the fighting and after the surrender did what they could when they could to aid the cause of the Irish Republic. And this at a time when the first British retributions had already taken place: when buildings in the city-centre and neighbouring working-class districts were being pounded by British artillery and machine-gun fire, killing involved and uninvolved alike; when civilians had been murdered in different parts of the city by attacking British Forces, some of them tortured before hand; when some captured “rebels” or suspected ”rebels” were simply being executed on the spot by British officers and soldiers infuriated by the temerity of the Irish to rise up against nearly a thousand years of ”ordained” and “lawful” British rule in Ireland.
In contrast to the affluent and often “ethnically British” southern suburbs of Dublin in the mainly Irish Nationalist areas of the inner city and northern reaches the long lines of captured “rebels” were applauded and cheered by crowds who refused to be cowed by the threatening British troops and watchful RIC policemen. Here and there groups of women and girls would suddenly rush forward pushing little parcels of food and clothes into the hands of the bewildered prisoners, and just as suddenly withdraw as the British bayonets would dash towards them. And sometimes a wounded man or a teenage boy would be dragged or carried away with them to disappear into the warren of back streets and alleyways to the fury of the British escorts. Across the city dozens of revolutionaries relied on the sanctuary offered by local people who hid them in cellars and attics, sheds and outhouse, as the British and their willing RIC servants went from house to house, street to street furiously seeking them out. Even as the British reinforcements had entered the city proper during the latter days of the Rising in many areas they had met a sullen, uncooperative population (something already experienced by some locally raised soldiers in the so-called “Irish Regiments”) and a marked hostility in some districts that puzzled or angered them. Later the feelings of much of the city’s inhabitants grew far worse: resentful of the Rising’s failure (even if the vast majority never though it would succeed in the first place), strangely and paradoxically proud that it had taken place at all, angry at the destruction of so much of the city’s heart by the British Occupation Forces, and already aware of the quickly circulated accounts of massacres and outrages carried out by its troops.
Outside of Dublin, in those rural areas where the British writ did not run so firmly, the civilian population was much more vocal in its support. In Galway and Wexford and other places the scattered revolutionaries were greeted as an army of liberation in some villages and parishes, while the handful of local RIC officers who enforced British rule with such iron determination barricaded themselves into their fortified police barracks or fled to the next biggest British military garrison. Only when the news of the surrender by the Provisional Government in Dublin reached them did local people in country districts retreat into their customary guise of silence and withdrawal, so as not to be singled out for retribution by the British state and its many, many servants in Ireland. Yet, even here, more “rebels” found a willing and helpful hand than not, and many young men simply discarded their weapons and equipment and returned home to their families and communities in the more isolated rural areas who closed ranks around them.
The Myths of 1916
The great myth of the Easter Rising is the claim that the decision by the British military and government to execute the members of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic and other principal figures who had participated in the insurrection, led to the turning of public opinion in Ireland in favour of the revolutionaries. The implication is that before those terrible, retributive deaths by British military firing squads the Irish people as a whole were opposed to the “Rebels” and were accepting of the need to put down the “Rebellion”. But, as we have seen, nothing further could be from the truth.
The great failure of the British was not to have ignored the wishes of the Irish people and to have executed Pádraig Mac Piarais, President of the Provisional Government of the Irish Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Army of the Irish Republic, and all the other signatories to the Proclamation of the Irish Republic. Their failure was that they did listen to the wishes of the Irish people and their demands for violent retribution. Unfortunately it was the wrong Irish people. British military commanders and politicians, already convinced of the need for a public show of force through the killing of the leaders of the Rising, needed simply enough public encouragement and momentum to go through with it. In Britain there was plenty, with demands for blood from across the political spectrum. But they also found it in Ireland. Not from Irish Ireland: but from British Ireland. Amongst the British Unionist population who dominated the locally raised British military and paramilitary forces in Ireland, the judiciary, the colonial civil service and administration, the business classes and landed aristocracy, and above all the media elite of the time: journalists, editors and newspaper owners.
The British population of Ireland demanded that the British Empire seek retribution upon its and their enemies. By baying for the blood of the ”Rebels” the Unionists expressed their loyalty to the existing order while protecting and securing their own place in it. Many believed in the aftermath of the executions that Ireland’s position in the so-called “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland” had been secured forever. To some the insurrection had been a blessing in disguise and now the people of Britain would see the deceit and untrustworthiness of the “native, Catholic, Gaelic Irish” and that the limited reforms of the previous decades could be undone. Most expected the British to now impose military conscription upon Ireland in order to force tens of thousands of Irishmen into the ranks of the British Armed Forces to fight in the trenches of World War I and that the Nationalist politicians of Ireland would be rendered mute and even more ineffective than normal.
However, as we know, history took quite a different path. The British soon realised their mistake in listening to the advice of their “West British” co-nationals in Ireland, and within eight years the Unionist population in three-quarters of Ireland was abandoned to its own fate as the British colony in Ireland was reduced to a bloody rump centred in the north-eastern corner of the island where the single greatest concentration of an ethnically British population lived as a local majority. But that, as they say, is another story.
If you want to learn more about the Easter Rising of 1916, the National Library of Ireland maintains a permanent online exhibition, The 1916 Rising: Personalities and Perspectives. You can view the flash-site or view individual guides in PDF format here.
Some more interesting sites are:
- One Man’s Terrorist – You Know The Rest… (ansionnachfionn.com)
- The SNP, Scotland And The Ireland Scenario (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Horrible Histories With The Sunday Independent (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Dissent In The Ranks? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- The North Of Ireland: Roman Catholics 40% Of Population, 61% Of Unemployed (ansionnachfionn.com)
- The Partition Of Scotland? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Irish Troubles – Or “The Get Roy Greenslade” Campaign (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Fantasy Troubles Part III – Britain’s Superspies! (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Alice Milligan – An Fíorghael (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Is it time for unionists to make peace with Ireland’s Patriot Dead? (sluggerotoole.com)
- The “Irish Republic” flag was made by Mary Shannon at the headquarters of the Irish Citizen Army in Liberty Hall with the words reputedly painted by Countess Markievicz . Captured by British troops, it was returned to Ireland by the British Government in (seachranaidhe1.wordpress.com)
- Easter 1916 Commemorations (awakenlongford.wordpress.com)
The Mahon Tribunal has finally published its long-awaited report and like the lifting of the proverbial rock all sorts of nastiness has been uncovered lurking underneath. While the media focus will be on rump Fianna Fáil and An Taoiseach na Chófra, Bertie Ahern, don’t let this distract you from the other main conclusions of Mahon and co. It suits much of our still intact Post-Colonial Ascendancy, the members of the political establishment and their many willing helpers in the national media, to blur the truth by throwing up all sorts of drama to hide their own culpability in the “mafiaization” of the Irish state from the 1970s onward.
But look at the facts and figures, the long list of politicians investigated by the Tribunal in its search for the truth behind the repeated allegations of corrupt or suspect practices in local government in the 1980s and ’90s, specifically in the rezoning of land in Quarryvale, in west Dublin. In some ways the report is almost a who’s-who guide to notable people in Irish local and national politics at that time. Some of the names are startling. More so as it quickly becomes clear that this is not simply a tale of just one political party’s malfeasance but a tangled web of petty corruption that dragged in all the major political parties in Ireland – and in just one small region of the country.
One has to ask: if just one local authority in the media-cockpit that is Dublin was that bad, what was the rest of the country like? And what is it like now?
TheJournal.ie carries a list of local councillors named in the report, many of whom are well known figures, with details of their activities. It makes for sober reading:
“SEAN ARDAGH (FF)
The Tribunal was satisfied that, Ardagh had been considered an “important and valued supporter of the Quarryvale project from 1992 onwards”, and had received relatively modest political contributions from Frank Dunlop and developer Owen O’Callaghan.
It also noted that Ardagh had been “less than frank with the Tribunal as to the extent of his contact” with Dunlop and O’Callaghan…
CLLR MICK BILLANE (DL)
The Tribunal reported that – as a matter of probability – Cllr Billane had at some point met with and was lobbied by Dunlop and/or O’Callaghan.
Following a meeting in October 1997, O’Callaghan provided a charitable donation of IR£10,000 to Citywise, a registered charity which provided services to city centre youth. The Tribunal was satisfied that Billane had secured this contribution at the meeting, despite his testimony that he had no recollection of the meeting itself and only “vaguely” recalled his involvement in securing the charitable donation
CLLR CATHAL BLAND (FG)
Cllr Boland told the Tribunal that he had received a sum of IR£4,000 in cash from Dunlop by way of an election contribution from anonymous donors on 11 November 1992.
Boland said was not lobbied by Dunlop in relation to the Quarryvale project and had had no concerns about taking the money from him, even though he knew he was a lobbyist, because he had always found Dunlop to be upright and had considered him “a pillar of society.”
Boland said that he absented himself from the 17 December vote because he had been approached by another party asking him to vote against the plan and offered £500 for doing so. He said that did not accept the money, but still he felt he had been compromised by the incident…
CLLR PETER BRADY (FG)
On 30 March 1998, the Tribunal Counsel noted an interview with Alan Dukes TD, in which Dukes alleged that Cllr Peter Brady, had told him that Cllr Brian Fleming had been offered £100,000 if he (Fleming) could ‘deliver’ the Fine Gael vote to secure the rezoning of the Quarryvale lands”.
On the issue of the conflict between Cllr Brady and Alan Dukes, the Tribunal found in favour of Dukes evidence. As such, it concluded that at some point between 1995 and 1998, Brady did relay to Dukes that Fleming had been offered IR£100,000 to deliver the Fine Gael vote in support of Quarryvale.
LIAM T COSGRAVE (FG)
The Tribunal was satisfied that Dunlop gave IR£2,000 to Cllr Cosgrave around May or June 1991, and concluded that the payment was “in all probability” solicited by Cosgave in the course of being lobbied by Mr Dunlop in the period leading up to the Quarryvale rezoning vote.
The Tribunal said that it believed that at the time at which Cosgrave was solicited and accepted the election contribution, he was aware of Dunlop’s ongoing role in relation to Quarryvale – and described his conduct as “improper”.
The Tribunal accepted Dunlop’s account of having met Cosgrave at Newtownpark Avenue in Blackrock on 11 November 1992, and that on this date he had given cash donations of IR£2,000 (later returned) and IR£4,000 respectively to Cllrs Pat Rabbitte and Cathal Boland.
MICHAEL J COSGRAVE (FG)
Tribunal satisfied that M J Cosgrave solicited and received payment of IR£1,000 during the time of his January 1993 Seanad Election campaign…
The Tribunal described Cosgrave’s request for money and his acceptance of it “compromised his required disinterested performance of his duties as an elected representative, and was improper”.
LIAM CREAVEN (FF)
Creaven acknowledged having been lobbied by Dunlop, stating that he had been lobbied both for and against rezoning.
In response to the Tribunal’s inquiries as to whether or not he had received any payments in relation to Quarryvale, he said that he had received a “hamper” from the parties involved in the Quarryvale Shopping Centre.
JIM DALY (FF)
The Tribunal was satisfied that Cllr Daly was lobbied by Dunlop in relation to Quarryvale and that it was “probable” that Daly requested an election contribution, given the imminence of the local election. However, it noted that – whether or not Daly had solicited the contribution – he had accepted it in the knowledge that Dunlop was a lobbyist for Quarryvale.
PAT DUNNE (FF)
The Tribunal was satisfied that Dunne solicited money from Dunlop for the 1991 local election campaign…
It accepted Dunlop’s evidence that he had given Dunne a sum of IR£15,000, and was satisfied that this payment was corrupt.
MARY ELLIOTT (FG)
Elliott said she had not attended any public meetings in connection with the re-zoning of Quarryvale other than Council meetings, but acknowledged that she had been “lobbied by local organisations”…
She said that she never received any payment or donations from parties involved in the project and, while admitting that she had dined in the company of Dunlop and O’Callaghan…
JIM FAHEY (FF)
The Tribunal was satisfied that Fahey solicited a payment of IR£2,000, and that such solicitation and acceptance of funds had been improper.
TONY FOX (FF)
Cllr Tony Fox was identified by Dunlop as a recipient of £2,000 in cash during the local election campaign.
CYRIL GALLAGHER (FF)
Despite Dunlop’s testimony that there had been no express link between a IR£1,000 payment to Cllr Cyril Gallagher and Quarryvale, the Tribunal was satisfied that Gallagher had been ware of Dunlop’s role as a lobbyist for the project.
SEAN GILBRIDE (FF)
The Tribunal said it was satisfied that the “primary purpose” of Cllr Sean Gilbride’s decision to take a leave of absence from his teacher’s post and place himself on O’Callaghan’s payroll was “to enable Gilbride devote himself on a near full time basis to promoting the Quarryvale project for Mr O’Callaghan”.
It described as “incredible” the suggestion that the political ambitions of an elected councillor could be properly served by that councillor placing himself on the payroll of a developer at a time when that same developer was promoting the rezoning of lands…
RICHARD GREENE (IND)
The Tribunal was satisfied that a cash donation of IR£500 received by Greene had been given to him by O’Callaghan via Dunlop, and the developer’s “generosity to Cllr Greene was not unconnected to his zoning ambitions for Quarryvale”.
TOM HAND (FG)
The Tribunal was satisfied that Dunlop paid Cllr Hand IR£20,000 in cash in two tranches of £10,000 each specifically in return for his support on Quarryvale, and that the payment was corrupt.
FINBARR HANRAHAN (FF)
The Tribunal was satisfied that, during the course of the 1992 general election, Dunlop in all probability paid Cllr Fibarr Hanrahan either IR£2,000 or IR£2,500, with the principle reason for the payment being to secure his support for Quarryvale. It concluded that such a payment was “improper”.
JACK LARKIN (FF)
The Tribunal concluded that a payment of IR£1,000 to Cllr Jim Larkin during a period around the 1991 Local Elections had been made. It was satisfied that a request for the money had probably been made by Larkin after he had been lobbied to support Quarryvale…
DONAL LYDON (FF)
The Tribunal rejected Cllr Donal Lydon’s evidence that he did not solicit a payment of IR£1,000 in or about May 1991, and concluded that such a payment had indeed been made between 16 May 1991 and 6 June 1991.
MARIAN MCGEENIS (FF)
The Tribunal noted Cllr Marian McGennis’ “significant role” in relation to the Quarryvale rezoning proposal over the course of 1991 to 1993, and also noted that – in her initial dealings with the Tribunal – she had not been forthcoming about the extent of her involvement with Dunlop and O’Callaghan.
The report was satisfied that McGeenis solicited a IR£1,400 cheque from Dunlop in July 1991, and that over a period of two months had been the recipient of a total of IR£6,500 from individuals closely associated with the Quarryvale issue.
COLM MCGRATH (FF)
The Tribunal was satisfied that McGrath solicited a payment of IR£10,000 that was “in all probability” requested on the basis of the assistance he was giving O’Callaghan.
It added that further payments of IR£10,700 and IR£20,000 could neither be described as political donations or “loans”, as had been suggested, and that such payments were corrupt.
OLIVIA MITCHELL (FG)
The Tribunal said it was satisfied that Cllr Mitchell received a sum of IR£500 in cash from Dunlop at the time of the 1992 General Election.
TOM MORRISSEY (FG)
The Tribunal confirmed that Cllr Tom Morrissey had remained “staunchly opposed” to the rezoning of Quarryvale as a town centre at all times.
The Tribunal was also satisfied that there had been no improper motivation from any party in relation to Morrissey’s firm producing diaries for Dunlop’s firm at a cost of IR£377.52…
ANN ORMONDE (FF)
According to the report, Cllr Ann Ormonde received in total at least IR£1,650 from Dunlop between the period January 1993 to 1998 – in the knowledge that he was a lobbyist in circumstances in which she herself was involved.
GUSS O’CONNELL (IND)
The report noted that the absence of Cllr Guss O’Connell’s from the County Council on 17 December 1992, the date on which votes on a motion relating to Quarryvale were cast, had been beneficial to O’Callaghan.
However, it was not satisfied that this situation had been “orchestrated”…
JOHN O’HALLORAN (LAB/IND)
The Tribunal’s report noted that Cllr John OHalloran “had not been, in general, frank with the Tribunal” in the manner in which he responded to requests for information in relation to payments made by Dunlop and O’Callaghan.
In 1993, O’Halloran received an IR£5,000 cheque from O’Callaghan/Riga – and the Tribunal pointed out that, just weeks later, he was one of five signatories to a letter to the Minister for Finance in which tax designation was sought for Quarryvale.
O’Halloran also received a payment of IR£250 in or around the time that he signed a motion on Quarryvale, and that he did on occasion receive small payments of IR£500 over the course of the making of the Development Plan 1991 – 1993.
The Tribunal was satisfied that O’Halloran solicited a payment of IR£2,500 in 1996 from Dunlop…
PAT RABBITTE (DL)
The Tribunal accepted Dunlop’s evidence that Cllr Pat Rabbitte had been listed as a recipient of IR£3,000 in cash in 1992, and that that sum had later been returned to him by means of a cheque.
THERESE RIDGE (FG)
The report described Cllr Therese Ridge as not merely a staunch supporter of the Quarryvale campaign but also a person who “actively engaged” in providing advice in relation to the strategy generally, and specifically in relation to motions relevant to Quarryvale”.
The report added that she was “handsomely rewarded” for her efforts – both in the form of cash donations totalling IR£1,000 and by Dunlop taking care of printing and other costs associated with her election campaigns.
COLM TYNDALL (PD)
The Tribunal was satisfied Tyndal had been lobbied by O’Callghan in relation to the Quarryvale rezoning proposal – and that Tyndal (on behalf of his company Marine & General Insurance Ltd) had likewise lobbied O’Callaghan for his company to be appointed insurance broker to companies associated with O’Callaghan.
The report concluded that Tyndal had exploited his position as an elected councillor in circumstances which benefited a company with which he was closely associated…
Tyndal testified that he could not confirm whether he received a donation of IR£500 from O’Callaghan in 1999…
GV WRIGHT (FF)
In relation to a payment of IR£10,000 by Dunlop and O’Callaghan to Cllr GV Wright in November 1992, the Tribunal said it was satisfied that the motivation for such a payment was to “ensure Wright’s ongoing support for the Quarryvale project.”
Reading through the report, the all too familiar names, businesses and organisations that crop up again and again and again, one is reminded of a variation of that old curse: a plague on all your houses.
- Smells Like No-Irish Spirit (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Former Irish PM Bertie Ahern ‘failed to give truthful account of cash’ – The Guardian (guardian.co.uk)
- Ahern failed to account for IR£165,000, Mahon finds (teddyoshea.wordpress.com)
- Mahon Tribunal rolling news blog… (sluggerotoole.com)
- The Mahon Report… (cedarlounge.wordpress.com)
- Former Irish PM Ahern lied over finances-inquiry – Reuters (reuters.com)
Yesterday the Irish government announced a major review of how the state legally recognises certain regions of the country as Gaeltachtaí or Irish speaking areas. In the future it may be possible for Irish language communities outside the traditional Gaeltacht districts to receive official recognition. However the proposed legislation might also mean that several long-standing Irish-speaking areas will lose their designation as Gaeltachtaí, something that has happened before and with disastrous results for the local communities concerned. In fact there is a strong suspicion in some quarters that this may be one purpose of the revised regulations and that no new Gaeltachtaí will be recognised after their implementation while a number of existing ones will have their legal status taken away.
From the Irish Times:
“THE GOVERNMENT has approved as a priority the drafting of legislation to provide a new definition of the Gaeltacht and make amendments to the role and functions of Údarás na Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht Authority.
Under the legislation being prepared by Minister for the Gaeltacht Jimmy Deenihan, areas outside the traditional Gaeltacht may be recognised as Gaeltacht regions, subject to fulfilling particular criteria.
It is proposed that the Gaeltacht be based on linguistic criteria instead of on geographic areas which has been the position to date. Language-planning at community level will be central to the new definition of the Gaeltacht.
In addition to amendments to Údarás na Gaeltachta’s functions, the Bill will provide for a significant reduction in the number of members on the board of the Údarás and dispense with the requirement for elections to the board.”
In the Dublin city suburb of Cluain Dolcáin or Clondalkin there exists one of the strongest urban communities on the east coast with a claim for a Gaeltacht status. A mainly working class neighbourhood that has been largely neglected by the Irish state over the years, even during the heyday of the so-called Celtic Tiger, it has suffered terribly from the related scourges of high unemployment, poverty and crime. Nevertheless in the last two decades it has become the hub of a vibrant Irish speaking population with several schools and community centres, while Irish speakers have become closely associated with local initiatives in the areas of employment, education, health and public services.
According to a report in the Journal.ie:
“A SPRAWLING SUBURB of Dublin could become Ireland’s newest Gaeltacht area thanks to a bill which will create a new definition of what it is to be an official Irish-speaking region.
Labour TD Robert Dowds said that the approval of the draft bill gives Clondalkin a great opportunity to be designated as a Gaeltacht area “at a certain level”.
“One of the main aims of this bill is to create a new definition of what constitutes a Gaeltacht,” explains Dowds. “This will give areas outside of traditional gaeltachts a chance to be recognised should they fulfil certain criteria.”
Under the proposed legislation, the Gaeltacht will be based on linguistic criteria instead of on geographic areas. During last year’s presidential election, Michael D Higgins said that Clondalkin had a case to be recognised due to the number of Irish speakers living there.
Joe MacSuibhne has been principal of the local Irish-speaking secondary school Coláiste Chillian for the past eight years and strongly supports the idea of designating Clondalkin as a Gaeltacht area.
“We have been looking for something like this for years. Currently, there are about 1,500 students receiving their education through Irish in the area and are, therefore, fluent in the language,” he told TheJournal.ie this morning.
Language planning at community level will also be central to the new definition of the Gaeltacht. As well as Mac Suibhne’s school, Clondalkin boasts two all-Irish primary schools, Áras Chrónáin Irish Cultural Centre and a host of naíonraí (pre-schools).
“The benefits of being designated as a Gaeltacht area would greatly help here,” continued Mac Suibhne.”
However not everyone has welcomed the news as the Comments’ section underneath the article fully illustrates with the usual racist bile and invective against Irish speakers that is so commonplace amongst some Anglophones in Ireland.
Meanwhile in another part of the country the BBC tells us that:
“Four primary schools in County Derry could send pupils to an Irish language secondary school which is a ‘satellite’ of one in Belfast.
The school would be based in Maghera, but run by Northern Ireland’s only completely Irish medium secondary, Colaiste Feirste, 40 miles away.
There would be two teachers and about 20 pupils in the first year.
Much of the learning could be done through computer link-ups.
There are not enough pupils to justify a complete new school, but the parents do not want to make do with a unit in an English language medium school.
They want total immersion in the language just like at primary school.
The site the parents have their eye on is the now empty Maghera High school.”
Let us hope that the communities of Doire and Cluain Dolcáin gain the official recognition that they so obviously deserve.
- Fighting For The Truth (ansionnachfionn.com)
- A Second-Class Education For Second-Class Pupils (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Discrimination Dressed As Reasonableness… Isn’t It Always? (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Freedom To Talk (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Fight The Power! (ansionnachfionn.com)
- There’s No Éire In Ireland! (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Abair Leat! (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Fine Gael, “No Irish Here!” – A Flashback From 1938 (ansionnachfionn.com)
- The Real World Value Of Ireland’s Indigenous Language And Culture (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Special Educational Needs And Gaelscoileanna (ansionnachfionn.com)
Well, the Scottish leader Alex Salmond came to town for the Irish-British Council summit yesterday and hit all the right notes for an Irish audience (and quiet a few of the wrong ones for a British/English one). I wonder did he read my earlier posting on the “Ireland Scenario”? (not really!)
The Guardian carries some of the details of the event for the folks back home in Blighty:
“Alex Salmond has invited David Cameron and Nick Clegg to visit Scotland to discuss the UK government’s proposal to accelerate the timetable for a referendum on Scottish independence.
But Salmond launched a strong attack on the UK government for what he described as bullying tactics as he appeared to draw a parallel between London’s treatment of Scotland and its historic behaviour towards Ireland.
“I am sure many people in Ireland will remember that sometimes people who are in leadership positions in big countries find it very difficult not to bully small countries,” Salmond told RTE on Friday morning. “What we have seen over the last week is a most extraordinary attempt to bully and intimidate Scotland by Westminster politicians.
“Sometimes Westminster politicians, and Nick Clegg is very much a Westminster politician, find it difficult to let go the strings of power and believe they are still in a position of dictating terms to Scotland. I’m afraid Nick Clegg and his colleagues David Cameron and George Osborne, who is very much in charge of this, are going to find out these days are over.”
Salmond was speaking shortly before the start of the British-Irish Council which is taking place at Dublin Castle, the seat of British rule in Ireland until the 26 counties of the Irish Republic achieved independence in 1922. The castle is a mile from the General Post Office on O’Connell Street, the scene of the Easter Rising against British rule in 1916. It was Britain’s violent response to the rising – the leaders were executed by firing squad – that helped trigger the Irish war of independence.
Salmond’s decision to draw a parallel between Scotland and Ireland, however obliquely, may stir a debate in Scotland, where sectarian divisions are still pronounced.
The first minister was warmly greeted by Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin’s deputy first minister, when he arrived at Dublin Castle.”
While the majority of the Irish media seemed to enjoy the discomfort of the British delegation amidst expressions of Celtic and Gaelic solidarity, back home the Scotsman newspaper claimed that the First Minister’s comparisons had caused outrage in Ireland and beyond. Really?
“ALEX Salmond has sparked a furious row by comparing his bid for Scottish independence with Ireland’s violent struggle against British rule.
In Ireland, politicians from both sides of the religious divide criticised his remarks, which were made before he met Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the yesterday’s British-Irish Council summit.”
“Religious divide”? I presume the Scotsman means the political divide between the two communities on the island of Ireland, Irish and British. But then again those old propaganda lines are much easier to rehash, aren’t they? On the other hand, someone who knows a thing or two about religious fundamentalism does have an opinion to make. Though, be warned, you might be struggling to remember his name.
“Mr Salmond’s comments were criticised by Lord Trimble, the former Ulster Unionist leader who was awarded a Nobel Prize for his role in bringing peace to Northern Ireland.
Lord Trimble said Mr Salmond had been “playing to the gallery in spades”. He went on: “It is grandstanding on stilts. It is totally divorced from the reality. My understanding is that the government have been trying to get into a conversation with Mr Salmond for the past year, but he has been declining to talk to them.”
As one of the main architects of the Good Friday Agreement – the template for the settlement that has brought today’s peace to Northern Ireland – Lord Trimble took issue with Mr Salmond’s comparison of Scotland with Ireland.”
Wow. David Trimble? Blast from the past, that one. Though hardly, um, current. But wait, there’s more:
“The First Minister also angered politicians on the other side of the political divide.
Seamus Mallon, a former leader of the moderate, mainly nationalist SDLP, suggested Mr Salmond should brush up on his history, saying many Scots were members of the Black and Tans, the notorious British militia that gained a reputation for violence in Ireland after the Great War.
Mr Mallon said: “Scotland was part of the bullying that took place in Ireland. People from Scotland were the cornerstone of the plantation of Ulster. I think Alex is a very able performer, but his knowledge of history is a little weak.
“As recently as 15 years ago, you had Scottish regiments here, enforcing the writ of Britain so, I think I could recommend a good history of Ireland for him.””
Okey-dokey then. Someone woke up granddad, he’s realised its not 1998, and he’s a wee bit grumpy. So that’s the outrage sparked in Ireland by Alex Salmond’s remarks? Would the words, “bottom”, “barrel”, “scraping” have any relevance here?
“AS AN Ulster Scot I know there would be concern in Northern Ireland should Scotland vote to leave the United Kingdom.
Northern Ireland is not only geographically close to Scotland but shares more with Scotland than with any other country. When the majority in Ireland voted for independence from the UK there were 220,000 people in County Donegal. After independence thousands emigrated back to the UK – especially to Glasgow and Londonderry. Only 100,000 now remain in Donegal.
Northern Ireland remained within the UK as was the desire of most people in that part of Ireland. Should there ever be a majority in Scotland for independence it should not be binding on all the people of Scotland.
If, say, Strathclyde or the Lowlands prefer to remain in the UK then that decision should be honoured by a partition of Scotland.
(Lord) John Kilclooney
House of Lords
Partition Scotland! Now there’s an idea we’ve been waiting to hear. Come on now, you know it was bound to happen sooner or later. Lord John Kilclooney, or former UUP politician John Taylor to mortal folk like you and me, knows a thing or two about partition. For instance, a “border” never stopped him having a foot in both camps as it were, with business interests across the island of Ireland. Politics and nationality is one thing, but someone has to pay the bills. Right?
Of course this could just be the start, as a report in ForArgyll points out:
“When Scottish independence was no more than the aspiration of a small minority, few, if any, questioned the nationalist claim ‘It’s Scotland’s oil’, made in the fervour of the 1970s.
However, in 2011, with the Scottish Nationalists already in their second successive administration of a devolved Scotland – and with every prospect of at least a third one should the present political arrangements still obtain – serious attention has begun to be paid to which nation really owns what.
As in most relationships, as soon as divorce is on the horizon, even as a possibility, minds turn to the issue of division of assets.
The English Democrats are now claiming that, depending on which territorial convention is applied, either half or a quarter of the North Sea coastal sea bed, with its oil and gas reserves, belongs to England.
They say that the geological test – the same as is applied to try to determine who owns what in the pillaging battleground to come in the Arctic – would see England own one half; where the national land boundary test would give it one quarter.”
Would a partition of Scotland, moving the traditional border forty odd miles further northward, enhance the claims of the “UK” under international law to the southern reaches of the current “British” North Sea oilfields? What about communication links to the last remnants of the British colony in Ireland? Would a remnant UK state be content for its nearest direct route to the North of Ireland to pass through the territory of a “foreign” nation? Under these circumstances a new border stretching from beyond Stranraer to North Berwick, encompassing much of the population of the “Borders”, and placing the Scottish demographic hubs of Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Central Belt strategically close (should the “need” arise), would be a tempting proposition for any far-thinking British state.
And lets not mention the Shetland Islands.
Now what were those Ireland comparisons Alex Salmond was making?
- The SNP, Scotland And The Ireland Scenario (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Scottish independence referendum: Salmond claims links to Irish freedom struggle – Scotsman (scotsman.com)
- Clegg and Salmond meet in Dublin (guardian.co.uk)
- You: Salmond attacks UK’s ‘bullying tactics’ over Scottish independence (guardian.co.uk)
- Salmond invades Dublin in pursuit of Glasgow’s Labour vote? (sluggerotoole.com)
- Scottish independence referendum: Salmond open to talks with PM – Scotsman (scotsman.com)
- ‘Radical’ rethink posed by Jones (bbc.co.uk)
- Alex Salmond makes offer on referendum talks (independent.co.uk)
- More Parallels Between Québec, Scotland And Beyond (ansionnachfionn.com)
- Scottish Troubles? (ansionnachfionn.com)
Good news on the jobs front from RTÉ:
“180 new jobs have been announced by Version 1, an IT consulting and outsourced managed services company. Most of the jobs will be in Dublin.
The firm is hiring graduates and senior technology consultants with Microsoft, Oracle and Java qualifications. The jobs will be filled over the next three years, with 45 jobs to be filled over the next three months.
The company created another 100 jobs last year and already employs 265 staff in Dublin, Cork and Belfast.”
Ireland’s true levels of unemployment have been masked for the last two years by the thousands of Irish citizens being forced out of the country every month in search of employment overseas (who in turn, of course, are sometimes accused of displacing local people from jobs in the nations they are emigrating to – this is called a free market, apparently). So even the smallest of crumbs are welcome. Only problem is, these particular crumbs may be going, um, elsewhere. The full story from BreakingNews:
“However, Version 1 is looking abroad to fill vacancies in its expansion plan, because it says it cannot get enough graduates here.
Managing director Justin Keatinge said the Government should make it easier to recruit from abroad.
“We’re trying to bring people from all over the world…to fill these vacancies, and it’s very difficult,” he said.
“We would encourage the Government to come up with a fast-track, hi-tech work permit system where within a week you could get a work permit for a person coming from Argentina, for example.”"
There are not enough Irish graduates with the required IT knowledge or skills to fulfil these jobs? With 450,000 people on the dole? 450,000 people seeking employment? They can’t find 180 qualified people over the next three years? I know at least three Irish citizens currently rotting away on the dole or in low-paid, non-specialist employment who could wallpaper the inside of their houses with the amount of IT qualifications they have.
Perhaps instead of defaulting to overseas recruitment Irish-based companies should be reinvesting back into the Irish education system, in co-operation with the many public bodies out there who specialise in these areas, to create the types of graduates they want or need? Or is it just simpler to buy off-the-shelf staff from anywhere but Ireland?
Business with a social conscience? Bah!
- What attracts big tech companies to Ireland? Hint: It’s not just low taxes (thenextweb.com)
- Australian employers target skilled Irish workers (skillsinfo.wordpress.com)
- Irish Rights Are Civil Rights! (ansionnachfionn.com)
- SuperValu signs new deal with Uniplumo to supply Irish poinsettias for Christmas (hortitrends.wordpress.com)
- Dick Roche: Did Ireland Need a Bailout? (online.wsj.com)
- Cabinet unveils jobs initiative – The Irish Times – Thu, Nov 24, 2011 (skillsinfo.wordpress.com)
- Ireland becomes poster child for implementing austerity programmes (guardian.co.uk)
- Trip to the Motherland: Ireland! (kayleighjean1.wordpress.com)
- Aviva to halve its Irish workforce (guardian.co.uk)
- 5 things I like about Dublin (living3703.wordpress.com)
My review of ‘The Fall of Dublin’ by Liz Gillis, a new edition in the Mercier Press series ‘Military History of the Irish Civil War’.
Temple Bar is Dublin’s much vaunted ‘cultural quarter’ an area of the city centre designated for writers, poets, artists, galleries and theatres, based upon a previous, rather shabby ad hoc incarnation. With official imprimatur (and huge swathes of state funding and, em, helpful local government bodies and business people) it was supposed to be the artistic heart of the capital – albeit an almost exclusively English language heart (quelle surprise!).
Since then it has turned into Dublin’s ‘hedonism quarter’. As the Irish Times reports:
‘TEMPLE BAR TODAY is nothing at all like the run-down, laid-back, “left bank” bohemian area it once was. Nor does it, by any yardstick, measure up to the official aspirations of 20 years ago to create a “bustling cultural, residential and small- business precinct that will attract visitors in significant numbers”.
During the St Patrick’s Day festivities this year, every alcove, alley and doorway in the area was used as a pissoir. The scenes were disgusting beyond belief. On every street, men with far too many pints on board were urinating in public, and some were also vomiting – although that’s usually done by the vodka spritzer-laden girls.
Throughout the year, and particularly in summer, Temple Bar is trashed on a nightly basis by drunken louts, drug addicts, graffiti vandals and indifferent bands of buskers with portable amplifiers. The primary culture of Dublin’s designated “cultural quarter” is a street-drinking culture, catered for by many of its 30 bars or nightclubs.
“The ‘mini-bohemia’ everyone recognised as worth saving – colourful, edgy, rough-grained and utterly benign – was destroyed by the initiative because grittiness wasn’t part of the agenda.” As a result, it was a “total failure”.’
Indeed. As a friend of mine so elegantly summed up the Temple Bar of 2011: ‘ It’s a good place to get pissed. And for a piss!’
Of course the blot in our city centre landscape is well matched by Dublin’s new ‘ethno-land’ around Parnell Street, where a self-grown area of foreign restaurants and shops is to be given another huge wad of taxpayers cash and turned into ‘China Town Dublin’. Which might come as a wee bit of a surprise to all the Bangladeshi and Nigerian businesses up there. But at least the distinct local character of the place and its communities is being recognised and given visible expression; and it can’t be any worse than the tawdry, unregulated mess that is there now (hopefully).
All of which brings me, in my usual roundabout manner, to the one component lacking in all these ‘cultural initives’ for our national capital: namely, our national language.
While the city of Belfast (in ‘British Occupied Ireland’) has the successful An Ceathrú Gaeltachta, the Gaeltacht Quarter, the city of Dublin (in ‘Free Ireland’) has… um… er… nothing. Incredibly for Ireland’s capital city Dublin has no official area designated to be the ‘cultural centre’ of the Irish speaking community (of course one could argue that the whole of Dublin city should be designated as the centre of the Irish speaking community but lets not get ahead of ourselves here, folks). Dublin does have several Irish language venues, and some initiatives have been taken to encourage the use of the language and to make the city a more welcoming home to its Irish speaking population (albeit with much opposition from the Anglophone elite).
However, there is little doubt that having a dedicated Irish language quarter of the city would hugely bolster the language’s presence in the capital, would encourage its growth and development, and would have a positive effect on tourism. Several proposals have been made upon these lines over the last decade and more, with initiatives to create a number of suggested Irish speaking areas (for instance in Ballymun or at the Docklands Development) but all have failed through lack of official support – or indeed opposition. With several parts of the city already having strong embryonic Irish speaking communities through the clustering of Gaelscoileanna or Irish medium schools, the positive discrimination in favour of the English-speaking Irish or non-Irish population by local and national authorities is more than questionable. Indeed, as time passes on, it looks more and more like a discriminatory allocation of state resources (the fact that some of these evolving Irish language communities are centred in working class districts makes it all the more apparent).
The suggestion that the Irish speaking population of Dublin should take matters into their own hands has some merit. If the history of Ireland has shown us anything it has proven that waiting for the state (in whatever form) to do something positive is a waste of time. If Conradh na Gaeilge was to draw up a plan to ‘cluster’ the Irish language community in a chosen area of the city by headquartering a number of Irish language organisations there, along with Irish speaking businesses, schools and other facilities it may perhaps yield the sort of results other ‘ethnic minorities’ have enjoyed in terms of official recognition and facilitation from local and national government. It’s not as if Dublin city is lacking in empty premises or buildings. The demise of the Celtic Tiger has left many parts of city ‘abandoned’, with developers all to eager to sell (Dublin West, anyone?).
So, is the will or imagination there to make it happen?
- Fáilte Ireland – But Where Is Fáilte Éireann? (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- Time For DotÉire? (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- The Home Of An Taibhdhearc To Return (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- Political Parties agus an Gaeilge. (politics.ie)
- Attacks on the Irish language 1188-2011 (politics.ie)
- Is Temple Bar a failure? (politics.ie)
- God Save Ireland – From The Anglos! (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- Language Apartheid In Ireland? (ansionnachfionn.wordpress.com)
- The Hedonist: Dublin (independent.co.uk)
Unbelievable news today from journalist Eamonn Mallie:
‘The UDA’s five brigadiers and 4/5 representatives of their respective districts have been extended invitations to a wreath laying ceremony by Queen Elizabeth at Islandbridge in honour of the war dead. President Mary McAleese’s husband Martin has been involved with UDA leaders in community work for several years. South Belfast brigadier Jackie McDonald regularly visits Aras an Uachtarain.
Confirming the invitations on Wednesday to the Islandbridge leg of the Queen’s visit Mr McDonald said “this represents progress and is a reward for work being done. Others could learn from this.’
Yes, that’s right. On the anniversary of the British state-sponsored terrorist attacks in Dublin and Monaghan on 17 May 1974, that killed 33 civilians and wounded nearly 300 others, the leaders of the largest British terrorist movement in the North of Ireland (the Ulster Defence Association or UDA) will be attending the official ceremony by the British head of state at Islandbridge to commemorate those Irishmen who died on British military service in WWI (before Ireland gained it’s independence).
As news stories go this is one of the more extraordinary that I’ve seen. As a PR exercise it is about as sensitive as inviting unrepentant Nazis to visit Auschwitz.
The simultaneous bombings in the city of Dublin and the town of Monaghan were carried out by British Unionist terrorists in the so-called Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) under the control of the British Intelligence services (British Military Intelligence and the British Security Service or MI5) and the then British paramilitary police force in the North of Ireland (the Royal Ulster Constabulary or RUC). Suspicions remain that elements of the British civil government were also culpable in giving the incentive for the attacks by the UVF to take place.
The UDA remains an illegal or banned (proscribed) organisation in the North of Ireland because of its status as a terrorist movement (a ban the British resisted for many years until International pressure forced their hand). It was responsible for the murder and wounding of hundreds of civilians during the war in the North – many at the behest of the British Forces in a campaign of selective terror and assassination.
If the Irish people are prepared to welcome the British head of state, how do they feel about the leaders of the British terror gangs her forces harboured and directed for decades? A ‘gesture’ too far for even the most hardened stomach to accept?
More information here: