Terrorism / Politics
Ireland > Catholics
Sinn Fein, IRA, RIRA, INLA,
21 June 2001
Ardoyne > predominantly Catholic area
nationalists > Sir Roger Casement
Republican terror alliance / 'new
Brian Keenan, Irish republican 1941-2008
the Bogside area of Derry, Northern
in north Belfast
the Glenbryn estate,
a small Protestant enclave
in the predominantly Catholic Ardoyne area
Ardoyne > nationalist area
Excerpts from the award-winning 1973
A Place Called Ardoyne
about "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland
nationalist area / Catholic enclave >
Esat Belfast > Short Strand
Provisionals / Provos
Sinn Féin politician
and peace negotiator
who went from being an IRA commander
to serving for a decade
as deputy first ministe
of Northern Ireland
14 people shot
Bloody Sunday by British soldiers in Derry
Jan. 30, 1972
shot and killed 13 unarmed civilians
and shot and injured a further 13,
one of whom later died.
The hunger strikers’ memory
is honoured in murals around
The legacy of the hunger strikes
Bobby Sands and nine other republican prisoners
died on hunger strike in Long
Kesh 25 years ago.
What became of those who survived?
Melanie McFadyean finds seven of them and
was it all worth it?
The Guardian Weekend
p. 50 Saturday March 4, 2006
The Northern Ireland Conflict >
The hunger strikes > Bobby Sands 1981
2008 > Steve McQueen > Hunger > the ordeal of Bobby
https://www.theguardian.com/century/1980-1989/Story/0,,108187,00.html - 6
Irish Republican Brotherhood / The Fenians
begins decommissioning 2001
https://www.theguardian.com/century/1980-1989/Story/0,,108187,00.html - 6
IRA splinter group
real IRA RIRA
real IRA cell
hardline republican terror
group > Irish National Liberation Army
hardline Irish republican
responsibility for N
Brian Keenan, Irish republican
Political Wall Murals in Northern Ireland
IRA republican mural
added 13 July 2004
Related > Arkansas - 1957
21 June 2001:
More than 400 youths
were involved in sectarian violence last night
loyalists and nationalists
clashed in north Belfast.
Blair guilty of capitulating to Sinn Féin - Mandelson
Former minister says PM was irresponsible in way he dealt with republicans
Nicholas Watt, Patrick Wintour and Owen Bowcott
The Guardian p. 1
Tuesday March 13, 2007
Guardian > Special report > Gerry Adams
moderate nationalist SDLP
Principal party of the nationalist (Catholic) community in Northern Ireland
hardline republican militant groups in Northern Ireland
an ounce not a bullet"
Worst bomb attacks
on mainland Britain
Mon May 16,
British police said Monday they had been warned of a bomb in central London, a
day before Queen Elizabeth makes a historic visit to Ireland.
Here is a timeline of some of the worst bomb attacks on mainland Britain by
Irish dissident groups in the last 35 years.
February 1974 - Coach carrying soldiers and families in northern England is
bombed by the Irish Republican Army (IRA). Twelve people killed, 14 hurt.
October-November 1974 - Wave of IRA bombs in British pubs kills 28 people and
wounds more than 200.
July 1982 - Two IRA bomb attacks on soldiers in London's royal parks kill 11
people and wound 50.
December 1983 - IRA bomb at London's Harrods department store kills six.
October 1984 - Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's cabinet narrowly escapes IRA
bomb that kills five people at Brighton hotel during Conservative Party's annual
September 1989 - Bomb at Royal Marines Music School in Deal, southeast England,
kills 11 and wounds 22.
February 1990 - Explosion at Army recruitment center in Leicester, central
England. Two wounded.
May 1990 - Seven wounded by blast at Army Educational Service headquarters in
London suburb of Eltham.
May 1990 - One soldier is killed and another wounded by car bomb in Wembley,
June 1990 - Soldier is shot dead at train station in Lichfield, central England.
February 1991 - IRA comes close to killing Prime Minister John Major and key
cabinet members in a mortar attack on Downing Street. One of three mortar bombs
slammed into garden behind building, exploding within 50 feet of the target.
April 1992 - Huge car bomb outside Baltic Exchange in London's financial
district kills three people and wounds 91.
March 1993 - Bombs in two litter bins in Warrington kill two boys aged three and
April 1993 - IRA truck bomb devastates Bishopsgate area of London's financial
district, killing one and wounding 44.
February 1996 - Two people die when IRA guerrillas detonate large bomb in
London's Docklands area.
March 2001 - Car bomb explodes outside BBC's London headquarters. Police say the
Real IRA, a republican splinter group opposed to the IRA's ceasefire, was behind
the blast. One man was wounded.
May 2011 - A warning comes from Irish dissident republicans opposed to the peace
process in Northern Ireland.
David Cutler; London Editorial Reference Unit)
Timeline: Worst bomb attacks on mainland Britain, R,
The hands of history:
Two worlds come together
to broker a new era of hope
David McKittrick witnesses the first meeting
the two commanding
political figures in Belfast
as they calmly sit side by side to discuss
of Northern Ireland
Published: 27 March 2007
Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams did not shake hands yesterday: they had no need
to, since their manner of signalling they are ready to go into government
together produced an even more telling and forceful image.
The substance of what they said was breathtaking enough, but the way they did it
was even more phenomenal: they sat calmly side by side, exuding a sense of
purpose and the intention of doing serious business together.
The picture of Belfast's two commanding political figures, flanked by their
senior lieutenants, carried a subliminal but unambiguous message: after 3,700
deaths the Troubles are over and real politics can begin.
The two warriors of the Troubles believe they can work together. The statements
they delivered in the ornate surroundings of a Stormont dining-room were
exquisitely crafted to avoid giving anyone offence.
The big news they contained was that Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party
will be going into government together, launching a new era and underpinning the
peace process with a political foundation.
But even more striking was the absence of accompanying threats or conditions -
no begrudgery, no condemnations, no blame game. The two listened carefully and
politely to each other, conveying something new in Belfast politics - mutual
For many months, London, Dublin, Washington, republicans and just about everyone
else have pressed Mr Paisley to go for power-sharing with Sinn Fein. He has
finally done so, and done so handsomely, with no hint of reservation or even
tension. Until now, he has not even spoken to Mr Adams or any Sinn Fein
representative, leading some to assume that no breakthrough could be expected at
their first encounter.
But a breakthrough came and, by letting the cameras in to witness it, the
parties provided an image that will take its place among key moments in other
peace processes across the world.
Many in Belfast reacted with shock and awe: shock that the leaders of loyalism
and republicanism should have finally struck a deal, awe that it had been done
without histrionics but in such a business-like manner. Mr Paisley announced the
timetable for devolution with a phrase no one has ever heard him use before:
"Today we have agreed with Sinn Fein that this date will be Tuesday 8th May
2007." He added: "We must not allow our justified loathing of the horrors and
tragedies of the past to become a barrier to creating a better and more stable
The two statements were studiously symmetrical. Mr Adams provided an echo by
accepting that "the relationships between the people of this island have been
marred by centuries of discord, conflict, hurt and tragedy." He continued: "The
discussions and agreement between our two parties shows the potential of what
can now be achieved."
The sense of mutual satisfaction was also evident in London and Dublin, with the
two governments cock-a-hoop at what they describe as the successful slotting in
of the last piece of a jigsaw that has taken a painstaking decade to put
Tony Blair said proudly: "Everything we have done over the past 10 years has
been a preparation for this moment." The Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern,
lauded the deal as having "the potential to transform the future of this
There was also a welcome from the United States, since the Bush and especially
the Clinton administration have been closely involved in the peace process.
Washington said it looked forward to the dawning of "a new era for Northern
Although long anticipated, the actual accomplishment of an agreement for
government caused near-incredulity on the streets of Belfast.
The Government long ago set yesterday as a deadline, with the Northern Ireland
Secretary, Peter Hain, proclaiming - more than 50 times, by the DUP's count -
that it was "devolution or dissolution." A meeting of the Assembly set for noon
yesterday was abandoned, and the transfer of powers from London postponed until
8 May. But the loss of six weeks of devolution is regarded as a negligible price
to pay for such an advance.
Although a devolved administration was expected at some stage, until yesterday
many wondered how well it could function if Mr Paisley maintained his no-talk
stance. As First Minister he would, in particular, be expected to work alongside
Martin McGuinness, who last night accepted the post of Deputy First Minister
after being nominated by Sinn Fein. Mr Paisley has, however, now specifically
said he will have regular meetings with Mr McGuinness.
It will be fascinating to see what relationship may develop between the
Protestant patriarch and the one-time IRA commander. But if yesterday's
introductory Paisley-Adams performance is anything to go by, the expected
friction may be less than anticipated, given that the two men have spent a full
generation eyeing each other from opposite ends of the political spectrum.
Their lives have in a sense been intertwined. One of the formative political
experiences of Gerry Adams's life was a bout of serious rioting that broke out
in the Falls Road area of Belfast in 1964, when he was 16.
In his biography, Mr Adams blamed the disturbances on "a rabble-rousing,
sectarian anti-Catholic demagogue named Ian Paisley" who had threatened to
remove an Irish tricolour from the district. In the years since then, Mr Paisley
has reciprocated by describing Mr Adams with a battery of uncomplimentary names.
Those early riots pre-dated the Troubles proper, in which the loyalist and the
republican were to play prominent roles.
For decades, Mr Paisley flew a strictly fundamentalist flag, insisting that
attempts to form power-sharing governments involving Unionists and nationalists
were to be opposed at all costs. As leader of the Democratic Unionist party he
denounced Unionist leaders who sought to set up cross-community governments as
traitors, an attitude that he maintained with extraordinary consistency from the
1960s until a few years ago.
Mr Adams, as the republican movement's outstanding leader, was equally opposed
to such arrangements, though from an entirely different perspective. He held
they were diversions from the central problem, which he defined as the British
presence in Northern Ireland.
While the pair maintained those positions for decades, Mr Adams was the first of
the two to broaden his analysis and definition of the issues, seeking secret
meetings with a range of political figures and others.
By the 1990s, those efforts produced an IRA ceasefire as republicans tested the
proposition that the negative power of their violence could be replaced by entry
into politics, with votes proving more effective than guns.
This peace process, which reduced but did not remove violence, was - in its
early years - a highly controversial project, with Mr Paisley leading the ranks
of those who condemned it and wanted it closed down.
But as the death rate fell and a semblance of normality returned to Belfast, the
benefits of the process became clear. It provided huge benefits to Sinn Fein,
whose vote rose dramatically so that it has become Northern Ireland's largest
The process was much more problematic for Mr Paisley, who was opposed to the
whole thing in principle and by gut instinct. But his party nonetheless accepted
posts in a power-sharing administration while refusing to attend cabinet
meetings with Sinn Fein, a stance that rivals described as "semi-detached".
Republicans have remained solidly attached to the peace process, with the IRA
eventually decommissioning its armoury and saying it was going out of business.
A key moment came when the DUP grew to become the largest Unionist party, a
position that meant Mr Paisley would get to be First Minister in any new
administration. That gave him the chance of moving on from perpetual opposition
and into powerful office.
He and his party brooded on the options for many months. Its choices were to
simply say no, thus blocking the formation of a new administration, or to agree
to take part in a coalition dominated by itself and Sinn Fein. He would be First
Minister but it would mean placing hmself at the head of a project he had spent
While the signs are that he decided some time ago that he would go for
devolution, a defining moment came earlier this month with elections to the
Assembly. His party scored a triumphant victory, banishing candidates who were
opposed to power-sharing.
On Saturday, a resolution supporting power-sharing was put to his party
executive and passed overwhelmingly, with some in the ranks who had seemed to be
doubters changing their position to one of support for the idea. All of that
amounted to approval for Mr Paisley going into government with a united party
and indeed a united Protestant electorate behind him, a level of support that
gave him the confidence to do business with his lifelong foes.
What happens next?
* The clock is ticking towards 8 May, the date set for the transfer of powers
from London to the Belfast Assembly. In the meantime, both Sinn Fein and the DUP
will attempt to postpone unpopular new water rates. They will also be calling on
Gordon Brown to increase a £1bn boost planned for the new administration. In the
next few days, work will also begin on a programme for government to be ready
for devolution. On 8 May, Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness are to be nominated
as First Minister and Deputy First Minister. The Assembly's four largest parties
will also nominate 10 departmental ministers.
Shaking the world
GORBACHEV and REAGAN (19 November 1985)
After more than 40 years of nuclear brinkmanship, the two met in Geneva to talk
about scaling back their arsenals and did the unthinkable - they shook hands.
RABIN, ARAFAT and CLINTON (13 September 1993)
Bitter rivals Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat shook hands at the White House. It
was the ultimate symbol of commitment to the Middle East peace process by two
men who were seen as lifelong enemies
MANDELA and DE KLERK (4 May 1990)
Mandela shook hands with the person who had come to symbolise the government
that imprisoned him. Although they remained bitter rivals, the moment came to
symbolise their commitment to South African society
NIXON and MAO (February 1972)
Setting aside two decades of bitter animosity, Nixon's surprise visit to
Communist China in 1972 and his subsequent handshake with the Chinese leader,
Mao Zedong, was described at the time as a meeting that "shook the world".
BEGIN and SADAT (26 March 1979)
The first of the Middle East's momentous handshakes, with Jimmy Carter at the
White House, sent shockwaves through the region. It ended 30 years of war
between Israel and Egypt, but led to Anwar Sadat's assassination.
The hands of history:
Two worlds come together to broker a new era of hope, I, 27.3.2007,
On This Day: February 19, 1969
From The Times archive
[ Erreur de date du Times
l'attentat d'Aldwych a été perpétré le 18 février 1996 -
l'article date donc de
spite of pessimistic first reports,
Edward O’Brien was the only person
to die in
the Aldwych bus bombing
— blown up and killed by his own device
people were feared dead and eight were injured last night when a bomb ripped
without warning through a double-decker bus in central London.
The front half of the old- fashioned Routemaster bus was destroyed by the blast
on the Aldwych near the Strand. Bodies were seen lying on the road and there was
chaos as people ran from restaurants and public houses in Covent Garden near by.
Police, ten ambulances and four paramedic units went to the scene and took the
dead and injured from the 171 bus to two hospitals. As helicopters hovered
overhead, police on the ground used loudspeakers to warn people to move away or
remain in hotels and restaurants. A large area was cordoned off and police
warned drivers to expect traffic chaos this morning.
The bombing was the third attack on the capital in the nine days since the IRA
announced the end of its 17-month ceasefire. Two people were killed and many
injured in an attack at South Quay on the Isle of Dogs on February 9 and last
Thursday an 11lb Semtex bomb was found in a phone box in Charing Cross Road and
No claim of responsibility was made, but one theory was that the bomb exploded
as a terrorist was travelling to plant it at another destination in London.
The bombing came on the eve of a Commons debate on emergency powers in Northern
Ireland, which had been expected to be renewed for two years instead of five. It
also came hours after Gerry Adams, the Sinn Fein president, offered John Major
“the hand of friendship” although his remarks were coupled with a warning that
the Government would face a “united republican struggle” for talks.
The Prime Minister, whose hopes for a summit with the Irish Prime Minister next
week had faded in the aftermath of the earlier London attacks, was being kept
informed of events but Downing Street made no immediate comment.
The explosion on the New Cross to King’s Cross bus at 10.38pm could be heard
five miles away and witnesses described devastation at the scene. Anthony Yates
said: “I was walking down the road and I saw a big white flash in the sky. I
looked and then I saw a double-decker bus but there was nothing left of it, it
was completely blown to pieces. There were three people at least dead.”
On this day, February 19, 2005, The Times,
On This Day
- June 11, 1986
From The Times archive
Patrick Magee was freed in 1999
as part of the Good Friday agreement’s
early release scheme.
He had served 14
for bombing the Grand Hotel, Brighton,
during the Conservative Party
annual conference in 1984
PATRICK MAGEE was yesterday found
guilty of planting the Provisional IRA bomb at the Grand Hotel, Brighton, in
1984 and killing five people attending the Conservative Party annual conference.
At the Central Criminal Court Magee, aged 35, from Belfast, was convicted of
planting the bomb in September 1984, causing the explosion the next month, and
murdering five people. He was found guilty on seven counts after a jury of six
men and six women had deliberated for five and a quarter hours at the end of a
After hearing the verdicts, Magee looked up to the public gallery and winked.
Bearded and wearing a brown leather jacket, Magee half-turned his back to the
judge and called “good luck” up to the gallery before being taken down.
Magee will be sentenced once the jury has finished deciding other verdicts.
Magee was found guilty of placing a timed explosive device in room 629 of the
Grand Hotel between September 14 and 19, 1984. He was found guilty of causing
the explosion on October 12, 1984, when the bomb went off at 2.54am on the night
before the last day of the conference.
At the time of the explosion, the Prime Minister and senior members of the
Government were staying in the hotel. As well as the five people killed, 34
others were injured.
At the beginning of the trial in May the court was told by Mr Roy Amlot,
prosecuting, that the bomb at the Grand Hotel came “within an inch of being the
Provisional IRA’s most devastating explosion”.
Magee placed a timed device in the bathroom of room 629 in the month before the
party conference. He used a false name and address to book into the hotel over a
weekend, paid cash and may have been joined by another person.
After the bomb exploded the registration card for room 629 was examined by a
Scotland Yard fingerprint expert who found a palm print and fingertip print,
which he told the court matched fingerprints belonging to Magee.
From The Times Archive > On This Day - June 11, 1986, The Times,
November 28, 1975
Enemy of IRA bombers
killed outside home
From the Guardian archive
Friday November 28, 1975
and Martin Walker
Mr Ross McWhirter, the television
broadcaster and co-editor of the Guinness Book of Records, was shot dead at his
London home last night, three weeks after he had launched a £50,000
He was hit in the head and stomach
when he answered the door at his home in Enfield, north London.
He was taken to Chase Farm hospital, nearby, where he later died. There was
strong speculation that the shooting was the work of the IRA, and yet another
escalation of their present terrorist campaign.
Mr McWhirter lived in a house standing in its own grounds. When [he] opened his
front door, it was to greet his wife, who had just arrived by car. The gunmen
had apparently been hiding in bushes in the garden. Last night his wife was
staying locally with friends. Their two sons, Ian and Jamie, were at school at
Mr McWhirter was best known for co-editing the Guinness Book of Records with his
identical twin, Norris. The publication has grown to become one of the most
successful books ever published. However, he had recently gained publicity with
his plans to combat terrorism. His organisation Self-Help offered a reward of
between £20,000 and £50,000 for information leading to the conviction of
terrorist bombers in Britain.
In October, Mr John Nundy, licensee of the Bay Horse Hotel, Winteringham, near
Scunthorpe, won a High Court injunction with financial help from Mr McWhirter,
to free his vehicle from the Eagle car ferry, which was held up by a labour
dispute at Southampton.
Mr Nundy said last night: "I am deeply sorry. He was very much a people's man.
He was in favour of justice and fairness for ordinary people."
MPs immediately condemned what Tory MP Mr John Stokes said was the first killing
in England which had followed the examples of scores of murders in Northern
Mr Eldon Griffiths, Conservative MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: "There is no way
of dealing with this kind of obscenity without a return to the capital
Three weeks ago, launching his Beat-the-Bombers campaign, Mr McWhirter said a
man had to live by his beliefs, and he was prepared to back them with action.
"We are gradually wallowing into a situation of terror and violence, and not
enough is being done to stop it." This was one of eight killings for which the
so-called Balcombe Street gang of IRA terrorists received jail terms in 1977.
From the Guardian
archive > November 28, 1975
Enemy of IRA bombers killed outside home, G,
November 22, 1974
Pub blasts kill 17 in Birmingham
From the Guardian archive
Friday November 22, 1974
At least 17 people were killed and
more than 120 were injured last night after bombs exploded almost simultaneously
in two crowded public houses in the heart of Birmingham.
No warnings seemed to have been
given for any of the explosions, which brought the highest death toll in England
for an IRA bomb attack.
Emergency services were called in from all districts surrounding the city as
customers in the public houses, most of them young people, lay dead and dying.
Those who survived the initial blasts - at the Tavern in the Town cellar bar and
the Mulberry Bush - faced the horror of walls and ceilings falling on to the
places where they lay trapped. Firemen tore at the rubble of the buildings with
The bombs came at 8.30pm as hundreds of police who might normally have been on
duty in the city centre were waiting at Birmingham Airport nine miles away for
the [plane] carrying the body of James McDade, the IRA bomber killed by his own
bomb in Coventry, to take off for Belfast.
Patrol cars sped to seal off motorways and main roads out of the Midlands and
railways police boarded trains arriving at Euston. In the Commons MPs spoke of
"extreme feelings of revulsion being experienced in the city".
From Gareth Parry in Birmingham.
For those who survived the initial blasts, there was danger of being crushed to
death by debris falling on to the places where they were trapped.
The streets outside the two public houses in New Street and in the Rotunda were
littered with dead bodies and dismembered limbs which lay for nearly half an
hour after the first explosion. Police and ambulance men were concentrating
efforts in rescuing the trapped.
A woman aged about 20 said: "I had come into the Tavern a few minutes before it
happened. I went over to the bar with my girlfriend, and was just about to buy a
drink when there was a bang and everything started falling upon us.
"I flicked on my lighter and saw my friend next to me had lost her foot. I
thought I was also dead and that my spirit was just carrying on, for everywhere
I looked there was murder."
Rescue workers in the Tavern called for steel props to hold up the roof of the
basement pub. A senior brigade officer said: "We cannot go near the injured for
fear of bringing the building on top of them."
Film of the bombings shown on the BBC showed two or three men running from the
scene of one of the explosions and down steps to a waiting car.
From the Guardian
archive > November 22, 1974
Pub blasts kill 17 in Birmingham, G, Republished
May 30 1939
Another tear gas
outrage in cinema
From The Guardian archive
May 30 1939
Police throughout the North of England are searching for a
woman who is believed to have been concerned in another tear-gas bomb outrage in
a Liverpool cinema, this time the Tatler News Theatre in Church Street, this
afternoon, when 25 members of an audience of 200 had to be taken to the Royal
Infirmary for treatment.
A description furnished by cinema-goers at the Tatler tallies with others given
by members of the audiences of the two Liverpool cinemas where similar
explosions occurred a few weeks ago. Police are searching for this woman, who is
believed to be a member of the I.R.A. organisation, and a particularly close
watch is being kept at the ports, as it is believed she leaves for Ireland
immediately after the outrages.
All holiday-makers returning to Belfast and Dublin were closely scrutinised
to-night on Liverpool landing-stage by plain-clothes police. Warning was also
flashed to all theatres and cinemas on Merseyside, and a close watch was kept
until the end of the evening performances.
The explosion at the Tatler, which sounded like a huge firework, occurred
immediately after the showing of a "Popeye" film. There was a flash of flame,
and the theatre, which was only a quarter full owing to exceptionally fine
weather, was filled with a white mist which blinded and choked the audience.
The manager, Mr. Keith Hann, with his doorman and fireman, opened all exit doors
and quelled any panic, leading out the women. Tears streaming down their faces,
they were aided by five gallant girl attendants, all of whom were eventually
overcome and had to go to hospital.
The twenty-five people, including a six-year-old boy and a 74-year-old woman,
who were taken to the Liverpool Royal Infirmary were all allowed home after
Birmingham cinema explosions
Four magnesium bombs exploded in the Paramount Cinema, Birmingham, last night.
The alarm of the audience of 300 was allayed by a man who stood up and shouted,
"Don't worry. Keep calm. It is only the Irish again."
After the smoke had cleared people returned to their seats and the programme was
completed. Little damage was done. The first of the bombs, which were understood
to be contained in tobacco tins, went off in the balcony, and there was at once
a rush for the exits. The three others went off in rapid succession downstairs.
Shortly afterwards a search made on police advice revealed an unexploded bomb of
similar type upstairs at the Gaumont Cinema, Steelhouse Lane.
From The Guardian
archive > May 30 1939 > Another tear gas outrage in cinema,
30.5.2007, p. 30,
October 12, 1921
Don't be too tragic about Ireland
From the Guardian archive
Wednesday October 12, 1921
The Anglo-Irish Conference duly met
at Downing Street yesterday. We purposely express the fact in terms of
nationality, because that is the point of view from which it can most usefully
and truthfully be regarded.
But when people - Mr. De Valera is,
we fear, one of them - talk about Englishmen being "foreigners" and about
England as a foreign nation, politeness alone prevents us from telling them that
in our opinion they talk nonsense. Irishmen are not and never will be
Englishmen; even the Ulster and Orange brand is at bottom much more Irish than
it is English. But on the other hand a bond, even an unwilling bond, and a
continuous connection and inter-mixture going right back through the centuries
to a point not so very far removed from the Norman Conquest of this island
(which unfortunately was never completely extended to the outlying island) does
not count for nothing.
Neither does the fact that Irishmen have played a great part in English history
and literature, that we find ourselves very much at home in their land, and that
they have made themselves very much at home in ours. Therefore we positively
decline to recognise anything essentially foreign, and not even should they
insist on addressing Mr. Lloyd George in the Irish language (which to some of
them may sound less familiar than to that brother Celt) and calling in the
service of an interpreter will they persuade us to regard them as unqualified
They come as representatives of a nation to present a national case. No doubt
during the negotiations there may be a pretty heavy tug-of-war. But that is no
reason for taking the matter too tragically.
The fundamental fact is that both peoples want to be friends, and friends in the
end they will be.
Mr. Churchill has signalised himself quite recently by foolish talk about the
"real war" that is to follow should the present negotiations fail, in contrast
to the "mere bushranging" represented by the glorious achievements of our
Black-and-Tans. [The Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force of 7,000
ex-soldiers, a byword for brutality.]
But Mr. Churchill, who is a realist as well an orator, knows quite well that
nothing of the kind is going to happen, just because, whatever his own warlike
aspirations may be - and he has given abundant and at times disastrous proof of
them - they are not shared by the British people.
[The people] will not tolerate the renewal of the brutalities from which the
truce has relieved us and cannot be lashed into any frenzy of hate or terror.
From the Guardian archive > October 12, 1921
Don't be too
tragic about Ireland, G,
May 4 1916
Interpreting the soul
of the rising
From The Guardian archive
May 4 1916
Few things indeed are harder than to interpret the soul of a
people or of a movement. Perhaps there lurks everywhere among men an element of
madness; certainly among men of Irish race the romantic, the irresponsible, the
desperate, the wild is never far from the smooth surface of things.
Nothing could seem on the face of it more hopeless than the attempt of a few
thousand men, even in the capital counting only a force relatively
insignificant, to upset the established government of the country, supported by
the great majority of people and backed by overwhelming civil and military
force. And yet the attempt was made — made, to all appearance, quite seriously,
and conceived and carried through its initial stage with great ability and
The men who have made the streets of Dublin run with blood and reduced part of
it to ruins, are not politicians, and they are not particularly sane. They are
mostly wild young spirits tired of the slow ways of political agitation and
easily led by fanatical and reckless men. Home Rule ought, of course, to have
been passed twenty years ago, in Gladstone's lifetime, when movements such as
this would have become for ever impossible and the young blood of Ireland would
have run in safer if more prosaic channels. Even now, with Home Rule almost in
sight and a better day dawning, only a strange combination of events could have
brought about such a catastrophe.
It had its seat and origin in Dublin, and could have taken place nowhere else.
In Dublin, side by side with the romantic and literary movement of the Sinn
Fein, there exists perennial misery of a kind hardly conceived in any English
city. Add to this that for the first time the people had arms, and it is no
wonder that desperate counsels were in the ascendant and desperate deeds were
Yet the truth remains that "this is not an Irish rebellion" — it is only a
rebellion of a relatively small section of Irishmen in a single great Irish
city, for outside Dublin the movement appears to have been almost wholly
abortive. The rebellion itself perhaps matters less than the place it is
destined to take in the consciousness of the Irish people and in the long memory
of Ireland. Of this much if not everything will depend on the way it is now
Three of the ringleaders have, it was yesterday stated, been tried by
courtmartial in Dublin and shot. Is that not enough?
Attributed to CP Scott
[On May 9, after nine more executions, a leader said:
"The Dublin military
executions are becoming an atrocity."]
From The Guardian
archive > May 4 1916 > Interpreting the soul of the rising,
4.5.2007 p. 38,
May 1 1916
Women fight beside
From The Guardian archive
May 1 1916
"There are a conspicuous number of women fighting with the
rebels [in the Easter Rising], and some have been shot and some captured,"
declared a man who arrived in London from Dublin yesterday morning. "I saw a
number of women marching into Dublin on Sunday last. Some of them had naval
revolvers strapped round them. They were wearing a dark green uniform similar to
that of the male insurgents, and slouch hats. They consist largely of young
women, but there are a number of older ones, I believe. They had had training
with the men, for they do not lack a certain discipline and organisation. There
have been cases of military officers being shot from behind by women."
Dealing with the methods employed by the soldiers in their efforts to dislodge
the rebels from their positions, he said the rebels would allow the soldiers to
approach, and while the soldiers were pausing before the attack they would snipe
at them from the windows of houses.
The soldiers say that it is worse than France because they never know when to
expect to be fired upon or where the enemy is. They have now adopted better
tactics, however. They fire for a while at the houses and then a bombing party
rushes up with hand grenades. The rebels are driven from house to house, and the
direction from which firing comes is continually changing. The rebels, who know
every inch of the city, get away from the soldiers and appear somewhere else.
By knocking openings in the partition-walls of houses they have succeeded in
establishing covered communications. They occupied a number of big houses which
commanded important thoroughfares. They were burned out of one of these
strongholds in Percy Place, and gas was employed by the military in dislodging
them from part of the Post Office. The Sinn Feiners displayed a white flag of
sur render, but on an officer approaching to ascertain their meaning he was shot
dead. An R.A.M.C. man told me that there are few wounded rebels. Many have been
The population are making the most of the rebellion, and it is not the
insurgents themselves who are guilty of most of the looting. On Thursday night I
saw some women coming down Grafton Street carrying boxes of oranges taken from
some shop, and passers-by were helping themselves.
[James Connolly said in a message of support
to English suffragettes in 1913:
"When trimmers and compromisers disavow you,
I, a poor slum-bred politician,
raise my hat in thanksgiving that I lived to see
this resurgence of women."]
From The Guardian
archive > May 1 1916,
Women fight beside the rebels,
G, republished 1.5.2007,
March 24 1914
mutiny on the Curra
From The Guardian archive
[ Most Cavalry Brigade officers had made clear
that they would
prefer to be dismissed
rather than obey orders to act against moves
self-government in Ulster ]
March 24 1914
The contingent mutiny of the cavalry officers in Ireland has
raised political questions that make even Home Rule seem small. These officers
asserted the right to lay down the conditions under which they would continue to
serve the King. Has that right been recognised?
If the answer had been a plain 'No,' plain men would have had this cause for
thankfulness, that the supremacy of law had been vindicated and that the
Government, not the army — or a small section of fashionable men — were our
rulers. If the answer had been a plain 'Yes,' then these same men would have had
cause to fear the worst. When any future crisis came no Government could feel
sure that the weapon with which it is accustomed in the last resort to enforce
respect for the law would not break in its hands.
The officer has no rights that the private soldier has not. If the officer may
resign when he is threatened with work which he or his friends do not like, so
may the private soldier. The civil Government would have ceased to exist except
in so far as the army approved what it is doing, and the sovereignty of the
country would have been transferred from the people to a military caste.
Had Mr. Asquith's answer been an emphatic 'No,' he would have been supported by
every Liberal and by every Conservative who still believes in the old ideals of
his party. He has said neither 'Yes' nor 'No,' but his answer is much nearer
'Yes'. We say it with regret and some shame.
The duty of the Government was plain. When [the officers] threatened to resign
(that is, to desert or to absent themselves without leave) they should have been
dealt with exactly as private soldiers. They should have been tried by
court-martial, and punished. They have not been so treated, first, because they
were rich men; secondly, because they had the prejudices of their class.
Not only is there one law for the rich man in the army and another for the poor,
but there is one standard of a Tory officer's loyalty to his oath and another
for a private with Labour sympathies. For a Liberal Government to acquiesce is
not only to deal a serious blow at the army but to be false to the whole
conception of democratic progress. What worse risks were there that compelled
the Government to take a risk like this? We cannot imagine.
Attributed to CE Montague
From The Guardian
archive > March 24 1914 > Contingent mutiny on the Curra,
G, 8.4.2007, Republished 8.4.2007, p. 36,
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