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No Deal Brexit Looms-The Dangers and the Opportunities

Incisive Analysis by Paul Gillespie

World View: Ireland weaponised by London in Brexit talks

Full Article  carried further down

“Ireland is nevertheless being weaponised by London in the Brexit negotiations. The threat of a no-deal Brexit puts pressure on Ireland because reversion to world trade rules would put 57 per cent UK tariffs on Irish beef exports to the UK, where 40 per cent of output goes……..

If those driving EU Brexit policy believe these costs are worthwhile to make their desired transition, Ireland would become the geopolitical border between such new Anglo-American and Eurasian varieties of capitalism.”—-Full Article Below

Comment by  Paddy Healy Arising out of Article by Paul Gillespie

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1G0

Importantly, Paul Gillespie puts the Brexit issue in the context of sharpening inter-Imperialist contention. He refers to the two emerging “varieties of capitalism”-Anglo-American and Eurasian. Eurasian ,presumably, includes the EU and China and possibly Russia. Paul Gillespie also refers to the general belief that the Boris Johnson-led Tories want an extreme free market capitalist economy, in which the welfare state is further diluted and labour protections are virtually abolished. These developments would also impact on the population of “Northern Ireland”.

It is clear that the 26-county government has negligible sovereignty in relation to Brexit outcomes. The six-counties is British sovereign territory under the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921.  In this context, the Irish People as a whole. north and south, could end up with the worst of all possible worlds.  Deals, or conflicts, between the Franco-German Alliance, the US and the UK will decide the Brexit outcomes.

The necessity for All-Ireland unity and sovereignty is clearer than ever

 

Full Article

Paul Gillespie Irish Times, Saturday, July 4, 2020,

Agriculture and food are key strategic issues in the high politics of world trade. This puts Ireland North and South at the centre of current negotiating outcomes on Brexit and transatlantic relations.

Regulatory alignment between the UK and the EU on agriculture and food trade is a central question in the more intensive talks now under way in Brussels. British negotiators highlight regained sovereignty as they resist future alignment with EU standards; simultaneously the United States demands the UK accepts agriculture and food imports from there as the price of a trade deal to compensate for loss of EU membership.

Those alternatives pose a fateful choice for British political leaders, consumers and farmers. For 40 years British food standards have been aligned with Europe’s. They are higher than US ones and based on the precautionary not risk principle. Assuming the real political agenda and logic of Brexit is to Americanise its economy and downscale its welfare state, it is clear which way this should go. But that direction comes up against strong opposition from a broad range of British interests.

Farming and free trade

The conflict plays out between the UK trade and environment departments over a commission on standards, in the Conservative party between farming and free trade advocates, and in online petitions and large supermarket declarations rejecting US chlorinated chicken and genetically modified agricultural goods. It recalls historic divisions within the Tories over abolition of the corn laws in 1846 and imperial protection 50 years later. Boris Johnson’s government has to balance these interests with the working-class vote that gave him victory over Labour last December, which supposedly favours cheaper US food.

The real everyday impact of Brexit thus comes through to British citizens in these battles over food standards, just as over continental mobility and residence rights. Brexit outcomes will be determined in good part by how they are perceived and resolved in forthcoming domestic politics.

That politics becomes international at the Irish Border and in the Irish Sea. The Protocol on Northern Ireland attached to and part of the Withdrawal Agreement treaty specifies that the North will remain part of the UK customs regime but will operate EU standards and trade rules to avoid reimposing a border on this island. The treaty comprehensively underwrites the 1998 agreement, creates a system of joint EU-UK committees to implement the trade rules and provides for a vote by the Northern Ireland assembly on whether the arrangements should continue after four years.

The UK customs service has confirmed the paperwork required to control trade from Britain to Northern Ireland and infrastructural work is to proceed in Larne and elsewhere to implement it – despite earlier denials by Johnson. Northern Ireland business interests and now the new Irish Government demand clarity and insist on the need to prepare.

Cherrypicking access

The timing is extremely tight and increasingly perilous for ardent Brexiteers. If major compromises are not agreed this month, the UK chief negotiator will have left for a new security job in 10 Downing Street by September. Angela Merkel says the incoming German EU presidency cannot let the UK cherrypick access to its markets as if they had not left. The US chief trade negotiator says a US-UK trade deal cannot be concluded by November – perhaps after Trump’s defeat. The powerful agricultural and food lobbies in the US Congress would not agree one excluding access for its products, which they see as a battering ram to open more important EU markets. Nor would the Irish congressional lobby allow one that created an internal Irish border.

Food lobbies in the US Congress see their products as a battering ram to open more important EU markets

Ireland is nevertheless being weaponised by London in the Brexit negotiations. The threat of a no-deal Brexit puts pressure on Ireland because reversion to world trade rules would put 57 per cent UK tariffs on Irish beef exports to the UK, where 40 per cent of output goes.

A more radical no-deal involving non-implementation of the Northern Ireland protocol would force Ireland and the EU to defend the single market on the Irish Border. For how long would EU solidarity last then? Could the UK’s consequent loss of international trust and credibility outlast that?

Such malign scenarios need to be explored, however unfavourable or unlikely they seem. There are huge potential costs for the UK as well as for Ireland and the EU.

If those driving EU Brexit policy believe these costs are worthwhile to make their desired transition, Ireland would become the geopolitical border between such new Anglo-American and Eurasian varieties of capitalism.

© 2020 irishtimes.com

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Communist Party Of Northern Ireland-The Inside Story

NI  Communist Party- The Inside Story

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EDWINA STEWART REMEMBERED!

Wilson John Haire

LIFE-LONG BELFAST COMMUNIST  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1FQ

– an obituary by Wilson John Haire, ‘Irish Political Review’, July 2020:

I knew Edwina Stewart (nee Menzies), who has died at the age of 86, when we were in the Young Workers’ League, back in 1950. (The YWL isn’t mentioned in the Northern Communist Party Of Ireland ‘Unity’ publication that published her obituary.) She was 16 and I was 18, so as young people, like the rest of the YWL, it was politics and socialising non-stop with our boundless energy.

Later we YWL members graduated to the CPNI (again not mentioned in ‘Unity’.)

(Paddy Healy- Condolences to Edwina Stewarts Family and Friends)

[See www.communistpartyofireland.ie/unity/E-Unity-2020-06-06.pdf and https://socialistvoice.ie/2020/06/edwina-stewart-1934-2020/ for the CPI obituary.]

(Paddy Healy”Unity” is a Communist Party of Ireland Publication distributed in the 6-Counties)

She was part of the Menzies family. Her parents, Eddie and Sadie Menzies, were founder members of the old CPI of the 1930s, when it was Nationalist-orientated.

The Menzies were not the only Protestants in the old CPI. The majority membership were Protestants. My father was a member at the beginning of the 1930s, He had come from the Workers’ Revolutionary Group. He left because of its Nationalism but stayed a life-long communist. He never called himself Irish and supported the British link. The Menzies family could be described as British. Certainly Edwina, back then, would have found the Catholic Falls Road foreign territory.

My father also didn’t want Protestant militancy in what he thought should be a revolutionary movement. But it was mostly Protestant, with very few Catholic members. No one understood the politics of Northern Ireland then like we do now, with its two nationalities. There was to be no unity and certainly no one-nation-one-people.

Sean Murray, former IRA Commandant in the War of Independence, wrote the nationalist pamphlets in the old CPI of the 1930s. The Protestant members worked in the Trade Union movement, with the Protestants holding most of the jobs that mattered. It was like two parties in one. That became all too obvious with the WW2 split in the CPI, with the CPNI in the North and the Irish Workers’ League in the South.

Edwina organised a reception for the Irish Workers’ League youth wing around 1951, when they came to Belfast from Dublin. They were put up for the night in various comrades’ homes.

The YWL members found out soon enough that they had nothing in common with the Southerners, as Protestants, and the few Catholics, like myself, couldn’t understand their politics and so it was just socialising.

The whole ridiculous idea was: ‘you get your part of country communist and we’ll get our part communist, then we’ll unite’. It was like saying: ‘You stay on your side of the border for now and we’ll stay on our side.’

In 1970 the two halves of the party came together again as the Communist Party of Ireland, and again it had a Nationalist slant. The Northern Ireland Protestant members, like the Menzies, stayed as members – along with notables like Betty Sinclair, a Trade Union organiser, as did other Trade Union chiefs.

The party as the CPNI had good relations with the Protestant community. It had offices, on the Albertbridge Road, a highly militant Protestant area, and beside the offices was an Orange Lodge social club which we were allowed into to watch, on TV, the Hungary versus England football match in the early 1950s.

Then, as the 28-year-war progressed and the party was once more the CPI, Protestant militants torched the Albertbridge Road offices and all the records of the old CPI, the CPNI and the revived CPI, were destroyed. They needn’t have bothered, for both wings of the party turned out to be of no value to the suffering Catholic population over its 90 year history. In fact some of the members of the new CPI, during that war, joined the UDA (Ulster Defence Association). Another wrote a pamphlet addressed to PIRA, with a foreword by Clare Short (a British MP then), appealing to them not to kill Protestants (RUC and prison personnel).

There was the spectacle, witnessed by a friend of mine, of two former members of the YWL in some ruckus in which one was chasing the other with gun, intent on killing him.

Another, the Protestant son of an RUC man, used to sing Republican and communist songs in the Duke of York pub, had his boat burnt by PIRA after he joined the UDA. So a stormy time for communists. Some of its male members were taken in by the British Army and had their heads shaved and their clothes fumigated in order to humiliate them, thinking they were a danger to their war effort. They also wasted their time.

Edwina was very much into the Civil Rights movement before the bullets began to fly. I can’t account for all her work during the war situation because I wasn’t living in NI anymore. I had left in 1954 but I caught up with her again in 1957 when I went back to live in Belfast for 18 months, to avoid conscription.

In that same year, 1957, preparations were being made for the World Youth Festival in Moscow Her obituary in ‘Unity’ claims she organised the delegation – which included the Irish musicians, the McPeakes; and the Mulholland School of Irish Dancing. No, it was Bob Heatley, a CPNI member, like Edwina, who organised that trip. I was with him when he visited the McPeakes to invite them to Moscow. Eventually the delegation had a majority of Protestants.

I began to see Edwina as the good Presbyterian who gave room to all faiths, though she would never have attended any church. She had the aura of a pacifist Joan of Arc who would sacrifice herself for a good cause. She lost her teaching job through calling for a proper inquiry into Derry’s Bloody Sunday and for attending the hearings.

She was a quiet person who never panicked or raised her voice. She would never claim to have done things she never did. Such a person was lost in a political party which failed to deal with Catholic emancipation for opportunistic reasons, like keeping its Protestant Trade Unionists on side. When it did make some effort during the war situation, it was already too late, the Catholic population had taken the matter of their oppression into their own hands.

In Moscow, in 1957, Bob Heatley, who had swung the Young Workers’ League over to Nationalism, provoked anger when he wanted the NI delegation to walk behind the Irish Tricolour. A Protestant himself, he angered the Protestant members of the delegation, They wanted the Union Jack. The conflict reached the higher echelons of the Soviet Government, which decided the Irish Tricolour was the flag to use in the Red Square parade. Either that or go home. The Tricolour won.

In the ‘Unity’ obituary it is claimed that Edwina founded the Communist Youth League: In fact it was Bob Heatley who changed the Young Workers’ League into the now Nationalist Young Socialist League. Something has gone wrong here. The Northern section of the CPI could be blind without those records, while the Southern part of the party wants to bury the YWL and the CPNI phase of the party, and tout the CPI as the party of continuity.

Anyway, someone is dead whom I admired and respected. I can’t think of anything to fault her on. She was very much her own person. She was brave throughout her life.

As I have said, the Young Workers’ League had a majority of young Protestants.

The membership was up and down. It had around 30 members when I was there – and that included just five Catholics. The stalwarts, beside Edwina, were the daughters of the Trade Union leaders. (They all seemed to have only daughters.)

Being head of Trade Unions creates a middle-class life, with its high earnings and long-lasting jobs in a place like Northern Ireland. So we had quite a bunch of young middle-class girls. I can’t remember any working-class girls. The males were mostly working-class.

Edwina, was already a young sophisticated girl who was familiar with phones, like the rest of the girls in the YWL. I was near 19 and had never used a phone in Belfast.

In the meeting rooms above the Party bookshop in Church lane, we decided to contact the French Communist Party and support them in their campaign to free Jacques Duclos from prison. The Party secretary had been arrested when his car was stopped by the Gendarmerie.

There had been a massive demonstration against the visit of the American General Matthew Ridgeway to Paris on 28th May 1952. A pistol, a club, a notebook and two pigeons were found in Duclos’s car. In court it was claimed the birds were carrier pigeons being used in spying against France for the benefit of the Soviets. It turned out the pigeons were dead and were part of Duclos’s food.

It was Edwina who made the phone call and it was some of the girls who got together a telegram in French. Duclos was released through massive support from worldwide communist agitation.

An English girl student attending Queen’s University and a member of the YWL, suggested we all went to see a lm called ‘Death Of A Salesman’. Most didn’t want to go so I ended up with the English girl and Edwina, going to a cinema in Royal Avenue. On the way I thought about how the English loved books and films about murder and crime. The film turned out to be Arthur Miller’s play made into a film.

I suppose most of us should have been out of the YWL by 18 but it was more congenial than the older CPNI which had an age gap of 20 and 30 years, compared to us. And we were hated as the YWL, becoming the Socialist Youth League with its Nationalist slant. The Catholic youth didn’t turn up in droves after our conversion, but we did get one Catholic lad whom we thought was in to spy for the IRA. I can’t remember Edwina’s reaction to these changes. When we decided to go to Milltown for the Easter Rising commemorations, she refused to go, as did the rest of the girls. So it was three Protestant lads and myself. Two of the lads became so frightened by Special Branch attention they never went there again. Bob Heatley continued and played the Protestant card to the Branch in saying as a Protestant he had the right to go anywhere in Ulster. I knew I didn’t so I stayed away.

Edwina’s mother, Sadie, was a middle-class woman, placid and genteel. Her father Eddie, had been a shipyard worker, had had a bad accident at work, got compensation and became a business man. He mainly fitted in with his wife’s life-style but was known on occasions to let out crude gulders* to let you know he wasn’t a sham but a working-class man. In the meantime he had built one of the biggest houses in Belfast, which the locals named as the Menzies Commune.

( * gulder, a crude, garbled shout, Ulster Scots – Ed.)

Edwina didn’t like the ‘take’ on the female version of Edward as a name. And of course her father’s crude explosions on occasions. But like a lot of young people parents seemed an embarrassment sometimes and might even be better off dead.

She was to become happily married to Jimmy Stewart, a teacher, and Ballymena man – Paisley’s territory. He became the Secretary of the YWL and was in the communist movement all his life. We used to whisper:

“Edwina converted him. How could he think like us when he comes from Ahoghill where they call soda bread pastry?”

But he was a school teacher and very good on literature. His favourite topic was Scottish border ballads, which he tormented us with, quoting some, at YWL meetings.

Edwina, at sixteen, already had a good taste in films and literature. This cultural aspect of the YWL and the CPNI, I was grateful for. We had Lagan Films, which screened the best films, in the Party’s facility on the Albertbridge Road. The films came from the USSR, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. Progressive films came from India and Japan. That was thanks to Edwina’s dad. There was nothing like it in Belfast.

Wilson John Haire, 5.6.20.

 

Categories: Uncategorized

New Government Faces “explosive political decisions”

Government must dive in to save jobs but some decisions will be politically explosive

Cliff Taylor. IrishTimes, Monday, June 29, 2020,      https://wp.me/pKzXa-1FL

The new Government will immediately face the economic reckoning from the first phase of the coronavirus crisis.

Soaring unemployment and the threat facing many companies big and small means it will have to move quickly – and do so even as the future path of the virus remains uncertain.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin pointed out on Saturday that close to 900,000 people remain supported by special schemes introduced in response to Covid-19. It is an unprecedented economic and financial challenge and the Government faces some big decisions in its early weeks.

As large parts of the economy reopen, the cost of the lockdown and the ongoing economic toll of the virus will quickly become clear as many people find their jobs gone and many companies fail to reopen. Normal seasonal work in tourism will disappear.

That said, this is no ordinary recession and many parts of the economy have continued to operate at or close to normal levels. Some sectors have been hit really hard and some hardly at all – younger employees, often with few qualifications have been among the worst hit.

Saving businesses and jobs will be the first economic priority and the Government is facing a wave of demands for help. With businesses in affected sectors running out of cash, legislation is promised urgently to bring forward a €2 billion scheme of credit guarantees for companies as well as to allow ongoing forbearance by the Revenue Commissioners.

New Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Michael McGrath clearly indicated on Saturday that the planned support schemes will be extended. Further sectoral supports and larger grants for small and medium-sized enterprises are also likely.

New supports

As businesses restart, the hope is that more and more people will come off the pandemic unemployment payment, which now has 465,00 claimants, down from more than 600,000 at its peak level.

The task of reducing and eventually phasing out this payment will be economically delicate and politically explosive. The temporary wage subsidy scheme, which pays part of the wages of employees in companies suffering a big drop in revenue, is likely to be retained for longer, though it will probably be amended.

New supports for companies who can afford to take people back only on a part-time basis are also likely, as well as major training and job-placement programmes.

An economic review under the aegis of the Taoiseach’s department is to be undertaken and as well as identifying opportunities it will have to take a view on the future of sectors such as hospitality and tourism.

A really difficult question is what level of supports to direct to sectors which may face long-term challenges from changed consumer behaviour, such as parts of the tourism sector. Deciding where to direct help – and where it may not be worth doing so – will be hugely controversial.

After the interminable negotiations, the Government promises to hit the ground running. Legislating for the new business supports will be key parts of a promised July economic stimulus, as will supports for retraining and additional public investment.

The Government will want to make some impact with this package, though the key decisions will be made in the autumn, when the budget for 2021 is published, along with a a national economic plan for the years ahead.

By the autumn, the new administration will hope to have a better handle on the economic outlook, including the likely size of the budget deficit, which could head for €30 billion this year.

Whether the UK will leave the European Union trading bloc without a new trade deal should also be clear – a vital issue for the food sector in particular.

Climate goals

The Government will want to match the need for economic stimulus with other goals by spending money on areas such as retrofitting old houses and building new ones.

Starting the process of meeting the climate goals will require significant investment in areas such as renewable energy and public transport – other investment may be long-fingered .

Reappointed Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe and McGrath will have to decide how to strike the balance between the necessary additional spending and budgetary prudence. Caution will take second place for now as existing spending plans are ramped up.

Borrowing costs are remain low for now, with European Central Bank support promised for the market to mid-2021, though the two ministers will recognise that there is a limit to the amount which can be borrowed. There is a promise to reduce the deficit each year and move the budget back towards balance.

The new economic programme will put flesh on these commitments. It will thus force the three parties to address the trade-offs not faced in an aspirational programme for government – and to consider how to pay for big spending commitments in areas such as health and education. Sparks could fly. A new tax and welfare commission may allow some of the decisions to be deferred.

There has been some slightly better-than-expected Irish economic data in recent weeks. But due to the virus, forecasting with any confidence is impossible. For now, the new Government has little choice but to dive in, try to save as many jobs and businesses as possible and see where things stand in September.

Categories: Uncategorized

With new Right-wing Government in Dublin and Brexit ahead, How Should Irish socialists and republicans throughout the 32-counties Re-organise? Join the Discussion NOW!!!

Statements by People Before Profit, Independent Left an RISE are carried below https://wp.me/pKzXa-1FB

How should Socialists and Republicans throughout the 32-counties Respond to New Government  and the effects of Brexit in the coming Months?  How should we re-organise? Let the Discussion begin!   

The new FF/FG/GN Government in Dublin does not propose to put a penny tax on the assets of the incredibly wealthy Irish Super-Rich. On the other hand citizens generally will be forced to pay increased tax on petrol, diesel, home heating oil etc. Spending on public health services, social housing and caring services generally will continue to be grossly inadequate. Given the composition of the government , when additional borrowings arsing from Covid crisis come to be repaid, the imposition of a new set of austerity measures is inevitable. The extreme right-wing form of Brexit being prepared by the British Tories will lead to further burdens being imposed on the workers of both these islands. When Brexit is completed , Britain will be in a position to impose tariffs on 26-county exports and to import cheap sub-standard meat and other foods from low cost countries. Communities on both sides of the Irish border may be badly affected new customs arrangements

Large capitalist powers such as the US, Germany, France and others are preparing to reduce the amount of multi-national profits realised in the 26-counties by imposing sales taxes on drugs and digital products and services imported into their own markets. The new government will ensure that this will not cost the Irish super-rich a penny in extra taxes and workers will be hit again with cuts or extra taxes or both!

Workers in the six counties will be at the tender mercies of extreme Tories in London. The 26-county state has negligible sovereignty given the gross over dependence on Multi-national companies on the one hand and continued membership of an EU which is increasingly behaving like an imperialist super-power with associated military spending, on the other.  

I wish to open a wide but urgent discussion on the way forward for socialists and republicans.

Please respond.

Paddy Healy          paddy.healy@gmail.com

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People Before Profit

Let’s Bring The Left Together To Fight This Government

 The new government of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party is a huge disappointment for the many people who vote for change. The two right wing parties got only 43% of the vote but now they dominate the cabinet. Many voters wanted to break the cycle where they ran both government and the opposition.

The new government will attempt to put on a vaguely progressive mask but few will be fooled. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have a long record of looking after the privileged and the Greens will be used as a mudguard to cover their tracks. It should be remembered that the new Taoiseach, Mícheál Martin sat in a government that landed the people of Ireland with a €64 billion debt – which we are still paying off.

This coalition want to lock themselves into office for four and a half years – so that they have space to take unpopular measures. They will soon mount an attack on the Covid payments for workers and the unemployed. They will do little to protect construction workers who have just witnessed a High Court judge removing their legal protections. They will go back to a two-tier health system – and pay huge sums to the private hospitals. They will not impose rent controls or build enough council housing. In short, they will be an anti-working class government.

But they will have significant weaknesses. They do not have a  big enough support base  in Irish society to carry through unpopular attacks. They can be driven from office by mass mobilisations on the streets.

The coming together of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael will also re-shape Irish politics on left-right lines.  As these battle-lines are drawn, we urge those members of the Greens who voted against coalition to leave that party now. Nobody with an ounce of left-wing ideas should play any part in supporting or excusing this dreadful government.

We need a left that will work with Sinn Féin but also offer a different, stronger politics. While Sinn Féin won considerable support from working people, they have a poor record on climate justice and actively supporting militant workers’ struggles. Their embrace of neoliberal policies in the North  stands in contrast with their rhetoric in the South. They have not ruled out the possibility of being in a coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael in the future.

This is why People Before Profit are reaching out to left wing activists from different backgrounds to invite discussions on how we can build a big, broad radical left party or co-operate with each other more closely.

In any such discussion, People Before Profit advocate for a number of key issues;

  • That the modern Irish left needs to operate on a 32 county basis, standing in the tradition of  James Connolly in advocating an end to partition through building a radical new Ireland.
  • That we should support grassroots workers in their struggles to build strong fighting unions that break from social partnership.
  • That the mobilisation of people power is the surest way to effect change.
  • That the left must be strongly identified with fighting racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.
  • That system change must be our guiding motto in saving our planet from climate chaos.

 


From Independent Left, a timely response to the call for left unity from PBP.

Socialists and left unity in Ireland 2020

To members of People Before Profit,

We commend your initiative, ‘let’s bring the left together to fight this government’.

We commend your initiative, ‘let’s bring the left together to fight this government’.

Although the formation of a conservative government is a threat to working class communities, it is a threat that we can meet.

The fact that Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael have been obliged to come together is historic. For decades, the main voice of opposition to whichever of these parties has led a government was the other party. And as we are all well aware, this was no real opposition at all. Discontent was carefully channelled down pathways that were safe for the Irish elite. Now, however, there is an opportunity to escape into entirely new and radical ways of thinking about the world and to popularise socialist answers to a massive, global crisis.

Sinn Féin will be the largest voice of opposition. This is a significant step forward compared to the old Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael posturing. And because Sinn Féin connect to the same working class communities that we do, there will be plenty of opportunity to both work with them, but also alert our class to the limitations of that party and offer a much more fundamental, revolutionary, change than does Sinn Féin.

When the crisis of 2008 hit, we were not well placed to resist the ‘shock and awe’ policies that saddled Ireland with enormous debt and cowed the trade unions with the scale of cuts that both Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil agreed were necessary to save the Irish ‘economy’ (the wealth of the Irish elite).

The crisis of 2020 and 2021 will be worse, economically. But this time there is a very different mood in the country. One where people will question the government’s priorities and loyalty to an elite who have grown enormously wealthy over the past ten years. Young people, especially, have been emboldened by referendum victories.

A coherent socialist vision for a world in which the wealth is taken off the rich and large businesses to solve the needs of housing and healthcare is going to be crucial. A vision which can assist movements take off at the speed of the Black Lives Matter protests and amplify them when they do happen. Not just on the streets, as you point to, but also with the return of the mass strike: the most powerful form of protest we have.

The role of socialists within these movements must be democratic and open. We can learn from and be led by these new movements. Our spirit should be in keeping with the disability rights slogan of the 80s: “nothing about us without us”.

This vision, as you rightly say, has to be identified with, ‘fighting racism, sexism, homophobia and transphobia.’ Of course, too, socialists should be proudly identified with the campaigns of those with disabilities for equal access and equal opportunity and with the need to help farmers make the transition from a cruel and unhealthy livestock industry to a climate and animal-friendly one. We should demand that public services such as health are taken into full state control, as we have seen the possibilities of doing this during the COVID-19 crisis. We should fight for public housing on public land. We must resist cuts to youth and community services.

The endless growth required by a capitalist society cannot deliver us the technology we need to create a sustainable planet faster than it makes our planet uninhabitable. A society that prioritises money over welfare cannot be green.

With these goals in mind, we look forward to working with you and creating a fruitful conversation that does indeed bring the left together.

The members of Independent Left

—————————————————————————————–Extract from Letter from RISE to Green Dissidents

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1FB

After Labour went into coalition in 2011, there were those within the Party who hoped that by staying within it they could mitigate the worst of the mistakes of their leadership. They didn’t. Instead, they were largely tarred by association with the hated policies of that government. It will be the same with the Greens. Participating in social movements will be difficult to square with membership of a government party. You should get out now!

The alternative

Above all, we need your involvement in social movements which will drive change. In the coming months and years we will need to work together to build movements for climate justice, housing action, and a National Health Service. Even with a right-wing government in power, we can win victories.

Left-wing activists who oppose coalition with Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael and leave the Green Party can play a crucial role in building a broad party of the anti-capitalist and eco-socialist left. From our perspective in RISE, these movements would be tremendously strengthened with a broad party of the left, encompassing all who share a commitment to people-power movements to drive change and oppose austerity, oppression, and coalition with the establishment parties.

Such a broad party should facilitate different caucuses or networks within it, as for example the Democratic Socialists of America does. There would therefore be space in such a party for all of the existing groups and independents of the principled left to join and be active within it. RISE would advocate for revolutionary eco-socialist ideas within such a party.

The truth, as we all know, is that the left is currently a fractured landscape. So what, concretely, can left activists who break from the Green Party do to most effectively contribute to building that broad left party? Within that landscape, People Before Profit is the highest profile organisation on the left by a significant distance.

Since our founding, RISE has worked very productively and collaboratively with PBP. We therefore appeal for left-wing Greens to enter organised discussions with People Before Profit and RISE, and any others interested, about taking joint steps towards such a broad left party. This could represent a qualitative step forward towards the construction of a mass left party, and strengthen our ability to build movements for eco-socialist change in every workplace and community.

We are eager to discuss further with Green activists. Please contact us at risesocialists@gmail.com.

Yours fraternally,

RISE members

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Categories: Uncategorized

Why are the Victims of This British Atrocity not Officially Commemorated every year??

Why are the Victims of This British Atrocity not Officially Commemorated every year??

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1Fp

North King St,Dublin, Massacre of Civilians by British Army  1916

16 Civilians Killed by British Army  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1Fp

John Dorney   The Irish Story

Fifteen civilians were shot or bayoneted to death by soldiers from the South Staffordshire regiment during the Easter Rising. By John Dorney.(Updated October 2015)

Full Article

https://www.theirishstory.com/2012/04/13/the-north-king-street-massacre-dublin-1916/?fbclid=IwAR2tlgmI0Pyni8zy4kw3qi75X2VA1jlINOCM7UNPwGS2JLkQK5IxcbEJxlc#.XvDLdJpKiM9

 

Towards the end of the Easter Rising, on Friday April 28th, 1916, some of the fiercest fighting and the worst atrocity against civilians in the week-long insurrection took place.

The insurgents’ position around North King Street was one of the most hard-contested combat zones of the week. It straddled the route towards the GPO along the north side of the river Liffey, only about ten minute’s walk from the rebel headquarters at the Post Office, in a mesh of little streets and tenements behind the Four Courts. Ned Daly’s Volunteers had barricaded each of the streets and it was here that the most vicious street fighting of the week occurred. Even with the aid of an armoured car, the British troops made slow progress in taking the street.

Appendix: The civilians killed on North King Street, April 28-29 1916.

1 Thomas Hickey (38) 170 North King Street

2 Christopher Hickey (16) 170 North King Street (Father and son)

3 Peter Connolly (39) 170 North King Street

(These three bodies had bayonet marks indicating they were killed with the bayonet)

4 Patrick Bealin (30) 177 North King Street

5 James Healy (44) 177 North King Street

(Bealen was seen being taken away to be shot by the military by Mary O’Rourke, Haley was found buried with him in the cellar.

6 , Michael Nunan (34), 174 North King Street

7   George Ennis (51) 174 North King Street.

(Anne Fennel of 174 testified that soldiers broke in took away Ennis and that he crawled back mortally wounded)

8   Dunne, Edward (39), 91 North King Street

9  Walsh, John (34). 172 North King Street

10   Michael Hughes (50) 172 North King St

(Killings seen by Eileen Walsh, wife of John.)

11 Lawless, Peter J. (21), 27 North King Street.

12 James McCartney, (36), 27 North King Street

13 James Finnegan (40), 27 North King St

14 Patrick Hoey, (25) 27 North King Street

(All worked at Louth Dairy in that house, found dead in basement with wounds to the head and throat areas)

15 In addition Jon Biernes (50) was shot dead by Crown forces on nearby Coleraine Street.

  1. James Moore was killed on nearby Little Britain Street.
Categories: Uncategorized

Britain Plotted The Partitioning Treaty To Crush the Irish Rebellion! Did Irish leaders collude?

“James Dorney in his piece (in Irish Times) references the fact that violence might have stopped in late 1920, following secret talks via intermediaries between Griffith and Lloyd George.”-Dr Colum Kenny, Letter to Irish Times. See piece on TRUCE July 1921 by John Dorney further down

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Preview of  Hawks and Doves By Professor Ferghal Mcgarry, QUB

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1EJ

Despite the vast military resources available to Britain, the view from the barracks looked rather different from that imagined by embattled flying columns. By early 1920 the demoralised Royal Irish Constabulary had collapsed in the face of a campaign of intimidation and assassination, paralysing the British administration…….

‘If we lose Ireland we have lost the Empire’, warned Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson in March 1921. Despite these anxieties, global perspectives – notably pressure from the United States – help to explain why the British establishment’s hawks ultimately gave way to its doves.

-Professor Fearghal McGarry  QUB previewing the Portillo TV Series on RTE Website

https://www.rte.ie/history/2020/0615/1147541-how-the-british-authorities-viewed-the-war-of-independence/

By Fearghal McGarry

Queen’s University Belfast

A new documentary, Hawks and Doves: The Crown and Ireland’s War of Independence, draws on the “enemy files” to explore Britain’s view of the War of Independence. As Fearghal McGarry explains, the “view from the barracks”  was very different

From the earliest memoirs by Volunteer leaders such as Tom Barry – which depicted a heroic struggle in which guerrilla fighters prevailed against overwhelming odds – to the more even-handed histories of recent years, our understanding of the War of Independence is largely shaped by Irish perspectives.

New sources, such as the Military Service Pension records, have reinforced the centrality of republican agency to our understanding of the conflict, with study after study reconstructing the IRA’s campaign in almost every Irish county. But what happens if we reverse this perspective?

Michael Portillo in front of a photograph of the First Dáil

Presented by Michael Portillo, Hawks and Doves: The Crown and Ireland’s War of Independence draws on ‘the enemy files’ to explore the point of view of the British politicians, officials, and generals tasked with suppressing the republican insurrection of 1919-21.

Vengeful frustration

Despite the vast military resources available to Britain, the view from the barracks looked rather different from that imagined by embattled flying columns. By early 1920 the demoralised Royal Irish Constabulary had collapsed in the face of a campaign of intimidation and assassination, paralysing the British administration.

Unable to identify their enemy, and vulnerable to attack from unknown assailants at any moment, the infamous ‘reprisals’ of the Black and Tans and Auxiliaries, such as the sacking of Balbriggan and burning of Cork, were a product more of vengeful frustration than triumphalism.

Sir Nevil Macready, commander of the British forces in Ireland, loathed the Irish, pictured here in a drawing by Joseph Simpson from The Illustrated London News July 31, 1920. Image credit: Getty Images DEA / ICAS94

Few British generals welcomed a posting in Ireland. General Sir Nevil Macready – who loathed the Irish ‘with a depth deeper than the sea and more violent than that which I feel against the Boche’ – only reluctantly accepted the Irish command. Within hours of his arrival in Dublin in April 1920, he recorded his astonishment at the ‘crass stupidity’ of poorly-selected RIC officers, and ‘the administrative chaos that seems to reign here’.

The records of the British campaign in Ireland make clear that shortcomings in administration, counter-insurgency, intelligence-gathering and the wider propaganda struggle were more important than the ingenuity of the IRA in determining the course of the conflict.

As the head of the British civil service concluded after a damning investigation into Dublin Castle in 1920: ‘the Castle administration does not administer’.

Lloyd George’s failure

A greater awareness of the British political context also helps to explain why David Lloyd George’s government failed to commit itself to a clear military or political strategy. The most striking feature of the British records is the lack of importance attached to the Irish conflict by policy-makers in London.

While Lloyd George was understandably preoccupied with the post-war settlement of Europe in 1919, the situation in Ireland remained low on his Cabinet’s agenda despite rising levels of violence.

British Prime Minister David Lloyd George.

Ignorance about Ireland, combined with the grip of prejudiced unionist diehards over Irish policy at both Dublin Castle and Downing Street, led to the politically expedient but unrealistic policy of treating the republican movement as an illegitimate ‘murder gang’ that could be eradicated through coercion.

Although the militarising of policing effected by the ‘Black and Tans’, Auxiliaries and Ulster Special Constabulary placed the IRA under immense pressure, the credibility of British rule in Ireland, at home and abroad, never recovered.

This 1920 RIC propaganda Christmas card shows (from left) an RIC man, a Black and Tan, an Auxiliary and an army veteran

But, as a Liberal politician heading up a Conservative-majority coalition, Lloyd George was unable to secure political support for a realistic settlement until it was clear to all but the most zealous ideologues that only some form of independence could settle the Irish question.

Colonial mind-set

While the British public was often appalled by reports of military excesses in Ireland, the ‘enemy files’ provide unsettling insights into the colonial mind-set of the British establishment, as well as the extent to which Irish policy was subordinated to party-political interests.

For many among the British elite, Irish violence also formed part of a troubling vista encompassing British labour agitation, Russian communism, and anti-colonial agitation in Egypt and India.

Field-Marshal Sir Henry Hughes Wilson (1864 – 1922). (Photo by George C. Beresford/Beresford/Getty Images)

‘If we lose Ireland we have lost the Empire’, warned Chief of the Imperial General Staff, Field-Marshal Sir Henry Wilson in March 1921. Despite these anxieties, global perspectives – notably pressure from the United States – help to explain why the British establishment’s hawks ultimately gave way to its doves.

Michael Portillo talks to Miriam O’Callaghan on Sunday With Miriam

In the post-war era of Wilsonian self-determination, political power had to be seen to rest on democratic consent. Britain’s willingness to concede some form of Irish self-government proved sufficient to agree a truce in July 1921, although the final settlement would fatally divide Irish republicans.

 

 

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British Army Commander General Macready and Lord Montgomery of Alamein believed that the only politically acceptable way to squash the rebellion that was the Irish War of Independence was to get the Irish to squash it themselves …..

Dictionary of Irish Biography  Cambridge University Press

Macready, Sir (Cecil Frederick) Nevil    https://wp.me/pKzXa-1EJ

by Keith Jeffery

“(General)Macready made it clear to the British government that without a drive of Cromwellian severity (which was politically quite unacceptable) no military solution was possible in Ireland. Unlike his friend and colleague Sir Henry Wilson (qv), chief of the imperial general staff, Macready recognised the necessity of trying to negotiate some sort of settlement with the Irish republican leadership”

Macready’s reputation, as a man with considerable political nous and experience of civil and military security matters, led to the British prime minister, Lloyd George, appointing him general officer commanding in Ireland in the spring of 1920. Macready was extremely reluctant to take the job, averring that he loathed Ireland and the Irish more even than he hated the Germans. But he accepted the challenge principally as a favour to his old chief, Lord French (qv), now lord-lieutenant of Ireland. Macready did much to reinvigorate the British garrison in Ireland, boosting morale, heightening efficiency, and providing much-needed technical support, such as motor transport. But the security effort was fatally undermined by his refusal to take on command of the police as well as the army, and his evident condoning of the ill-conceived rough-and-ready tactics adopted by the RIC and their semi-military reinforcements in the ‘Black and Tans’ and the auxiliary division. Macready made it clear to the British government that without a drive of Cromwellian severity (which was politically quite unacceptable) no military solution was possible in Ireland. Unlike his friend and colleague Sir Henry Wilson (qv), chief of the imperial general staff, Macready recognised the necessity of trying to negotiate some sort of settlement with the Irish republican leadership. After the Anglo–Irish treaty of December 1921 he superintended the evacuation of the British garrison without serious incident. Following the assassination of Sir Henry Wilson in June 1922, moreover, Macready deliberately delayed acting on orders from London to deploy British forces against the republican-occupied Four Courts on the sensible grounds that this would plunge Ireland and Anglo–Irish relations into deep crisis. On his retirement from the army in 1923 Macready was created a baronet.

Why The British Agreed to Truce and Treaty

British Army General Montgomery (Monty) SAYS BRITISH ARMY in Ireland Could Not Be As Ruthless As THE FREE STATE IN SUPPRESSING THE IRISH REBELLION. THAT IS WHY LLoyd George Agreed to a TRUCE

“The only way forward therefore (for Britain) was to give them [the Irish] some form of self-government, and let them squash the rebellion themselves; they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success.”

“My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinion precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it. That being so, I consider that Lloyd George was right in what he did, if we had gone on we could probably have squashed the rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops. I think the rebels would probably [have] refused battles, and hidden their arms etc. until we had gone….

Letter to Colonel Arthur Ernest Percival of the Essex Regiment 1923

BL Montgomery(MONTY) was appointed brigade major in the 17th Infantry Brigade of the British Army in January 1921. The brigade was stationed in County Cork, carrying out counter-insurgency operations during the final stages of the Irish War of Independence

Montgomery came to the conclusion that the conflict could not be won without harsh measures, and that self-government for Ireland was the only feasible solution; He wrote later

“My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinion precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it. That being so, I consider that Lloyd George was right in what he did, if we had gone on we could probably have squashed the rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops. I think the rebels would probably [have] refused battles, and hidden their arms etc. until we had gone…..

The only way forward therefore (for Britain) was to give them [the Irish] some form of self-government, and let them squash the rebellion themselves; they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success.”

Letter by DR Colum Kenny to Irish Times

“Indeed James Dorney in his piece references the fact that violence might have stopped in late 1920, following secret talks via intermediaries between Griffith and Lloyd George.”

War of Independence

Irish Times : Friday, June 5, 2020,

Sir, – Your substantial 46-page supplement on Ireland in 1920 (June 4th) concentrated on violence. Yet Éamon de Valera, who went to America from 1919 until the end of 1920, leaving Arthur Griffith in charge of the provisional government, sent Griffith a cable from Washington in early 1920 to say that “Victory –Ireland’s fate – is dependant on you”.

Throughout 1920 Griffith and his cabinet worked hard to put the apparatus of a new administration in place. Indeed James Dorney in his piece references the fact that violence might have stopped in late 1920, following secret talks via intermediaries between Griffith and Lloyd George. This was one of the supplement’s few references to Griffith, whose complexity frequently results in his diminution in political narratives of various shade.

Lloyd George thought that, by the time Griffith was interned in November 1920, “The Irish Republican Organisation . . . had all the realities of a Government”, and the historian David Fitzpatrick once observed that by the autumn of 1920, “Although the foreigner still occupied the country, de Valera’s pessimism of April 1919 seemed suddenly out of date.”

It is also significant how the hunger strike ended that had resulted on the death of not only Terence MacSwiney but also Michael Fitzgerald and Joseph Murphy – aged just 17 and yet again a lost youth forgotten on this occasion. It was called off in November 1920 as soon as Griffith expressed publicly both his opinion that “the sacrifices already made have achieved their object, and my earnest wish that they will rebuild their strength and live for Ireland”.

Griffith, founder of Sinn Féín, did not even rate a mention in the article on “rebel songs”, despite his dedicated cultivation of that tradition in his influential United Irishman paper and elsewhere. Yet, as I explain in a chapter on the topic in my recent book on Griffith, his and William Rooney’s championing of The Memory of the Dead (a ballad at least as significant to the movement’s history as The Soldier’s Song and better known today as Who Fears to Speak of ’98?) is itself memorialised by James Joyce in The Dead and elsewhere.

You promote the supplement as a classroom resource. Honour is due to those who lived for Ireland, and who were elected to do so, as much as it is to those who died. Pragmatic negotiations, not the military expulsion of Britain from all Ireland, ended conflict. – Yours, etc,

Dr COLUM KENNY,

Professor Emeritus,

Dublin City

University,

Dublin 9.

 


Griffith was working for Partition of Ireland with the British in 1920 https://wp.me/pKzXa-1EJ

John Dorney’s Account of the talks process leading to the Truce.

The piece below answers important questions but raises others. It is clear that Secret discussions were taking place between Arthur Griffith and LLoyd George through intermediaries for some time before December 1920. The full Dáil executive was presented with the proposals on December 5. The proposals entailed an offer by Loyd George of Partition with Dominion Status under the British Crown for “Southern Ireland” only as a basis for settlement talks.

“The bones of a peace deal had been on the table since the previous December – a British offer of Dominion status for an Irish state on the same territory as Southern Ireland, the Home Rule entity outlined in the Government of Ireland Act of 1920.”—John Dorney

It is also clear that the first that senior IRA commander, Ernie O’Malley, heard of the entire affair was when he was formally ordered to cease military operations in summer 1921.

The question arises as to who authorised the initiation of the Griffith-LLoyd George talks. Who was aware of the progress of the talks at every stage? Was any senior IRA person, other than those on the Dáil Executive aware at any stage that a talks process was taking place ?

https://www.theirishstory.com/2011/07/11/today-in-irish-history-%E2%80%93-july-11-1921-%E2%80%93-the-truce-2/#.XtqsylVKiM9

Today in Irish History, The Truce, 11 July 1921

John_Dorney

11 July, 2011 Today In Irish History

John Dorney remembers the last day of the Irish War of Independence

On the 9 July 1921, a Dublin boy, Paddy O’Connor made his way to the hills around Donohill,South Tipperary, looking for Mrs Quirke’s house. He was a messenger and had come all the way from Dublin with an urgent message for Ernie O’Malley, the commander of the IRA’s second Southern Division.

O’Malley was effectively head of his own mini-republic in rural Tipperary, where British forces rarely ventured and when they did, took care not to leave the roads. The war there was increasingly bitter. Three British officers, unlucky enough to fall into O’Malley’s hands some weeks before, at a time when three IRA Volunteers were being shot by firing squad in Dublin, were coldly put to death in reprisal.

When O’Malley returned to his safehouse, the boy, who had refused to discuss his business with any of O’Malley’s subordinates, handed him a message from Richard Mulcahy, IRA Chief of Staff.

It read; In view of the conversations now being entered into by our Government with the Government of Great Britain, and in pursuance of mutual conversations, active operations by our forces will be suspended as from noon, Monday, 11 July.

O’Malley wrote later that he was ‘bewildered’ by the order. The first senior IRA officers had heard of the Truce was this, ‘bald message’. Nevertheless, he had orders typed out and sent to the five IRA Brigades under his command across Munster.[1]

Negotiations

The bones of a peace deal had been on the table since the previous December – a British offer of Dominion status for an Irish state on the same territory as Southern Ireland, the Home Rule entity outlined in the Government of Ireland Act of 1920.

 

Secret talks, carried out via an intermediary, between Lloyd George and Arthur Griffith had produced the compromise. Griffith presented the terms to Michael Collins and the Dail cabinet, who reacted favourably. A truce in December 1920, though was scuppered by Hamar Greenwood, the hardline Chief Secretary for Ireland, who threatened to resign if there was a ceasfire before the IRA surrendered its weapons.[2] He was also confident, as he wrote to  Lloyd George that, “The SF [Sinn Fein] cause and organisation is breaking up …there is no need of hurry in a settlement. We can in due course and in our own fair terms settle this Irish Question for good”.[3]

As a result of his intransigence, the two sides would butt heads for six more bloody months. The first half of 1921 saw over 1,000 deaths in the conflict, over twice as many as in all of 1920. And, despite some optimism within the British military that they were getting on top of the IRA, there was no lull in the violence as the summer of 1921 approached.

A deal had been on the table since December 1920, but had been blocked by hardline elements on the British side

Lloyd George’s British government was left with essentially two remaining options. One was to fight the campaign as real war, declare martial law across the 26 counties designated as Southern Ireland, up the levels of troops and adopt a policy of wholesale executions and internment of suspected republicans. Plans existed to start this phase by 14 July.

Did the will exist on the British side to really go through this draconian policy? Their Commander in Chief, in Ireland, Neville Macready, for one, was against it, ‘there are of course one or two wild people about who still hold the absurd idea that if you go on killing long enough, peace will ensue. I do not believe it for one moment but I do believe that the more people are killed the more difficult a final solution becomes’.[4]

The other option was a final attempt at negotiations. This was the policy favoured by most of the British regime in Dublin Castle and especially the Under Secretary for Ireland, Andy Cope, who had been desperately disappointed  by the failure to reach a settlement in 1920.

By this time, Eamon de Valera, the President of the Irish Republic, was back in Ireland from his fund-raising campaign in the United States. Ironically in view of what happened afterwards in the Treaty negotiations, de Valera was indentified by the British as a moderate force compared to the young firebrand, Michael Collins.

A flurry of talks took place between July 4 and 8 between de Valera and Lord Middleton with a view to securing a truce and on July 9th , a truce was formally signed between two members of the Dail cabinet, Robert Barton and Eamon Duggan and British military commander in Ireland, Neville Macready.[5]

Under its terms, British forces were to cease, ‘pursuit of Irish officers and men, or war materials or military stores’, while the IRA were to cease, ‘attacks on Crown Forces and civilians …[and] British government and private property’.[6]

The news of the truce was hurriedly conveyed from the clandestine IRA leadership in Dublin to commanders around the country.

The cover of William Sheehan’s ‘A Hard Local War’ shows the bodies of four British soldiers killed in Cork city on the eve of the truce.

‘Our lust to kill had not been satisfied’

On the ground, nobody thought at the beginning that the truce would be permanent. In Monaghan, one Volunteer later admitted to mixed feelings, “to say that we were jubilant would be untrue. It was more bewilderment. Through the years of struggle, the hangings and executions and sufferings had generated in us something unchristian. Our lust to kill had not been satisfied.”[7]

In many places, the IRA had a final crack at their enemies just before the truce came into effect. On July 10, just a day before the truce which ended the war, the Bailieboro Volunteers in county Cavan, who had done little enough during the conflict, attacked the RIC barracks in that town – 30 strong, armed only with shotguns. The attack was beaten off with two IRA wounded and two more captured.[8]

In County Cork, in the 24 hours before noon on July 11, the IRA ambushed two military parties and shot two policemen and one suspected informer. Four off-duty soldiers were also snatched in Cork city and found on the morning of the truce, lying blindfolded in a field, shot in the head. [9]

In neighbouring Kerry, nine men, (four British soldiers and five IRA Volunteers) died in a bloody gun-battle in the village of Castleisland on the morning of July 11.[10]

In many places the IRA had a final crack at the British just before the truce came into effect

In Belfast, the day before the truce was a day of carnage, known at the time as ‘Belfast’s Bloody Sunday’. Loyalists, incensed by an IRA ambush in the city the previous day, attacked the Catholic enclaves in the centre and west of the city. Loyalist groups, the police and IRA blazed away at each other from rooftops, windows and street corners with rifles, machine guns and grenades. By the time the day was out, 16 civilians were dead and 161 houses destroyed. The sectarian body count was heavily in the Protestants’ favour – 11 Catholics for 5 Protestants and 150 Catholic houses destroyed for 11 Protestant.[11]

‘Scenes of elation’

For all that, as of noon on Monday July 11th, most of the guns did indeed fall silent. IRA commanders such as Ernie O’Malley may have felt bemused by the sudden end to hostilities but the response of the general population, it seems clear, was elation.

In Tralee for instance, the townspeople took to the streets, letting off rockets in celebration. The ex-soldiers’ band played Irish national airs and  ‘the populace cheered wildly’. IRA men, who a day earlier might have been shot on sight, traded, ‘good natured banter’ with the Black and Tans. One activist in the town, Christy O’Grady, noted grumpily in his dairy that, ‘Sinn Fein colours were prominently worn and by people whom I never saw very fond of it’.[12]

‘Sinn Fein colours were prominently worn and by people whom I never saw very fond of it’.

Dublin was reported to be ‘calm’ rather than ecstatic, but everyone noticed immediately, ‘the complete disappearance from the streets of military and police lorries and armoured cars’. One republican in Kingstown(now Dun Laoghaire) harbour hoisted the Irish tricolour over his yacht in celebration. British troops who rowed out to tear the flag down were ordered to put it back up again by their officers, while, ‘a great crowd cheered’, on the pier.[13]

Ernie O’Malley retired to his quarters to discuss the unexpected outbreak of peace with his officers. Much later he concluded, ‘and so ended what we called the scrap; the people later on, the trouble and others, fond of labels, the Revolution’.[14]

Today,Ireland commemorates the truce of July 11 as the National Day of Commemoration. But in fact the truce was the end only of a phase in the conflict in Ireland. Within a year, many of those on the republican side in 1921 would be fighting one another over whether to accept the compromise offered by the British.

British armoured cars, like this one, were withdrawn from the streets after the truce.

It is perhaps best then to conclude with a note of ambivalence, expressed by the above-quoted Monaghan Volunteer, ‘During the period of the truce, the politicians and respectables took over. It was they who interpreted our dream, the dream we fought for. It was they who decided the terms to which we must agree. In the mind of every [IRA] soldier was a little Republic in which he was the hero. But his dream was shattered’.[15]

Shattering this dream, or to put it another way, enforcing the compromise that came out of negotiations with the British, would mean that the truce was only a pause and not the end of the war in Ireland.

References

[1] Ernie O’Malley, On Another Man’s Wound, (Anvil 2002), p380-381
[2] Brian Maye, Arthur Griffith, p 149
[3] Michael Hopkinson, The Irish War of Independence, p183
[4] Hopkinson p194
[5] Hopkinson,
[6] Tom Barry, Guerilla Days inIreland p223-224
[7] Fearghal McGarry, Eoin O’Duffy, A Self-Made Hero p76-77
[8] Francis Connell, Witness Statement Bureau of Military History
[9] Peter Hart, The IRA and Its Enemies, p109
[10] T Ryle Dwyer, Tans Terror and Troubles, Kerry’s Real Fighting Story, p320
[11] Alan F Parkinson,Belfast’s Unholy War, Four Courts Press, Dublin 2004, p. 154
[12] Dwyer, p321
[13] New York Times, July 12, 1921
[14] O’Malley p 381
[15] McGarry, O’Duffy p77

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

1920 Was A year of Violence , Trauma And Terror in Ireland

Prof Diarmuid Ferriter on 1920

https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/diarmaid-ferriter-1920-was-a-year-of-violence-trauma-and-terror-in-ireland-1.4193978

Prof Ferriter Made no mention of the great General  Strike held  in April 1920 in the Irish Times article. https://wp.me/pKzXa-1EA

But Interestingly he attributed views to General McCready similar to those laterexpressed by Lord Mongomery of Alamein in 1923

“By the end of 1920, the 10,000 strong Royal Irish Constabulary was augmented by more than 10,000 Black and Tans and Auxiliaries alongside up to 40,000 regular British army troops and the war was costing the British government £20 million a year. But who was in charge? Nevil Macready, the commander of the British forces in Ireland, did not want the job and admitted, “I loathe the country”; while he brought more efficiency and modernisation to the military effort, he had no inclination to take control of the police. As far as he was concerned, only a sweeping, draconian military response (“Cromwellian severity”) could crush the IRA and such an approach was not politically feasible.”-Prof Diarmuid Ferriter

Lord Motgomery of Alamein   1923 In a letter to the Commander of Essex Regiment

“My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinion precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it. That being so, I consider that Lloyd George was right in what he did, if we had gone on we could probably have squashed the rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops. I think the rebels would probably [have] refused battles, and hidden their arms etc. until we had gone…..

The  only way forward therefore (for Britain) was to give them [the Irish] some form of self-government, and let them squash the rebellion themselves; they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success.”

Categories: Uncategorized

German Constitutional Court Finds European Central Bank’s Bond Buying Programme Illegal.!!! Massive Blow to EU!

German Constitutional Court is a bigger threat to EU than Brexit or Covid-19

(Letter in support of Prof McRea’s position from former Supreme Court Judge Niall Fennely further down)  https://wp.me/pKzXa-1E1

Prof  Ronan McCrea, professor of constitutional and European law at University College London

Irish Times,   Saturday, May 16, 2020,

With the understandable focus on the Covid-19 pandemic, it is difficult for non-virus-related stories to get traction. However, a judgment last week from the German Constitutional Court has received widespread attention, and rightly so. The ruling from the Karlsruhe-based court represents a mortal threat to the EU as we know it.

The German court’s ruling focused on the legality of aspects of the European Central Bank’s bond-buying policy. This policy was part of Mario Draghi’s 2012 commitment to do “whatever it takes” to protect the euro.

The legality of this bond-buying programme had been referred to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. It had ruled that the programme was within the powers of the European Central Bank (ECB) because it pursued monetary policy (a power given to the ECB by the EU treaty) and not economic policy (which the treaty withheld from the ECB).

Last week the German Constitutional Court rejected this decision. It said that key elements of the European Court’s decision were incomprehensible, and that parts of the bond-buying scheme were beyond the powers granted to the ECB by the treaties, and therefore illegal.

In other words the German court substituted its judgement for that of the European Court in relation to the limits of the powers of an EU institution.

As the European Court noted in a terse press statement this week, it has always held that the legality of the acts of EU bodies can only be by the European Court, not national courts in order to prevent the chaotic situation where EU acts are legal in one state and not another.

Supremacy

The German Constitutional Court has been threatening to do something like this for some time. It has ruled that although it generally accepts that EU law is supreme over national law, this supremacy will not apply if an EU law threatens the core of the German constitution. However, until now it had never found that any EU measure failed this test.

Far more than Brexit or an inadequate response to Covid-19, this ruling is a mortal threat to the existence of the EU as we know it.

The main reason that the EU is different from other international organisations is that it can make law that is enforced by national courts and takes priority over national law.

While enforcement of most treaties needs government action and voluntary co-operation with any international ruling that the treaty has been violated, EU rules can be enforced by individuals in their local courts. This makes EU rules part of everyday life in a way that, for example, World Trade Organisation rules are not.

Academics have long noted the importance of the law to European integration, with a foundational study in the 1980s characterising European integration as a process of “integration through law”.

The German constitutional court ruling threatens to unravel this process. If national courts are empowered to overturn European Court rulings on EU law issues, then it becomes impossible to achieve the key purpose of the Single Market, namely the sharing of a common set of rules by 27 states.

How can we have a single-market function if a manufacturer does not know if the EU rules allowing the sale of its product in Portugal might be held to be illegal in Slovakia?

Worse, this ruling comes at a time when the integrity of the EU’s legal system is already under pressure due to attacks on democracy and the rule of law in Poland and Hungary. The Court of Justice has repeatedly ruled that EU law requires Poland to rescind laws undermining judicial independence.

With a court as influential as the German Constitutional Court taking it upon itself to overrule a European Court decision on the interpretation of EU law, the door is now open for the Polish government to encourage its courts to overrule ECJ rulings seeking to protect judicial independence in Poland. Indeed, a Polish government minister made this argument explicitly within hours of the German ruling.

Damage

The ruling may ultimately not have a large impact on the activities of the ECB. The ruling leaves scope for the ECB to provide clarifications in relation to its activities that might satisfy the German court. However, even if this is the case the damage to the EU legal order as a whole will be difficult to contain.

The German Constitutional Court has struck a heavy blow against the characteristic that distinguishes the EU from other international organisations, namely the Union’s ability to pass laws that bind all 27 states.

It has also weakened the strongest weapon the Union has had to prevent itself from being corroded internally by the retreat from democratic values seen in Poland and Hungary.

The EU will survive, but there is a real danger that without the ability to ensure that its law is upheld in all member states, it will be a shadow of the organisation it has been.

Ronan McCrea is professor of constitutional and European law at University College London

German court ruling mortal threat to EU

Irish Times: Saturday, May 23, 2020, 00:17

Sir, – My good friend and former pupil, Senator Michael McDowell, writes strongly in support of the judgment of May 5th of the German federal constitutional court, which, he says, called for the €2 trillion stimulus package launched by the European Central Bank to be proportionate to its monetary policy objectives (“Ireland should be slow to condemn Karlsruhe”, Opinion & Analysis, May 20th). It did much more.

Mr McDowell labels criticism of the judgment, not identified in the article, as “hysterical”.

Prof Ronan McCrea, also a friend, in your newspaper last week, describes the German court’s ruling as a “mortal threat to the EU as we know it” (“German constitutional court is a bigger threat to EU than Brexit or Covid-19”, Opinion & Analysis, May 16th). I do not know whether that contribution is to be qualified as “hysterical.” I trust the following is not.

In this respect, the decision of the German court flies directly in the face of jurisprudence which has been universally accepted, including by the German courts, since the foundation decision of the European Court of Justice in the case of Van Gend en Loos in 1963. There the court held that the European Community, as it then was, comprised “a new legal order of international law for the benefit of which the states have limited their sovereign rights, albeit within limited fields and the subjects of which comprise not only member states but also their nationals.”

This iconic judgment has stood for almost 60 years.

Senator McDowell ignores this issue. He treats the European Court as “a treaty tribunal not competent to autonomously determine its own jurisdiction or competence in a way binding on parties to those treaties”.

Prof McCrea explains the relationship correctly and in clear terms: “While enforcement of most treaties needs government action and voluntary co-operation with any international ruling that the treaty has been violated, EU rules can be enforced by individuals in their local courts. This makes EU rules part of everyday life in a way that, for example, World Trade Organisation rules are not.”

The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice to give preliminary rulings on questions of interpretation referred to them by the courts of member states has been consistently described and accepted as the “cornerstone” of EU law. It would be a pointless exercise in futility to confer such a jurisdiction on the European Court if its rulings were not to be treated as binding. The national court would refer a question to the European Court of Justice for preliminary ruling but would be free to accept or reject it at its will.

If any court of one member state is free to reject a decision on a reference for preliminary ruling which it has made to the European Court of Justice, why should not the same apply to the courts of any other member state? Such a result would strike at the root of the very structure which has enabled European Union law to be established and to develop.

For these reasons, Prof McCrea is right to describe the decision of the German Court as “a mortal threat to the EU as we know it.” – Yours, etc,

NIAL FENNELLY,

(Former member

of the Supreme Court

2000 to 2014,

Former Advocate General

at the European Court

of Justice),

Dublin 4.

© 2020 irishtimes.com

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

British Military involvement in the Irish Civil War in Support of Free State

British Military Involvement in the Irish Civil War—from theirishstory.com

https://www.theirishstory.com/2012/11/25/british-military-involvement-in-the-irish-civil-war/comment-page-1/#comment-67489

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1DO

When Free State troops fired on the Four Courts,  Did British gunners also bombard it?

“As Bernard Montgomery(later Lord Montgomery of Alamein-Monty), erstwhile commander of British forces in Cork wrote in the very different circumstances of mid 1923, after the last British garrisons had left the Free State and when the IRA guerrillas were surrendering and being arrested in droves by the Free State army; ‘We [the British Army] could probably have squashed the [IRA 1919-21] rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops… The only way therefore was to give them [the Irish] some form of self-government, and let them squash the rebellion themselves; they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success.”………………………..

“Symbolism, in the form of the Oath of Allegiance to the British monarch that Irish parliamentarians would have to take, was important to anti-Treatyites, but also to the British. It would have humiliated the Empire to grant an independent Irish republic and to admit defeat. Given the military aid, direct and indirect that the British were prepared to give, the Irish Civil War could only have ended one way.”-John Dorney

(Paddy Healy: This demonstrates how necessary it was for the anti-treaty majority of the IRA and its leaders to immediately take the offensive as soon as the terms of the Treaty were known. That offensive should have included the arresting of the signatories on their return to Ireland. Liam Lynch and Rory O’Connor gave the Free State and the British enough time to set up a paid army with heavy weapons to defeat the anti-treaty forces!! Ernie O’Malley was right!)

By John Dorney    25 November 2012

In recent weeks, (November 2012) there has been a flurry of controversy over the recovery, in the Imperial War Museum Archives, of a memoir by a British artilleryman who claimed his howitzer fired the opening shots of the Irish Civil War.

Lance Bombardier Percy Creek, Royal Field Artillery,’s unpublished memoir, found by historian William Sheehan, recalled that his unit, stationed in Fermanagh – presumably to take part in the fighting there between the British Army and the  IRA units in control of the villages of Pettigoe and Belleek, along the new border with Northern Ireland – was sent to Dublin.  The ‘border war’, fizzled out by late June 1922 as a crisis within Irish nationalist ranks erupted in Dublin. The Four Courts which had been occupied since April by anti-Treaty IRA elements, was being attacked by the troops of the Provisional Government under Michael Collins.

Creek wrote later that he was told to march by night to Dublin and “told not to speak to anyone and to keep as quiet as possible”. His unit waited until they were given the orders to fire, before unleashing two heavy artillery shells at the Courts.

“[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,” said the First World War veteran, who described the situation in Dublin as “very tricky”.

A British artilleryman Percy Creek recalled that his 60 pounder gun fired two shells at the Four Courts

Creek recalled that his sergeant and commanding officer were worried beforehand because of the presence of Irish soldiers in the Royal Field Artillery unit: as, “The Irish are temperamental people,”.

Creek appears to have been under the impression that the building had been occupied by dissident  Black and Tans, rather than anti-Treaty fighters, but the political situation was confusing and Creeks, in any case was but a humble enlisted man. In any case; “A few days later we went to some docks and the whole battery was shipped back to Fishguard”.[1]

Controversy

An anti-Treaty cartoon from 1922 depicts Michael Collins backed by the Church in aiding Britain. (from the Capuchin archive)

Creek’s account may or may not be verified but why is this claim still controversial today? The Irish Civil War continues to be an emotive subject and those with family or ideological connections with the pro-Treaty side do not like to see the republican allegation of the time – that the pro-Treatyites were merely acting as a proxy for Britain – bolstered.

Tom Barry later alleged (taking rather large liberties with the truth), “Another thing that made our [anti-Treaty Republican] position impossible was the build-up of the Free State Army from the Irish regiments of the British army. They had been disbanded as part of the Treaty arrangements and sent back to Ireland. The Royal Munster Fusiliers, the Leinsters, the Dublins , the Connaught Rangers, all these regiments were disbanded at Oswestry in Wales , they were put into civvies and sent across from Holyhead to Ireland, where they were met by Free State lorries and brought to Beggar’s Bush barracks and put into green uniforms.

Now some of these were probably decent men driven by hardship to join the British army. But others were violently anti-Irish and some had left Ireland in very unfavourable conditions: they were driven out because of their having done things against the Republican movement. We might well have been able to defeat the Free State until this lot came over, but after that it was impossible”.[2]

Those with family or ideological connections with the pro-Treaty side do not like to see the republican allegation that the pro-Treatyites were merely acting as a proxy for Britain bolstered

The ‘Free Staters’ were sensitive to this charge both in 1922 and later. Pro-Treaty soldier Niall Harrington “It was charged… that the authorities accepted into army service men who had served in the British forces. This is true of course and such men were entitled to join and serve in the National Army…It would be totally untrue to charge that recruits were accepted from the British forces”.[3]

After all, many on the pro-Treaty side, indeed perhaps the most ferocious of them, fought the civil war believing themselves to be the true republicans and that those fighting against them were traitors to Ireland and indirectly helping the British by undermining the new Irish state.

Paddy O’Connor for instance, who led the actual infantry assault on the Four Courts, had, a year earlier been an IRA Active service Unit fighter in Dublin. Almost to the day before he stormed the Four Courts in 1922 he had shot up a cricket match involving the British Army in Trinity College, accidentally killing a woman spectator. In the 1940s he told anti-Treatyite Ernie O’Malley regarding the Civil War, ‘don’t think all the [republican] idealism was on your side’. [4]

But is it really so surprising that British troops participated in the Irish Civil War? By late June 1922, most British troops had been evacuated from Ireland but there remained a number of garrisons in the country. The largest of these was the 6,000 strong force stationed in Dublin’s Phoenix Park under General Neville Macready, who were to stay until a year after the signing of the Treaty (December 6, 1922), to make sure its terms were implemented.

We know that British government pressure effectively forced Collins and the Provisional Government into opening fire on anti-Treaty forces in the Four Courts. On the 22nd, a retired  British General, Henry Wilson, who had been the military advisor to Northern Ireland, was assassinated in London by two IRA men. Winston Churchill assumed that the anti-Treaty IRA were responsible and ordered the British garrison in Dublin to attack the Republicans ensconced in the Four Courts [5]. On the urgings of Neville Macready, the British commander in Dublin, the plan was cancelled at the last-minute and Collins’ government was given an ultimatum to re-take the Four Courts or have British troops do it.

It has always been accepted that Collins used British 18 pounder guns and ammunition for the Four Courts attack. It is also on record that Churchill also offered a 60 pounder howitzer and to bomb the Four Courts from the air, but Collins turned him down, fearing heavy civilian casualties in the densely populated inner city area [6].

According to the recently released cabinet minutes, the British government, insistent that the attack not fail, urged on Collins the military necessity of using heavier weaponry to breach the walls of the Four Courts; 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.” [7]

It is not implausible therefore that the howitzers were indeed used to blast holes in the Four Courts’ thick walls, as Creek’s memoir implies, to open the way for the infantry assault.

Moreover, in the further week’s fighting in Dublin that wrested the Irish capital out of the hands of the anti-Treaty IRA, at least one British soldier was killed and more wounded, indicating that they took at least some part in this fighting too.

Further use of British troops

What all of this shows us is that the British were not neutral in the Irish Civil War. There had been violent clashes and shots exchanged already between Irish pro and anti-Treatyites before June 28, 1922, notably a day-long gun battle in Kilkenny city in May, but it was British pressure that ignited all-out civil war.

Moreover the British were determined that one side, the one that would honour the Anglo-Irish Treaty would win. They supplied that side with the arms, including heavy weapons such as artillery, armoured cars and aircraft and enough money for an army of 58,000 to be maintained by the Free State by the end of the war.

British troops were subsequently employed in at least one offensive operation in Dublin the civil war and helped Free State troops when necesary

They were also prepared, should the anti-Treatyites have gained the ascendancy, to re-deploy their own troops into the conflict. Indeed at one point, in September 1922, when due to the IRA’s guerilla campaign, large parts of the countryside seemed to be passing out of Free State control, British commander Neville Macready was reporting back to London that it was a question of “when not if” British military intervention would be needed [8].

As it happened wholesale use of British troops did not prove necessary to defeat the anti-treaty forces. But British troops did indeed see action in the 1922-23 conflict on a number of occasions.

Anti-Treaty IRA Dublin Brigade commander, Frank Henderson reported to his superior Ernie O’Malley on August 30, 1922 of Free State and British Army cooperation to foil an attempt to isolate Dublin by destroying roads and bridges around city on Aug 5-6, in which operation 58 anti-Treaty fighters were captured.

“On Santry Road the demolition of the bridge near the Thatch [pub] was started by the first party to arrive there, immediately  after starting our forces were attacked by British military in a lorry. The protective forces of our troops engaged the British… The British however succeeded in capturing practically the entire party. A party of 35 of our men advancing from Goose Green (north Dublin) to relieve the party was attacked on both flanks by British and F.S. [Free State] troops who were cooperating. Our troops engaged them but the others having the advantage of machine guns and superior numbers of rifles, forced them to retreat… Unfortunately they were all captured with the exception of ten men.” [9]

The anti-Treaty IRA in Dublin also attacked British patrols in the city where it could. On 19 August, for instance, Henderson reported to O’Malley that;

“At 8.10 pm at Nelson’s Pillar O’Connell St, 5 men of the A.S. [Active Service] Squad of Battn. 1 attacked a lorry of British troops. .. Our troops fired 8 rounds. Two of the enemy were seen to fall. No casualties to our troops.”

And on the 24th of August 1922; “at 11 pm at the Cat and Cage pub, Drumcondra, 3 men of K Coy ambushed a lorry of British troops accompanied by armoured car. Bombs and revolvers used.”[10]

However, by October 1922, Henderson was reporting that British troops, while still present, were no longer actively aiding Free State operations.

“Re the activities of the British, they appear to be inactive at present. They are simply doing nothing but holding on. They generally help F.S. [Free State] if they happen to hear about an ambush taking place.

Re Collinstown [now Dublin airport], the British are still there and a convoy consisting of two double turreted armoured cars and a motor lorry goes into the city and returns back [sic] at least once a day. The convoy was ambushed several times before armoured cars accompanied it.” The British were also training Free State pilots in the aerodrome.[11]

Henderson’s reports, that the British were present in Dublin but only acting as combatants in a reactive role, is confirmed by press reports of the assassination of Sean Hales TD, which took place on December 7, 1922 just before the British garrison was evacuated. Hales was gunned down on the Dublin quays by two anti-Treaty fighters as a British Army lorry passed by. Its soldiers, in what may have been the last actions ever by British soldiers in Dublin, fired some fleeting shots after the assassins as they ran in the direction of Capel Street[12]

To the British this policy of giving as much military help as necessary, but no more, to the Free State was logical enough. There was a curious convergence between their position and that of the anti-Treaty republicans – that the Free State was to be a loyal dominion of the British Empire and that it was putting down, ‘the irregulars’ on their behalf.

As Bernard Montgomery, erstwhile commander of British forces in Cork wrote in the very different circumstances of mid 1923, after the last British garrisons had left the Free State and when the IRA guerrillas were surrendering and being arrested in droves by the Free State army; ‘We [the British Army] could probably have squashed the [IRA 1919-21] rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops… The only way therefore was to give them [the Irish] some form of self-government, and let them squash the rebellion themselves; they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success.’[13]

Symbolism, in the form of the Oath of Allegiance to the British monarch that Irish parliamentarians would have to take, was important to anti-Treatyites, but also to the British. It would have humiliated the Empire to grant an independent Irish republic and to admit defeat. Given the military aid, direct and indirect that the British were prepared to give, the Irish Civil War could only have ended one way.

 

Limits on pro-British Free State sympathies

British troops depart from Dublin’s North Wall in December 1922.

 

But one of the discordant features of the Irish Civil War is that many pro-Treatyites, allegedly those who were doing Britain’s bidding, did not see what they were doing in the same light as their British allies at all.

There were indeed some people in the country who supported the Free State on what we might call, ‘pro-Imperial grounds’, for instance at the meeting of the Louth Farmers’ Union to discuss the Treaty in January1922, one William Russell, who represented the ‘large commercial community’, argued that he was ‘proud to be associated with the British Empire’ as a, ‘Republic would mean we would be foreigners in the Empire’. A Major Barrow (‘just back from India’) told the meeting that, ‘remaining in the Empire gave Ireland all the advantages of belonging to a big firm’.[14]

But Pro-Treaty republicans, who were at the core of the Free State’s Army and Police (Richard Mulcahy and Eoin O’Duffy, for example, respectively heads of the Army and Garda, had both been senior IRA officers), argued that the Treaty was merely a ‘stepping stone’, Michael Collins’ phrase, to the Republic. Cooperation with the British may have been accepted as tactically necessary during the civil war but there were limits to their willingness to cooperate with their former enemy.

Some pro-Treatyites welcomed a continuing British connection but others accepted British help only tactically

David Nelligan, who had worked within the Royal Irish Constabulary for the IRA in 1919-21 and by 1923 was head of Free State Intelligence and then Garda assistant commissioner. On an intelligence-sharing meeting with his British counterparts in 1924, they talked about potentially subversive communist activity of mutual concern, but when the British asked about ‘ the irregulars’, Nelligan answered simply that, ‘things are quiet at present’, and refused to share more information on the IRA or any other Irish political organization on either side of the Treaty divide.[15]

There were, in short once the civil war was over, limits on the pro-British sympathies of the ‘Free Staters’, regardless of what republicans alleged.

Nevertheless, examination of evidence, old and new, on the Irish Civil War shows us that it was not only ‘Green against Green’, but that the British military might, both indirect and, on occasion, direct, was deployed to all but guarantee victory for the pro-Treaty side.

That this was so does help to explain to some degree how the pro-Treaty party’s line that they were defending democracy and the ‘people’s rights’ on the Treaty was never entirely accepted and why they were ultimately to be eclipsed politically by the resurgent anti-Treatyite nationalists of Fianna Fail after 1932.

Comment:

Interesting analysis of bombardment- probably we will never know. However the Royal Navy gave continuous aid to Free State along the Atlantic coast. See p148 of my book ‘The Green Divide’, for secret Royal Navy  memo on this, also re radio coordination( between Royal Navy and Free State).

John Dorney : Labour was basically, if not avowedly, pro-Treaty

The article was not about the social aspect of the revolution for a start. The article was simply about how in fact British military presence in and aid to the Free State effectively decided the civil war (whether or not there was smoking gun at the Four Courts).

However, SF in 1919 grew in areas with the most land agitation and the most land hunger, the west and north midlands, ‘the land for the people’ was and remained a key part of nationalist politics. Both sides of the Treaty split knew this and in 1923 both appealed to agrarian radicalism – the pro-Treatyites by enacting a land act, buying up the remaining landed estates – on which contrary to recent truism lived up to 100,000 families or in the region of half a million people. The anti-Treatyites in FF radicalised this when they came to power with various internal colonisation schemes moving farmers in poor regions to good land in places like Kildare and Meath. It’s very far from true that nationalist were ‘perfectly happy with the way things were’.

Regarding labour, labour up to 1922 was central part of the republican ‘front’, they cooperated to run most rural and urban councils.

Thereafter they parted ways, labour being basically if not avowedly pro-Treaty.

I’d agree the strikes and ‘soviets’ of those years were not revolutionary but again it’s just not true to say that social and economic issues were not important. Further to this FF did actually implement many new social policies – house building, state industries, etc when they got into power. Whether all this is ‘left wing’ is debatable though, rather it was central to the separatist and republican politics of teh early 20th century as advocated by the likes of Arthur Griffith’s SF and the IRB

 

Categories: Uncategorized

Discussion Paper:MASS UPHEAVAL During the War of Independence Terrified All Irish Conservative Forces–Pro-Treaty Leaders, Most Anti-Treaty Leaders, The Main Trade Union Leaders.  Labour and Trade Union leaders Deserted  the Connolly Position. 

May 20, 2020 1 comment

Discussion Paper

MASS UPHEAVAL During the War of Independence Terrified All Irish Conservative Forces–Pro-Treaty Leaders, Most Anti-Treaty Leaders, The Main Trade Union Leaders.  Labour and Trade Union leaders Deserted  the Connolly Position. 

Support For The Treaty By Trade Union and Labour Leaders Signified a Definitive Going Over To the Side of Capitalism–This has continued ever since!!!

The period 1918- 1922 was a period in which unprecedented social upheaval took place together with the military campaign for Irish independence.  All these processes were linked. Irish independence could only be achieved by ending British rule. As British laws governed economic and political life, grievances of workers, small farmers and small business people could only be eliminated by resisting British rule and combining together to fight its local agents. Any suggestion that the war of Independence consisted solely or mainly of guerrilla warfare with passive support from the population is totally untrue.

General Strike Against Conscription April 2018.

Britain was defeated in its attempt to extend conscription into British Military service to Ireland. Outside of North East Ulster, there was massive participation in the strike and associated events by not only workers but by the general population. This defeat was a huge blow against British Rule. Failure of any state to make citizens wage war on its behalf, means that its rule is extremely insecure. This is even more so in this case as the British Empire, the greatest power on earth, was fighting for its very existence in a World War.

Victory of Sinn Féin in Dec 1918 General Election

Sinn Féin contested the UK wide general election on the base of withdrawing Irish MPs from Westminster and convening an All-Ireland Parliament which would claim sovereignty over the whole island. Sinn Féin polled 46.9% of the vote and almost 70% of the seats in the First Past The Post election. It outpolled the Irish Parliamentary Party by more than 2 to 1. Again, there was enthusiastic mass participation in this new defeat for British interests in Ireland.

The All-Ireland Parliament was convened in January 1919. This led to the Declaration of the Republic and the launching of the War of Independence.

Some of the first shots were fired  in the Sologheadbeg ambush on 7th February 2019.

The Limerick City Soviet which lasted from 15 to 27 April 1919 involved the city being run by the Limerick Trades Council and a local general strike taking place against Limerick being declared a Special Military Area by the British Authorities. Under the military regulations, a large number of workers were required to have special passes to present to military posts in order to be allowed go to work in the city. This followed a failed rescue attempt by the IRA of one of its members who was a senior local trade unionist. The Soviet failed because the ITUC leaders failed to call a country-wide general strike in support. Instead, the union leaders propose that the entire population of the city area leave the city as an act of support!!! Nevertheless, there was wide involvement of the citizens and lessons were learned.

General

Guerilla warfare was the method used by the IRA in an attempt to end British rule. This form of action relied heavily on popular support-safe houses, information, boycott of the RIC paramilitary police etc.

Creamery soviets,huge  farm  labourers strikes ,factory soviets, Transport strikes against the movement of British troops,  The Great Belfast Engineering Strike of 1919 and much else featured

Membership of the general union ITGWU rose from 5000 in 1916 to 120,000 in 1921!!! 

Great General Strike of 1920

The General strike of 1920 in support of the demands of prisoners including hunger-strikers was the high-point of popular mobilisation in the period. Many towns were ruled for two days by strike committees calling themselves “soviets” as almost the whole of Ireland shut down.

At times treble not just dual power existed in some areas for a time-British power, Republican power, workers power.   The right to property and the right to rule was challenged by the risen people!

The independent Ireland expected could turn out to be a 32-county Workers’Republic!

All forces in Ireland which wished to retain capitalism were terrified by THESE MASS MOBILISATIONS!!

The British authorities concluded that Ireland could not be kept in subjection into the future without an alliance of Britain with the Irish Rich, Green and Orange, expressed through some new Ireland based political institutions

The letter below illustrates the type of thinking taking place in leading circles in Britain.

 Letter to Colonel Arthur Ernest Percival of the Essex Regiment 1923

BL Montgomery(Later Lord Montgomery of Alamein) was appointed brigade major in the 17th Infantry Brigade of the British Army in January 1921. The brigade was stationed in County Cork, carrying out counter-insurgency operations during the final stages of the Irish War of Independence

In 1923, He wrote to Colonel Percival

“My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinion precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it. That being so, I consider that Lloyd George was right in what he did, if we had gone on we could probably have squashed the rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops. I think the rebels would probably [have] refused battles, and hidden their arms etc. until we had gone…..

https://wp.me/pKzXa-1Dq

The only way forward therefore (for Britain) was to give them [the Irish] some form of self-government, and let them squash the rebellion themselves; they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success.”

 THE TREATY

Michael Collins and Arthur Griffith concluded a partitioning Treaty with Britain which was in breach of their oaths to the 32-county Republic declared IN 1919. The main republican leaders Devalera, Liam Lynch, Rory O’Connor and others, while disagreeing with the Treaty, refused to mount an immediate political and military offensive against the forces in favour of implementing the Treaty, while those forces remained militarily weak. Devalera proposed a different partitioning compromise(Document number 2). Then instead of using the ensuing general election to mobilise the masses against the Treaty, Devalera agreed a “no contest” election pact with Collins. The Republican military and political leaders feared that a continuation of military conflict would enable mass mobilisation and workers power to grow and become uncontrollable. They avoided action against the Treaty signatories until the Free State with British assistance was strong enough to crush them.  The military leaders paid with their lives for this decision when they were shot or executed. The people paid with poverty and emigration. The people of the 6-counties suffered a vicious right-wing regime with built in discrimination against nationalist in all aspects of life including employment, elections etc. not to mention officially tolerated loyalist pogroms. Unionists who were tolerant of nationalists in any way were treated as disloyal.    Devalera and his followers effectively accepted the treaty when they formed the 26-county only electoral political party, Fianna Fáil, in 1926.

Anti-Treaty republican military leaders colluded with Collins in the Disastrous “Northern Offensive”  1922 against the British Army and the then established 6-county parliament and its official and unofficial military forces.  The diversionary plan by Collins was that the northern IRA divisions would engage the British in completely unequal conventional army against army warfare. Failure was guaranteed but the Free State bought time to strengthen itself before the civil war in the 26-counties broke out.

Labour And Trade Union Movement

But it wasn’t only the Irish Rich north and south who wished to avoid an end to capitalism in Ireland. The Irish Labour Party and Trade Union Congress which had officially called the great 1920 General Strike, called a pro-treaty general strike in 1922. Officially, it was called a strike against “militarism” from all sides. But in the context, the trade union leaders knew that it would be understood as designed to deter the anti-treaty republican leaders from launching the civil war and to reduce support for them if they did. The trade union leaders had seen that that continued war and mobilisation could lead to workers rank and file groups taking direct power themselves. https://wp.me/pKzXa-1Dq  They had seen the Limerick City Soviet, 1919, the town soviets during the General Strike of 1920, creamery soviets 1922 and much spontaneous industrial action. They wished to remain privileged intermediaries with capitalists. For this they needed capitalism to survive. That was their first principle. To ensure that, the Treaty needed to be implemented and opposition to it defeated.

After the 1920 Strike, the Labour and Union Leaders could have grasped the leadership of the workers and small farmers on an All-Ireland basis.  They should have set up a national representative body of representatives of soviets and active strike committees.  The Irish Citizen army should have been re-organised and expanded.  They should have led the fight against the Treaty with military and industrial action. This would have opened the road to the 32-county workers Republic. Support from workers world-wide should have been sought. That is undoubtedly what James Connolly would have done.  They preferred, in their own interest as trade union officials, that capitalism should survive.

Before hostilities broke out in the 26-county Civil War the Free State forces had been hugely strengthened with British assistance. The anti-teaty forces, despite great heroism were no match for the heavy-weapons and military vehicles of the Free State (Paid “Irish National Army”). All surviving soviets were crushed by the Free State.

Before general hostilities broke out in the 26-county Civil war, The Labour party had contested the “PACT” election in June 1922 and won 17 seats

With Sinn Féin and Devalera’s political forces boycotting the parliament, Labour  took their own seats, and became the official opposition.

They remained on in the parliament protesting powerlessly at the extreme right wing measures being implemented by the Free State regime as the Free State army crushed the remaining soviets.

To remain seated in a parliament on behalf of which the Free State Forces acted was to legitimise those actions, especially since the biggest group of opposition TDs were boycotting the parliament.

The Labour Party must also take responsibility for the execution of the Four Courts Leaders as a reprisal and the total of 81 prisoners executed. The Free State authorities were of course far more murderous than the Black and Tans.  Many unarmed prisoners were simply shot by their guards as a reprisal for Free state casualties. By the end of the Civil War the Free State government had authorised the execution of 77; this was 53 more than the British had executed(24) during the War of Independence; There are no conclusive figures for the number of unofficial executions (murders in cold blood of anti-treaty republicans in custody by Free State troops) of captured Anti-Treaty fighters, but Republican officer Todd Andrews put the figure for “unauthorised killings” at 153.

The support of the Irish Labour and Trade Union Leaders for the Free State side in the 26-county Civil War Represents a Definitive Going Over of the Irish Trade Union and Labour Party Leaderships to the side of capitalism.

There had been other betrayals such as the undermining of the Limerick City Soviet, but supporting the Free State forces was general and definitive. It was the rejection of everything James Connolly had stood for.

It has been generally held by true socialists  that the action of the German social democratic leaders in voting the monies to the German government to wage the First World War was the moment these had deserted the socialist revolution and gone over to German capitalism. Supporting the Free State in the Civil war, has the same significance for the Irish Labour and Trade Union Leaders

To-Day

To understand the policies of Irish Trade Union and Labour Party Leaders to-day, one has to understand that , like the Labour leaders approach to the Civil War, their first principle is that capitalism as a system must be retained. Hence, it must not be de-stabilised  and must be rescued if necessary.

The stability of the capitalist system in Ireland was in question after the 2008 banking crash. Negotiating pay and pension cuts while the super-rich were protected, participating in the cutting of welfare benefits etc was in line with the first principle.

Such collaboration with capitalism was to be expected and Will Continue as long as workers leaderships based on the first principle remain in office.

It is difficult to compare the privileges of senior trade union officials today to those of senior officials in the 1920s. In the 1920s, the possession of a permanent job was itself a rare possession. Other benefits for union officials were informal. Today the privileges are systematised. Compliant trade union officials can expect the following: For the Leaders of the Big Unions-Pre and Post Retirement state jobs in addition to their trade union salaries and pensions. For the leaders of smaller unions-Post Retirement state jobs. To ensure control of all trade unions by the leaders of the bigger unions, these powerful leaders are given the right to allocate the Post Retirement jobs to the leaders of the smaller unions!!!!

Workers, union members must retake control of trade unions from full time officials. Full time officials must be removed from all positions of power including membership of the executive council of ICTU.

Elected Officers and national executive members must be recallable at any time by those who elected them.  A petition signed by 10% of the relevant members should be sufficient to hold a new election within as short a time as reasonable.

The employment contract of trade union officials with the union should include a clause forbidding the official to give paid service to a private employer with whom they have engaged or to the state for five years after ceasing to work for the union.

Genuine socialists must organise within unions to bring about these changes if trade unions are to be returned to genuinely serving the members’ interests.

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