Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Collusion is not an illusion - Committee

I note that an Oireachtas Committee report has today concluded there is no doubt whatsoever that collusion took place between between British security forces and loyalists in attacks in the Irish Republic.

You wouldn't know it though if you were watching the British news channels as they are too busy prying into Gordon Brown's private life and telling everyone that his son has cystic fibrosis. (How is that anyone's business?)

It's a bloody disgrace that they haven't bothered to inform the British public what their despicable representatives were doing while here in this island of ours.

The Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Equality, Defence and Women's Rights looked into 18 different fatalities in the Republic as a result of terrorist activity and found there was no doubt that there was collusion between the British security forces and the loyalist terrorists behind all of the atrocities that were considered in Justice Henry Barron's report.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern has said it is 'absolutely essential' that the British Government examine the findings of reports into collusion, and that it fully co-operates with all investigations into the serious issues that have arisen.

Damn right. They have a moral obligation. SDLP leader Mark Durkan commented:

"The considered view of a parliamentary committee is that collusion was endemic, there was extensive evidence of that collusion at the time and elements in the British security forces were engaged in international terrorism.

"The British government must heed the call of the Taoiseach and the Pat Finucane Centre to examine the findings of the committee and take appropriate action."

Hear, hear. We can't expect anything less.

Tony Blair has apologised this week for slavery - something that happened 200 years ago. Will the people of Ireland likewise receive an apology for what has been done to our people thirty years ago by barbaric British nutcases?

Monday, November 27, 2006


100 Greatest Irish People - The vote!

OK I have taken a number of your suggestions on board and I have personally compiled a shortlist of what I believe to be the 100 greatest Irish people of all time. However, as I stated already, I'd like the list to have a lot of input from all of you.

With that being said, over the course of the next few weeks I will post ten polls with ten Irish figures to a poll. This week I've posted two polls which can be found to your left. These are mutiple choice polls meaning you tick the box of the figures you feel are most deserving of a HIGH ranking.

The Irish figures with the most votes will obviously feature higher in the eventual list and obviously those with little support will be at the tail end of the list.

So, for example, one of the polls to your left features Michael Collins and Seamus Heaney. If you are of the view that Collins is a great Irishman and that Heaney is not, obviously you'd tick the box of Collins and leave Heaney's blank. It's pretty straightforward really.

So then, here are some details on this week's featured Irish figures which you can vote for in the sidebar. Remember you can select as many as you want.

Poll #1

Michael Collins - Revolutionary hero from County Cork

John Tyndall - Great natural philosopher from County Carlow

Roger Casement - Dublin-born British diplomat as well as Irish revolutionary

Lord Kelvin - Born William Thomson in Belfast, Ireland. Regarded as one of the great leaders in the physical sciences during the 19th century.

Hugh O'Donnell - Ulster rebel who fought the English occupation of the island.

C.S. Lewis - Belfast-born author, best known for his literary classic The Chronicles of Narnia.

Gay Byrne - Ireland's most well-known broadcaster, born in Dublin and who fronted the world's longest runing chat show, The Late Late Show, for 37 years.

Susan Jocelyn Bell - Northern Ireland-born astrophysicist, famous for discovering the first radio pulsars.

T.K. Whitaker - County Down born economist, largely responsible for the upturn in fortune for the Irish economy in the sixties.

Seamus Heaney - County Derry born poet, awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1995.

Poll #2

Oscar Wilde - World-renowned Dublin-born playwright, novelist, poet and short story writer.

Terence O'Neill - County Antrim born fourth Prime Minister of Northern Ireland who attempted to end sectarianism in the North.

Chaim Herzog - Belfast-born sixth President of Israel who served in World War 2 and who helped liberate several concentration camps.

Lord Castlereagh - Dublin-born Whig noted for attempting to emancipate Catholics as well as securing the Act of Union.

Mary Robinson - First female President of Ireland. Born in Mayo and noted for her humanitarian work.

Wolfe Tone - Dublin born revolutionary, widely regarded as the founding father of Irish republicanism.

Michael Davitt - Mayo-born IRB member who worked hard for people's land rights in the 19th century.

Samuel Beckett - Dubliner noted for his critically acclaimed novels, dramas and poetry who received the Nobel prize in Literature in 1969.

Bono - Born Paul Hewson, frontman of U2, the most successful Irish band of all time. Also known for his humanitarian work in Africa.

Richard Harris - Limerick-born actor widely regarded as one of the finest Irish actors of all time.

So there you have it. Stay tuned for the next set of polls.

No doubt many of you will both support and oppose many of the names listed here but sure tis all part of the process. Now get voting for your favourites, folks!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


The 100 Greatest Irish People

Update: Thank you for your great response to my request for suggestions to the '100 Greatest Irish People' list which, coupled with some emailed suggestions, topped the 60+ mark. I have taken a number of your suggestions on board which I've added to the number below.

It's been a while since I've posted on United Irelander and so I decided I'd return with a very ambitious post that I've always wanted to try.

I'm sure a lot of you remember the 100 Greatest Britons programme from 2002 from our neighbours across the water. Well while other countries adopted this idea, here in Ireland, (surprise, surprise) we did not make an effort and I've always felt that was a bit of a shame. After all, no one dwells and argues about their history more than us right?

So with RTE unwilling to take a stab at it, I figured here in the Blog O'Sphere we should all give it a go. I could compile a list myself but I'd rather get input and ideas from others to give it a bit of a broader appeal.

With that being the case I've written out a decent sized list below of notable Irish figures who I feel are deserving of a mention. What I'm hoping is that those of you reading this will add any names to the list who you feel deserve to be included. Feel free to criticise any names I've come up with too. This is not the finished list yet of course.

I have come up with the following names based upon their contribution to Irishness and Irish society as well as their impact upon the world at large.

Since I'm sure it will come up, I feel certain figures warrant inclusion on the list even if they were not born in the island. For example James Connolly, Eamon de Valera, St Patrick etc can be classed as Irish people. In the 100 Greatest Britons list, Freddie Mercury was included even though he was born in Zanzibar to Western Indian Parsi parents. I think that was correct. Having said that I do feel certain figures with Irish roots do not warrant inclusion. For example while John F. Kennedy and John Lennon were great figures proud of their Irish heritage, they are rightly regarded as great Americans and Britons respectively and it would be a bit farcical to include them.

Finally I will simply point out that this concept is designed to be a bit of fun and to hopefully stir up some good natured debate on our history. I'm not trying to be patronising or to propagate my politics (which is why I welcome your input).

So with that out of the way here are some names, in no particular order, which I feel warrant inclusion.

Ernest Shackleton

Oscar Wilde

Johnathan Swift

Bram Stoker

Roger Casement

William Butler Yeats

John Millington Synge

Gay Byrne

John Barry

Duke of Wellington

Michael Collins

Bob Geldof

Saint Patrick

Phil Lynott

Oliver Plunkett

Daniel O'Connell

Charles Stewart Parnell

Eamon de Valera

John Philip Holland

Robert Boyle

George Best

Roy Keane

Tom Crean

Arthur Guinness


Lady Gregory

Francis Ledwidge

James Larkin

Samuel Beckett

Robert Emmet

Brendan Behan

Maude Gonne

Countess Markiewicz

Sean McBride

C.S. Lewis

Henry Joy McCracken

Douglas Hyde

Edmund Rice

Wolfe Tone

Thomas Clarke

John Redmond

Patrick Pearse

Terence McSwiney

Edmund Burke

St Brendan

Thomas Ashe

Hugh O'Donnell

Arthur Griffith

Sean Lemass

Michael Davitt

Thomas Russell

Erskine Childers

T.K. Whitaker

Edward Carson

James Connolly

Kevin O'Higgins

Richard Harris

Peter O'Toole

Brian Boru

Hugh O'Neill

Grace O'Malley

Patrick Kavanagh

Phelim O'Neill

James Joyce

Sean O'Casey

George Bernard Shaw

Sean O'Riada

Mick O'Connell

Sean O'Neill

Terence O'Neill

Sean Purcell

Christy Ring

Jack Lynch

Garret Fitzgerald

Flann O'Brien

Seamus Heaney

John Hume

Eoghan Rua O'Neill

Patrick Sarsfield

Michael O'Leary

Ernest Walton

William Rowan Hamilton

Van Morrisson

Anne Devlin

Edmund Ignatius Rice

Henry Grattan

Lord Edward Fitzgerald

Hans Sloane

Lord Castlereagh

Lord Londonderry, Marquis of Downshire

Viscount Alanbrooke

John Scotus

George Berkeley

William Parsons

Charles Parsons

John Boyle O'Reilly

Thomas Addis Emmet

Thomas Francis Meagher

Willie John McBride

Harry Clarke

Paul McGrath

Lord Kelvin

Alex Higgins

Michael O'Leary

John Tyndall

Martin Sheridan

Peadar O'Donnell

Bobby Sands

Harry Ferguson

Lord Pirrie

Thomas Andrews

Chaim Herzog

Susan Jocelyn Bell

Professor Patrick Thornberry

William Massey

John Ballance

Fr. Murphy

Mary Robinson

Shane O'Neill

Issac Butt

John Kelly of Killane

Msgr. Denis Faul.

Monday, November 06, 2006


RUC and UDR murdered Irish people

It's been revealed today that an international panel of experts have concluded that members of the RUC and UDR colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in 74 murders in the 1970s.

The four-strong team examined 76 killings between 1972 and 1977 and said there was evidence of collusion in all but two of the cases.

It said some senior officers knew of the crimes but "failed to act to prevent or punish" those responsible.

The panel urged the government to set up an independent investigation.

The report claimed that "credible evidence indicates that superiors of violent, extremist officers and agents, at least within the RUC, were aware of their sectarian crimes, yet failed to act to prevent, investigate or punish them".

The British government told the panel it would be inappropriate to comment as the murders were already the subject of inquiries by a number of agencies.

These included the European Court of Human Rights, the Historical Enquiries Team, and the Police Ombudsman.

The panel was convened two years ago at the request of the Pat Finucane Centre.

The independent panel who produced the report were Professor Douglass Cassel of Notre Dame Law School in the US, Susie Kemp, an international lawyer based in The Hague, Piers Pigou - an investigator for the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Stephen Sawyer of Northwestern University School of Law.

Copies of the report have been given to the British government and the Police Ombudsman's Office. The 108-page report examined 25 cases on both sides of the Irish border.

Last year, the Irish government said it was to give Tony Blair a final chance to aid an inquiry into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.

Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said he may take a case to the European Court of Human Rights if Mr Blair did not hand over British government files on the 1974 bombings.

The UVF was suspected of carrying out the attacks which killed 33 people - no-one was convicted of the bombings.

Well, well, well it seems that what Irish nationalists have been saying for the last number of decades was the stone cold truth. I wonder how unionists will now react to this report? Of course, over the years they have largely scoffed at such suggestions and buried their heads in the sand.

Well now it's time to take your heads out of the sand and acknowledge these MURDERS.

Never a truer word spoken...

This report highlights that the north of Ireland was indeed in a state of war - certainly in the eyes of the RUC and UDR - and it means that if unionists want to demonise the Provos then they need to be consistent and demonise the RUC and UDR as well - as I have done for example.

There is no doubt in my mind that the British were involved in the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and this report - and I wager future reports - will vindicate this view.

Justice must be done and those in the RUC, UDR and MI5 who murdered Irish people must be brought to justice for their crimes against humanity - in the same way that Saddam has been.

We can't move on from the dirty sectarian past until these scumbags are made to pay for their misdeeds.

I'm sure unionists have no problem with that, right? Right?

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Making of a martyr

So Saddam Hussein has been found guilty of crimes against humanity - that's good.

Saddam has been sentenced to death by hanging - that's bad.

I don't see the sense in allowing this despicable human being to become a martyr.

Let him instead live out the rest of his miserable life in some rotten jail cell.

Iraq is in a bad enough way as it is and I feel his execution will do much more harm than good.

What a stupid decision.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


What the Irish national anthem should be...

For my money the song featured below is the song that should be used as Ireland's national anthem - 'A Nation Once Again'. It beats the miserable anthem we have at the moment, whose lyrics most people don't seem to be able to sing.

There was an attempt in the early years of the Irish Free State to change the national anthem to A Nation Once Again from Amhran na bhFiann but the plans were put off as there was not enough support for the idea. Nothing wrong with giving it another try though right?

When a United Ireland occurs, which looks to be very soon in this century, I think this song would be the perfect choice for the new state. Below, the Wolfe Tones give their rendition of the song so you can make your own minds up...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Today in History - Kevin Barry executed

"Never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.'' - Winston Churchill speech, 1941.

November, 1920, was a very different Ireland to the one of today.

Two years previously, the people of the island of Ireland had voted overwhelmingly in favour of the separatist party Sinn Féin. However this desire for separation from the United Kingdom would go ignored by the British. One year previously, Irish delegates attempted to attain international recognition of Irish self-determination at the Paris Peace Conference however, due to Britain's influence, this effort would also be ignored. Thus, the Irish Republican Army found itself with no alternative but to remove the British from Ireland through the barrel of the gun.

Of the many great patriots who took up this brave fight against, as Churchill would put it, the "overwhelming might of the enemy", one such patriot was a young UCD college student by the name of Kevin Barry.

Barry was a Dubliner who spent his life there as well as in rural County Carlow. He entered Belvedere College in 1916. While in his second year there he joined the Irish Volunteers and initially was charged with delivering motivation orders. In 1919, he enrolled at University College Dublin.

During the War of Independence against the British occupiers, Barry was promoted to Section Commander and took part in various raids for arms throughout the city. On the 20th of September he was due to sit his final medical exam, but he never sat it. That morning he was involved in an ambush at 11 o'clock at the junction of Church Street and North King Street on the Northside of Dublin. Barry thought the raid would be concluded with more than enough time to make his afternoon exam but Barry was captured hiding under a truck after his comrades fled the scene.

At his trial, 18 year-old Kevin Barry told the court that as a soldier of the Irish Republic he regarded all of his actions as acts of war. As a republican he refused to recognise the court and did not put forward a defence.

During the trial witness after witness was called to give their version of the morning's events. Each time Barry was asked if he wanted to question the witness. Each time he replied "No", except for once when he snapped at the President of the Court, "Don't bother asking me that question any more, I am not interested in the proceedings." He also showed his defiance and disdain for the court by reading a newspaper during the trial.

The British reportedly tortured Barry in an attempt to find out the names of other men involved in the raid but the young man refused to tell. He was given a death sentence but it was widely believed that this sentence would be commuted, and that the British authorities would not dare to execute an 18 year-old.

Appeals continued to be made on Barry's behalf until the very last moment but on October 31st, Major-General H. H. Tudor, Inspector General of the Royal Irish Constabulary, threatened to resign if Barry was reprieved. This was the deciding factor. Barry would hang Monday morning.

On the day prior to his execution, Kevin Barry was permitted three visits of three people each. Among the last of these visitors was the Republican Capuchin chaplain, Father Albert, who described Barry as a "a magnificent boy - wonderfully calm". Before leaving the condemned cell, he asked Barry if he had any final message. The reply was, "That is making such a fuss. The only message I have for anybody is 'Hold on and stick to the Republic.'"

That evening a final rescue attempt, planned by Michael Collins himself, came to nothing. The British mobilised three companies after Prison guards had become alarmed by the large crowds of women who had gathered to pray by the main gates.

Kevin Barry was executed in the morning of November 1st, 1920. Commander of the Auxiliary Division, Brigadier-General Frank Percy Crozier, who had been required to supply Barry's guard, was deeply moved by the young man's bravery and commented, "In Ireland, as no hangman could be found to hang Barry, we had to bring one all the way from England, in disguise and in great secrecy. He came 300 miles across the sea, surreptitiously, to hang a rebel murderer. Or - he came 300 miles across the sea, surreptitiously, to hang a soldier of Ireland. You see, so much depends on one's point of view." Crozier would later resign in protest at the lawlessness of the Auxiliaries.

Prison Chaplain Canon Waters later wrote to Mrs. Barry with a description of Kevin's final moments:

"His courage was superhuman, and rested, I am sure, on his simple goodness and innocence of conscience. You are the mother, my dear Mrs. Barry, of one of the bravest and best boys I have ever known. He went to the scaffold with the most perfect bravery, without the slightest faltering, repeating his little ejaculations and the Sacred Name 'til the very last moment of his life."

The execution of Kevin Barry did not produce the effect that the authorities in Dublin Castle had sought. In fact, support hardened behind Sinn Fein, and many indignant young men became active members of the IRA. The war intensified, with both sides adopting a far more ruthless and deadly approach.

Tom Barry, commander of the highly successful West Cork Flying Column, summed up the Volunteers' new approach:

"The British were met with their own weapons. They had gone down into the mire to destroy us and our nation, and down after them we had to go to stop them."

On October 14th, 2001, the remains of Barry and 9 other volunteers from the War of Independence were given a State funeral and moved from Mountjoy prison to be re-interred at Glasnevin cemetery.

I personally have great admiration and respect for the courage and sacrifice shown by Irish hero Kevin Barry. I am a free Irish citizen today thanks to the bravery of patriots like Barry - and in spite of the greed and selfish imperialist aggression shown by the British.

What savages they were to murder a young man who simply sought for his nation to be free!

A famous song 'Kevin Barry' was penned shortly after his death and you can hear it be performed below by the Wolfe Tones...

RIP Kevin Barry

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