Oh Heather, it was so brave of you to go down to Moore Street to lay a wreath there on Easter Monday — so courageous! Bearding the lion in its den, so to speak. I do admire your courage, I really do … but was it wise, dear?

Heather Humhpreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht
Heather Humhpreys, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

You must have known that Moore Street campaign mob would see that as a challenge – in fact, a red rag to a bull, if I can use another animal metaphor, for that is what they are, animals! Hooting and whistling! But you must have known they would do that. Surely some other Government representative could have gone. Why, oh why did you go there, Heather? Did I not invite you to have lunch out of town with me this weekend, my treat?

Well, maybe you expected that mob to act up and thought they would lose public sympathy? As I was saying to you before, times have changed. A couple of years ago that might have worked but the way that fickle public are these days … Of course, some did condemn them – but have you seen the numbers of people who were queuing up to congratulate them? No, don’t ask – I won’t tell you, it would only depress you. Citizens? Don’t make me laugh!

Or maybe you wanted to draw them out and let the uniformed Gardaí deal with them, or perhaps some of them in plain clothes, looking like outraged members of the public, give them the hiding they deserve? Not a bad plan, except for those mobile phone video cameras and IPads everyone seems to have (Joan Burton was right to suggest the mob shouldn’t have them). But our police tussling with demonstrators about Moore Street in that same street when you seem to have lost the case in court, and no government yet in place? Too much to ask of the Gardaí, darling, much too much. In another place, yes of course, like Rossport, out of sight …. Or even in this place, in a previous time ….

Oh, Heather, don’t be so stubborn! Come away down country or let’s even slip across to England somewhere and have a lovely long weekend. Oh I know what you’ll say.: “Everyone’s afraid to be out of town while back-room dealing is going on to decide who’s going to be in the next government and who’s getting what job” … Yes, I know you are a politician. At least promise me we’ll slip away soon. Yes?

Speaking of “slipping”: Are things slipping away from us? Is it all going to go to the mob? All we’ve built up and salted away over the years? Surely not …. but …. all this talk of “the Republic”! And “the words of the Proclamation”! … I can’t wait for this year to be over. But will things get back to normal afterwards? And there’s that nasty guerrilla war centenary coming in just another three years!

We just might need a little coup, darling. I was thinking that when I was watching all those soldiers and tanks going by our seats …. and all the Gardaí road blocks with military police around town too, keeping the mob out. Sometimes a coup is just what the mob needs, to pull them into line. “Setting boundaries” I think they call it nowadays.

Your friend always,

Phyllis Stein


Colonic News extract: Executions for State 1916 Commemoration in Dublin

Diarmuid Breatnach

The Colonic News, “Hanging Will Do Them Good”

Friday 24th April 2016

The gallows being erected at the O'Connell Street approach to North Earl Street (Photo D.Breatnach)
The gallows being erected at the O’Connell Street approach to North Earl Street
(Photo D.Breatnach)

(extract)………. As part of the Dublin State 1916 Commemoration a gallows has been erected at the approach to North Earl Street. It is understood that there will be ceremonial executions here over the weekend. Those listed to ‘take the drop’ over Easter (not at all to be confused with ‘taking A drop’) are believed to be a Water Charge Protester, a Minister Botherer, a Homeless Person and A Nother. Gardaí have refused to confirm the names prior to informing their families, “Out of humane considerations” said Garda Commissioner Battenum.

The gallows, constructed by Pierrepoint Solutions of London, can accommodate eight condemned people at once, according to the manufacturers, “with a little squeeze.” A number of Moore Street Blockaders had been in line to partake of the hanging also but a recent judicial decision has resulted in their surprise acquittal. Asked about the unexpected turn of events, Minister Humphreys said “chucky poor law” which is understood to be a Monghan Orange dialect variation of the Gaelic or Erse for “Our day will come”.

Rumours abound that Hillary Clinton and President Obama and other White House personnel are to have live footage of the executions beamed to them, in recognition of their interest in such events.

Other high points of the 1916 commemoration will be a reading out of the 1916 editorials of the Irish Times and Independent condemning the Rising and calling for stern punishment for the Rebels and, in the case of the Independent, calling not too subtly for the death penalty for Connolly and Mac Diarmada. Sir Bob Geldoff will read the Times editorial and Diarmaid Ferriter the Independent’s.

The full list of all British personnel killed during the Rising will also be read out and in a special addition which is sure to find favour with everyone, also the names of the Lancers’ horses, previously neglected and unrecognised but campaigned for by historian Ann Matthews for many years now, who makes the point that although they were military, they were working horses. Kevin Myers will read out the British Personnel’s names and Frank McDonald will perform the duty for the horses.

After ‘The Last Post’ has been played by an Irish Army bugler, the ceremony will conclude with the solemn “Je vous prie”, with all dignitaries present going down on one knee and, partly in Irish but wholly in English, begging Her Royal Majesty’s pardon for having risen against her predecessor and any and every vexation given since.  Going down on both knees had been originally scheduled but was since ruled out as being too servile (and in view also of certain words on the nearby monument to Jim Larkin).

The ceremony will be televised in full and, in an exercise of civic involvement, people throughout the country will be encouraged to kneel at the same time and to repeat the words as they are pronounced.

Substantial security steps have been taken to prevent undesirable elements such as citizens attending the events.

Some of the physical security measures -- view north along O'Connell St. from the Spire
Some of the physical security measures — view north along O’Connell St. from the Spire (Photo D.Breatnach)

In separate but related developments, Dublin City Council Executive Own Keegan and Jim Keoghan of the Planning Department have announced

Some of the physical security measures -- view southwards along O'Connell St. from the Spire
Some of the physical security measures — view southwards along O’Connell St. from the Spire (Photo D.Breatnach)

plans for the changing of the North King Street name to “South Staffordshire Street” and the erection of a 1916 commemorative plaque with the words “Nothing happened here in 1916”.

Similarly, in Balbriggan the Development Association has unveiled plans to rename the main street “Auxiliary Boulevarde” in memory of the illuminations carried out by members of the Auxiliary Division on the night of 20th/ 21st September 1920.  A street party will be held to mark the renaming with children’s face-painting (black or red, white and blue colours only, apparently) and dressing up in Auxilliary or RIC-type costumes for photos, ‘Knock-the-Volunteer Over’ ball-throwing etc.  The candy floss and rock stick on sale will be in red, white and blue colours.  All the cooked food will be char-grilled to commemorate the historic events in 1920.

end item


Diarmuid Breatnach


Many people, Irish, migrant and tourist, are questioning the decision to erect banners on the Bank of Ireland building, former site of the Irish Parliament, displaying the heads of four politicians, three of whom were dead long before 1916.  These were prepared by Dublin City Libraries, a department of Dublin City Council, at the behest of the office of the Taoiseach (the Irish Prime Minister) and as part of the commemoration of the 1916 Rising.

The heads of four prominent Irish people who were against revolution
The heads of four prominent Irish politicians who were against revolution (image from Internet)

The images of Grattan, O’Connell, Parnell & Redmond constitute a coherent collection, deliberately chosen — each represented a parliamentary approach and so are in direct opposition to the revolutionary approach in 1916 of the IRB, the Irish Volunteers, Irish Citizen Army, Cumann na mBan and Fianna and, in practice in Dublin, of the Hibernian Rifles.

Furthermore, each of the four politicians in their own time had a revolutionary opposition within the movement — Grattan had the United Irishmen, O’Connell the Young Irelanders, Parnell the Fenians though he flirted pretty heavily with the revolutionaries and vice versa for a while.  And of course Redmond …. had the Irish Citizen Army, the IRB, Irish Volunteers, Cumann na mBan and Fianna!

While some may be puzzled by the choice of images and others annoyed by them, the message of the Taoiseach’s office and of the State is very clear: “Follow the parliamentary path and not the revolutionary one.”  The subsidiary message could have been: “If you are forced into revolution, give over complete power as soon as possible to the capitalist class”. In that case, they could have put the pictures of Collins, Griffiths, Mulcahy and Higgins up, followed perhaps by De Valera’s.

Interestingly, each of those four displayed by Dublin City Council —  except Redmond — used the threat of revolution to try to get what he wanted: Grattan, to get a united Irish bourgeoisie and civil rights for Catholics, in order to win greater autonomy for the Irish capitalists; O’Connell, in order to win greater power for the Irish Catholic capitalist class and greater autonomy from England; Parnell, in order to win tenant rights and win back an Irish parliament.  Instead, Redmond tried to appeal to the colonialists’ gratitude.

Even more interestingly, EACH of the four FAILED SPECTACULARLY.  While this can be said about the 1916 Rising leaders also, the revolutionary struggle initiated by the Rising which began three years later had in another three years won more concessions than had all the many preceding decades of parliamentary effort.

In feeling the need to post their message so crassly and clumsily, the Irish bourgeoisie have revealed also their fear.  They are not ignorant of history and therefore know that commemorations are not only about the past — they very often play a role in shaping the future.  Prior to the 1916 Rising, commemorations of the centenary of the 1798 and 1803 Risings played a part in building a revolutionary patriotic atmosphere and working associations, while O’Donovan Rosa’s funeral procession in Dublin and Pearse’s famous oration at the grave of the Fenian preceded the Easter Rising by less than a year.

As throughout Ireland, all 32 Counties, the Centenary has awakened a feverish interest, the Gombeen State, which since the 1980s has been trying to downplay the whole unfortunate Easter Rising business and now finds itself obliged to somehow manage the centenary commemorations, is deeply troubled that revolutionary patriotism has been awoken too.  That too many people are comparing the various visions of the insurgents of 1916 with the reality which the gombeenmen and compliant politicians delivered us ….. and wondering whether they might not be able to make a similar vision come true, in another bid, 100 years after the previous attempt.