|Organisation:||Clan na Gael & IRA Veterans of America, Inc.|
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This document issued by Clan na Gael & IRA Veterans of America, Inc. in January 1964 provides an interesting insight into a very specific period in the history of Republicanism in Ireland, particularly because it was shaped in large part for an audience in the United States. Clan na Gael and I.R.A. Veterans of America Inc. were – it appears, former Irish Civil War veterans. In the aftermath of the death of Desmond Swanton and injury of Gerry Madden (see below), they offered to raise funds to help the recovery of the latter. They sent a delegation to meet Tom Maguire in Mayo during this period and in New York they held Field Days, Easter Sunday Commemorations and advertised the sale of Easter Lilies.
The document is a broad critique of the then extant Republican Movement.
In a ‘Notice’ it asserts that:
“As stated in a previous issue the IRB is a non-profit project. Its purpose is to provide our members and their friends with the truth and to lay bare the facts concerning the enemies of the Irish Republic, so that the whole world might see. We seek the assistance of our readers and their friends in the form of contributions so that we may be able to keep the Bulletin going to you in its present form, ever striving to maintain its high standards while providing the friend of Ireland with the necessary confidence to help them in their age-old struggle safeguarding their national heritage.”
It commences with an overview of the problems of same:
“Today we face the problem of disunity in the ranks of the Republican Movement in Ireland. Let not the domestic and foreign enemies of the Irish Republic take any solace from this temporary condition. The forces of truth will eventually succeed and move forward to strike again for their cherished heritage. ‘Unity’ is the slogan once more and the forces of compromise will try again to get us to follow this illusion.
The basis for unity must be founded on the ideals of our martyred dead. That is the one and only basis for unity. it is that simple. We have all the fundamentals necessary to confront our enemies with a united force. We have the sacred tradition, handed down to us over the generations, the tradition of physical force. If we accept the teachings of Pearse and stay clear of political entanglements there is no reason whatever to fear the future. Unity is strength. There is no reason whatsoever but that the Republican movement can and will be unified. Built on the sound foundation consistent with the principles and ideals forever eloquent from the muted tongues of our many deceased. it cannot fail. If our new unity is based on any form of compromise, whether open-faced compromise or one of a more sublet and not easily recognised type, then we shall fail as surely as we have failed in the past.
In our earnest desire for unity, we must remember that the freedom of Ireland will never come from the political platform. Through the ages and throughout the world freedom has been attained only by the strength of armed men and Ireland is no exception.”
In another piece focuses on the erection in 1963 of a memorial at the Republican Plot in Saint Finbarr’s Cemetery by a committee which then invited De Valera to the opening of the memorial. As has been detailed elsewhere two ‘young volunteers from Cork, Desmond Swanton and Jeremiah Madden’ attempted to ‘blow up the memorial to protest the De Valera visit’. [For more on this please see below].
The mine exploded prematurely, taking the life of Volunteer Swanton and seriously injuring his comrade, Volunteer Jeremiah Madden.
It continues by arguing that:
“The magnificent protest made by Swanton and Madden has been heard throughout the world. It echoes and re-echoes throughout the Irish Hills and reminds us to thank Almighty God that Ireland still has her soldier-youth ever ready to sacrifice their lives for love of dear, dark Rosaleen.”
There is an interesting account of the attempt to destroy the memorial given by Madden.
There is also a piece entitled ‘From Realism Springs Victory’ which argues that ‘over the past few years Clan na Gael has found itself compelled to maintain a strenuous crusade against those backsliding and compromising policies which are synonymous with prevailing organised Republican action in Ireland. We have endeavoured to transmit a clear and precise appraisal of the Republican Separatist position to the youth of Ireland; hoping, with ever constant hope, that our message will eventually sear through that cloud of confused and diffused thinking, within which the republican question would appear to be deliberately enveloped by its own leadership’.
It continues by comparing and contrasting Clan na Gael to Sinn Féin and SF’s Independence Programme.
It also reprints ‘Confessions of a Spy (The Stephen Hayes Confession).
Here are some further materials of use and interest in relation to issues raised by the above document. Many thanks to Jim Lane for forwarding them.
The following documentary deals with events that occurred in the West Tyrone area, and in North Antrim, at the time of the opening of Operation Harvest in December 12th, 1956. Also there is an account of the help given by Donegal man Peader O’Donnell to the IRA campaign in 1958. His harbouring of leading IRA figures and his attempt to procure arms for the IRA at that time are touched on. All this, and much more.
For it, link to : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45i1FgDBE3M
The second documentary deals with the accidental death by explosion of IRA Volunteer Desmond Swanton in Cork in 1963. This is followed by the Irish Revolutionary Forces (Cork) publication An Phoblacht struggle to prevent the takeover of the Republican Movement by the Moscow-line Communist Parties in Ireland. Also, the organisation of the anti-Vietnam War Campaign in Cork is dealt with. This is followed by an account of events that led up to the split in the Republican Movement in the late 60′s and early 70′s.
For it, link to : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RpxxpTI-bL8