Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. John F. Kennedy

The 1918 General Election election in Ireland, is regarded by Irish Republicans, as the defining act of Irish self-determination. It is the last occasion, when the whole of Ireland, voted in a General Election on the same day. Irish Republicans won 73 seats out of 105 contested, an overwhelming, democratic mandate for a United Irish Republic. The British Government did not respect the vote and set up a sectarian scum state in the north of Ireland, proceeding to enforce it, with draconian censorship and politcial Internment, in every generationk up to the present day. As a result, the traditional Voice of Irish Republicans, maintain at their Easter Commemorations of the 1916 Rising, that armed sturggle, is a legitimate course of action in such circumstances.

Since the signing of the Irish Peace Process, it has been a regular occurence, for participants in this annual ceremony, to be interned on remand, for asserting that right. Marian Price was interned for holding a piece of paper, from which a statement was read and a few weeks ago, Dee Fennell was also interned, for making a statement at this annual ceremony, in which he stated, armed struggle must be a contributory factor to a wider struggle ... "The use of arms prior to 1916 was legitimate. The use of arms in Easter 1916 was legitimate. The use of arms after 1916 was totally legitimate. In the existing political context of partition, illegal occupation and the denial of national self-determination, armed struggle, in 2015, remains a legitimate act of resistance." Like the American and French Recolution from where Irish Republicanism came from, Colonial Monarchists don't reale on polire request or by democratic mandate.

Dee Fennell was politically interned by Orange Order, with the approval of collaborators, like Martin McGuinness and his latest  arsebiscuit fan, the Quivering Quill, of the following. "Last month I shared a Dublin platform with Dee Fennell, a republican from Ardoyne. This month he is in Maghaberry Prison, having been arrested by British police on charges of encouraging terrorism and supporting a proscribed organisation.

The basis of his arrest according to the Guardian is opinion he expressed at an Easter Rising commemoration in Lurgan, where he described armed struggle as a legitimate form of action. The Guardian reports Fennell as having said:

Armed struggle must be a contributory factor to a wider struggle ... The use of arms prior to 1916 was legitimate. The use of arms in Easter 1916 was legitimate. The use of arms after 1916 was totally legitimate. In the existing political context of partition, illegal occupation and the denial of national self-determination, armed struggle, in 2015, remains a legitimate act of resistance.
In doing so he was expressing a long standing republican viewpoint not all that different from what is said up and down the country every Easter. Amongst those being honoured are republicans who consciously gave their lives on hunger strike in Long Kesh as advocates of the legitimacy of armed struggle and in defiance of the British attempted delegitimisation of the same through criminalisation. Are those who speak at their graves expected to pull the rug from under their comrades’ great losses and refrain from saying their actions lacked legitimacy just to suit the current British rulers and their gagging laws?

In my view Dee Fennell has expressed a perspective that while logically consistent with the 1916 Rising ethos is wrong, and wrong for a number of reasons: not least that in the name of asserting the right of the Irish people to be free from the British state, it dogmatically insists on denying the right of the Irish people to be free from the use of arms as a means to resolve any grievances they might have with the British state. In short, one usurpation of self-determination is replaced with another.

Apart from thinking that armed struggle has some form of current justification
Fennell has said little that differs in any substantive way from what Gerry Adams said in a radio debate with the leader of Fianna Fail, Micheal Martin.Adams argued that the Provisional IRA campaign in the North was legitimate, declining an offer from host Fran McNulty to describe the fate of Jean McConville as a war crime. Gerry Kelly, as pointed out by Pete Trumbore, can also be found at Easter legitimising the Provisional IRA campaign.

Neither Adams nor Kelly were arrested for their legitimization of “terrorism” or their support for an organisation that remains proscribed, the Provisional IRA. Nor should they be. By the same token the grounds for the arrest of Fennell are tenuous and as the commenter DaithD pointed out on this site ‘the gap between one offence being prosecuted and the other being ignored is the space where political policing lurks.’

Is the PSNI stating that it is okay to legitimise IRA armed actions if they took place before the Good Friday Agreement? If they are then why is the PSNI continuing to prosecute people for those actions? Is the PSNI trying to say that such violence was legitimate but not legal?

There seems to be a serious anomaly in British law. Maryam Namazie has drawn attention to theocrats advocating the stoning of gays and adulterers yet who are nevertheless allowed to sit in Sharia courts as judges whereas those who express the view that physical force is legitimate are in the dock.

What this prosecuting of opinion will not achieve is a toning down of discourse that articulates the legitimacy of armed struggle. Those who favour it will simply retreat even further into the shadows from where they will speak to people, many impressionable and all too ready to believe something as long as it is whispered to them.

Cue Bono said...

I don't think that the allegation is about past terrorist actions, but rather that he stands accused of encouraging terrorism right now.

‘It isn’t enough to shout’ Up the IRA’, the important thing is to join the IRA. As you leave here today, ask yourselves is it enough to support republicanism or could you be a more active republican?’9:52 PM, April 23, 2015Ché said...

Do as I say not as I do! Springs to mind!
The man does not allow others free speach, fair trial,, freedom of protest, freedom of thought! Ask martin og!

He weaped what he sewed!

Never in the ira didn't even always support the ira! Feck him! Let the irpwa look after him! Nobody else has permission!

Irony is best served warm!
12:40 AM, April 24, 2015Peter said...

The PSNI had no choice but to act. Masked men firing weapons, and a call to arms in a British town by a very minority faction is not acceptable. The police were right.7:36 AM, April 24, 2015DaithiD said...

Thanks AM, id be interested to see the logic that allows SF to portray a linear transition of the Republican torch from 1916 to 1997, but dilineates current the Republican groupings. Fennells case shows that lies are more important to the Law than truth. When they spoke of putting manners on the Police, I presume most thought they meant good manners?8:09 AM, April 24, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

that may be right that he is charged for encouraging present as opposed to past acts. But it lies in how we are to interpret encouraging. The logic can be extended to others who in legitimising past acts rather than refuting them are feeding into the encouragement of present acts. And this is reinforced by the context in which the past acts were explained at the time of their occurrence: to cite Martin McGuinness - the war will never, never, never stop until Britain goes'.

But the police chose discretion shaped not by the letter of the law but by political considerations.

Moreover, were you for example to stand up and advocate the use of police torture as a means to defeat the current armed groups do you really think you would be arrested for it despite torture being illegal and abhorrent? It is not a question of Fennell being right and more a question of the law being moulded to dispose of unwanted members of the public.


the PSNI arrested Fennell within days of his speech. You think it had no choice and had to act. yet it has been sitting on evidence for years about the torture that its own members engaged in, the perjury, killings, collusion - it has never moved. The PSNI did not have to act against Fennell, it chose to act. There was arguably more of an urgent need to move against some of the flag protestors.

That said, republicans need to be stating at Easter commemorations that armed actions will produce nothing and if they want to talk about membership of IRAs they should call on those already in them to relinquish membership before they are shafted by a cabal eager to become what they opposed, and more importantly before they kill someone.

Had Fennell called on the police to shoot gay people voicing dissent against Ashers Bakery, he would still be out. The law permits us to support police violence and call for more of it. And when you have the power to make the illegal legal you can cover a multitude of sins.


Sinn Fein will be pretty much like the PSNI - they will try to shut people up. Sinn Fein's stance today means it can trace its lineage back to Collins and the Treaty. What a sorrowful mess - at least we are alive to ponder the effects rather than be a dead consequence of it.8:40 AM, April 24, 2015Peter said...

Policing is not easy; dicisions are often complex and challenging, vested interests must be appeased. On most occasions they are damned if they do and damned if they don't. The police are not perfect and have some right bastards in their ranks which damages their reputation but most of the time the PSNI do their best. Not long ago the CIRA murdered one of them in cold blood so they can hardly expect to hold a show of strength and call to arms and not have some sanction. Fennel was deeply stupid and provided his enemy with an open goal.9:09 AM, April 24, 2015AM said...


I think he was most unwise and he should have had the foresight to see where it was leading to.

That does not mean the PSNI does its best. It is up to its neck in covering up and one sided prosecutions: following all leads unless they lead back to trole of the state. It took the intervention of George Hamilton to even meet the statutory requirement of the Ombudsman to have access to the information, Baggott was trying to deny it. It has sat on Special Branch's role in Mount Vernon for years, delaying as long as possible to the point where the discursive distance between it and the RUC is seen by more as just that - discourse. It is prosecuting a dying republican for trying to kill a prison officer in 1977 the same year as the RUC were torturing countless people in Castlereagh: not one cop charged.

I just don't see how any of that amounts to doing its best. I think you nailed it even if unintentionally with your comment on vested interests.
9:49 AM, April 24, 2015Cue Bono said...


You set me to googling and you do make a damned good point. The Terrorism Act 2006 makes it an offence to make "a statement that is likely to be understood by some or all of the members of the public to whom it is published as a direct or indirect encouragement or other inducement to them to the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism or Convention offences." For that Fennell is clearly in the poo.

However it also makes provision for "Indirect encouragement statements include every statement which glorifies the commission or preparation (whether in the past, in the future or generally) of such acts or offences; and is a statement from which those members of the public could reasonably be expected to infer that what is being glorified is being glorified as conduct that should be emulated by them in existing circumstances."

That is something for which Adams and co could have been prosecuted many times over and I think you are right to infer that there is political expedience at work there.

I think you are going off at an unecessary tangent when you talk about flag protestors and Castlereagh.

The Flag protestors were not standing beside armed terrorists calling for people to join terrorist organisations and murder people.

The accusations about Castlereagh are decades old and refer to a time when the country was being literally torn apart by bombs and murders.10:27 AM, April 24, 2015Peter said...

As I said, damned if you do damned if you don't. CID were trying to nail loyalist murder gangs (like MT Vernon) while SB tipped them off leading to stand up fist fights between officers. Their bosses had to try to walk the line between overt justice and Box citing state security, vested interests indeed. Policing in this country is a thankless job but most of the time they do their best, in my opinion. Look at the mess the Provos made trying to police their areas and their organisation!10:36 AM, April 24, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

I think the legislation is much too ominous in terms of freedom of expression regardless of the peculiarities of this particular case.

Tangent - no.

Fennell's rhetorical flourish (because that is what it amounts to in terms of any impact it is going to make) is much less threatening to life and limb than the actions of many flag protestors who on occasion posed an immediate threat but were met with laissez faire policing.

If 1977 is decades old and of no relevance why prosecute Michael Burns?
10:54 AM, April 24, 2015AM said...


presuming it is as you describe it, in what way is that scenario all that different from what went on before?

As an institution the role of the PSNI is to serve the governing power and the Realm and to do what is considered necessary (not what is necessarily right) in pursuit of that aim. I know from talking to some of them at conferences that they think they are just defending society without fear or favour but when you press the case, they can be very forthcoming in terms of what their role is. On one occasion I sensed remarkable frustration on the part of a senior figure (not Orde who I interviewed for the Blanket and whom you might think I am alluding to) that they were forced to make compromises and take decisions that were based wholly on a reading of the political situation.

I suppose the main point I am trying to make and which you, I and Cue Bono seem to converge on is that policing decisions continue to be informed by political considerations rather than mere legal ones.11:04 AM, April 24, 2015Peter said...

"...policing decisions continue to be informed by political considerations rather than mere legal ones". And always was thus.

"...many flag protestors who on occasion posed an immediate threat but were met with laissez faire policing". I went to a Tommy McKearney event in Queen's last year and met a group 'fleggers' who had been beaten by the PSNI and jailed for 6 months for refusing to get off a road, hardly laissez faire nor were they more of a threat to the state than the CIRA. CIRA have been murdering people and planning murders, the authorities can't be seen to allow displays such as in Lurgan to go unopposed. Is that selective and political? Certainly but that doesn't make it wrong. You are right there is great frustration in the police that many of their decisions are not in the name of justice and usually involve a rock and a hard place. As I said they try to do their best in diifcult circumstances.11:39 AM, April 24, 2015AM said...


the barrister in court on behalf of residents: "It's our case that the police response has effectively facilitated and encouraged a wholesale bypass of the legislative scheme put in place by parliament to deal with contentious parades in Northern Ireland."

The widespread nationalist criticism at the time was that the PSNI were doing Sweet FA. Yeah, they beat a few of them but that is what the police do. The screws on occasion beat loyalist prisoners up but it was hardly an indication of where their loyalties lay.

The UVF were heavily involved in the Flag protests although the phenomenon cannot be reduced to that.

The CIRA have been at war how many years and have killed how many?

While one dead is one too much there is a need to keep some sense of proportion.

Your point that the PSNI can't be seen ... suggests it is all for the optics. And what shapes the optics? Politics not law. It seems they also can't be seen arresting Special Branch or police torturers.

11:53 AM, April 24, 2015AM said...

Peter/Cue Bono,

whoever wants the last word can have it. I've things to chase up in town unfortunately.11:55 AM, April 24, 2015Cue Bono said...


I hope it isn't the last word, but on your points to me. The job of the law is to protect people, but it must also be proportionate and deemed reasonable. Hence the removal of the power to intern people. Fennell however may be lucky in that he does not live in an era when the police had that option, but he is also unlucky to live in the post 9/11 world where promoting terrorism is now an offence in law.

My point about Castlereagh is not that events in the past should be forgotten about. It is that what happened there has to be taken in the context of what was happening at the time.

The detectives in Castlereagh were given the task of producing evidence capable of securing convictions against the people who were murdering people by the hundreds on our streets.

The terrorists were trained in counter interrogation techniques and would have sleep walked there way through modern police interrogations. That is why nowadays silence is seen as an inference of guilt.

It may sound terrible today to hear that Billy or Sean faced physical assault in Castlereagh in the seventies, but the fact is that Billy and Sean were murdering people and deserved to be in prison. Had the police failed to secure convictions against Billy and Sean then many more people would have lost their lives as a result.

The statistics from that time show that the numbers of lives lost fell exactly in conjunction with the police and army succeeding in locking up terrorists.

Incidentally had this been an actual war then the army could have simply employed the same tactics as their enemy. That is they could have simply called at the houses of known terrorists and shot them dead.1:43 PM, April 24, 2015DaithiD said...

One Republican myth I dearly wish was smashed is demonstrated in that quote attributed to MacSwiney, and the mindset it represents :

…"It is not those who can inflict the most, but those that can suffer the most who will conquer."…

We know Republicans can endure utter horrors, but it doesn’t move the needle of the occupier. We need orientate in terms of outcomes and effectiveness rather than effort and endurance.5:48 PM, April 24, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

your comment was very slow going up because I was out. The last word was more a case of not expecting a quick response.

The way I read your comment is that you think torture and brutality was legitimate. There is a lot of context offered as mitigation but no criticism that I can see of the practice8:18 PM, April 24, 2015marty said...

While I believe that the English have no right to imprison any Irishman\woman for voicing opposition to their rule on this portion of our island their might is their right therefore we should as a collective ie all those opposed to brit rule here must stop feeding their conveyor belt straight to the jails ,when republicans gather at republican graves to commemorate those who have gone before,need we in all honesty have to say anything,those in attendance will already be on board message wise therefore as the man said keep it simple keep it legal keep out of their jails on remand for nothing more being bullish in Dee,s case he must have known that that speech was going to land him in remand jesuussss Marian was done for waving a piece of paper ffs, I can forgive stupid but something tells me this is not the case here...10:56 AM, April 25, 2015Henry JoY said...

Dáithí, "outcomes and effectiveness"!

Apply such criteria to the Proclamation if you will and I think you'll agree that there never was much likelihood of an all-Ireland Republic. Republicans unrealistically and uncompromisingly neglected to address the concerns of Unionists.

That a cohort persists with similar strategies is not surprising. Continuing to promote the myth that Republicanism of the 1916 variety has any substance is as useful as advocating excessive selling of credit without caution and not expecting potential and probable unpleasant consequences.

As Cue and Peter points out idealist rhetoric very rarely stands up to practical application. Could any of the 'idealists' please provide an example of a functioning society where some degree of 'political policing' doesn't operate?

Sanity, society and morality are dependent on a consensual shared model of reality. That outliers and their ambivalent supporters fail to foresee and anticipate society's understandable security driven responses only bears evidence to the view that these more individualistic tendencies (and hence very little possibility for lasting strategic alliances between them and cohesive opposition emerging) are both futile and insane.1:09 PM, April 25, 2015Cue Bono said...


It depends very much on what you define as torture. In the 1970s 'Life on Mars' cuture of policing it was common all over the world for the police to physically assault suspects. In Northern Ireland confessions led to convictions and undoubtaby saved lives.

So the context I refer to is that the RUC were employing tactics which were common place in the Garda, NYPD, LAPD etc at the time. The big difference is that they were saving hundreds of lives. I don't condone it, but it was of its time.

Nowadays the police can rely on modern technology such as DNA samples, DNA, mobile phone footage etc to gain convictions, and the scandals of false convictions from those days have made such tactics unacceptable. The PSNI are now the most accountable police force in the world.

Again looking at context the tactics used by the RUC do not look much like torture in comparsion to what the Provos were doing. Half drowning people in cold baths, sitting them on electric cooker rings, breaking their arms and legs etc. That is torture and that is exactly what the Provos did to people who were unlucky enough to be caught alive by them.

When the RUC achieved a conviction the accused went to prison was fed, kept in warm, dry conditions and given welfare facilities. When the Provos gained a conviction the accused was hooded, bound and shot. Nine times out of ten his booby trapped body was dumped on a border road like a bag of rubbish. That to me is torture both for the victim and for his/her family.3:14 PM, April 25, 2015DaithiD said...

When the RUC achieved a conviction the accused went to prison was fed, kept in warm, dry conditions and given welfare facilities.

Cue Bono, dont forget their desperate attempts to find humane alternatives to metal bullets with rubber then plastic bullets.5:35 PM, April 25, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

we know what the Provos did. They tortured although one of the types of tortures you talked about I have not heard of.

Torture is wrong period, no ifs or buts. That holds for the Provos, loyalists and security services. Saying they all did it as if that somehow mitigates it is similar to saying gang rape is not as odious as individual rape because they all did it rather than just one rapist. Claiming it was of its time sounds remarkably similar to what the Church says in respect of clerical rape of children.

And if it was so successful how was there the false convictions you refer to? I know people who were convicted on forced confessions but who were innocent. Not only were they did an injustice the families of those killed were did one as well: told that the people who killed their loved ones were banged up. I understand that there were loyalists too who had false confessions beaten out of them.

I think the argument can be made that the state had more success wearing down the IRA killing capacity when it was not so reliant on brutality and torture.

Even though you say you do not condone what the RUC did (police torture or police brutality, call it what you will) I sense so much ambiguity in your position that it leaves me unsure if you think it was legitimate or if it was not legitimate.5:59 PM, April 25, 2015Cue Bono said...


It could never be legitimate because it was illegal. I doubt very much though that it would warrant historic prosecutions.

We live in a country which has mass murderers in senior political positions. Historic prosecutions for assault would seem pretty unfair in those circumstances .8:07 PM, April 25, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

I don't believe there should be any historic prosecutions either for cops, troops, loyalists or republicans.

I don't think torture should be trivialised as assault. Moreover, it negates the gravity of false convictions, where people spent decades in prison for things they never did. If police torturers and perjurers who helped secure convictions by lying on oath that they did not coerce confessions should not be subject to prosecution (and I don't believe it serves any worthwhile purpose), then others who participated in that conflict should be treated the same.

8:17 PM, April 25, 2015Cue Bono said...


I too think that historic crimes should no longer be pursued. I don't say that because I think the perpetrators should get off, but because the manner in which they are currently being pursued is blatantly unfair. If you are a pro sf former Provo then you are above being prosecuted. Everyone else is fair game. That seems to me to be an abuse of the law.

Can you hand on heart say that you were in prison with many people who were not active Provos? Innocent civilians wrongly convicted?

O8:41 PM, April 25, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

the majority I was in with were active republicans. But there were people there serving life sentences for things they were innocent of. There were also Provos serving time for killings they never carried out but who had confessions beaten out of them just to clear the books. You might think it was not unfair to the Provo convicted in the wrong but you can hardly make an argument that it was fair to the families of the dead that the police lied to.

Can you say hand on heart you have ever met a cop who was not at the same time a perjurer? It is probably the same the world over: they all lie to put you down in court. Even when you are guilty they still lie on oath.9:03 PM, April 25, 2015Cue Bono said...


My point would be that lives were saved because those Provos were behind bars regardless of whether they were in prison for the actual crimes they were guilty of or not.

It's not black and white. The Provos claimed give at war and demanded that they be treated as POWs. They also refused internment which would have grAnted the that privilege and demanded the right to be true in court for their crimes. As it was not a war the police and army. Like not gun the Provos down in the same way that the Provos were gunning them down. They had to put the behind bars and the better they became at at the fewer the number of people who died.

They were engaged In work that saved lives which is pretty commendable9:42 PM, April 25, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

or caused lives to be lost because they prompted more people to join the Provos. As one British journal asked in the early 70s during internment - if the IRA are all locked up why are they still fighting?

Saving lives is always commendable. But as I said earlier, maybe on another thread, if those who govern will not refrain from murdering the governed what position are they in to call for the governed to desist from murdering? State violence produces street violence. Many more lives could have been saved had the British state opted to do the right thing to begin with. I long ago concluded that the Provos as an insurrectionary phenomenon were not a response to the British being in Ireland but a response to how the British behaved while in Ireland. A change in British behaviour rather than a British withdrawal was what was required to stop the Provos. That is ultimately how it ended up.

Wars are fought in different ways, conventional and unconventional. State and insurgents use or dispute the term war not for analytical exactitude but for positioning opinion in an endless battle of legitimization/delegitimization. This is why we find so many from the British side willing to call it a war against the IRA which necessitated methods that were not normal. One notable character I spoke to, the late Clive Fairweather, very brisk and very direct and not afraid to be scathing of his own side, was wholly dismissive of the view that it was not a war the British were engaged in.

Northern nationalists were fortunate to have been white Europeans otherwise there is no reason that I can see why the British would not have gone on the merry murdering missions that they used in so many other countries they invaded.7:10 AM, April 26, 2015larry hughes said...

I was a bit shocked to read this but I'm thinking this was Dee Fennell's Marian Price moment. How silly. His 15 minutes of fame. Perhaps he should be charged with trying to get young nationalists guaranteed jail time because that's the only place they are going with the countless number of self designated IRAs floundering about out there today. He has got what he thought he was arranging for others, 'cute-hooring' young lads into a bit of jail food. Really don't know why these 'republicans' keep tormenting society and themselves. They lambast SF out of a desperation but inability to do the exact same, i.e. get elected.

Peter, on the other hand, whilst making informed comments gives me the impression that he is stuck on the killing of one RUC man in 2009 as a potential time machine back to the good old days of unionist supremacy via the security apparatus (well paid and easy money for the boys....WATP mentality). How desperate these loyalists are to kick start the security gravy train again. Why not call for Billy boy Hutchinson's arrest and imprisonment over the 'fleg' protestations? I feel Peter's pain and it is a beautiful thing.


'That said, republicans need to be stating at Easter commemorations that armed actions will produce nothing and if they want to talk about membership of IRAs they should call on those already in them to relinquish membership before they are shafted by a cabal eager to become what they opposed, and more importantly before they kill someone'.

Spot on, kill someone or put tens of thousands of unemployed loyalists into highly paid employment doing what they love best, annoying taigs. At the end of the day 1916 and the war of independence seems to have been inflicted upon this island so Mickey D could go to Turkey with the British Royals and play the Soldiers Song in memory of those Irish men who died for Britain's Empire in WW1, before the song was even our national anthem. Stay away from republicanism Dee Fennell, you will only get YOURSELF hurt in this day and age. And Gerry Adams welcomes a visit by Prince Charles. Somehow I cannot imagine either Dan Breen or Tom Barry standing on the steps of Stormont with the head of the RIC calling former comrades traitors to Ireland....though when you look at it Collins and Co. did worse than that I suppose. The more things change.....
11:27 AM, April 26, 2015DaithiD said...

Henry, in terms of brand recognition, its lasted nearly a century, with sacrifices its promotion every decade since.No chief executive would cast aside such a brand.
You would be better off making appeals about Unionist concerns to another, Ive made my position clear on this before.12:43 PM, April 26, 2015Peter said...


Re-join the security gravy train at my age? What you been smokin'? You're clearly obsessed by this. Seek help.12:46 PM, April 26, 2015larry hughes said...


Loyalist loss in general. Everything is not always about YOU. As for help, I've been beyond that for several decades.2:48 PM, April 26, 2015Henry JoY said...

Sure its got brand recognition, I agree its about a long time Daithi.

Problem is it doesn't do what it says on the tin: never did, never could and never will.

That it still commands some brand loyalty with an ever decreasing number of consumers surely must pose as many questions about those users profiles as it does about the brand itself.

If you or anyone else wants to hold equity in the brand then so be it. Penny stocks are a risky strategy. Affraid I can only recommend a 'sell' position.4:16 PM, April 26, 2015Peter said...


Don't you remember I am a supporter of NI21? The union is safe so the sooner DUP style unionism goes down the pan the better for us all. Your demons are eating you alive Larry. Life's too short to be a bitter a loser, just get over it.6:36 PM, April 26, 2015AM said...


that must be even more depressing than supporting Liverpool6:54 PM, April 26, 2015DaithiD said...

Haha good stuff Henry, you can of course maintain exposure to any upside moves whilst negating any downside moves with those financial WMD’s , derivatives, namely Options. Captures the sentiment succinctly doesn’t it?
If things go to plan, ill be based permanently in Inverin within the next two years, so lets leverage our position and enact a hostile then!7:38 PM, April 26, 2015Peter said...


LOL. For a brief few months I really believed they could make a difference, until I realised the only thing Basil loves is Basil and being on the Nolan show! Though they have more chance of winning an election than Liverpool have of winning the league!8:30 PM, April 26, 2015AM said...


I never saw it as a lot more than a media event. There was really not a lot space there for it to fill. Don't talk to me about Liverpool!9:16 PM, April 26, 2015Cue Bono said...

"State violence produces street violence."


I don't think that it can be fairly said that the jailing of known Provos led to an upsurge in support of, and an increase of recruitment of, the Provos. In fact the statistics tell us that after the butchery that was 1972 the death toll went steadily down. The more Provos who were caught and convicted the fewer the people who were being murdered.

As a matter of interest can you think of one other country which was so liberal of its treatment of a terrorist conspiracy such as we faced here? Certainly not the Americans, the French or indeed the Irish.

"Northern nationalists were fortunate to have been white Europeans otherwise there is no reason that I can see why the British would not have gone on the merry murdering missions that they used in so many other countries they invaded."

You mean that they were fortunate that the British did not employ the same tactics as the Provos. If it had been a war then they would have been free to do exactly that and we would be discussing the Northern Irish war of 1970.9:27 PM, April 26, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

I think at this point it is going round in circles.9:42 PM, April 26, 2015larry hughes said...


N121 absolutely lost for words. So the only thing to do is continue laughing. I thought it was a motorway, had forgotten them already.9:49 PM, April 26, 2015Cue Bono said...


Fair enough. Thanks for taking the time.

I bought your book btw. Hard to argue with your analysis.10:04 PM, April 26, 2015AM said...

Cue Bono,

appreciated10:18 PM, April 26, 2015Alfie Gallagher said...


Perhaps it is a subtle point for others, but for me, there is a clear difference between expressing an opinion about the legitimacy of certain activities and calling on people to carry them out.

For example, as stupid as I think to say that suspected child abusers should be shot or castrated, I certainly don't think people should be jailed for merely expressing that view. On the other hand, if someone was to directly encourage or instruct others to target suspects, then I think a line between thought and action has been crossed. The same goes for people who advocate for lowering the age of consent: that should not be a crime, but explicitly helping or advising someone to have sex with a minor should be.

You are right to highlight the hypocrisy of the justice system in the North in this regard. I don't have any faith in it either, and my instinct tells me that this prosecution is a cynical one. That said, if Dee Fennell went beyond arguing that armed struggle is legitimate and actually encouraged people to participate in it, then I think he has only himself to blame.1:26 AM, April 27, 2015Henry JoY said...

Good luck and success with your goal Daithi. T'is a beautiful and magical spot.

Hope your trading choices are more informed than your political models of reality.8:29 AM, April 27, 2015AM said...


Cue Bono pointed some of that out above but also delved a bit into the legislation to show how it is in fact selectively applied.

I take the point about the distinction arguing about 8 years ago that:

Well, my personal view is, ‘would I say anything that would directly lead to your death?’ No, I would not. Of course there are boundaries in that sense.

but I still prefer the AC Grayling stance: which I feel has resembled my own position:

Because it can do harm, and because it can be used irresponsibly, there has to be an understanding of when free speech has to be constrained. But given its fundamental importance, the default has to be that free speech is inviolate except … where the dots are filled in with a specific, strictly limited, case-by-case, powerfully justified, one-off set of utterly compelling reasons why in this particular situation alone there must be a restraint on speech. Note the words specific strictly limited case-by-case powerfully justified one-off utterly compelling this particular situation alone.

Was Fennell's pronouncement immediately endangering the lives of people? Or was it, as I think, one of those boiler plate rhetorical flourishes that are delivered at Easter?

The real persuasion of people to join these groups takes place off camera. I would venture a guess and say that more people will be inclined to join because of the arrest than as a result of the speech.

The people most happy (rather than horrified or frightened) with the speech were probably the security services and the unionists: it provided the reason to remove him from the streets. And on that score he has to take responsibility for giving his opponents a free run.

As I suggested in respect of Jim Wells, there is a serious danger in allowing the police to fucntion as thought police.8:33 AM, April 27, 2015larry hughes said...


At least Wells had it in him to resign. There are worse sinners than him who you couldn't shift with one of their own bombs.9:26 AM, April 27, 2015AM said...

Larry, he had probably no choice in the matter. What is more disturbing is that the PSNI are now investigating him for telling a Lesbian couple he did not approve of their lifestyle. As Health minister I think he had to go but had he been transport or something I might think differently. What often happens is a threat of some sanction being used to cower people into silence. It runs parallel with what Brendan O'Neill termed the pathologising of dissent: if SF got away with it there would be an offence created called Peaceprocessophobia and anybody asking a question would be prosecuted.10:19 AM, April 27, 2015DaithiD said...

Henry,I think I missed out the word hostile takeover in my previous comment. Im focused on hi-frequency gold and oil futures moves at the moment (like millisecond level time stamps), when these can be automated soundly, the missus and I will move. In that domain my models are purely reactionary. Much like my politics you might say!
Ive read another attempt to characterise the Proclamation as an essentially socialist text on here this morning, I fully share your pessimism if this is not wrested from their control.
Your idea of being the change you want to see only has strategic merit if a) there is the potential for reciprocity from your adversary (there isnt amongst Unionism) b) you are allowed express yourself fully by the adversary (we see with Fennells incarceration there are limits). In short, its a reciple for inertia, and being comfortable with that inertia (perhaps a neccesity for 12-steppers admittedly) .10:35 AM, April 27, 2015Alfie Gallagher said...


"Free speech is inviolate except … where the dots are filled in with a specific, strictly limited, case-by-case, powerfully justified, one-off set of utterly compelling reasons why in this particular situation alone there must be a restraint on speech."

Yes, I think that's the best formulation of what the limits ought to be. Certainly the current provisions in the law that prohibits "hate speech" and "indirect encouragement" of terrorism are illiberal nonsense.

Jim Wells is a bigot, but he has just as much right to express his idiotic views as I have to proclaim him a closeted dog felcher.11:45 AM, April 27, 2015AM said...


you could get up tomorrow morning on RTE/UTV/BBC and call for Gaza to be bombed to the ground by the Israelis and not one cop will be at your door to prosecute you for direct encouragement of terrorism.

You can freely support the US and British policies of torturing detainees in Iraq or via rendition and you will never see the inside of a courtroom. It is self-serving deceitful cant.1:20 PM, April 27, 2015Henry JoY said...

In fairness Dáithí we must acknowledge the commitment of more moderate unionists (of which Peter is an exemplar) to live peacefully in an non-exploitative way with their neighbours. Of course there are the likes of Wells out there too.

For a 'society' to work effectively there has to be consensual agreements to the rules of engagement. As you will discover when you come to Connemara there's no real appetite for either militarism or revolution in southern Irish society. Lip service to our historical past is exactly that, hollow words that no longer reflect the true essence of the modern Irish citizen. There's an evolving similar trend in the North.

Most people are primarily motivated by healthy self-interest; a better quality of life for themselves and their children. They are prepared to enter into the social contracts of society insofar as those contracts offer some perceived benefits in terms of enhanced security, education and access to health care.

To the degree that the State reasonably serves those needs all will be well. Despite many gaps and short comings in services my hunch is that a sizable majority are reasonably satisfied. Sure there are vocal complaints every day but in my estimation there's no real suggestion that the centre won't hold this time round.

Those that enjoy the benefits of 'society' are more than prepared to accept limits on their freedom. Sure it may make for an interesting after-dinner or on-line discussion as to where intellectual freedom begins and ends but my bet is that in the pragmatic protecting of their own little patch, the censoring and jailing of dissenting voices won't evoke significant sympathy.

Far from being in a place of inertia Dáithí I choose and act in a pragmatic healthy self-interested manner whenever possible and to the degree that it does not impinge on the rights of others.
(Though I have been a twelve-stepper Dáithí I have for many years been a convert to Bruce Alexanders social model of addiction; republicanism like most other 'isms' can be an addiction too).3:43 PM, April 27, 2015larry hughes said...


McGuinness said Wells was a bigot before his wife was ill, a bigot today and will always be a bigot. He said Wells has never spoken to him. (that must be the bigot criteria then, shunning Martin)

I always classed Wells with the David Calverts of this world but strangely in the early 90s a Catholic small farmer living near him told me he wasn't the worst by any means.

I'm not a minister of health or anything else so I'll take the plunge and ask, how did one of two women in a lesbian relationship come to have a daughter?

I'll be voting with mr Wells on same sex marriage when the time comes."

 The quoted piece, which should not be taken seriously, as it is from an infamous baroom republican, with considerable brain damage, who authoured the "Death of Irish Republicanism." I would ask you all to pray for both Dee and this unfortunate man, to whatever Star you listen to. I can confirm, his reports of the premature demise of Irish Republicanism, is greatly exaggerated.


Michael Davitt (Irish: Mícheál Mac Dáibhéid; 25 March 1846 – 30 May 1906) was an Irish republican, nationalist, and Georgist agrarian agitator, an inspirer of Mahatma Gandhi, a social campaigner, labour leader, journalist, Home Rule constitutional politician and Member of Parliament (MP), who founded the Irish National Land League.[1]


1 Early years
2 Child labour
3 Fenians
4 The Land War
5 Travels and marriage
6 Labour Federation
7 Achievements
8 Legacy
9 Memory
10 Popular culture
11 Notes
12 Works
13 See also
14 References
15 External links
15.1 Institutions

Early years

Michael Davitt was born in Straide, County Mayo, Ireland, at the height of the Great Famine, the second of five children born to Martin and Catherine Davitt. They were of peasant origin, but Davitt's father had a good education and could speak English and Irish. Irish was the household language, and Davitt used it later in life on a visit toAustralia.[2] In 1850, when Michael was four and a half years old, his family was evicted from their home in Straide due to arrears in rent. They entered a local workhouse but when Catherine discovered that male children over 3 years of age had to be separated from their mothers, she promptly decided her family should travel to England to find a better life, like many Irish people at this time. They travelled to Dublin with another local family and in November reached Liverpool, making the 77 kilometre journey to Haslingden, in East Lancashire, by foot. There they settled. Davitt was brought up in the closed world of a poor Irish immigrant community with strong nationalist feelings and, in his case, a deep hatred of landlordism.
Child labour

After attending infant school the young Davitt began working at the age of nine as a labourer in a cotton mill but a month later he left and spent a short period working for Lawrence Whitaker, one of the leading cotton manufacturers in the district, before taking a job in Stellfoxe's Victoria Mill, in Baxenden. Here he was put to operate aspinning machine. On 8 May 1857 his right arm was entangled in acogwheel and mangled so badly it had to be amputated. He did not receive any compensation.

When he recovered from his operation, a local benefactor, John Dean, helped to send him to a Wesleyan school, which was connected to the Methodist Church and where he received a good education. Although he was an Irish Catholic emigrant, he did not suffer any form of sectarian abuse. In 1861, at the age of 15, he went to work in a local post office, owned by Henry Cockcroft, who also ran a printing business. In spite of his injury, he learned to be a typesetter. He was later promoted to letter carrier and book-keeper and worked there for five years.

Around that time, Davitt started night classes at the local Mechanics Institute and used its library. He became interested in Irish historyand the contemporary Irish social situation after coming under the influence of Ernest Charles Jones, the veteran Chartist leader, and his radical views on land nationalisation and Irish independence.[3]

In 1865, this interest led Davitt to join the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB) which had strong support among working-class Irish immigrants. He soon became part of the inner circle of the local group. Two years later he left the printing firm to devote himself full-time to the IRB, as organising secretary for Northern England andScotland, organising arms smuggling to Ireland using his new job as "hawker" (travelling salesman) as cover for this activity.

Davitt was involved in a failed raid on Chester Castle to obtain arms on 11 February 1867 in advance of the Fenian Rising in Ireland, but evaded the law. In the Haslingden area he helped to organise the defence of Catholic churches against Protestant attack in 1868. Having come to the attention of the police he was arrested inPaddington Station in London on 14 May 1870 while awaiting a delivery of arms. He was convicted of treason felony and sentenced to 15 years of penal servitude in Dartmoor Prison; Davitt felt that he had not had a fair trial or the best of defence. The trial is documented online.[4]

He was kept in solitary confinement and received very harsh treatment during the un-remitted portion of his term. In prison he concluded that ownership of the land by the people was the only solution to Ireland's problems. He managed to get a covert contact to an Irish Parliamentary Party MP, John O'Connor Power, who began to campaign against cruelty inflicted on political prisoners. He often read Davitt's letters in the House of Commons, with his Party pressing for an amnesty for Irish nationalist prisoners. Partially due to public furore over his treatment, Davitt was released (along with other political prisoners) on 19 December 1877, when he had served seven and half years, on a "ticket of leave". He and the other prisoners were given a hero's welcome on landing in Ireland.

Davitt rejoined the IRB and became a member of its Supreme Council. The British Government had introduced a concept of "fair rents" in 1870 as a part of the first of the Irish Land Acts, but he continued to hold that the common people of Ireland could not improve their lot without the ownership of their land, and frequently insisted at Fenian meetings that "the land question can be definitely settled only by making the cultivators of the soil proprietors".

In 1873 while Davitt was imprisoned his mother and three sisters had settled in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 1878 Davitt travelled to the United States in a lecture tour organised by John Devoy and theFenians, hoping to gain the support of Irish-American communities for his new policy of "The Land for the People". He returned in 1879 to his native Mayo where he at once involved himself in land agitation.
The Land War

A Land League poster from the early 1880s

Many people in the West of Ireland were suffering from the 1879 famine. It was one of the wettest years on record and the potato crop had failed for the third successive year. Davitt organised a large meeting that attracted (by varying accounts) 4,000 to 13,000 people in Irishtown, County Mayo on 20 April. Davitt himself did not attend the meeting, presumably because he was on ticket-of-leave and did not want to risk being sent back to prison in England. He made plans for a huge campaign of agitation to reduce rents. The local target was aRoman Catholic priest, Canon Ulick Burke, who had threatened to evict his tenants. A campaign of non-payment pressured him to cancel the evictions and reduce his rents by 25%.

On 16 August 1879, the Land League of Mayo was formally founded in Castlebar, with the active support of Charles Stewart Parnell. Meetings were every Sunday. On 21 October it was superseded by theIrish National Land League. Parnell was made its President and Davitt was one of the secretaries. This united practically all the different strands of land agitation and land movements since the Tenant Right League of the 1850s under a single organisation and, from then until 1882, the "Land War" in pursuance of the "Three Fs" (Fair Rent, Fixity of Tenure and Free Sale) was fought in earnest. The League organised resistance to evictions and reductions in rents, as well as aiding the work of relief agencies. Landlords' attempts to evict tenants led to violence, but the Land League denounced it.

One of the actions the Land League took during this period was the campaign of ostracism against the land agent Captain Charles Boycott in the autumn of 1880. This incident led to Boycott abandoning Ireland in December and coined the word boycott. In 1881 Davitt was again imprisoned for his outspoken speeches when he had accused the chief secretary of Ireland W. E. Forster of "infamous lying". His ticket of leave was revoked and he was sent to Portland jail. Parnell protested loudly in the House of Commons and the Irish members protested so strongly that they were ejected from the House. The government passed the Irish Coercion Bill.
Travels and marriage

In an 1882 by-election Davitt was elected Member of Parliament forCounty Meath but was disqualified because he was in prison, where he had developed the theory that land nationalisation, and not peasant proprietorship, was the key to Ireland's prosperity. Upon his release in 1882 he travelled to the United States with William Redmond to collect funds for the Land League, then campaigned for land nationalisation and an alliance between the British working class, Irish labourers and tenant farmers. This alienated Parnell and even many of the tenants, but after a meeting with Parnell at his house, Avondale, in September 1882 he agreed to co-operate with Parnell and set aside his plans for land nationalisation.

Davitt's support of the Irish National League, now under Parnell's and the Party's control, earned him a final spell in prison in 1883, and by 1885 his health had broken. Although only in his forties he had become a post-revolutionary figure and began lecturing on humanitarian issues in extended tours which included Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, South Africa, the Holy Land, South America, Russia and most of continental Europe including almost every part of Ireland and Britain. In 1886 Davitt married Mary (b. 1861), daughter of John Yore of St. Joseph, Michigan, United States. In 1887 he then visited Wales to support land agitation.[3] The couple returned to Ireland and lived for a while in the Land League Cottage in Ballybrack,County Dublin that was given to them as a wedding gift by the people of Ireland. They had five children, three boys and two girls, though one, Kathleen, died of tuberculosis aged seven, in 1895. One son,Robert Davitt, became a TD, while another, Cahir Davitt, became President of the High Court.

Despite his differences with Parnell on the land question, he was a strong supporter of the alliance between the Liberal Party and the Irish Parliamentary Party and maintained this position in 1890 when the party split over Parnell's divorce case. Davitt, however, sided with the anti-Parnellite Irish National Federation faction in the House of Commons at Westminster, where he became very hostile towards Parnell and was one of his most vociferous critics. He also became increasingly impatient with what he saw as the inability or unwillingness of Parliament to right injustice.
Labour Federation

To further those ends he founded and edited a journal, Labour World, in September 1890, then initiated in January 1891 in Cork the Irish Democratic Labour Federation, an organisation which adopted an advanced social programme including proposals for free education, land settlement, worker housing, reduced working hours, labour political representation and universal suffrage. The Federation reflected his conviction, to which he adhered to all his life, that peasant land proprietorship must go hand in hand with land nationalisation.

Davitt was subsequently elected for North Meath in the 1892 general election,[5] but his election was overturned on petition.[6] However he was promptly elected unopposed for North East Cork at a by-election in February 1893,[6] but resigned from the Commons on 9 May 1893.[7] At the next general election, in 1895, he stood in South Mayo, where he was returned unopposed.[8] He welcomed Gladstone'sSecond Home Rule Bill as a "pact of peace" between England and Ireland.[3] He supported the British Labour leader Keir Hardie and favoured the foundation of a Labour Party, but his commitment to the Liberal Party for the sake of Home Rule prevented him joining the new party – resulting in a breach with Hardie lasting until 1905.[9]

Davitt resigned from the Commons again on 26 October 1899[7] with a prediction that no just cause could succeed there unless backed by massed agitation.[citation needed] Parliament alleviated this need by granting full democratic control of all local affairs, a form of "grass roots home rule", to County and District Councils under the 1898Local Government (Ireland) Act. Davitt then co-founded in 1898 together with William O'Brien the United Irish League and organised it in Mayo and beyond. In 1899 he left his seat in parliament for good in protest against the Boer War, visiting South Africa to lend support to the Boer cause. His experiences inspired his Boer fight for Freedom, published in 1902.[10]

Davitt's ambition that the ownership of the land would be transferred from the landlords to the tenants finally materialised after the 1902Land Conference under O'Brien's Wyndham Land (Purchase) Act (1903), but not as he had campaigned for. He condemned the act that offered generous inducement to the landlords to sell their estates to the tenants, the Irish Land Commission mediating to then collect land annuities instead of rents, on the grounds that landlords should not receive any compensation for land which Davitt felt belonged to the state. He never gave up his adherence to land nationalisation. Later in 1906 after the Liberal Party came to power, his open support for their policy of state control of schooling, rather than denominational education, merged into a major conflict between Davitt and the Irish Catholic Church.[11]

Davitt died in Elphis Hospital, Dublin on 30 May 1906, aged 60, from blood poisoning. The fact that the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland attended the funeral was a public indication of the dramatic political journey this former Fenian prisoner had taken. The plan had been not to have a public funeral, and hence Davitt's body was brought quietly to the Carmelite Friary, Clarendon Street, Dublin. However, the next day over 20,000 people filed past his coffin. His remains were then taken by train to Foxford, County Mayo, and buried in the grounds of Straide Abbey at Straide (near Foxford), near where he was born.

Michael Davitt's unceasing efforts were instrumental to future Irish Land Acts after the Gladstone First Land Act of 1870. The most important of these was the Land Act of 1881, which finally granted "the three Fs" under Davitt's "Irish Democratic Land Federation". The next stage was the 'Ashbourn Act (1885)'. The Ashbourne Act was the most effective land act as it offered tenants the choice to purchase their land from the government with a fixed rate, easy to pay back loan. Vast tracts of land were bought up by the government to be sold to tenants. This Act was passed by the Conservatives as an attempt to appease the Home Rule Party, although it failed to do so.

Davitt is commonly regarded[citation needed] as one of the founders of the British Labour Party; his support for socialism in his latter years was based on the premise that Ireland could only achieve independence with the support of the British working class. This, along with his call for land nationalisation, often made him much misunderstood in Ireland.[9] But he remained an inspiration for many others, such as for D. D. Sheehan's Irish Land and Labour Association(ILLA), and years later Mahatma Gandhi attributed the origin of his own mass movement of peaceful resistance in India to Davitt and the Land League.[1]

Davitt was a frequent visitor to Scotland where he was closely associated with the crofters' struggles in the Highlands and Islands. He also urged the Irish immigrant population to integrate into the politics of their adopted country and in particular the infant Labour Movement rather than to pursue a particularly Irish agenda. InGlasgow, where he had a strong following, Davitt's prestige was attested to by the fact that he was invited to lay the first turf of the stadium of Celtic Football Club in 1892. The turf was stolen overnight giving rise to a poem which began: "The curse of Cromwell blast the hand that stole the sod that Michael cut; May all his praties turn to sand – the crawling, thieving scut"!

Davitt was a brave and proud man; an ascetic who accepted no tribute for his work; on occasions impatient with those who disagreed with him; sometimes expecting too much from the farmers, as in 1885 when he described them responding in 'self-interest' rather than 'self-sacrifice’.[3] He supported himself with writing and lectures and as a journalist defended the underprivileged, in 1903 publishing the book Within the pale: The True Story of Anti-Semitic Persecutions in Russia. This was based on reports made by him to an American newspaper in 1903 on anti-Semitic outrages in Russia and travel to Russia to investigate the incident. A pogrom was initiated in the town of Kishinev in the Russian province of Bessarabia, resulting in 51 people being killed and over 500 injured, see the Kishinev pogrom.

Back in Ireland in 1904 his Kishinevan experience of antisemitism inspired Davitt to unequivocally and passionately oppose the Limerick Boycott organised by the Redemptorist priest John Creagh: ‘I protest as an Irishman and as a Catholic against the barbarous malignancy of anti-semitism which is being introduced into Ireland under the pretended regard for the welfare of the Irish people.’[12]

Extracts from an article to mark the centenary of Michael Davitt's death:[13]

He was only 24 years when he was imprisoned as a convicted felon for terrorist activities. Yet, Davitt learned from such adversity while in prison. He came to the conclusion, as he records in his Leaves from a Prison Diary, that violence was self defeating, and that membership of an underground, armed conspiracy merely invited the counter-productive attention of State agents infiltrating the movement and recruiting informers.

These insights became the bedrock of Davitt's conviction to become an apostle of non-violence, though he could use incendiary language on occasion and in further brushes with the law. Lastingly, however, he emerged as a symbol of human solidarity.

Pertinently, the historian Carla King, in her forward toDavitt's Collected Writings 1868–1906, Edition Synapse, remarked that during seven years of a brutal prison regime, Davitt turned, with a greatness of soul and a power to forgive reminiscent of Nelson Mandela a century later, from physical force terrorist to a constitutional politician. Davitt inspired Mahatma Gandhi in his campaign against the British Empire.

Indeed, Davitt, the one-armed Irishman who spoke with a pronounced Lancashire accent, is best remembered in history books as a leading figure in the 19th century Home Rule movement, and especially for his role as a revolutionary founder of the Land League. Successive Land Acts passed by the House of Commons gave Irish tenants not just Davitt's three Fs – fair rent, fixity of tenure and free sale – but allowed them to buy their land from oppressive, but mainly absentee landlords . That class was worn down by 'Captain Boycott'.

While Parnell was venerated posthumously as a martyr, Davitt was excoriated as a Judas. Remarkably, by 1916, just 10 years after his death, Davitt had been deliberately air-brushed out of the script for Irish freedom. 'Republican' Ireland declined to acknowledge him as among 'the Greats'.Pearse did not assign Davitt a place in the Republican pantheon of Theobald Wolfe Tone, John Mitchel, Fintan Lalor– or even Parnell.

Insufficient attention has been paid to Davitt's role as an ex-Fenian who took the road of peaceful, democratic politics by renouncing his Fenian oath and taking a seat in the House of Commons at Westminster. He (would have) totally excluded violence as a means of advancing Irish unification.


At Straide, Davitt's birthplace is now a museum that commemorates his life and works. A life-sized bronze statue stands before it. The bridge from Achill Island to the mainland is named after him. Over Davitt's grave a Celtic Cross in his memory bears the words '’Blessed is he that hungers and thirsts after justice, for he shall receive it'’.

The town of Haslingden has also commemorated Davitt's link with it through a public monument erected in the presence of Davitt's son. The inscription reads as follows:

"This memorial has been erected to perpetuate the memory of Michael Davitt with the town of Haslingden. It marks the site of the home of Michael Davitt, Irish patriot, who resided in Haslingden from 1853 to 1867. / He became a great world figure in the cause of freedom and raised his voice and pen on behalf of the oppressed, irrespective of race or creed, that serfdom be transformed to citizenship and that man be given the opportunity to display his God given talents for the betterment of mankind. / Born 1846, died 1906. / Erected by the Irish Democratic League Club, Haslingden (Davitt Branch)."

Haslingden also organised a 'Exile & Exiles' Festival in 2006 which did much to celebrate the life of Michael Davitt, as well as place it in the context of other immigrants to the community. This included 'The Jail Bird', a performance about Davitt, created by Horse and Bamboo Theatre with local school students.

Of the people cited as inspirations by northwest Mayo's Shell to Seacampaign, such as Ken Saro-Wiwa, Martin Luther King and Mohandas Gandhi, Davitt is the sole Irish person. On their release from prison, the Rossport Five laid a wreath at his grave in Straide.

A debate has also started on the extent to which Davitt altered his recall of the events in his remarkable life. One of Michael Davitt's biographers, Professor Moody, remarked in 1982 that Davitt's habit of: "..reinterpreting his past actions and attitudes in accordance with altered conditions was partly the outcome of a longing for integrity in his political conduct".[14]

Popular culture
Fenian author William C. Upton dedicated his 1882 novel Uncle Pat's Cabin to Davitt: "Noble Felon! with the fire of past events yet burning, and my pen dipped deep into the bosom of that spirit of which you are the embodiment, allow me to dedicate (this novel) to your enduring memory."
Irish folk musician Andy Irvine's 1996 Patrick Street song, "Forgotten Hero", is a tribute to Davitt. In addition, Irish-born musician Donal Maguire has recorded an album of songs based on Davitt's life, entitled Michael Davitt: The Forgotten Hero?.
He is mentioned in James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.

^ Jump up to:a b Dailey, Lucia (17 March 2013). "Irish patriot left worldwide mark". Scranton, Pa. Scranton Times Tribune. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
Jump up^ Val Noone (2012), Hidden Ireland in Victoria, Ballarat Heritage Services, p. 103. ISBN 978-1-876478-83-4
^ Jump up to:a b c d Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press (2004)
Jump up^
Jump up^ Brian M. Walker, ed. (1978). Parliamentary election results in Ireland 1801–1922. Dublin: Royal Irish Academy. p. 148. ISBN 0-901714-12-7.
^ Jump up to:a b Walker, op. cit., page 150
^ Jump up to:a b Department of Information Services (9 June 2009). "Appointments to the Chiltern Hundreds and Manor of Northstead Stewardships since 1850" (PDF). House of Commons Library. Retrieved 30 November2009.
Jump up^ Walker, op. cit., page 155
^ Jump up to:a b A New Dictionary of Irish History from 1800, p.105-105, D. J. Hickey & J. E. Doherty , Gill & MacMillan (2003) ISBN 0-7171-2520-3
Jump up^ Davitt, Michael: The Boer Fight for Freedom, New York, London 1902.
Jump up^ Biography "The long Gestation, Irish Nationalist Life 1891–1918" pps. 83, 225, Patrick Maume (1999)
Jump up^ Kevin Haddick Flynn, The Limerick pogrom, 1904 (History Ireland, Vol. 12, summer 2004)
Jump up^ Michael Davitt: Still in the shadow of the gunmen, John Cooney, Irish Independent, 27 May 2006
Jump up^ Moody TW "Davitt and the Irish Revolution" (Oxford 1982) page 552.

Wikisource has original works written by or about:

Michael Davitt

Michael Davitt, The Prison Life of Michael Davitt (1878)
Davitt, Michael (1882). The land league proposal. Glasgow: Cameron & Ferguson.
Michael Davitt, Leaves from a Prison Diary(2 vols) (1885)
Michael Davitt, Defence of the Land League (1891)
Michael Davitt, Life and Progress in Australasia (1898)
Michael Davitt, Within the Pale, The True Story of Anti-Semitic Persecutions in Russia (1903)
Michael Davitt, Boer fight for freedom (1904)
Michael Davitt, The Fall of Feudalism in Ireland (1904) ISBN 1-59107-031-7
Michael Davitt, Collected Writings, 1868–1906 Carla King (2001)ISBN 1-85506-648-3
Michael Davitt, The "Times"-Parnell Commission: Speech delivered by Michael Davitt in defence of the Land League (1890)
Irish Political Prisoners, Speeches of John O'Connor Power M.P., in the House of Commons on the Subject of Amnesty, etc., and a Statement by Mr Michael Davitt, (ex-political prisoner) on Prison Treatment (March 1878)
See also
List of people on stamps of Ireland
Young Greens (Ireland) This youth party is chaired by Michael's great grandson, Ed.
Bernard O'Hara: Davitt: Irish Patriot and Father of the Land League, Tudor Gate Press (2009) ISBN 978-0-9801660-1-9
Bernard O'Hara: Michael Davitt Remembered, The Michael Davitt National Memorial Association (1984) ASIN B0019R83VG
D.B. Cashman and Michael Davitt, The Life of Michael Davitt and the Secret History of The Land League (1881)
Francis Sheehy-Skeffington, Michael Davitt : revolutionary, agitator and labour leader (1908, etc.)
M.M. O'Hara, Chief and Tribune: Parnell and Davitt (1919)
Carla King: Michael Davitt, Dundalk (1999)
Fintan Lane and Andrew Newby (eds), Michael Davitt: New Perspectives, Dublin (2009)
T. W. Moody: Davitt and Irish Revolution 1846–82, Oxford (1981)
Kevin Haddick Flynn: Davitt – Land Warrior (History Today May 2006)
Laurence Marley: Michael Davitt Four Courts Press (2007) ISBN 978-1-84682-066-3
Jane Stanford, 'That Irishman The Life and Times of John O'Connor Power', The History Press Ireland, 2011
External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related toMichael Davitt.

Michael Davitt Portrait Gallery: UCC Multitext Project in Irish History
Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Michael Davitt
Michael Davitt Museum, County Mayo, Ireland
The Irish Democratic Club, (Davitt Branch) in Haslingden, the town where Michael Davitt was brought up

Parliament of the United Kingdom

Preceded by

Alexander Martin Sullivan
Robert Henry Metge

Member of Parliament forMeath


With: Robert Henry Metge

Succeeded by

Edward Sheil
Robert Henry Metge

Preceded by

Pierce Mahony

Member of Parliament forMeath North


Succeeded by

James Gibney

Preceded by

William O'Brien

Member of Parliament forCork North-East

Feb. 1893 – May 1893

Succeeded by

William Abraham

Preceded by

Jeremiah Daniel Sheehan

Member of Parliament forKerry East


Succeeded by

James Boothby Burke Roche

Preceded by

James Francis Xavier O'Brien

Member of Parliament forMayo South


Succeeded by

John O'Donnell

Authority control

VIAF: 64343543
LCCN: n50056866
ISNI: 0000 0001 0980 2008
GND: 118671219
SUDOC: 050574914
BNF: cb15906405p (data)
BIBSYS: x13001022
NLA: 35034023

1846 births
1906 deaths
19th-century Irish people
Irish amputees
Land reform in Ireland
Irish journalists
Irish non-fiction writers
Members of the Irish Republican Brotherhood
Irish Parliamentary Party MPs
Anti-Parnellite MPs
United Irish League
Members of the Parliament of the United Kingdom for Irish constituencies (1801–1922)
UK MPs 1880–85
UK MPs 1892–95
UK MPs 1895–1900
Gaelic Athletic Association patrons
Politicians from County Mayo