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consigned to increasing irrelevance and isolation. It refused to rcognise both states on the island seeing them as a betrayal of the 1916 ideal. By the 1940 the IRA had seen a brutal suppression by the Fianna Fail governmant during World War Two. Fianna Fail would not tolerate the IRA drawing the ire of an embattled Britian on Ireland. De Valera didn t finch from interning IRA men during WWII.The older generation that saw the war of independence was now beyond action. They were seen as ideologues without any real impact on the Ireland of the time. This began to change with the influx of young idealistic men in the republican movement. This new influx brought new ideas and the desire to do something practial about British Rule in Northern Ireland.The partition of the country was theorised as a sore on the whole country. This sore was the sole cause of economic stagnation in Ireland. If an united Ireland was a achieved then that would solve our problems. The economic policies of su ccessive Irish government were not consided to have played a part in these problems. The presence of the British state in the north eastern part of the island was seen purely as a act of British aggression against Ireland. An imperial entity that acted as way of mantaining imperial control over not just northern Ireland but the whole Island. It was held against the will of the majority of the people of the island. That was the essiencial point for the IRA. The presense of the convinced unionists in the northern Ireland didn t enter the thinking of the IRA all that much. The british army was an occuping force and so it should be driven out. Unionist being in IRA ideology Irishmen should stand aside to leave them drive a foreign aggressior out of the Island. The birth of the new era in the IRA was the succession of the three Macs to the leadership. Tomas Mac Curtain, Tony Magan and Padraig McLogan. Tony Magan was elevated to the Army Council in September 1948. He was a bachelor farmer from County Meath. He had characteristics common in many IRA men from the era. He was sincerely Catholic and a fluent Irish speaker. His devotion to the cause was such that he sold his farm. The money from this sale was seed fund for the border Campaign or Operation Harvest as it was called by the IRA. Tomas MacCurtain was the son of Tomas MacCurtain the lord mayor of Cork who murdered during the war of independence. MacCurtain was a devoted republican. He had refused to recognise the Irish Free State. He was fined 40 shilling for violently protesting the visit of WT Cosgrave to the Cork. He lived by the belief that no State on the Island of Ireland was an inheritor of the true republicanism. He had been on hunger strike and refused to wear prisoners clothes. MacCurtain had been convicted of the murder of Detective Garda John Roche. This won he no sympathy for Irish people in th e Republic. The Third Mac was Padraig McLogan. McLogan was not on the Army Council he was a from Armagh. He had been on hungery strike. He was on the Army executive from 1925-1938. He was an absentionait MP in the Stormont Parliment in the Thirties. He was link between the older war of independence generation and the younger generations. Under the three Macs the IRA moved away from attacking the Irish Free State. In 1949 the IRA appealed for funds. The appeal stated that the primary object of the IRA was a successful military campaign against the British Army of
Occupation in the Six Counties . The IRA was signaling that it was preparing for a renewed campaign against British rule in Northern Ireland. The Irish Rupublic would no longer be subjected to I RA subversion. In view of the fact that any disturbance in the 26 counties area would hinder the achieving of this object the Army has definately ruled out any kind of aggressive military action in the 26 counties 1 The note continues to annouce an appeal for funds to undertake this goal. The MacCurtain appeal was a sign of things to come. Army Order No. 8 in 1954 committed the IRA to waging war solely against Northern Ireland. The IRA were not the only ones in mid-century Ireland thinking about partition. It was the constant policy of Irish governments to lobby in international forums against partition. Both the strongly republican Fianna Fail and moderate Fine Geal governments made the ending of parition their primary foreign policy. This was the political consesus in Dublin at the time. There was a mass meeting on the 13 May 1949 where all the party leaders spoke in protest at the Ireland Act 1949. The Ireland Act was passed in Westminister after the declaration of the Republic. It gave Irish citizans the de facto rights of a commonwealth citizen. But it reafirmed the status of Northern Ireland in the UK. This was the definative affirmation of partition that was unacceptable to all Irish parties. As part of the this campiagn against partition propraganda films were shot in secret. One film compares two street in Fintona Co. Tyrone. Mill street is populated with nationalist families. The voiceover tells us that most the families are large and the houses small. Two thirds of the town are nationalist we are told. Mill street is contrasted with Craigavon Park. It is unionist and unionist it must stay the voice over tells us. Not one house went to a nationalist. The houses are modern semi-detached houses. The neat gardens of the Craigavon Park are constrasted with rutted street the nationalists live on. The film makes the point that partition is unnatural, undemocratic and discriminatory. The film was made to educate the public about the evils of partition. But it is at pa ins to to say that it does not want to rouse sectarian hatreds. 2 The IRA was also outraged by the sealing of partition. They applyed their own logic to the situation and decided that the only course of action was armed assult on the northern state. They like the government propragandists were anxious to make distincions between been anti partition and being sectarian. Their manifesto of 1949 reaffirms the traditional republican thinking. It emphatises that the partition of the country occured in Westminster without the representation of the Irish MPs. They are asserting their belief that partition is undemocratic. The illegistmacy of both states on the island is reaffirmed. While any sod of Irish territory remains occupied by the army of a foreign count ry, it cannot be truthfully stated the Republic of Ireland has been restored 3. The focus is every much on driving out the British from Northern Ireland. The IRA belief that sitting Dail was illegitmate is down played. True republican will fight on to drive out foreign rule from the country. In forties and fifties the IRA had an influx of new recruits. They were inspired by the recollections of the war of independence that appeared in the press and in
Brian Hanley, The IRA: A documentary History 1916-2005 (Dublin: Gill & Macmillian, 2010), 121 2 www.youtube.com/watch?v=#769950 3 Hanley, The IRA, 123
books. The government propreganda that was produced at the time made being anti partition a moral issue. These young men reasoned that politics having failed the logic of nationalism meant that the only way to remedy the evil of partition was physical force against an imperialist army. Republican publications from the time emphatise the skill with which the IRA carred out the operation. Great credit is due to the men who planned and carried out the operation for the foresight and efficiency displayed throughout 4. The raid was a publicity coup for the IRA. They stole weapons without the authorities being aware of the raid. The raid was, for an republican, a satisfying sign of opposition to the British state. The officer in change in charge of the operation expressed regret that he had omitted to leave a note of thanks to their Most Gracious Majesties for their kind co-operation, by causing large numbers of the Crown forces to be drafted from Derry to Belfast thus facilitating him in making [...] the only effective protest that can be made to England 5[.] The second raid was on Armagh. An IRA man Leo McCormack discovered that the sentry had no unloaded gun. The IRA sent Sean Garland to join the Royal Irish Fusiliers at Gough. Garland then supplied information to the IRA. Garland was skillful spy. He was promoted to the rank of colour sergeant. The r aid happened in broad daylight. It was compleated in under half an hour. The united Irishman was quick to emphatise the raid that had such amazing coolness that the routine life of the Armagh City went on undisturbed. The raid was another great propaganda boast for the IRA. They received an influx of new recruits fired up by the romanticism of attacking the empire. The was an extended training camp in the Wicklow mountains in the summer of 1954. These su mmer camps took place under the nose of the Irish aut horities. The Garda in practise turned a blind eye to IRA activities. Eamonn Boyce the leader of the raid was changed with treason felony. This was antiquated law from the 19th century. Boyce though it was a ludicrous. I am a Dublin man, and as far as I a m concerned, you have no right to change me with treason 6 . The raid lead to an wave of support for the IRA. Philip Clark and Tom Mitchell were elected to the House of Commons. The IRA had engaged in first gun battle with the British army for many years. The Arbourfield Raid was the most daring. Volunteers with to Britain separately and raided an army camp. They managed to escape the camp with guns and 50000 rounds of ammunition. These were recaptured. Ruairi O Bradaigh in his account of the raid speaks of his joy that at last he was fighting the English. He relished physically attacking British soldiers. The raid was a failure as far as getting arms. Three volunteers were sentanced to life in prison. The IRA could argue that the British were being vindicative. No one was killed. The three men were martyrs for the cause. During the 1950s the IRA began rearming. Raids were undertaken in Derry. Omagh Essex Berkshire and Armagh. The first of these arms raids was at Derry. The British royals were visiting northern Ireland and the IRA chose to mark it by showing that the British Army were less than diligent at guarding their barracks.
Hanley, The IRA, 124 Ibid. 6 Hanley, The IRA, 125
The guns were needed for a renewed campaign that had been in gestation since the 1930s. Tom Barry the IRA hero from the 1930s had proposed an attack on Northern Ireland.7 Sean Cronin was the man that created a plan to do this. Taking his lead for the war of independence he proposed that there be flying columns. These flying columns would attack areas in Northern Ireland. They would make them ungovernable for Stormount. The people in the liberated areas would come to agree with the rebels. Similar to the manner in which the electorate voted for Sinn Fein after the Easter rising. A document found at the time out lines Cronins plan. It was found in Cronin s flat. The offences against the state act had been invoked by the Costello government. Republican activists were rounded. The document in Cronins flat was fifteen pages long and was headed the General Directive for the Guerrilla Campaign . The document outlined how the IRA would break down the enemy s administration in the occupied area until he is forced to withdraw his forces. Our method of doing this guerrila warfare within the occupied area and propaganda directed at its inhabitants. In time as we will biuld up our forces, we hope to be in a position to liberate large areas and tie these in with other liberated areas- that is areas where the enemy s writ no longer runs 8. The Brookborough Raid during the Border campaign has been in many ways the most resonant. It has gone down in Republican folklore and song. The characters of Sean South and to a lesser extent Fergal O Hanlon were symbols of the movement. Sean South was a cast as a new Padraig Pearce. South had in his person many of the characteristics of the republican movement in mid century Ireland. He was idealist. He was devoted to the Irish language. In 1948 he joined Cairde Na Geailge an Irish language association founded by jesuit priest Fr Thomas O Murthuile SJ. This organisation was mainstream. South around the same time wrote a letter to the editor of An tEireannach Aontaithe the Sinn Fein monthly looking for information about Sinn Fein. He was also a member of Gealic League. These organisations didn t satisfy his veal for the language. Together with Micheal O Corbain and Liam MacRaghnaill he founded a stricter organistaion, The soldiers of Freedom Saighdiuiri na Saoirse . The aims of the organisation was to To bring all Irish speakers together and break the dominance of the English Language over Ireland. To speak only Irish among themselves. To write only in Irish. To buy Irish goods. To speak En glish only with the permission of the committee. They would take every chance to promote all thing Irish. 9Because the rules of this organisation were so strict South set up a youth wing. The Scouts of Freedom Giollai na Saoire. It was based on the Scouts that South ahd been a member of as a child. But in the Scouts of Freedom the emphatise was on the Irsih language. Sean Souths devotion Catholicism is another aspect of his idealism. He was a member of the famous Limerick confraternity. This was nothing out of the ordeinary. South was a daily Mass goer and was a daily communicant. Under the
Henry Patterson, The Politics of Illusion: Republicanism and Socialism in Modern Ireland (London: Hutchinson Radius, 1989), 72 8 J. Bowyer Bell, The Secret Army: The IRA 1916-1976 (Dublin: The Academy Press, 1979), 300-301 9 Des Forgerty , Sean South of Garryowen (Ennis: A.K Ilen Company, 2006), 37
rules of the time this would have required fasting. He was involved in pennie dinners. On Sunday morning he would help with breakfst for local down and outs. He was a member of Irish speaking branch of the legion of Mary An Realt. He was involved in disputes with Jehovah s Wit esses. For this work on this he recieved a blessing from the Bishop of Limerick. The most outlandish aspect of his Catholicsm was his assocaition with Maria Duce (Mary our Leader). Maria Duce wanted to have the Roman Catholic Church declared the official state religion. The founder of the Maria Duce was Fr Denis Fahy. Fr Fahy was anti semite. He promoted a conspiritorial world view. The Jews were behide the communism and any other thing Fr Fahy thought was evil. These ideas of Jewish conspiracy had a clear influence on South. In a letter to the Limerick Leader he called Hollywood films insidious propaganda which proceeds from JudaeoMasonic contolled sources . He emplores Irish people having fought so heroically [...] for Faith and Fatherland not to bet ray and forsake that gloriously noble heritage by succumbing, like slaves, to the modern attacks against God[.] 10 11His belief in conspiracy theories was strange but it is understandable. He was picking up on the general atmostphere in the anglophone world. In a second letter on the same subject he cites the McCarthy era investigations in America. [T]he Committee (on un-American Activities) reports that through infilration into Key positions where communists and fellow travellers can be advanced, aided and promoted in their careers 12. Hollywood films were a conserted effort to undermine the morals of good Christians in America and Ireland. This ideas are understandable considering that committees of the US senate were promoting them. They provide anyone who though Hollywood films were immoral with an explanation of this. The right wing bend of South s activities can seem incongruous with his membership of the IRA. The IRA had had a left wing bend. The bishops had made it clear that thay consided membership of the IRA a mortal sin. For a devout Catholic like South the decision to join the IRA must have provoked much soul searching. His belief in right wing conspiracy theories and membership of a IRA are not incompatable. The IRA had members who wanted a marxist revolution. But it also had members who said the rosary at meeting. Also it would simplicitic to say that just because South was anto communist that he was pro capitalist. The Theories of Father Fahy don t fit neatly in the political spectrum. Fahy wanted to distribute as property to as many people as possible under an authoritarian Catholic regime. He was not a capitalist as in the usual sense of the term. South had represented many common threads in the Republican movement. He had a devotion to his count ry it s language and faith. He believed in it s fundamental goodness. Conversly he believed in that Northern Ireland was blemish on Ireland caused by an imperialist aggressor. It was that ideal that lead him to lose his life on New Years Day 1957. He was part of a column lead by Sean Garland. They were out in Fermanagh cold and uncomfortable. They had been trying to set up ambushes but these failed. They were runing out of time. They had been ordered to return by January 4 to
Forgarty, Sean South, 33 Barry Flynn, Soldiers of Folly: The IRA Border Campaign 1956 -1962 (Cork: The Collins Press, 2006), 15-17 12 Forgarty, Sean South, 35
be refitted. In desperation the raid on the police station at brookborough was planned. Sean Garland in 2007 emphatises that element of surprise in the raid on Brookborough. We had been in the Fermanagh countryside for many nights and the element of surprise was the key to our operations. [...]. The Police station presented us with a target and we went there confident that we could attack the station and make good our escape 13. They IRA believed that they had the element of surprise. But this is contradiced by the testimony of Alex Spiers of the RUC [t]he Special Crime Unit of the RUC at the time had their finger on the pulse of all the subversive and this attack had been anticipated 14. Weather the raid the was anticipated or not it was a military failure for the IRA. Once they attacked they were under return fire from an officer who had rushed upstairs with a gun. The gelignite they planted at the door failed to explode. Bullets were fired still it failed to explode. Sean Garland ordered a retreat. They all piled into the back of their lorry. They were all open to bullets there. By the time they had escaped the Sean South and Fergal O Hanlon had been fatally wounded. The may have been a military failure but it was propraganda coup for the IRA. Sean South and Fergal O Hanlon became the s ubject of popular songs praising their deeds. Sean South from Garryowen and the patriot game respectively. The Funerals were exploited by the IRA. The coffins were taken to St Macartans Cathedral and placed before the high alter. Noel Kavanagh gave the oration at O Hanlons funeral saying that [i]f you want to erect a monument to this volunteer I ask you to erect a monument which can be seen all over the world. I have in mind a monument which Fergal would like and that monument is the Irish Republic 15. They deaths were being used as recruiting tool. The remains of Sean South made a slow progress back to Limerick. In Dublin they were met by large crowds and IRA military processions. Every town it passed the people recited the rosary. In limerick thousands of people came out for the funeral. The tricolour was lowered and the Garda stood to attention for the coffin. The deaths of South and O Hanlon provoked widespread sympathy in the population. The IRA Campaign put pressure on the Governemnt of the time. The inter party government was lead by Fine Geal with the support of Clann Na Poblachta. Clann Na Poblachat was very republican party lead by a former IRA chief of staff Sean McBride. Because of the violence in the north he was compeled to deal with the IRA. He was urged by the Co. Monaghan Protestant Association to tale all possible measures to assist in discovering those possible and bring them to justice 16 He met with his cabinet for twelve hours to take stock of the situation. He received deputation from the army and the Garda. His decision was to issue a statement he would take necessary step to deal with illegal organisations operating in the state17. The press at the time urged Costello deal with the IRA. The Irish Time urged him to be vigorous with the IRA. The Belfast Telegraph told it s readers that civil servants in the south were involved in raids as they had not been at work the Mondays after raids. The British press wanted IRA to be dealt with quickly. Cut the IRA down size the Daily Telegraph said. The London
Flynn, Soldiers of Fortune, 98 Ibid 97 15 Forgerty, Sean South, 123 16 Flynn, Soldiers of Fortune, 84 17 Ibid 84
Evening Standard called on the Republic to control this evil movement, which exploits in a new generation old hatreds and old appetites. The Irish Press wanted a fresh election. The response of the Irish newspapers indicates that their was little popular appetite for a the IRA s plan for national reunification. Mainstream opinion was against the IRA. The British press made the case that the IRA were engaging in irrational attacks on a state that existed because of democratic will. The IRA were driven by a cult of the 1916 constantly harkening back to a martyrs for the cause but giving little thought to the wishes of the unionist population in the north of Ireland beyond simplistic invocations to stand aside in the war against British imperialism. The attitude of the conservative British press would have reassured the unionist government in Stormont that the government in London was ready to give aid. Lord Brookeborough appeared on the BBC Panorama programme to discuss. H.A.L Craig a member of the Irish Labour Party appeared on the BBC during the same period. He called the IRA attacks a joke until someone was killed. He objected to the characterisation of the IRA as delinquents by the Unionist politicans. He continued that referred to the British mutilation of Ireland. It was a great thing he said that that people could not walk 200 yards without being reminded of Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet 18. He had a nuanced view of the IRA campaign stating to an Ulster audience that most people in the south were not behind the campaign. Craig a protestant who was a republican in the tradition of Wolfe Tone was proved to be correct. This outraged the Brookborough who replied soon afterwards by reaffirming that England had a duty to Northern Ireland it s oldest colony 19. Anthony Eden made clear his determination to protect Northern Ireland. In the Ireland Act, 1949, the Parliment of Westminister declared Northern Ireland to be an integral part of the United Kingdom. This is a decalration which all parties in this house are pledged to support. The safety of Northern Ireland and it s inhabitants is, therefore, a direct responsibility of the Her Majesty s Government, which, they will, of course, dischange 20. John A Costello made a speech on radio on the 6 January 1957. He condemned the IRA violence by a lawless group that aggregated to itself the powers of the state by bearing arms. They had no right to do this because they had no democratic mandate. He said We righty honour those who rose against British rule in other times. Many of them are to be found among members of the Government and of Dail Eireann today, and they are the first to recognise the fundamental differences between circumstances of the past and those that obtain today. 21 They had a national parliament of the people. The IRA were refusing to acknowledge will of the people He denounced the cult of martyrdom and said that the Leaders of these young men were ruthless and subtle and can be counted on to exploit the fullest sympathy with the loss of young lives 22. Costello was willing to deal with the IRA up to a point. He had been a early
Flynn., Soldiers of Folly, 86 Ibid, 87 20 Bowyer, The IRA, 283 21 Donnacha O Beachain, Destiny of the Soldiers: Fianna Fail, Irish Republicanism and the IRA, 1926 -73 (Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 2010), 242 22 Flynn, Soldiers of folly, 140
supporter of the Irish council on Civil Liberties. He had just signed up to the European declaration on Human Rights. He didn t want to be the first to s eek a derogation on ideas by dealing with the IRA in a heavy handed manner. He was in coalition in Clann na Poblac ta. Their was considerable unease in that party about the manner in which the the coalition was dealing with the IRA.
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