Irish Blog Whacked

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


Thomas J. Clarke ‘The Grand Old Fenian’

Thomas Clarke‘I and my fellow signatories believe we have struck the first successful blow for Irish freedom. The next blow, which we have no doubt Ireland will strike, will win through. In this belief, we die happy.’ Thomas Clarke, ‘Message to the Irish People’
Early Life
Thomas J. Clarke, the first signatory of the 1916 Proclamation, was born on the Isle of Wight to Irish parents on 11th March 1857. His father was a sergeant in the British Army and the family moved to Dungannon, County Tyrone when Clarke was about seven. For the rest of his life, Clarke would consider himself a Dungannon man.

Clarke was a deeply committed and seasoned revolutionary. A veteran member of the Irish Republican Brotherhood [IRB], Clarke joined ‘the Fenians’ or ‘the organisation’ when he was just eighteen. Clarke soon volunteered for active service and took part in the Fenians’ ‘dynamite campaign’. This campaign had been organised by O’Donavan Rossa to take the war for Irish freedom to England, the ‘belly of the beast’, by blowing up public buildings and infrastructure in England. In 1883 Clarke was ordered to blow up the famous London Bridge. However he was arrested before he could carry out the operation and put on trial under the alias ‘Henry Wilson’. Clarke was sentenced to penal servitude for life for his republican activities and went on to spend over fifteen years in British prisons.
Released under the general amnesty for Fenian prisoners in 1898, Clarke left prison determined to continue the fight for national liberation. He moved to Brooklyn in the USA where he worked under the great Fenian leader John Devoy as a member of the IRB’s sister organisation Clann na Gael. While in America, Clarke married Kathleen Daly, a niece of John Daly, a well-known Fenian who had sworn Clarke into the IRB and had also been imprisoned with him.

Re-organising the IRB
Clarke firmly believed in the old Fenian saying that ‘England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’. In 1907 he sensed that a European war was inevitable and believed that republicans should use that opportunity to strike another blow for Irish freedom. He returned to Ireland and settled in Dublin, where he opened a tobacconist shop at 75A Parnell Street.
The tobacconist shop soon became a hotbed of republican activity as Clarke immersed himself in the underground work of the IRB, which by this time was lead by an old guard which lacked the required pro-activity. Clarke immediately came into conflict with this group and made it clear that he had no time for ‘armchair revolutionaries’.
Working with a younger generation of IRB activists, such as Seán Mac Diarmada and Bulmer Hobson, Clarke began a total reorganisation of the IRB. These younger men, along with Denis McCullough, had become disillusioned by the inactivity of the IRB and decided to do something about it. They established the ‘Dungannon Clubs’ as a way of attracting a new generation to the struggle for an Irish Republic. The clubs openly functioned as republican debating societies but all the while the organisers were recruiting the promising members into the IRB. To this younger generation Clarke was the embodiment of what a Fenian should be. His return to Ireland and his setting about the re-organisation was a signal to them of a change in the fortunes for the IRB.
Mac Diarmada and Hobson soon forged a close relationship with Clarke, becoming his protégés. Together the three men drew up a plan for increasing the influence of the Fenians by directing IRB members into other nationalist organisations such as the GAA and the Gaelic League.
Clarke was the engine driving the re-organisation of republican forces at this time. He was a deeply committed revolutionary, determined to ensure that a generation would not pass without striking another blow for Irish freedom.

The Irish Volunteers
In 1913, the re-organised IRB were in a position to take advantage of the rising national sentiment. In November the IRB organised a public meeting in the Rotunda, Dublin to form an open military organisation, the Irish Volunteers. Clarke took no position in the new organisation, but other IRB members such a Mac Diarmada, Hobson and Éamonn Ceannt were elected to key positions. This ensured the central influence of the IRB in the new overground organisation.
By 1914 the IRB’s supreme council was largely controlled by Clarke and the ‘young turks’ of Hobson, Mac Diarmada, Patrick McCartan, John Mac Bride and Denis McCullough. The re-organisation of the IRB which had begun in 1907 was now complete and the organisation now began to pursue all options for launching a revolution in Ireland.
Hobson’s support for a proposal to accept twenty-five members of the Irish Parliamentary Party on to the provisional committee of the Volunteers, however, led to a major falling out with Clarke who viewed the move as extremely dangerous. From that moment on Hobson became persona non grata in leading IRB circles, but remained a member of the organisation.

The Military Council and preparations for the Rising
Clarke and Mac Diarmada were by now inseparable. As Treasurer and Secretary of the IRB, the two men ran the organisation. Together they began drawing up a plan for a military rising in Ireland. Under their leadership, leading members of the Volunteers had been recruited into the IRB including Joseph Plunkett, Thomas MacDonagh and Patrick Pearse, and the IRB now dominated the Volunteer executive.
In 1915 Clarke and Mac Diarmada established a secret military council to organise preparations for a Rising and co-opted Plunkett, MacDonagh, Pearse, and later James Connolly onto the Council.
Tom Clarke’s many years of republican activism had led to this point. He more then any other of the IRB leaders can be described as the driving force behind the Easter Rising. After each setback, whether it was failure of the dynamite campaign or imprisonment, Tom Clarke had dusted himself off and started again. Now, thanks to his never failing efforts a Rising was planned that would take advantage of the European war and strike a blow against the British Empire.
When the veteran Fenian leader O’Donovan Rossa died, Clarke became chief organiser of his funeral. Clarke aimed to use the funeral to mobilise the Volunteers and heighten their expectation for imminent action. Under Clarke’s direction O’Donovan Rossa’s funeral became a rallying point for a rejuvenated revolutionary republicanism. Clarke was proposed as the main speaker but he refused. He said,‘No, the young men must come forward’, and he asked Pearse to give them main oration. Clarke had chosen wisely. In a now famous speech, Pearse set the tone for what was to come.

The Easter Rising
Clarke and Mac Diarmada took an important decision and outlined their plans for a Rising to James Connolly, who had been planning something similar. Connolly agreed whole heartedly with the planned Rising and was co-opted onto the military council. The Irish Citizen Army would now join the Volunteers and the IRB in battle for the freedom of Ireland. The date of the rising was set for Easter Sunday 1916. Orders were issued to all Volunteer and ICA companies for general maneuverers on that day. This was the signal that the insurrection was to begin.
When the news of Eoin MacNeill’s infamous countermanding order to Volunteers reached the military council on Easter Sunday morning, Clarke immediately proposed that the rising should go ahead as planned. He argued that once the fighting began in Dublin, Volunteers around the county would inevitably join in.
However the other leaders disagreed and voted instead to postpone the Rising until 12pm on Easter Monday. The next twenty four hours would be spent rallying their troops and salvaging what plans they could.
When the Rising began, Clarke was stationed in Republican headquarters at the GPO in Dublin. Clarke was chosen by the Provisional Government to be the first signatory of the Proclamation of the Republic. This was testament to the respect held for Clarke in republican circles. He was viewed as an inspirational leader, a man of action and, importantly, as a symbol of the unbreakable spirit of the republican struggle. Although Clarke held no formal military rank, those stationed in the GPO garrison looked to him for direction and he played a key role in directing the fight throughout Easter week.
Clarke was opposed to the eventual surrender of the republican forces, supporting instead a proposal by Commandant Sean McLoughlin to fight their way to safety down Moore Street. However the Military Council agreed to a proposal from Pearse to cease hostilities in order to prevent further loss of civilian life. The Rising was over, but the struggle for national liberation had been reborn.

Arrest and execution
Arrested and court martialled along with the other republican leaders, Tom Clarke was the first of the leaders to be executed by British firing squad. It is said that the largest intelligence file of all was the file on Tom Clarke, a fitting testament to a life lived in the service of Ireland. Clarke’s life work had come to fruition. He had successfully re-organised the IRB to a position where it was ready to strike a blow for Irish freedom and had seen an independent Irish Republic proclaimed in arms. Although the Rising had not been a military success, Clarke gave his life happy in the knowledge that the next generation would take up the fight for freedom and that this time it would be continued until victory.
Thomas J. Clarke, the veteran, unrepentant Fenian, and one of the main architects of the 1916 Rising was executed on May 2, in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin.
Fuair sé bas ar son na h-Éireann.

This article was borrowed from Eirigi 


author by Brian Clarke - AllVoicespublication date Tue Jun 04, 2013 03:41Report this post to the editors
The article above is a clear and unambiguous call, for a peaceful course of action, with regards to the release of Martin Corey. It is also a clear call for peaceful political activity, to solve the many problems related to occupation and a system of inherited privileged Monarchy, that has impoverished the people of no property in Ireland. No amount of intimidation from whatever quarter will change the course of my citizen journalism or peaceful political activity.

I have been willing for quite sometime to adhere to the maxim, that the pen is mightier than the sword and I am calling on all Irish republican socialists, to commit themselves to this activity with modern social media. The British fear the truth about Ireland being made public, on the world stage as opposed to the relatively small stage and population within the confines of the island and will do everything including engaging in murderous collusion, to keep it secret within the island of Ireland. This is the real reason, why the lawyer Rosemary Nelson who was successful in legally raising issues of Ireland, in an international context was assassinated, this is why they have worked for 40 years to criminalize Irish republicanism.

If the BBC world service and RTE presstitutes, did their job properly, instead of engaging in propaganda and told the truth, in a balanced way, instead of being compromised by MI-5 or bought-and-paid for-whores for evil, I would not have to raise these issues. The BBC world service propagates the myth, that the Irish problem is strictly a sectarian one with a British presence necessary to keep the peace, ignoring that their divide and rule invasions and occupations have left a trail of horror worldwide inherited by the US.

The presstitutes in the British and Irish media have not investigated, most important issues during the recent troubles in British Occupied Ireland in any sort of an objective manner and thereby have created years of prolonged bloodshed and suffering. The problems of the small island of Ireland like Syria today are simple with simple solutions, if outside interference stopped but the corporate media are part of the problem.

Let it be clearly understood from this citizen journalist, that no amount of intimidation, smear or blackmail will prevent me from doing what I regard is the right thing to do. The truth will set us free ultimately and I thank Indymedia Ireland, for the facility to use their network. They say if you engage with idiots you become one, this is the last time I make my position clear on this matter, as I do not wish to engage tit for tat childish nonsense while good innocent people like Martin Corey and people of political conscience are interned without trial in Ireland or anywhere else for that matter. They may kill the messenger but they cannot kill the truth.

Indymedia Martin Corey Debate Link


Political policing in Ireland exposed yet again
Recent Loyalist Marches once again expose British political policing in Ireland.

Political policing in Ireland exposed yet again

Recent Loyalist Marches once again expose British political policing in Ireland.

Since December 2012 a weekly "illegal" parade has
taken place in Belfast by a number of loyalists. This parade has been facilitated time and time again by the RUC.

The policing and reaction to the loyalist protests stands in stark contrast to the treatment meted out to Republicans who have taken part in or organised un-notified parades.

In January 2011 hundreds of Republicans marched in Lurgan, Co. Armagh to highlight the internment of Veteran Republican Martin Corey. Marching through a nationalist town on a Sunday afternoon, quietly and peacefully, the marchers where met by the RUC who shouted through loud hailers that they were taking part in an illegal parade, signs erected at the side of their landrovers spelled out that prosecutions would follow and every participant was recorded and followed on police video cameras.

Not long after this march a number of people were awakened at 6am by the RUC, taken from their homes to an RUC station and questioned about their involvement in an "illegal parade". Released later that day they were informed they would be facing court proceedings.

In March 2012, 14 Republicans sat through a three day trial accused of taking part in an "illegal parade". All 14 people were "convicted" with participating in an illegal Parade; two people where further convicted of organising the parade. All 14 people were given fines ranging from £300 to £700, many refused to pay their fines and subsequently spent a week in Maghaberry and Hydebank Wood prisons.

This stands in stark contrast to the weeks of "illegal" parading by the loyalist flag protesters. The response in general from the RUC has been interesting to say the least. No loudhailers, no signs promising prosecution, no organisers arrested; the RUC facilitate this march weekly and only now after 12 weeks of "illegal" parading have the RUC even used the terminology "illegal" Parade.

The loyalist flag parades have seen days of rioting, homes under attack in the Short Strand and countless roads blocked, and indeed several members of the RUC injured and one almost murdered in her car. This is a far cry from the peaceful parade in Lurgan that saw 14 people brought before the British Courts.

The discovery after weeks of "illegal" parading by Loyalists, that the police are unsure of the legal status of un-notified parades is disingenuous. The RUC had no such reservations in arresting and charging, and the judge convicting, Republicans for holding peaceful un-notified parades.

The Release Martin Corey march was met with such hostility because it tried to highlight that internment still exists. Republicans and human rights activists must not allow this state corruption to stop them highlighting Martin's case.

The RUC are part of the same corrupt and rotten force that interns Martin Corey in Maghaberry prison, without charge or trial for almost three years now.

Martin Corey must now be released, his continued detention is a crime against his human rights.

Release Martin Corey Committee,

So who is Martin Corey?

“I always find it interesting when the British government criticizes the lack of Human Rights in other countries.  They don’t need to look as far as Burma or the Middle East, they could study the case of Lurgan man Martin Corey.

Martin Corey has been held in Maghaberry Prison illegally since April 2010 without any charge ever being placed against him. In fact no one knows why he is there. I have written to the Secretary of State, the Northern Ireland Office, even the Prime Minister. The only response I receive is ‘it is a matter of National Security.’

The case of his detention appeared before the experienced Human Rights Judge Lord Justice Colman Treacy in July 2012, the judge ordered his immediate release and placed no conditions upon him. This was overturned within hours by the Secretary of State, and Martin remains detained in Maghaberry to this day.

So who is Martin Corey ?

As a close friend and appointed spokesperson for Martin I am in a position to know that Martin poses no threat to society, and has not engaged in any activity that could be deemed illegal.

Martin Corey was sentenced to life in prison in December 1973 for his role in the killing of two R.U.C. officers near Lurgan the same year. He was only 19 years of age at the time.  Martin spent the next 19 years of his life in prison, he was released in June 1992 (6 years prior to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement). Martin quickly began to rebuild his life, he set up his own business as the parish grave digger.  Martin’s only interest was his family, his work and his leisure time was spent coarse fishing.

On the 16th of April 2010, Martin was arrested and taken to Maghaberry prison on the order of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. All he was ever told was, his life licence had been revoked, no reason given, and no charge placed against him.  Martin has now served more than 3 years in prison for nothing. One has to ask the question why ?

His case went before the Parole Board in August 2011, they were provided with a file of “closed information” by the Northern Ireland Office. They decided to continue his detention, no doubt on instruction.  We brought the case to the High Court by means of a “Juridical Review.”  The case was heard in April and May of 2012, the presiding Judge Lord Treacy expressed his difficulty presiding over a case in which  most of the “alleged” information  wasn’t made available to him.

Lord Treacy ordered Martin’s immediate release on the 9th of July and as I said, the Secretary of State stepped in blocking the release, proving the Northern Ireland Office in fact controls the law in this country, not the judiciary.

In 1998, the people of the North of Ireland were promised a “new beginning,” a society with a legal system that would be open and transparent, so where is it ?

If Martin Corey has committed a crime, place him in front of a judge and make him answerable. Sadly as we all know, that isn’t how things are done here.  I visit Martin in Maghaberry prison on a regular basis, he is now 63 years of age, he poses no threat to society, he has committed no crime, he paid his debt to society by serving 19 years behind bars and came out an innocent man as seen by the law of this land.

There is no possible reason for his continued detention other than a form of selective internment without trail if this is the case, the government should at least admit it, and whilst doing so, explain to the public how an un-elected Secretary of State can overrule a High Court Judge with a wealth of experience gained in the courts of  Human Rights  in Strasbourg.”

Jim McIlmurray
Spokesperson and friend of Martin Corey


The concerted campaign of victimisation by the Northern Ireland Prison Service against Martin Corey continues. On Monday the 11th of February 2013, Martin and two other prisoners submitted completed handcraft projects as St, Valentine’s Day gifts for their wives and partners. The other two prisoners had visits on Tuesday the 12th of February; their loved ones went to the collection point and received their items that were 24 hours after they were collected from the prisoners in Roe House 3.

Today, Thursday the 14th of February 2013, Martin had a visit from his partner, after the visit she went to the collection point as requested by Martin. She was told by prison Staff that there was no items for collection, and to call back next week.
Last week, Martin completed a complaints form on the wing to be delivered to the Prison Ombudsman concerning several items that were left in for him three weeks ago, which he never received. It is Prison Ombudsman’s policy that the prisoner receives notification within 24 hours that the complaint has been received. Today, Thursday the 14th of February, Martin has still not received notice that his complaint has been delivered to the Prison Ombudsman.

Martin made an emergency request three weeks ago to see the prison dentist concerning a tooth broken at gum level; he only got to see the dentist yesterday the 13th February. He was told his initial request had been cancelled due to lack of transport.

I have contacted Martin’s legal team and request they contact the Northern Ireland Prison Service and Prison Ombudsman for an explanation.

This blatant campaign of victimisation must be highlighted.

Jim McIlmurray

(On behalf of Martin Corey)

Chairperson of Release Martin Corey Committee arrested for attending protest

At a POW picket in Lurgan, Co Armagh on the International Day of Action for Irish Republican POWs, October 27, Cáit Trainor who is an Ard Chomhairle member of Republican Sinn Féin from  Armagh, was arrested and taken to Lurgan barracks where she will be held until Monday.  From there she will be taken to Hydebank jail in Belfast to serve a two-week sentence imposed in March this year at Craigavon courthouse.

Cait who is Chairperson of the Release Martin Corey Campaign was fined for ‘participating in and organising’ a march through Lurgan in January 2011 in support of Martin Corey who is interned without trial in Maghaberry jail, Co Antrim, since his licence was revoked by the British secretary of state in 2010.

Cáit refused to pay the fine of £700 imposed on her and so today was arrested after once again highlighting the plight of the POWs interned without charge or trial, and also by remand, in Maghaberry jail.

Cait’s family would like to thank everyone for their messages of support, that it is appreciated very much.  Cait refusal to pay the fine is a principled stand in defence of her steadfast republican beliefs, beliefs that will not be deterred by the unwanted enforcers of crown law in Ireland.

Oliver White

Release Martin Corey Committee