Friday, 24 July 2009

First the Kings of Leon as Gaeilge now Jeff Buckley

It hasn't made it's way onto You Tube yet but here's a version of Jeff Buckley's Hallelujah

Monday, 20 July 2009

Hurling on the Hill.........

Things tend to get fairly quiet up on the Hill as the summer recess kicks in.

My press office comrade, David Kennedy and myself, decided it would be good to take advantage of the vast estate surrounding our place of work.

We thought a good way of going about this was to take a dander round the many pathways scattered throughout the estate.

Anyone who ever comes up here will certainly see lots of walkers, runners, dogs out for a bitta craic as well as kids and tourists meandering around the place, taking all in.

This was just a bit too boring for four Belfast Republicans!

It was David, a dedicated Seán Uí Misteil supporter who had the Camáin in the boot of the car from different matches and or training sessions. He suggested we have a bit of a puc during our lunch hour this afternoon.

I was always more of a footballer than a hurler myself so was happy enough to join with Séanna and watch the two west belfast boys go at it (Antrim are a much sounder hurling people than us County Down folk!).

David's skills were evident, Vinty (who also joined us for a stroll from his office the floor above our own) definately recaptured some of his youthful glory days out on the lawn earlier.

Afterwards as we walked back up to work and inevitably passed the infamous statue of Carson, Séanna (who was kind enough to take the pictures) reminded us that Edward was a hurler himself, playing during his days at Trinity College.

I wonder what he would make, looking down at the scene this afternoon, of the four Belfast Republicans, enjoying the same game he did, but this time on the slopes of Stormont???

Antrim's new half-forward????

I don't think this fella's style of play and attitude would fit well within the CLG!!

But fair play for giving it a go Christiano!

Laochra Uladh

Cluiche agus lá den scoth!

D’éirigh mé go luath inné le freastal ar Cluiche Cheannais Uladh. Bhí Conchubhair a tiomaint agus bhí muid uilig tógtha fan turas, an cluiche agus an lá a bhí romhainn.

Dar ndóigh ní lucht leanúna d’Aontroim nó Tír Eoghain muid, is fir Contae an Dún sa carr máidin inné.

Tá sé ráite ag achan duine inniu gur cluiche agus atmaisféar den scoth a bhí ann le linn an cluiche; bhain mé fhéin sult as achan rud a baint leis an lá; na dathanna, an craic, an ceol, an spóirt agus an ceiliúradh. Bhí pionta nó dhó i dteach tábhairne Hibernian an mhaith fosta!

Tá comhghairdeas tuilte ag Aontroim as feachtais s’acu ach go hairithe don cluiche cheannais inné. Dar ndóigh tá comhghairdeas tuilte arís ag contae Tír Eoghain as an bua sláintiúla.

Is léir do dhuine ar bith ata ag iarraidh a fheiceáil, gur rud iontach speisialta í an Cumann Lúthchleas Ghael, bhí sin soiléir ón méid teaghlaigh, cairde agus cumainn ag freastal ar an cluiche inné.

Bhain mé a lán sult as an cluiche agus as cluichí an Dún agus déanfaidh mé mo dhícheall freastal ar an cluich i n-éadan Ciarraí fosta.

Mar fhocal scor, beidh mé oscailte agus ionraic libh a léitheoirí dhílis, roimh deireadh an cluiche bhí mé ag screadadh ar son…………………………………………… chomharsan Contae Aontroim!

Saturday, 18 July 2009

unseen footage of Adams in Gaza

plus Gerry speaking during the launch of his report into the visit at Stormont

of the Kerry grade.......

Much has been said about the article from former Mayor of Kerry Toiréasa Ferris in last weeks An Phoblacht.

The Short Strand was lucky enough to host Toireasa during our commemoration of local Volunteer Charles Monahan, who died in Kerry while trying to retrive arms in the run up to the Easter Rising 1916.

What struck everyone on that day was the sheer calibre of this Republican activist, she had the massive crowd assembled enthralled in the politics and republicanism of her speech, but was also able to come off the stage and flow freely from house to house chatting with local republican families who gladly opened their doors to welcome her in.

It came as no suprise to me that the party would want her to stand as a candidate in the recent European elections, she is a first class activist and representative. during this years Ard Fhéis, when I once again met Toireasa, the media based in the occupied part of Ireland, who were by and large unfamiliar with her all united in their praise for her and stated clearly that she was going far.

Toireasa has expressed her feelings regarding the last election openly for comrades to absorb and to debate upon. That is healthy and I'll allow regular readers of the blog to make up their own minds of the merits of what she is saying........

Monday, 13 July 2009

Níl sé thart go fóil

St Matthews Church prior to being attacked

The blog comes to you this evening from a very tired author. Following Down's victory over Laois on Saturday evening, the Short Strand Down Supporters Club headed for home(completely soaked to the skin i might add!!).

That evening a number of bonfires were being lit across unionist / loyalist parts of Béal Feirste.

Thankfully there was no major incidents on this side of the town at least.

Sunday came and we got into our usual points for the burning of the bonfire; I had joined a number of other community representatives in meeting with the PSNI earlier in the week to ensure that their operation was satisfactory and hindering as few residents as possible.

Thankfully things were quiet last night, a number of bonfires were lit, a barrage of loud, ridiculous music was blasted across the city, but with the exception of that and a few minor exchanges this part of the city saw very little incidents.

I am thankful for that!

It is a result, primarily, of the ongoing work being carried out at a cross community level in this part of East Belfast. I believe Republicans remain committed to ensuring a peaceful summer for everyone, I believe there are many within Unionism who feel the same. However there does remain those who cling to the old days of telling the croppies to lie down.

That must be overcome at both a leadership and grassroots level within the Unionist family.

An example, was yet another attack on Saint Matthews Chapel, a building that has seen it's fair share of paint bomb, petrol bomb, blast bomb, pipe bomb and gun attack during it's time on the Newtonards Road (a place of worship for this community has been there since 1831).

I recieved a phone call early yesterday morning informing me that the Chapel had been attacked with paint thrown all around the front door and that a memorial cross in the grounds had been tampered with also.
Like many people, on countless occasions before, I headed to the grounds of Saint Matthews.

I chatted briefly with some PSNI personnel who were at the scene telling them they needed to use the CCTV they insisted they needed at that part of Bryson Street and find those responsible. I also spoke with the local Parish Priest Fr Seán Gildmore, who looked how you would expect a Parish Priest to look when someone commits such a vile act on a place of worship.

I return to the issue of leadership; a number of months back I received a phone call very like the one I got yesterday. On that occasion it was from Joe O'Donnell, a friend and comrade, himself a former Sinn féin rep for this area. Joe has been involved in sterling cross community work with countless representatives throughout East Belfast but particularly with the East Belfast Mission.

Joe informed me that morning that the memorial garden on the Newtonards Road in rememberance of the men killed on 27th June 1970 had been attacked and vandalised with paint. There and then Joe and I took the decision that we needed to stand with the people at the bottom of the Newtonards Road, understanding completely we probably wouldn't be very welcome, and tell them very clearly that those attacking the memorial were not Republican, they weren't motivated by Republicanism and they certainly weren't representative of the Short Strand Community.

So we headed off, now joined by well known community stalwart and activist Bernie McCrory of the Short Strand Community Forum. As we headed to the junction of Bryson Street and the Newtonards Road we collectively took a very deep breath; this was unprecedented, no one had ever crossed this particular line in such an open and public way.

I recall seeing the scores of people, many understandably upset, some relatives of the victims openly weeping, I saw numerous TV crews and photographers who immediately began snapping our pictures. I noticed a number of senior political and church representative who I had met with on numerous occasions before, head away from us as opposed to meeting us in the same fashion they had on other occasions; that was particularly disappointing.

I was approach by a young woman and told to 'get the f**k back over to your own side of the road'. I informed her I was here to condemn what had happened and that we needed to maintain the links so tentatively built up over a difficult period, that that was best for everyone.

A number of ordinary residents understood this, they didn't hide their anger though, and to be fair we didn't expect them to. Many of the relatives told us what was on their minds but again, we understood they needed an outlet, and here we were, three faces from the Short Strand right beside the damaged memorial.

The fact remains that the people who carried that attack out have no political, social or even cultural motivation; they most certainly aren't representative of the people in the Short Strand who know very well the pain and suffering that comes with loss and therefore the respect which must be shown to the dead.

Another sad fact which remains is that during that difficult Sunday morning, those same leaders I mentioned earlier disappeared; they faded into the background or they weren't even present. They allowed us to stand alone to explain the process that we have collectively engaged in to try and bring some sort of peace to the people living along the 'interface' in that part of Belfast.

Once again when I took a walk round to Saint Matthews yesterday morning I did so alone, while a very clear opportunity existed for the leaders within Unionism and Loyalism to take the chance and stand against this attack, that chance was missed, for whatever reason I am not sure.

What remains certain throughout is that the work and engagement will continue, we will continue to meet and address our shared issues, we will continue to sit down and secure a better standard of living for the people who live in what is classed as the 9th most socio-economically deprived ward in the north of Ireland.

However we must also lead and stand up to those who would attempt to tarnish our respective communities, stand up to those so called 'leaders' whose word and deed create the space and the mentality for attacks on Catholic Churches.

I look forward to quieter times ahead, as I write I am aware that the day isn't over yet.

Wherever sectarianism or anti community activity rears its ugly head we must all, collectively have the courage to face it down.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Tá an Gaeilge trí thinne!!!!

Beidh fhios ag léitheoirí rialta go maith go bhfuil fíor dúil agam sa grúpa ceoil 'Ríthe Leon' nó 'Kings of Leon' i mBéarla.

Bhí aontas orm mar sin de nuair a chuir sár-Ghael de cuid na hÉireann, Seán Ó hAdhmail an físeán seo in airde ar 'LeabharÉadán' nó 'Facebook' s'aige.

Seo chugaibh Tadhg agus Óisín ag ceol an amhrán is clúití de chuid na ríthe 'Sex on fire' nó mar atá sé anois 'Gnéas ar Lasadh'!!!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Rebel Cork

Beidh cuimhne ag leitheoirí rialta ar an bhlag seo

Regular visitors to the blog will remember the above article

I wonder if this order, issued by the Royal Irish Constabularly Cork, in 1920, had anything to do with O'Gara's motivation.

December 1 1920 the Auxiliary Division, RIC, Macroom Castle:

'All male inhabitants of Macroom and all males passing through Macroom shall not appear in public with their hands in their pockets. Any male infringing this order is liable to be shot at sight'.

One of the lesser known christy songs.........but it's still good!!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Mo Mhámó

Today has been spent, like so many other people's Sundays, lazing around the house, having the occasional snack, watching some brief TV, listening to a tune on the radio and browsing the web.

Strangely I came across this old article from 'An Phoblacht - Republican News', it was written following the death of my Grandmother in 1997. I'm not too sure who wrote it but in ways it tells a lot about my granny and also tells us very little. I laughed at the line which mentions her strength being in her secrecy; I remember well a reporter from the AP/RN coming over to interview her before her death looking to find out about her life in struggle and aspects of Republicanism in the 1930s and 40s. Even after 60 years he had a very difficult time in getting anything from her about that period and the people involved. I remember vividly asking her on numerous occasions during one of those "what did you do during the war granny?" moments and her point blankly refusing to give me anything, not a nudge not a wink not "well we were.......", she wouldn't say a thing.

I have copied the article here......


The ink of partition was hardly dry when Mary Walsh was born in November 1922 in the Republican ghetto of Ballymacarrett in Belfast.

As a child she would often hear her mother recall stories of the 1916 Rising and the pogroms of the 20s and the part that local Republicans played in those campaigns.

She left St Matthew's School at the age of 14 and, like many of the young girls, worked in the mills, enduring the harsh conditions of the time. Mary became interested in Irish history and culture and around 1939 she joined Cumann na mBan E Company, Belfast Battalion. As a dedicated volunteer no task was too great for her and her strength was in her secrecy.

With a lot of her comrades in Óglaigh na hÉireann interned, the prisoners became Mary's passion. Through the internment days of the 40s Mary carried army despatches in and out of Belfast prison and at the time of Tom Williams' execution Mary and her comrades sat up for two nights making black flags.

After the last of the internees were released from Belfast prison around 1945 Mary met her husband Jimmy McVeigh, who had been interned for five years. Funny enough,during Mary's many visits to the jail she had never met him. they married on 2 September 1952 and made their home in the Short Strand area.

Mary had six children. Her eldest son James was mentally handicapped and Mary dedicated herself to him and his needs.

In 1968-69 at the collapse of the state the McVeigh home became one of the focal points for the movement to organise itself, including the Battle of Saint Matthews. In 1971 Mary took to the streets in support of the prisoners. Her husband suffered from a stroke which was to restrict her campaigning.

Mary's family took her lead and 3 of her children were imprisoned. Her son Seán served 11 years in the H-Blocks, participating in the Blanket Protest. Another son and daughter spent shorter terms in prison.

1996 saw Mary honoured for a lifetime's service to the movement at the annual Short Strand Republican Commemoration.

Mary passed away on 13th August 1997 and among a small number she will be remembered for her last act of defiance when she rose from her sick bed to help the escape of a Volunteer on active service from the British Army.

The size of Mary's funeral spoke volumes as the Short Strand buried one of the last of the 40s women.