Current Affairs, Politics, Irish Unity, History and Culture.
Michael Davitt GAC | The Future of Moore Street | Tony McMahon
Michael Davitt GAC
In October 2006 and again in August 2021 I was asked to give a talk on Michael Davitt to the members of Davitts GAC on the Falls Road as part of the Davitts Culture, Sport and History Weekend. I enjoyed the craic. My thanks to Chairperson Tommy Shaw, Terry Park and others for a good evening.
The Future of Moore Street
Last Thursday the relatives of the Signatories of the 1916 Proclamation of the Republic and the Moore Street Preservation Trust launched their detailed plan for the protection of the 1916 Moore Street Battlefield site and for its development as a historic cultural quarter. They were joined at the launched by many of those, including … and Mary Lou McDonald TD and others who have campaigned against the developer led proposal for the area that has been produced by British company Hammerson.
The great Tony McMahon has died. A musician and broadcaster Tony was one of the giants of traditional music. His music on the button accordion was passionate, deeply Irish, poignant, uplifting and spiritual.
Jeffrey at the Crossroads | A game of chicken | Seán Ó Riada
Jeffrey at the Crossroads
Is the Union the only reason why some working class unionist voters persist in voting for parties like the DUP when that party clearly doesn’t represent them on social and economic issues? In fact the DUP often acts against the class interests of working class Protestants, Unionists and Loyalists especially those from deprived communities, suffering from the effects of Tory policies. The failure, thus far, of parties like the PUP and other smaller parties to organize and to win more significant electoral support compounds this anomaly. So does Sectarianism.
A game of chicken
Will they, won’t they, trigger Article 16? For those of you who don’t know what Article 16 is? It is a part of the Protocol agreed between the EU and the British government that in the event of “serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade” would allow either side to effectively tear up parts of the deal.
Seán Ó Riada
Seán Ó Riada was a genius. This column is certain of that. He brought Irish traditional music out off the back kitchens, travellers’ trailers and pub snugs and brought it centre stage and into the concert halls and theatres of Ireland and the world. Sean died on October 3, 1971, in hospital in London, England aged 40. So the 50th anniversary of his death is this year.
Biden tells Johnson a few home truths | Remembering Big Bob in the PD | 40 years on and their sacrifice remains a massive inspiration
Biden tells Johnson a few home truths
While sitting beside Johnson at a press conference in the White House President Biden told the media that neither he, “nor I might add would many of my Republican colleagues like to see a change in the Irish accords, the end result having a closed border in Ireland.”
Many other US leaders were equally resolute in their rejection of any suggestion that there could be a US – British trade deal if the Good Friday Agreement was threatened.
Remembering Big Bob in the PD:
LAST Thursday a portrait of Bobby Storey, by Tony Bell (right), was unveiled in the Andersonstown Social Club. It is a place that he had a long association with. The following night – within Covid regulations – family, friends and comrades again gathered in the PD club to reflect on Big Bobby’s life and times, and his contribution to the struggle for freedom.
40 years on:
40 YEARS ago, on October 3, 1981 the hunger strike ended. It was the culmination of almost a full year of hunger strikes, first in Long Kesh in October 1980, then in Armagh Women’s Prison in November 1980, and finally in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh beginning on March 1, 1981.
Stories from the heart of the Blocks
NEXT week will mark 40 years from the end of the 1981 hunger strike. Much has been written this year and many events have taken place to remember those who died. For me Ten Men Dead by David Beresford and Nor Meekly Serve My Time, compiled by Brian Campbell, remain two of the outstanding books of that period. Jim McCann’s 6000 Days is a very welcome and amazing recent addition to these publications. A must read book.
So too with another new book – The Comrades – just published by An Fhuiseog as part of the work of the ‘81/21 Committee’. This collection of reflections provides a rare insight into the 12 republican prisoners who died on hunger strike during the most recent phase of the long struggle for Irish freedom. Pádraic Wilson was the dynamo behind its publication and Danny Morrison edited it.
1981 was a watershed year in our history: the heroic resistance of the women in Armagh Gaol and the men on the blanket in the H-Blocks; and the support of families and communities across this island and internationally who rallied in support of the hunger strikers.
Sam so special for for Northern Gaels | Jailbreaks always a big morale boost | Moore Street appeal
ACCORDING to media reports there was great elation among Palestinians when the news broke that six political prisoners had succeeded in tunnelling their way to freedom from the high security Gilboa prison in northern Israel. The six were Zakaria Zubeidi; brothers Muhammad and Mahmoud al-Arida; Eham Kamamji,;Yacoub Kadiri; and Munadil Nafayat. Photographs after the escape show a hole in the floor of their communal shower cubicle and an exit hole outside the wall of the prison in full view of an observation tower.
Palestinian people demonstrated in solidarity with the escapees and with Palestinian prisoners. Currently, there are approximately 4,750 Palestinians being held in dozens of prison facilities across Israel. These include 42 females, 200 children, and 550 administrative detainees (internees).
Are you listening Jeffrey? | Reclaiming the Enlightenment
Are you listening Jeffrey?
Unionism, especially its DUP component, has been talking up unionist and loyalist resistance to the Irish Protocol since before Boris Johnson dirty-joed them, broke his commitments to them, negotiated and then signed up to the Protocol.
There is some evidence of this in the loyalist street disturbances earlier this year and the sacking of Arlene Foster and of Edwin Poots. The dramatic decline in the polling fortunes of the DUP, as it flounders about trying to assert its former role as the undisputed leader of unionism, is also linked to its stance on Brexit and its transparent efforts to blame everyone else for a debacle they helped create.
Reclaiming the Enlightenment
The best kind of history is that which successfully brings the stories of our past to life. Recently I had the good fortune to buy three little books that do exactly that from An Fhuiseog on the Falls Road, beside Sevastopol Street. The three are Mary Ann McCracken 1770-1866 – Feminist, Revolutionary and Reformer; The United Irishmen and the Men of no Property, The Sans Culottes of Belfast; and Cave Hill and the United Irishmen.
Together they give a wonderful insight into the lives and working experience of those in the Belfast region who helped shape the United Irish Society of the late 18th century. They are all written by John Gray who is the former Librarian of Belfast’s Linen Hall Library. John Gray has written and lectured on “many aspects of Ulster’s Labour and radical history.” The pamphlets are written under the auspices of ‘Reclaim the Enlightenment’ which “is committed to recalling and celebrating that progressive era in Belfast’s past. We are convinced that doing so can lend inspiration in the present.”