Currently Irish Blog is being plagued by intranet censorship which is slowing the process of sharing it's posts. Aside from trying to deal with it, I just had a brief opportunity to read the following article, which prompted me to think, that it would be an excellent discussion document, for any group of Irish Republicans. I'm not clever enough to absorb it in one reading and intend to come back to it again, because it seems to be well researched and comprehenisive. I lifted it unappologetically from a censor offender, who obviously wouldn't know the first thing about Dialectics, with his censorship, like political Internment, being the repressive tools of the British police state in Ireland. In the wake of the Political Internment of Dee Fennell and the unashamed political policing that enabled it, following Orange Orders, with the obvious collaboration of British Sinn Fein, I believe it is a timely document to discuss. If you agree, I would ask you to share it, to overcome British censorship...beir bua - brionOcleirigh
Policing After The Peace Process : The Continuing Dialectics Of State Coercion And Popular Consent
Mark Hayes and Paul Norris offer a lengthy analysis of the PSNI which argues that Sinn Fein not the RUC was reformed beyond recognition in order to allow the party to accept the legitimacy of British policing in Ireland. The authors are Senior Lecturers at Southampton Solent University. Both have a record of publishing material regarding Northern Ireland and have taken a particular interest in policing and human rights.
This article will focus attention on the key issue of structural reform of the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) which was a central component of the “peace process” in Northern Ireland. It will critically evaluate how far this apparently substantive re-calibration of policing contributed to the process of inter-communal conflict resolution, and how far the narrative of “security” still dominates the agenda of policing. This will necessitate a broader contextual evaluation of the dynamics which have driven the “peace process”, principally the pragmatic political engagement of Sinn Fein, and the re-casting of Provisional Republican policy toward policing. It will be argued that pro-active participation by Provisional Sinn Fein, along with cautious acquiescence at key moments, has played a significant role in stabilising the Northern Ireland regime whilst pacifying political resistance. This article will also discuss how far this process of pacification reflects a genuine transformation from conflict to consent, and what implications this may have for the long-term legitimacy of the state.
The very first efforts to develop a professional police force in Ireland, via a Peace Preservation Force and then County Constabularies, controlled by Chief Secretary Sir Robert Peel, were designed to deal with a society where British imperial “law and order” was breaking down, particularly in rural areas. Even the more unified, centralised and quasi-military Constabulary of Ireland (1836) was preoccupied with the threat of Nationalist insurrection. The Constabulary was essentially a colonial force, superimposed upon a society suspicious of its intentions and well aware of its exogenous origins. In 1867 the Constabulary was awarded its “Royal” epithet for suppressing the Fenian uprising, thus becoming the Royal Irish Constabulary, which thereby solidified the connection between Crown, colonialism and coercion. Indeed the British government considered the RIC’s training programme to be “ideal” and from 1907 insisted that all commissioned officers in colonial forces be tutored by the RIC in Dublin (see Mulcahy 2005: 195). The Royal prefix was, in fact, to survive the partition of Ireland in the form of the Royal Ulster Constabulary which contained a nucleus (over 50%) of former RIC officers, and the new Northern organisation retained the same rank, structure, uniform and terms and conditions of service.
The Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) officially came into existence on 1 June 1922. As Mulcahy says, policing in the newly formed entity of “Northern Ireland” retained “a strongly colonial feel owing not least to its prominent and problematic role in securing the state” (Mulcahy 2005:195). The one third Catholic quota, set as an initial target, was never filled, and by the late 1920s only 17% of the force was Catholic, falling to 10% in 1969 and less than 8% by the 1990s (see Farrell 1983). The RUC’s early links with the Orange Order, its use of emergency legislation, such as the 1922 Special Powers Act, which Chris Ryder described as “a truly draconian piece of legislation” (Ryder 1997: 57), and the prevailing Loyalist ethos, all contributed to making the RUC an explicitly pro-Unionist police force. Consequently the RUC was seen by most Nationalists as an integral component of the unwanted, artificially created “Northern Ireland” state.
Coercive policing, in effect, ensured that Catholics were discriminated against in terms of culture, employment, housing and the franchise. The ensuing civil rights marches in the 1960s, and the aggressive manner in which they were policed, marked a significant watershed in the history of the RUC and the Unionist state. The events that took place at Burntollet Bridge and in the subsequent “Battle of the Bogside” in Derry in 1969 were to damage, irreversibly, the reputation of the RUC. The Cameron Report (1969) criticised the conduct of the RUC and the Scarman Tribunal (1969) found that “there was a lack of confidence in the police” (Hainsworth 1996: 104), whilst the Hunt Report (1969) recommended a number of substantive reforms in an effort to salvage the credibility of the organisation.
The lineage of the RUC is, therefore, a matter of historical record, and the policing of Northern Ireland was, self-evidently, closely tied to the nature of the state – which was irredeemably Unionist in its ideological outlook and policy practice. In effect the RUC, an overwhelmingly Protestant force, policed “a cold house” for Nationalists, who perceived the RUC as the coercive arm of a sectarian state which denied Catholics equal rights.
By the end of the 1960s Northern Ireland was a deeply divided society. In 1968 76% of Catholics considered themselves to be Irish, and 71% of Protestants identified themselves as British, 84% of whom were opposed to a united Ireland (Boyle and Hadden 1994: 54-62; see Rose 1971). Within the context of this cultural, religious and political dichotomy, and given the asymmetrical power relationship which existed between the respective communities, the police, in robustly defending Unionist hegemony, actually accentuated the ethnic division within society and further alienated the Nationalists.
After the civil rights agitation gave way to armed insurrection by Republicans against the Unionist state (and in the context of on-going Loyalist violence), the RUC became embroiled in a series of major controversies. As the situation in Northern Ireland deteriorated, events in the 1970s and 1980s ensured that attention remained firmly focused on issues relating to policing and the justice system. As the state sought to re-establish its authority policing became further politicised: internment without trial, the creation of non-jury (Diplock) courts, the use of aggressive interrogation techniques and “confession” evidence, the use of plastic baton rounds, accusations of a “shoot to kill” policy and collusion with Loyalist paramilitaries – these were all examples of areas where punitive law enforcement and the maintenance of order precipitated controversy and resistance. As Mulcahy points out, “policing was perhaps the most emotive, divisive and controversial aspect of the conflict” (Mulcahy 2006: 4).
Hence policing and justice issues were central to the dynamics of the conflict in Northern Ireland, although as Ellison explains:
it would be a mistake to situate the problems with policing in Northern Ireland solely with the RUC’s counterinsurgency role…the RUC was a potent reminder for many Catholics and nationalists of their exclusion from the cultural life of the state and its practices. Conversely, for many Protestants and unionists, the RUC provided a symbolic conduit that went right to the heart of their identities within the Northern Ireland state - (Ellison 2007: 246).
Consequently it would be reasonable to conclude that the RUC was, essentially, a sectarian police force, and a coercive instrument of Unionist domination, without legitimacy in Nationalist communities. Unsurprisingly Sinn Fein, as the political wing of the Provisional IRA, was the foremost critic of the RUC’s repressive reflexes, portraying the “crown forces” as, in effect, an anachronistic instrument of colonial administration which should be completely de-constructed and replaced. As the Sinn Fein documentScenario for Peace (1987) clearly states (point 4): “British security forces, namely the RUC and UDR must be disbanded” .
It is obvious, therefore, that policing was an integral part of the on-going political crisis in Northern Ireland, and substantive reform of policing structures, particularly the RUC itself, had to become an essential element in any proposals designed to to resolve the conflict (see Bayley 2001; 2006; Caparini and Marenin 2004; Stenning and Shearing 2005; Weitzer 1996). As a result, police reform became a central feature of the so-called “peace process” in Northern Ireland. In fact protracted negotiations produced an Independent Commission on Policing (ICP) chaired by Chris Patten, which was established as part of the Belfast Agreement (1998). Substantive reform of the RUC was seen as a crucial component in the construction of a sustainable political compromise and, most importantly, securing the confidence of the Catholic community in policing was considered central to the stability of the agreement, and an essential pre-requisite for a sustained peace. The aim of the Commission was to provide proposals that would, once implemented, create a police service that would operate in partnership with, and be accountable to, the entire community, including Catholic Nationalists. Indeed the “Good Friday Agreement” stated that the ICP’s proposals “should be designed to ensure that policing arrangements, including composition, recruitment, training, culture, ethos and symbols, are such that in a new approach, Northern Ireland has a police service that can enjoy widespread support from, and is seen as an integral part of, the community as a whole” (UK Government 1998: 22). The ICP consulted widely via a large number of public meetings in which it was estimated that approximately 10,000 people attended, and it reviewed 2,500 written submissions, which led some to conclude that the breadth of the ICP’s consultations endowed its report with a legitimacy that had long been lacking (see Mulcahy 2006). The ICP published its report on 9 September 1999 entitled A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland, which became known colloquially as the “Patten Report” and contained 175 recommendations. The report was based on four guiding principles:-
1. Policing should be a collective responsibility: a partnership for community safety
2. Policing should be informed by the protection of human rights for all
3. Policing must be democratically accountable, politically, legally and financially
4. Policing must be transparent and open
The Report’s main recommendations included: re-naming the service and removing obvious symbols of “Britishness” to reflect the new consociational, power-sharing dispensation; creating a new Policing Board (with 19 members, ten from the Assembly and nine appointed as representatives of the wider community); forming new District Policing Partnership Boards to enhance accountability; having a new Police Ombudsman and Complaints Tribunal; introducing a 50-50 recruitment policy for Catholics and Protestants; implementing a new code of ethics with a strong emphasis on human rights; an emphasis on “normal” community policing and the need for genuine accountability and effective governance (see cain.ulst.ac.uk 2012).
The Patten Report was quite clear that the police should take steps to improve transparency, the presumption being that “everything should be available for public scrutiny unless it is in the public interest – not the police interest – to hold it back” (Patten Report: para 6.38). Police should be “encouraged to address the causes of problems as well as the consequences”, “there should be a substantial reduction in the numbers of officers engaged in security work” (para 12.14) and indeed, police powers to “combat terrorism” should be “the same as in the UK” (para 8.14). It would be fair to say that the recommendations contained within the report caused considerable controversy, not least amongst Unionist politicians who were sceptical about the value of policing reform. In fact the Unionist leader at the time, David Trimble, described it as “the shoddiest piece of work [he had] seen in thirty years” (The Guardian 10 September 1999), and both the Ulster Unionist Party and the Democratic Unionist Party rejected many of the proposed reforms. On the other hand the SDLP, Alliance Party welcomed it, as did the British and Irish governments .
However, by the time The Police (Northern Ireland) Bill was published in May 2000, it was clear that the Patten Report had been watered down, or as one of the Patten Commissioners, Clifford Shearing, put it: “The Patten Report has not been cherry picked – it has been gutted” (cited in The Guardian, 14 November 2000; see CAJ 2012: 30). Some academic experts, such as Hillyard and Tomlinson, were also critical, arguing that the outcome “completely rejects the PCR’s core project” and that the blueprint had “fallen foul of entrenched interests” (Hillyard and Tomlinson 2000: 410 and 415). However, Maurice Hayes (a member of the ICP) took the view that “basically the nationalists have to decide whether they want 90% of something or 100% of nothing” (cited in Irish Times 25 November 2000).
The Bill received the Royal assent on the 23 November 2000 after a lengthy legislative process. The Patten reforms created the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), the Northern Ireland Policing Board and District Police Partnerships. As well as a reformed police service, the Office of the Police Ombudsman of Northern Ireland (OPONI) was established on the 6 November 2000, with the first Ombudsman being Nuala O’Loan. Indeed Ellison argues that this was vital in generating legitimacy for the new policing structures: “without the establishment of the OPONI, the entire reform process would have stalled years ago, and its role in enhancing the legitimacy of the PSNI should not be underestimated” (Ellison 2007: 261). Many of the primary recommendations of the Patten Report were implemented via the Police (Northern Ireland) Acts 2000 and 2003.
The new PSNI was designed to denote a significant, qualitative departure for policing in Northern Ireland, embodying a new ethos compliant with the ECHR. According to the new organisation’s public relations material:
the Police Service of Northern Ireland’s purpose is to make Northern Ireland safer for everyone through professional, progressive policing. We achieve this goal through policing with the community. This pro-active community-driven approach sees the police and local community working together to identify and solve problems. (www.psni 2012).
The “values” of the PSNI were said to be “honesty and openness” and “fairness and courtesy”, with an emphasis on “partnerships, performance and professionalism” which would precipitate a form of policing that “respects the rights of all” (www.psni 2012). This commitment was apparently reflected in the fact that growing numbers of Catholics began to join the force.
It is, however, absolutely crucial to note that the Patten Report and reform of policing became a central plank of Sinn Fein’s strategy in the peace process (along with the human rights “equality” agenda and the release of paramilitary prisoners). Short of their ultimate aim of Irish unification – which was effectively relegated to the status of a long-term aspiration, given the party’s acceptance of the principle of Unionist “consent” – delivering a qualitative transformation in the nature of policing became a key priority for Sinn Fein. Reform of policing was, in short, a critical component in terms of sustaining Sinn Fein’s continued credibility with its own core Republican constituency, in that it was designed to provide a tangible benefit, short of the ultimate ideological objective.
At first Sinn Fein remained sceptical about the extent to which Patten would “transform” the RUC, and remained reluctant to endorse the new arrangements. However, as a consequence of the St. Andrews Agreement (2006), the British government set clear conditions on the restoration of devolved power. It was a critical moment. The Agreement envisaged the devolution of policing and judicial powers after the Northern Ireland Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive had been restored. In the context of significant pressure, applied principally by the British government, Sinn Fein decided to support the PSNI. The Northern Ireland Secretary of State Peter Hain referred to the decision as an “astonishing breakthrough”.
On 28 January 2007 a special Sinn Fein Ard Fheis approved a motion calling for the devolution of policing and justice services, support for the PSNI and sanctioning the appointment of party representatives to the Policing Board and District Policing Partnership Boards. The motion, stated:
This Ard Fheis supports civic policing through a police service which is representative of the community it serves, free from partisan political control and democratically accountable …The PSNI needs to make strenuous efforts to earn the trust and confidence of nationalists and republicans …This Ard Fheis is totally opposed to political, sectarian and repressive policing. The experience of nationalists and republicans in the Six Counties is of a partisan, unionist militia which engaged in harassment, torture, assassination, shoot-to-kill, and collusion with death squads. The Good Friday Agreement requires and defines a ‘new beginning to policing’ as an essential element of the process” (www.sinnfein June 2012).
After a six hour debate, over 95% of the 900 or so delegates voted in favour. The Ard Chomhairle (National Executive) was tasked to implement the motion. The Sinn Fein spokesperson on policing, Alex Maskey claimed that, through the Sinn Fein members of the Policing Board (himself, Martina Anderson and Daithi McKay) along with local DPPs, they would be able to deliver a new civic police service, fully accountable and representative of the community, and that “partisan, political policing” and “collusion” would be consigned to history. In effect Sinn Fein, according to Maskey and others, was going into the Policing Board to hold the PSNI to account. A commitment to law and order, the party noted, was critical for a stable and inclusive power-sharing government based upon partnership, consent and good faith, and the party encouraged everyone in the community to co-operate fully with the police and other criminal justice institutions .
The Northern Ireland Assembly met on 8 May 2007, precipitating the remarkable “photo-opportunity” of Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness working together in government. The “spin doctors” at Stormont had a unique field-day, disseminating the extraordinary images and commenting upon the so-called “chuckle-brothers” performing their duties together. Crucially, it was Sinn Fein’s acceptance of the policing framework, and its commitment to the “law and order” agenda, that underpinned this unlikely political liaison with the loyalists in the DUP. In effect the last vestiges of equivocation about Sinn Fein’s support for the Northern Ireland state were removed. As The Times (London) announced, with appropriate solemnity: “Irish republicans have served notice that they will work with British sovereignty in Ulster” (29 January 2007). The US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, commended the leadership of Gerry Adams, whilst many others, including the Independent Monitoring Commission (whose members included an ex-CIA Deputy Director and a former high ranking Metropolitan Police Officer), were effusive in their praise for Sinn Fein’s capacity to compromise on this fundamental issue. The “new” Police Service of Northern Ireland was, therefore, not only designed to be the cornerstone of the new political dispensation, and the key to securing a sustainable long-term peace, its success was actually crucial to the political integrity of Sinn Fein.
However, the PSNI has been beset by difficulties, and criticism of “post-peace” policing in Northern Ireland, although somewhat diminished, has by no means disappeared. Awkward questions are still being asked about whether the Patten reforms have indeed provided a genuinely new type of “community” policing.
For example, the issue of accountability for state security is both interesting and indicative. Sinn Fein noted with some satisfaction the prospect of removing MI5 from policing structures in Northern Ireland, which would thereby effectively separate, they argued, political from civic policing and apparently obviate the danger of perpetuating a “force within a force”. In fact this was a misunderstanding, if not a myopic misrepresentation, of the actual proposals. The Patten Report made it clear that policing would be devolved “except for matters of national security” (Patten: para 6.15) and Annex E of the St. Andrews Agreement allowed MI5 to take overall charge of security arrangements in Northern Ireland, whilst continuing to run agents in collaboration with the PSNI (see CAJ 2012:10).
From 2007 the primacy of MI5 in terms of security policing in Northern Ireland has been explicit, and the various security services, run from Whitehall, continue to play a key role in the pacification of “the province”. Indeed “the transfer to MI5 has ensured that policy on ‘national security’ covert policing remains largely secret, under the direct political control of London Ministers, and subject to very limited oversight” (CAJ 2012:14). Of course MI5 has an extremely controversial history of nefarious activity in Northern Ireland, along with the RUC’s Special Branch and the British Army’s clandestine Force Research Unit. For example, British security services ran special agents in the IRA, such as Freddie Scappaticci and Denis Donaldson, and British agents colluded with Loyalist paramilitaries in the assassination of the lawyer Pat Finucane.
Moreover, nobody seriously believes that the full extent of MI5 infiltration into the highest leadership levels of the Provisional Republican movement has been fully revealed. In effect it can be plausibly argued that the British state’s security services, often acting beyond the law, actually “fuelled and exacerbated the conflict” (CAJ 2012:15). Yet the same organisation(s) have retained control of security affairs, and their influence remains undiminished. In effect, according to the Committee for the Administration of Justice, the available information tends to confirm the fact that MI5 has “dictated” security strategy in Northern Ireland (CAJ 2012: 7). A new MI5 HQ is being built at Palace Barracks outside Belfast (Loughside), and MI5 has actively recruited ex-RUC Special Branch Officers. Indeed, of MI5’s total UK budget, one third remains allocated to operations in Northern Ireland and it takes the lead role in monitoring “dissident” republicans - and any substantive “executive action” will be taken by MI5 (with the PSNI in a supporting role). MI5 may “brief” the Policing Board in secret session about issues considered “appropriate”, but will not be accountable to that body on “security related” issues. In short, the same intelligence structures that organised collusion throughout the “troubles” and murdered innocent Catholics not only remains in place but, in some senses, have been strengthened.
Moreover, the indication is that MI5 has been tasked with focusing on “dissident” Republicans rather than Loyalists, which raises the spectre of “two-tier” covert policing (see CAJ 2012:15). Certainly the claim made at the time by British Secretary of State Shaun Woodward that Britain’s continued control of security in the six counties was due to the threat of Al Qaeda is risible, and assurances about accountability should be treated with scepticism.
This ongoing controversy surrounding clandestine policing in Northern Ireland has led CAJ Director Brian Gormally to call for an independent review into the “unaccountable” security services which constitute “a disaster waiting to happen” (cited in McCaffrey 2012). If RUC Special Branch was a “force within a force” then MI5 has become a “force outside a force”, or as some commentators have suggested - “Special Branch has just moved down the road”! (McCaffrey 2012; CAJ 2012: 98 and 104). The proposed insertion of the “National Crime Agency” into the Northern Ireland security framework can only further entrench British control from London and widen the accountability gap (see CAJ 2012).
In addition to this, in 2009, the PSNI confirmed that the British Army’s Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR) was active in Northern Ireland (CAJ 2012: 75). The SSR was established in 2005 to replace the 14th Intelligence Unit and Force Research Unit, which had played a key, clandestine role in the “dirty war” in Ireland. Hence, the notion of “state security” remains vague enough to be subject to flexible interpretation by British secret agencies and sufficiently important to transcend the normal requirements for oversight, accountability and democratic control. Overall there is little doubt that strategic control of state security resides in London with the PSNI playing a supportive, subsidiary role. This is a situation which Sinn Fein has been prepared to accept, if not explicitly endorse.
Then there has been the problem of the Police Ombudsman. Acrimonious debate surrounded the much-delayed publication of Nuala O’Loan’s damning Police Ombudsman’s Report (2007) on the murder of Ray McCord, which revealed collusion between RUC Special Branch and UVF Loyalists in North Belfast, particularly Mount Vernon UVF member and police informer Mark Haddock. Unionists and Loyalists predictably attacked O’Loan, and the British government anxiously referred to a “culture of conflict” which should be consigned to the past. Al Hutchinson took over from Nuala O’Loan in 2007 but lost the support of key members of his staff, indeed some resigned claiming that key information had been withheld from them during the course of investigations. The allegation, made in a University of Ulster Report, was that the NIO had effectively interfered in the Ombudsman’s office and that there was a lack of real and practical independence from the PSNI (especially with regard to the investigation of historic murders). A report by Criminal Justice Inspector Dr. Michael Maguire reached similar conclusions, claiming that a number of Ombudsman reports were altered or re-written to exclude criticism of the RUC and PSNI. In effect the Ombudsman was accused of covering up police criminality. Michael Maguire himself was confirmed as the new Police Ombudsman after Hutchinson stepped down in January 2012.
There has also been controversy over former RUC officers who have been re-hired as part of the reform process as “civilian contractors” for the PSNI (of 399 contracts – 304 were secured by former RUC men, nearly half of whom are involved in “intelligence”). In fact former RUC Special Branch Officers have migrated into the new Department of Justice on large salaries, having already been paid off by the RUC . The PSNI, in effect, exploited a loophole in the Patten report which allowed the re-hiring of officers in a “civilian” capacity. These re-hired officers are not accountable to the Ombudsman, do not take the police oath or sign up to the code of ethics. The “re-hiring” issue has added considerable weight to claims that genuine reform has proven to be elusive, and that the changes in policing practice have been largely cosmetic.
Controversy continues to follow the PSNI. Recent statistics, obtained by the BBC under the Freedom of Information Act, indicate that there were 33 suspensions (on full pay) of PSNI officers between July 2011 and July 2012, with two officers dismissed and four required to resign. Allegations included assault, death threats, perjury, being drunk in charge of a loaded firearm and sending sectarian text messages (see Irish Times 8 August 2012).
In the same period, the PSNI relied heavily on Section 44 of the Terrorism Act (2000) before such activity was declared unlawful by the European Court of Human Rights; key reports sent to PSNI regarding certain killings were mysteriously “lost”, throwing inquests into confusion; they have kept DNA samples of innocent people, contrary to EU law; they have formalised liaison with the Israeli police force over public order policing; and they have continued to use plastic baton rounds and water canon in public order situations (the use of unmanned aerial surveillance “drones” is being considered to combat crime and “dissident” Republicans). Indeed, the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act still affords the PSNI extensive discretionary power to “stop and search” without reasonable suspicion, which appears to be most extensively used in certain working class Nationalist areas i.e. precisely those communities that have questioned the legitimacy of “partisan” state policing in the past (see CAJ 2012: 73-74).
Meanwhile there has apparently been systematic harassment of certain political activists, notably Gary Donnelly in Derry, Micky Lavelle in Newtownbutler and Stephen Murney in Newry, which has included arrest on spurious charges, house raids, and extensive stop and search intimidation. The detention, without trial, of Marian Price after her part in a Republican Commemoration was emblematic of both the fragile nature of civil liberties in Northern Ireland and the coercive capacity of the PSNI. There has even been strong evidence of the security services running “agents provocateurs” in an effort to deter and disrupt “dissident” Republicans and, perhaps, de-stabilize the peace process (see, for example, the controversy surrounding the aborted prosecution of Anton Craig and the murder of Kieran Doherty, CAJ 2012: 70 and 71). This kind of narrative suggests a continuing combination of sectarianism and social control rather than consensual community policing based upon accountability and civic responsibility.
As David Garland has pointed out in a broader context:
in any institutional setting there are basic recipes that shape thinking and guide decision making. These recipes are not articulated theories or legal guidelines but instead habits of thought and routine styles of reasoning that are embedded in the precedents and practices of the institution” (Garland 2002:188).
This is the idea of an ingrained, institutional “common sense” precipitated by the structure, culture and historical logic of the organisation itself. Such values are deeply rooted and extremely difficult to unlearn. Indeed members of the institution, having assimilated the values so completely, may be (to a significant extent) unaware of their significance – there exists, in short, a reflexive disjuncture, which reflects a culture that is apparently impervious to exogenous influences. The extent of the reflexive disjuncture with regard to policing in Northern Ireland is perhaps best illustrated by the Assistant Chief Constable William Kerr who, in the PSNI “Programme of Action” 2010-2011, states unequivocally:
The PSNI is committed to a rights based approach to policing. This is well established in our current working practices and policies, and we are widely acknowledged as international leaders in this area…We are wholly committed to the primacy of rights based policing in everything we do (www.psni 2012).
In fact the culturally assimilated values and organisational ethos of the PSNI - those deeply ingrained ideas and attitudes – have been inherited from the RUC. These are notions about the importance of monitoring and controlling political protest, and the need to coerce political opponents, particularly Republicans, who are assumed to be irredeemably wicked and immoral. These are the values that many PSNI officers (especially those involved in intelligence) have assimilated, almost instinctively, and which forms part of the cultural memory of a colonial force which Patten has altered somewhat, but singularly failed to eliminate. In effect, therefore, the colonial logic of counter-insurgent security, so evident in the RUC during the “troubles”, has simply been retained and refined by the PSNI. Using the pre-emptive, anticipatory and value-laden lexicon of “dissident” and “terrorist”, various state sanctions can be applied without reference to empirical evidence or recourse to law via the criminal justice system (see McCulloch and Pickering 2009). Here the emphasis on “security” and the preventative “management of risk” constitutes, at least in part, a continued reliance on circumstantial “intelligence” information and subjectively applied coercion.
Inevitably, in this process, the construction of the exceptional “other”, through a heavily politicised frame of reference, fatally undermines key judicial notions such as the presumption of innocence and the importance of impartial due process. The danger of this approach being driven principally by the discriminatory dynamic of political and social prejudice is obvious, and the underlying parallels here with the authoritarian logic of Carl Schmitt’s “friend-enemy” thesis are disturbing, but unmistakeable. Unfortunately Chief Constable Matt Baggott’s conclusion in the PSNI Annual Report 2010-11 that “the PSNI will continue to provide an impartial, personal, professional and protective police service for all’ (PSNI Annual Report 2010-11, italics added) remains, to a significant degree, an unsubstantiated assertion rather than a statement of fact. The discourse and dispensation of “state security” and “colonial counter-insurgency” remains deeply woven into the fabric of practical “policing” in Northern Ireland. As the recent CAJ Report concluded:
if the transition to a peaceful society is our goal it is clear that such change will be hampered if past practices which caused the legitimacy of policing to be called into question are allowed to continue (CAJ 2012).
Although it might be persuasively argued that policing is, fundamentally, about power and legitimacy, and that this phenomenon is also inherent in most policing structures (to a greater or lesser degree), in Northern Ireland policing has been, and is, particularly problematic. As Neocleous has explained: “all roads lead to the state in the concept of police” (Neocleous 2000:118) and this observation is particularly apposite in post-Patten, post-Peace Process Northern Ireland. Policing in this contested corner of the dis-United Kingdom has been so controversial because the legitimacy of the state has been seriously questioned and there has been a recent (unsuccessful) attempt at armed insurrection. The recent “Peace Process” was constructed upon a commitment to the reform of policing structures, principally the RUC, and the failure of this reform may yet prove to be critical.
Crucially, those “dissident” republicans keen to continue resistance and destroy the Belfast Agreement realise that policing is likely to be the key component in their campaign to consign it to the dustbin of history. In short, “dissident” Republicans have seized on the issue of policing. The more heavy-handed the police are in dealing with Republicans, the more radicalized they will become and the more support they are likely to receive from those alienated elements in Nationalist communities. As Pantazis and Pemberton have pointed out:
it is well documented that the use of ‘hard’ approaches during the Irish conflict against the Catholic community served as a recruitment tool for the Irish Republican Army” (Pantazis and Pemberton 2009: 660).
There is no reason to suppose that this equation will produce a different result now, and the very strategy deployed to provide “security” contains within it the capacity to undermine it. Once more the PSNI are being portrayed as an exogenous “foreign” force imposed upon the Nationalist community and are therefore a “legitimate target”, and a wide variety of Republican “dissidents” evidently believe resistance will coalesce around community responses to the continued existence of coercive policing.
It would, of course, be easy to dismiss the criticism of the PSNI by such groups as entirely predictable and ideologically motivated, but fear of the political consequences of poor policing is not confined to Republican groups - it was (ex Chief Constable of Northern Ireland) Hugh Orde who acknowledged that it was what he called “the Continuity RUC” which itself constituted a critical danger to the stability of the Peace Process. So huge question marks remain over the PSNI and policing in Northern Ireland which reflect the difficulties encountered by policy-makers when attempting to reform an institution that has a long and distinctive cultural and political memory and which is tied, in essence, to the continued existence of the Northern Ireland (i.e. Unionist) state.
In this context Sinn Fein’s transformation with regard to policing has been remarkable. Despite some robust rhetoric from key strategists about the persistence of “reactionaries” in the PSNI, the party has stood squarely behind the “reformed” organisation. The extent of Sinn Fein’s integration in the new policing dispensation can be gauged with reference to one highly pertinent example, which occurred after the party was presented with unambiguous evidence of PSNI links with Loyalist gangs.
Whereas historically “collusion” was always considered a reason not to engage with policing organisations and, indeed, a justification for complete abolition – it was now identified as a reason to engage with such organisations! According to Gerry Adams “collusion” was another compelling reason why Republicans should take ownership of the policing mechanisms, in order to ensure full accountability. Sinn Fein’s integration as part of the Northern Ireland state could hardly be clearer.
In fact it might also be argued that former PIRA insurgents have been deployed to “police” their own communities in order to “protect” the new political arrangements. Importantly, the impulse of the new PSNI to assert coercive control has been re-calibrated to incorporate some pro-state Provisional “Republican” elements in ensuring the continued intimidation and harassment of non-conformist, so-called “dissident” Republicans. There is disturbing evidence that ex-Provisional paramilitaries have harassed, intimidated and even killed recalcitrant members of their own community - the cases of Anthony McIntyre, Micky Donnelly and Jo Jo O’Connor provide disturbing evidence of extra legal sanctions, including murder, being applied by Provisionals with the complicity of police officers . In this sense the Provisional Republicans have not only effectively accepted British jurisdiction over the northern six counties, they have been co-opted by the British state as junior partners in a strategy designed to subdue its core constituency and intimidate ideological Republicans who refuse to accept the “new” political arrangements.
In this way, as Niall O’Dochartaigh has suggested, Sinn Fein has been effectively “Ulsterised”, indeed: “as Sinn Fein members condemn dissident republicans and offer strong support to the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI), Irish republicanism in the North seems at times to have been comprehensively domesticated, a Northern Ireland phenomenon that can be safely contained within the boundaries of the state, distinguished now from ‘normal’ political parties only by its empty rhetorical commitment to an alternative nation” (O’Dochartaigh 2012: 256).
There is no doubt that Sinn Fein’s participation in the peace process and the dramatic scaling down of its political aspirations were a critical component in the “success” of the peace process and GFA. Critically, the party’s continued commitment to policing is crucial to sustaining the integrity of the new arrangements – Sinn Fein has effectively aligned itself with the PSNI and the fate of both organisations and, more generally, the Peace Process, are inextricably inter-twined. In essence Sinn Fein has little choice but to continue to work with the PSNI given that it is administering British rule in Northern Ireland. As a result it is the issue of policing which exposes Sinn Fein’s political vulnerability in a most practical and obvious way. Sinn Fein may have reached what it sees as a pragmatic political compromise, but to critics it appears to look much more like outright capitulation. In that sense the performance of the PSNI has profound implications for Sinn Fein and peace in Northern Ireland.
Certainly the issues raised here point to the gradual erosion of Sinn Fein’s strategic bridgehead, which was designed to lead (by “hollowing out” the Union) to a united Ireland. The weakness of that strategy (certainly in terms of securing ultimate ideological objectives) is obvious. In terms of Republican ideology the Provisional movement has clearly failed – the Unionists and Loyalists have won, even though at times it appears as though they lack the cognitive capacity to recognise this fact themselves . The recent protests by Loyalists over the issue of the Union flag protests cannot obscure this fundamental political reality. The more disturbing consequence for the pro-treaty pro-state Republican movement is that their failure to oversee a distinct qualitative change in the nature of policing in Northern Ireland not only reflects their tactical and strategic weakness, but may re-enforce the “dissident” contention that any substantive transformation in policing (and society) is ultimately contingent upon securing the political objective so spectacularly denied to Sinn Fein – Irish unification. For many Republicans (and socialists) Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness have put the cart before the horse, and the credibility-deficit in the core Republican constituency is expanding exponentially. The consequences for the Peace Process, and indeed the legitimacy of the Unionist state, may yet prove to be profound.
 Sinn Fein, on numerous occasions, accused the RUC of collaborating with Loyalist paramilitaries. For example Gerry Adams even accused the RUC of collusion in the Milltown cemetery attack by Loyalist Michael Stone on 16 March 1988, during which three people were killed. It might also be noted that Sinn Fein was also fond of deploying the slogan “SS-RUC”.
 Academic reaction to reaction to Patten was mixed, with some being quite positive, for example Chris Ryder (a former member of the Police Authority of Northern Ireland, and author of the history of the RUC) who said the report was “’an unusually articulate and elegantly written document by the standard of official public reports. It is an intellectually reasoned and logically argued manifesto to transform the 77 year old Royal Ulster Constabulary from a police force to a renamed and rebranded Northern Ireland Police Service’” (cited in Irish Times, 10 September 1999). Others were more critical, see for example: Hillyard and Tomlinson (2000), Brogden (2001), Beirne (2001) and Ellison and Mulcahy (2001) who nevertheless argued that “if the Patten Report is not perfect, and if its implementation leaves a lot to be desired... it should not blind us to its potential” (Ellison and Mulcahy 2001: 256).
 Cynical observers noted that the abolition of the Assets Recovery Agency and the promise of a “spending review” may have helped Sinn Fein sell the deal to rank-and-file activists, especially those having an acquaintance with the lucrative robbery of Northern Bank in 2004.
 The Patten Report said that the early retirement or severance package offered to regular officers and full-time reservists aged 50 or above should include “a generous lump sum payment according to length of service” and include pension enhancement of up to five years (para13.12). UK and UN agencies employing police services were also encouraged to take note of the experience of ex-RUC men (para 13.19). Interesting articles relating to this issue can be found in local newspapers such as Newry Times, Fermanagh Herald and Impartial Reporter.
 Anthony McIntyre is an ex-IRA member and academic who was persistently harassed by Provisionals in Belfast over his principled opposition to Sinn Fein’s political strategy. He moved his wife and family from Ballymurphy to Drogheda. Micky Donnelly is a prominent Republican activist in Derry who was brutally attacked in his own home in June 1998 by ex-Provisional paramilitaries (the police “investigation” into what was, in effect, attempted murder was extraordinary even by RUC standards!). Jo Jo O’Conner was a “dissident” Republican murdered, it’s widely believed, by pro-state Provisionals in Belfast in October 2000.
Is Merkel a CIA Asset?By Finian Cunningham
April 30, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "Sputnik" - The claims that Merkel’s government knew about German state intelligence spying on behalf of the Americans against the country's own industrial interests raise disturbing questions about the i ntegrity of German government leaders.
The apparent betrayal of German national interests by Chancellor Angela Merkel is not only evident over the recent industrial spying scandal on behalf of America. The slavish pursuit by Merkel of Washington's anti-Russian policy over Ukraine — in contradistinction to her country's national interests — also cogently suggests that the chancellor is serving a foreign master.Recent reports that German state intelligence was spying on behalf of the Americans against the country's own industrial interests are bad enough. But then added to that are claims that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel knew about the espionage — and turned a blind eye.This raises disturbing questions about the integrity of German government leaders, and primarily Angela Merkel. Is Merkel an asset for American intelligence, serving the geopolitical interests of Washington rather than the good of her own nation, or the wider good of Europe?
The news story in question refers to reports in the German media last week of how Germany's Federal Intelligence (BND) collaborated with the US National Security Agency (NSA) in spying on multinational European defence companies, including EADS and Eurocopter. The specific eavesdropping on these firms — in which Germany has major national economic interests — reportedly dates back to 2008. It is inconceivable that the highest levels of German government, including Chancellor Merkel — did not know about the industrial espionage. Yet Merkel appears to have countenanced the illegal activity, even though such activity would have vitiated German national interests, affording advantage to American competitors.
First of all, the idea that German state intelligence is thoroughly penetrated by American secret agencies is not an outlandish theory.
Far from it. The functioning of the BND as part of the American intelligence apparatus has been going on for decades, since the US oversaw the postwar rehabilitation of defeated Nazi Germany. The Americans and the British wove German intelligence — much of it inherited from the Nazi war machine — into their European-wide operations. German historian Josef Foschepoth and expert on postwar allied intelligence operations says that the West German government signed a secret pact with Washington and London, in 1968, known as the NATO Status of Forces Agreement. That pact mandates "intensive collaboration" and continues to this day — more than two decades since the reunification of Germany.
In essence, the American secret services like the NSA and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), have a free hand to carry out massive surveillance in Germany against whomever they want, whether private citizens or industrial companies. And all with the help of German state intelligence and the federal government.
The tip of this iceberg in espionage and snooping was further revealed with the disclosures in 2013 by former American NSA operative Edward Snowden. Among the trove of revelations made by Snowden was the finding that American intelligence had been tapping the personal communications of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The eavesdropping dated back to 2002 — three years before the leader of the Christian Democrat Union first became chancellor.
The telling thing is how puny and pusillanimous was the reaction from the German authorities to this disclosure of illicit spying by Washington. Apart from an initial bout of handwringing by Merkel and other Berlin figures, the whole scandal was quickly swept under the carpet as if it never happened. That suggests that the German government was already well aware of its compromised, subservient relation to Washington, as manifested by intrusive access to communications at the highest level.
As noted above such a master-servant relationship between the US and Germany was a fundamental tenet of the postwar American reconstitution of that country, and the predominant role devolved to NATO by Washington over European security affairs. The German government was apprised of, indeed was a willing party to, its subservient role to American intelligence and the free hand given to the latter. So, when the rest of the world learnt of American government spying on Merkel back in 2013 from the Edward Snowden's leaks, perhaps the least surprised person would have been Merkel and her administration. Hence the meek response from Berlin towards Washington and, to any objective observer, its shockingly invasive conduct against German "allies".
Further explosive testimony on the systematic penetration of American intelligence of German institutions came in recent months from former senior newspaper editor, Udo Ulfkotte. In several media interviews and in a best-selling book, Ulfkotte tells how German journalists and politicians are routinely recruited as CIA assets to spin stories or promulgate policies that are aimed at serving the geopolitical interests of Washington, not the interests of the German people. The former editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung — one of Germany's best-known newspapers — confessed that he was one of the CIA's assets for many years, publishing stories that he knew to be false and which were damaging to international relations, and in particular antagonistic towards Russia.
In an interview with RT last year, Ulfkotte said: "It is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe… I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don't like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too."There is no reason to believe that the same domineering relation does not hold between US secret government and other European counterparts.
But given Germany's central importance to the economy and policies of the European Union and its historical growing ties with Russia since the Second World War, Berlin would be a prime target for the Americans to exert leverage for their geopolitical advantage.
When we look at German policy towards Russia over the Ukraine conflict it seems absurd on the face of it. German small businesses, major export companies and farmers are losing heavily from the Western sanctions imposed on Russia and from Moscow's counter-sanctions. Polls also indicate German public opinion is not supportive of the hostile policies, policies that have emanated from Washington and which the European allies have adopted, largely at the behest of Berlin.
This week Chancellor Merkel warned that EU sanctions against Russia may be extended if Russia does not "fulfil the Minsk ceasefire accords".
Merkel's logic is risible. There is no evidence that Russia has subverted Ukraine or has a military presence there. It was Russian President Vladimir Putin who helped broker the Minsk ceasefire. All the evidence, including reports by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, points to the truce being breached by the Western-backed Kiev regime. It is the Kiev regime that is not fulfilling its commitments under the Minsk accords, yet Merkel chooses, illogically, to castigate Russia.
Moreover, it is Washington that has sent hundreds of its troops into Ukraine in the past week to carry out military exercises with the armed forces of non-NATO member Ukraine. Why is Merkel so silent when it comes to censuring Washington and its puppet-regime in Kiev over what are egregious threats to peace? Her silence is incriminating.
Merkel's take on Ukraine and Russia is so completely at odds with reality and against the national interests of her own people, the question of just who is she serving comes to the fore. The recent industrial spying scandal on German companies carried out by the US — with German federal collusion — and the long-time surveillance of the chancellor's personal life points to Merkel being a compromised leader. Or, in a word: bought.
© 2015 SputnikSee also
Coverup claims over revelation that Germany spied on EU partners for US: Germany has been spying and eavesdropping on its closest partners in the EU and passing the information to the US for more than a decade, a parliamentary inquiry in Berlin has found, triggering allegations of lying and coverups reaching to the very top of Angela Merkel’s administration.
Saturday, 2 May 2015
Friday, 1 May 2015
DEE FENNELL WAS POLITICALLY INTERNED BY REMAND IN BRITISH OCCUPIED IRELAND TODAY, ALONG WITH NUMEROUS OTHER IRISH POLITICAL ACTIVISTS!
SOLIDARITY IS DEMANDED FROM ALL IRISH CITIZENS!
‘Internment’ by John McGuffin (1973)
Internmentby John McGuffin (1973)
Anvil Books Ltd., 1973. Paperback, 228 pp. Out of Print.
The complete edition now here available online for the first time. Feel free to download these pages, but if you decide to do so we would like to ask you to make a donation to Irish Resistance Books, in order that IRB can publish further works. (Note: We are not in receipt of any grants or Art Council funding.)
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Original illustrations will be added.
From the back cover: Internment: the story of 50 years repression of the Irish
A knock on the door! In the early hours of the morning. A splintered lock and armed men break into your home. They are military and police. You are dragged from your bed. Jail or internment camp? No charge. No trial. This has been the pattern in Ireland, North and South, for more than 50 years.
It is the story of internment; of the thousands of men and women who have been subjected to it; of the conditions, the brutality the escapes and the politics of it all. From Frongoch to long Kesh, Mountjoy to the Curragh. From the hulk of theArgenta to HMS Maidstone.
Did internment work in the past? Why did it fail in 1972? Why did Britain contravene the European Convention of Human Rights? What really did happen in Palace barracks? What was it like in the camps? How do the Special Courts work, North and south?
The man who laughs has not been told the news — Bertold Brecht.
I would particularly like to thank those internees, past and present, without whose assistance this book could not have been written. Many of them wish to remain anonymous and I must respect their wishes, but my special thanks go to Eddie and Mary Keenan, Frank and Rebecca McGlade, Jimmy Drumm, Paddy Joe McClean, Pat Shivers, Willie John McCorry, Geordie Shannon, Art McMullen, Patsy Quinn, Tony Cosgrove, Billy O'Neill, Joe Parker, Gerry Maguire, 'Tex' Dougan, Eamonn Kerr, Hugh Corrigan, Harry McKeown, Phil McCullough, Paddy Murphy, Chris Canavan and John Hunter. Nor can any acknowledgement be complete without mention of Nora McAteer, Jimmy McKeown, Liam Begley, Paddy Brown, Dermot Kelly, R. W. Grimshaw, Michael Walsh, Dicky Glenholmes, Gerry and Rita O'Hare, Robin, Jackie Crawford and Archie 'Jim' Auld.
The untiring efforts of the Association for Legal Justice and the Anti-Internment League to uncover the evidence of ill-treatment were of great help to me, as were the staff of the Linenhall Library, Belfast. Advice on various legal matters was kindly given by Kevin Boyle and Patrick Lynch, LL.B. The list of personal friends who were of assistance is too lengthy for inclusion but I would particularly mention Judith, Joe, Dave, Eleanor for her erratic typing, and for their hospitality John Johansson and Bill and Jacqui Van Voris.
It should be stressed that none of the above are in any way responsible for the opinions expressed in the book, which are my own views. I am, finally, greatly indebted to Dan Nolan for the benefit of his wide experience in publishing.JOHN McGUFFIN
Belfast, March 1973
INTERNMENT – Indefinte detention without charge or trial – is not confined to Ireland. Virtually all countries, from the most overtly totalitarian to the most 'liberal' social democracies have on their statute books repressive laws to be used in any 'emergency' – that is when the ruling regime is threatened from below. In Ireland, however, that 'emergency' has been going on for over 50 years.
This book is only concerned with internment in Ireland, North and south, from 1916 to the present day. The author shows how internment has been used as a political weapon, how it has succeeded in the past and how in the long run it has been a majot factor in the downfall of Stormont, the parliament of Northern Ireland.
But most of all this is the story of the internees, working-class men and women who have suffered and, in some cases, died for their beliefs. They are neither heroes nor villains, although many have shown great bravery and heroism and some have been guilty of cowardice. In this book they tell for the first time what it is reallly like to be interned. They are not well-known public figures, politicians or publicists. They are ordinary men and women who have suffered for their ideals an dwho remind the readers that the 'knock on the door' could be heard by them too. For those peace-loving citizens who unreservedly support the forces of 'law and order' this book reminds them of the old caveat: Quis custodes custodiet? Who will guard the guards?
Parts of this book, particulary those dealing with torture and brutality, do not make pleasant reading. But then we do not live in pleasant times.
The Knock on the Door
In many a time, in many a land,
With many a gun in many a hand,
They came by the night, they came by the day,
They came with their guns to take us away,
With their knock on the door, knock on the door,
Here they come to take one more.
With many a gun in many a hand,
They came by the night, they came by the day,
They came with their guns to take us away,
With their knock on the door, knock on the door,
Here they come to take one more.
Look over the oceans, look over the lands,
Look over the leaders with blood on their hands,
And open your eyes and see what they do,
When they knock over there friend, they're knocking for you,
With their knock on the door, knock on the door,
Here they come to take one more.
Look over the leaders with blood on their hands,
And open your eyes and see what they do,
When they knock over there friend, they're knocking for you,
With their knock on the door, knock on the door,
Here they come to take one more.
Words and Music by Phil Ochs and Appleseed Music ASCAP
'They can jail the revolutionary
but not the revolution'
— CHE GUEVARA.
but not the revolution'
— CHE GUEVARA.
|Chapter 1:||It Happened Here|
|Chapter 2:||Special Powers|
|Chapter 3:||English Internment 1916-1945|
|Chapter 4:||Internment in the Twenty-six Counties 1922-1961|
|Chapter 5:||Internment in Northern Ireland 1922-1961|
|Chapter 6:||Woman Internees 1916-1973|
|Chapter 7:||The Politics of Internment 1971|
|Chapter 8:||Internment 1971: Those Detained|
|Chapter 9:||Escapes 1917-1972|
|Chapter 10:||The Civil Resistance Movement|
|Chapter 11:||Torture and Brutality|
|Chapter 12:||The Compton Report|
|Chapter 13:||The Brown Tribunal|
|Chapter 14:||Irish Political Prisoners 1900-1973|
|Chapter 15:||The Role of the Media during Internment|
|Chapter 16:||Internment Out - Detention In|
|Appendix I:||Memorandum Submitted By Amnesty International To|
The Parker Committee In Interrogation Procedures
|Appendix II:||The Significance Of The McElduff Case|
|Appendix III:||The Special Courts|
|Appendix IV:||The Diplock Report|
|Appendix V:||Evidence Submitted By The British Society For Social Responsibility In|
Science To The Committee On Interrogation Procedures – January 1972
THE LAND LEAGUE PROPOSAL:
A STATEMENT FOR HONEST AND
Address delivered in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, on
21st May, 1882.
The duties of a Chairman upon occasions like this are ordinarily of a trivial character. To introduce the lecturer, preserve order, and submit to the penalty of a vote of thanks for not occupying too much of the attention of the audience, is generally the routine of a Chairman's duty. I would, however, be underrating the importance of this vast meeting, and neglecting a duty which I
owe to the interests of justice and to the cause of peace, if, in face of the present crisis, I should hesitate to inflict m3'self upon your attention for a longer period than is convenient to myself or perhaps agreeable to you. To my friend, Mr George, I feel certain I need not apologise for trespassing upon his time and subject, and I am in hopes that my motives in dealing with the various intensified phases of the present situation will be appreciated by yon to the extension of an indulgent hearing. The change that has come over public opinion upon the subject of Land Reform during my incarceration in Portland is so vast in its import to the cause with which I am identified that I am, I hope, pardonably anxious to justify the movement by the aid of which such a revolution in the popular mind of these countries has been effected. (Cheers.) Three years ago, when the cry of the " Land for the people " went up from a meeting in the west of Ireland, it was received with astonishment by our own countrymen, and branded at once as communistic and wicked in England. Yet an organisation for effecting the nationalisation of the land of this country is now numbered ameng its political forces, and has at its head such enlightened minds as Drs Russell Wallace and Clark. (Cheers.)
Peasant proprietary was ridiculed as ruinous and impossible by the late Lord Beaconsfield. (Hisses.) No, no; I must say I don't approve of that. (Cheers.) I never carry resentment into the tomb. (Cheers.) He was our enemy while alive, but we must be just to his memory — (cheers) — and when we sho\v man- kind that we have learned the lesson of knowing how to be just,
we shall prove that we deserve to be free. (Cheers.) He pro- pounded his famous theory that three profits must necessarily be recognised in the agriculture of England, those of the landlord, the farmer, and the labourer ; yet scarcely has his cloak of leader- ship fallen upon Lord Salisbury than the landlord's profit is recognised as an evil in the rural economy of Ireland, and peasant proprietary finds a lodgement in the legislative programme of the
English House of Lords. Those who bejieved with myself that peasant proprietary, immensely preferable though it be to landlord- ism, would not meet to the full the final solution of the Irish social problem, were two short years ago put down as Utopian dreamers, yet one of the most respected Bishops of Ireland has since pro- claimed that " the land of every country is the common property of the people of that countr}^ — (cheers) — because its real Owner — the Creator who made it — has transferred it as a voluntary gift to them. Terrain autem dcdit filiis hominum. (The earth He hath given to the children of men.) Now, as every individual, in every country,is a creature and a child of God, and as all His creatures are equal in His sight, any setdement of the land of this or any other country that would exclude the humblest man in this or that country from his share of the common inheritance, would not only be an injustice and a wrong to that man, but would, moreover, be an impious resistance to the benevolent intentions of his Creator." (Loud cheers.)
All these vast strides, taken in conjunction with Mr Gladstone's legislation of the past and present year, ought to show, to every observing mind, that a movement from which such progress in economic thought has mainly sprung should not be lightly treated or hastily condemned because a storm of angry passions, inseparable from human struggles, has swept over an unfortunate
country as a cotemporary phenomenon. (Cheers.) If movements for tl^e social and political amelioration of a people are to be held responsible for the crimes that are incidental, not to them, but to the wrongs which they strive to abolish, liberty itself would be a blood-stained monster, and the cause of societary progress be a criminal pursuit. No one laments the murders and outrages that
have taken place in Ireland recently more than I do — (hear, hear) —and no one will be found more ready or earnest to prevent them in future ; but to charge their perpetration upon the Land League movement, as most English papers are doing, is as blindly unjust as to bring home to the French Rcx^ormers of 1709 the atrocities of the Reign of Terror, and fasten upon the memory of Mirabeau the sanguinary appetite of a INIarat. (Cheers.)
Knowing that if a fair hearing could be obtained in England for a reformer it would be granted in Manchester^-(cheers) — the birthplace of English reform, I have come to plead the cause of the Land League upon ground that is hallowed by the blood of Englishmen — (cheers) — spilled in the cause of justice and pro- gress. (Cheers.) My object will be to show that to a tardy re-
cognition of principles by English statesmanship, and an indiffer- ence towards, or hostility to, the just demands of the people of Ireland on the part of English popular feeling, are to be attributed the excesses that follow fromjustice long delayed, and crynng evils allowed to pander to the dictates of unreasoning passion. Every one who is acquainted with the political career of John Bright — (some hisses) — and who has read the speeches of other
English Liberal leaders, is familiar with the tone of scornful up- braiding with v/hich, not they alone, but all the organs of the Liberal party, have assailed the Tories for their persistent opposition to all the great English reforms that have been carried from 1832 dovv'n to the Ballot Act of 1874. English Conservatism has been over and over again charged with initiating nothing for the national weal, and taunted with having obstructed all popular measures until success had placed them among the statutes of the realm. This hostility of the Tories towards the extension of popular privileges, as defined by their political rivals, is exactly similar to that of the people of England towards movements and measures in behalf of popular rights in Ireland. Neither
English statesmen nor English public opinion ever trouble them- selves to think of, propose, or initiate any legislative remedy for the wants and grievances that affect the wellbeing and con- tentment of the people of Ireland, but take up, as a general rule, towards such remedies as Irishmen propose and Irish public opinion endorses, the same antagonistic stand as that which is so loudly condemned when assumed by one English party towards
the plans and proposals of ihe other. Thus every single Irish proposal for measures essential to our country's needs has to encounter two hostile Conservative forces ere it can hope for lodgement within the domain of practical politics — namely, the hereditary or aristocratic in Great Britain and Ireland, and the ignorant or prejudiced on the part of the popular mind of Eng- land. (Hear, hear.) Hence not a single remedial Act passed, or remnant of penal laws removed, from the passage of the Act of Union until the Arrears Bill now before the House of Commons, but has had to be forced down the throat of English public opmion and Parliament by the intensity of Irish agitation. (Cheers.) "Phe parallel, however, between the hostility of English Tory-ism towards popular rights in this country and that of English popular feeling against the recognition of identical principles in Ireland, would only be complete if the Conservative party had had the power to have suspended the Habeas Corpus Act prepara- tory to the concession of some remedy for English discontent, and had likewise imprisoned such of the Liberal leaders as were chiefly instrumental in forcing such remedy upon reluctant legis-lation. (Laughter and cheers.)
The question I would like to ask of Englishmen, who are now compelled to study the problem of Ireland's pacification, is a simple and practical one. Is landlordism worth what its support is costing England — ("no")- -and the troubles and misery which it is entailing upon Ireland? ("No," and cheers.) No rational mind acquainted with the treasure of blood and money that has been wasted in defending it against the assaults of its victims would hesitate a single moment for a reply to this simple question. The only grounds upon which anything like a reasonable defence of this anti-Irish and irrational system can be based are that it is English, that it has always been deemed essential to the mainten- ance of England's power in Ireland, and that those whose inter- ests would be affected by its abolition are the portion of the
population of Ireland that is known to be the most loyal to the
authority of England. Surely these reasons ought not to out- weigh those which can be advanced by Irishmen, and which are supported by unprejudiced English thought upon the other side. That the Irish land code is of English origin is true; but does this fact necessarily constitute it a good code, or one suited to the genius, customs, and wants of the Irish people? (Hear, hear.)
These land laws are notoriously unsuited to the requirements of a progressive age, and have consequently been, in a great measure, swept away in every civilised country outside of Great Britain and Ireland. But had not this been the case, and were they still capa- ble of being pointed to as suiting the feelings and social condition of one or more civilised nations, this would be no argument foi their continuance in Ireland in face of their career of disastrous
faihure in that country, and in opposition to the interests and will
of the Irish people. (Loud cheers.) The assertion that landlordism is essential to the supremacy of English authority in Ireland, that it constitutes "the garrison" by which the country is held in subjection, is one of those popular
English fallacies which only needs to be examined in order to be thoroughly exploded. Its origin is easily traceable to those who find security from the consequences of their treatment of the peasantry of Ireland in proportion to the extent of credit that it obtains in the English mind. If the landlords of Ireland were the only moral or physical power for the upholding of England's
authority in that country, about how long could our people be kept in subjection to their rule ? Not for a single day — (cheers^ — and as it is well known that an army of 30.000 troops and a mili- tary po]ice force of over 12,000 men are deemed necessary to defend the property of the landlords, it would be a waste of words to refute the assertion that Irish landlordism is the safeguard of England's supremacy in Ireland. (Cheers.)
Of all the institutions or laws bearing an English complexion in Ireland, and making a part of the machinery by which it is governed, landlordism presents the weakest points of attack, has always been, and must always continue to be, the most obnoxious factor of English rule, and would alone, in the absence of ever)' other exasperating agency, keep the country in an unsettled state,
fan the flame of social discontent, and inspire a national senti- ment of disaffection towards the power that could sustain such a notoriously ruinous system. Instead of being England's strong- hold, it is just the reverse, as it renders the name and authority of English government responsible for all the injuries which it inflicts upon the country, and necessarily involves in the infamy of its acts the name of that power whose instruments are essential
to their perpetration. (Cheers.) The next argument that is adduced to sanction the support given by Englishmen to Irish landlordism is calculated to appeal
even more strongly to popular feeling in this country than that just mentioned, as it is made to represent a loyal section of the population of Ireland as occupying an isolated situation in the midst of a disloyal majority, and in need of a protection which would not be required but for such loyalty. This is one of the tnunp cards of the Irish landlords, and has always been played in a most effective manner by them. But is it a true or honest ar- gument ? It is quite true that they constitute what is kno^^^l as the loyal section of the Irish people, because they hold the land that was formerly the property of the Irish nation. (Cheers.) They could not be otherwise than loyal and grateful towards the power that guarantees them in its possession, and places in their unscru- pulous hands as well the entire government of the countrj' and the administration of the law — (hear, hear)— but would their boasted loyalty stand the test of a Government confiscation such as those by which the land was stolen from the people in the reigns of EHzabeth, James, and Cromwell ? (Cries of " No.") They are loyal because it is their interest to be so (cheers) — and they know as well as their persecuted tenantry could tell them that the laws by which they have succeeded in reducing Ireland to beggary and chronic discontent are detested, not because those in whose interests they are maintained are loyal to England, but from the fact of their being the root of every social evil under which the country is groaning, and the chief source of the poverty and misery that burden the lives* of our people. (Cheers.)
Let me ask fair-minded Englishmen whether the selfish loyalty of a class is a justification for upholding a system which con- stantly invites twenty times its number to be discontented? (Cries of "No.") Can a.boasted attachment to English rule be construed into a privilege of pauperising an Irish nation? (Never.) Let England by all means sustain what is just and wise to defend
in the interests of her Irish ultra-loyalists, but let not Englishmen endeavour to perpetuate by all the influence and power of the empire an antiquated and obnoxious land code that stands forth to-day before the world with a record of centuries of failure un- equalled by any institution that has ever fallen before the attacks of progress and enlightenment. (Cheers.) Such a policy is as unjust to the social well-being of the country as it is impoUtic and ruinous to the popularity of English government, and should never be persisted in by a nation that claims to rule its dependencies in accordance with popular principles and in the spirit of consti- tutional law. A persistency in adhering to laws or institutions that are associated with certain phases of English conquest, but
which time and the march of ideas prove not only to be no longer suited to societary wants, but a positive evil in a progressive age, has been the source of not a few calamities to the cause of the British empire, involving the prestige and name of England in more than one defeat and disgrace. If bHnd Conservative stub- bornness will continue to disregard the consequences that have invariably followed from unbending opposition to the just and popular demands of a people, the continuance of Irish landlord- ism by English statesmen may prove a more costly blunder on this side of the Atlantic than did the imposition of unpopular taxes a century ago upon the then British colonies on the other side. (Prolonged cheers.)
Considered from a purely political point of view, Irish land- lordism is, perhaps, a greater failure than in any other respect. If its baneful influence upon the social economy of Ireland has been marked with general ruin to that country, its effects upon the attitude of the Irish people towards English law and supremacy — the support of which was contemplated as the chief end of land- lordism when introduced into Ireland — have been scarcely less emphatic in their results. A system that is made to supplant another belonging to a subjugated people must possess two qualities that are essential to the permanency of all institutions substituted for those that are abrogated by a domi,nant power. It must equal or surpass in utility or popularity that with which the people upon whom it is imposed were familiar ; or it must possess sufficient inherent force to command that respect or attachment which its
shortcomings or unpopularity would fail to elicit. Wanting in thequality of intrinsic merit or favourable comparison with a super- seded system in the estimation of those whose interests are at stake, the new code must necessarily be defective ; deficient as well in the power to enforce its behests, It becomes a complete Tried by these tests, how does Irish landlordism stand
as a political institution ? Instead of reconciling the people of Ireland to the loss of the national syste*n which obtained among them for centuries previous to the English invasion, or winning them over to a willing acceptance of the new law, and to a sub- mission to the power that upheld it, landlordism has had to sus- tain itself by every weapon of despotic power against an Incessant
agrarian war from Its very inception in Ireland until the present hour(Cheers.) Never has landlordism succeeded In obtaining a moral recognition from the Irish people. (Cries of *' It never will," and cheers.) Not for a single day has the Irishman ceased to look upon the landlord as a social enemy, or the law by which he was compelled to part with most of his earnings In the shape of rent, but as the detested instrument by which himself and family are impoverished and his country ruined. Illustration or evidence is unnecessary to sustain these assertions, as they are patent to all who have given the most cursoiy study to the Irish Land question, and stand uncontradicted by every English writer
who has brought an impartial criticism to its investigation. As for the force by which Irish landlordism might retrieve its moral debasement in the opinions of our people, I have already shown, what is patent to all the world, that this politico-social system needs the constant guardianship of 12,000 mUitary police and an army of over 30,000 soldiers to protect its very existence, and
without the aid of which external power, as has been truly re-
marked by an English writer, ''the property of the landlords of Ireland would not be worth a month's purchase."
I have endeavoured, in the foregoing remarks, to place this question of the abolition of Irish landlordism before the English people, not from a purely Irish point of view or upon grounds of abstract justice, but in the light of a reform involving serious English interests — proving that such interests are endangered in- finitely more by the upholding of Irish landlordism than they could possibly be by its abolition. It is for Englishmen to make up their mind what course to pursue in furtherance of their own political interests. The people of Ireland have fully made up theirs— (loud cheers) — as to what is their just demand, and what the sentence rhat must be passed upon Irish landlordism. (Renewed cheers.) Mr Gladstone's — (hisses and cheers) — I know there is a great deal, or rather it is considered by some that there is a great deal, in a hiss, but I for one never practise what I think is reprehensible — to hiss or attack a man not present to defend himself— (" hear, hear," and cheers) — Mr Gladstone's — (renewed cheers) — temporary expedient of fixing rent, backed by the undisguised despotism with which he means to combat Irish Land reformers, may satisfy some and frighten other Irish- men from further efforts to effect a complete settlement of the Irish social problem ; but he deceives himself egregiously — (hear, hear) — if he believes that the Land League movement is about to efface itself all the world over because he has been converted to Mr Parn ell's views upon the Arrears question — (prolonged cheers) — and accepted the services of a Mr O'Shea in effecting the treaty of Kilmainham. (Laughter.) I think it well to just remind the jubilant Whigs who believe they have captured the whole Irish party through the diplomacy of a political go-between from Clare — (renewed laughter) — that the Land League movement was organised to effect the complete abolition of Irish landlordism —(cheers) — and that until that work is fully and completely accom- plished there can be no alliance between the people of Ireland and the Whig party in this country. (Cheers). Mr Gladstone wants Ireland to give a trial to his second attempt to settle the Irish Land question. The people of Ireland will refuse to give any further trial to Irish landlordism. (Cheers.) Instead of having grappled with this festering social cancer in a courageous and effective manner, which his previous failure to cure the evil would reasonably warrant, he has proceeded upon the lines of his former mistake, and produced another experimental measure by which landlord and tenant, instead of being legally divorced, are both turned over into the hands of the lawyers, the country invited to place all its prospects of peace and prosperity in universal litiga-tion, while the tenant farmers are asked to see their interests pro-tected, and their happiness insured, in the existence of a Land Court composed of lawyers and Irish land agents. The spider inviting the fly into his net — (laughter and cheers)— is only equalled in seductive disinterestedness by INIr Gladstone intro-ducing the Irish tenant farmers into a mixed gang of Irish " con-
servators of ancient barbarism " and Irish agents in order to be protected ! (Laughter.) Even this much of legislation, small as it is, could not be given to Ireland without being spiced with the customary vindictiveness by which Irishmen are deprived of their liberty and their country flooded with troops, because the Whigparty has been put to the inconvenience of attempting something for Ireland. Those whose complete vindication from the charges of their enemies is established by an enactment in the direction of the remedy which they called upon the people of Ireland to demand, are, nevertheless, flung into prison to gratify the vengeance of the Irish landlords ; yet Englishmen marvel why there is disrespec for law and order in Ireland. English statesm.en and the instru-ments of alien rule in that country have never failed in showingour people a way in which to violate their own laws, and it appears supremely ridiculous to find fault with and punish ourpeople for profiting by the example of their rulers. (Cheers.)
It has ever been, and is still, the fate of English Ministersnever to know how tp remedy any of our admitted wrongs bywhat are termed " instalments of justice " in a politic or con-ciliatory manner. Our people must be driven either to open attempts at rebellion, or Ireland be plunged into a ferment of political agitation, ere British statesmanship will admit that such wrongs, or the questions that embrace them, come within the domain of practical politics. But that is not all. Before these recognised grievances can be partially or wholly redressed, or a modicum of justice conceded, the Habeas Corpus Act must be suspended in order that Dublin Castle may be propitiated by an equivalent instalment of political vengeance. Thus the credit which could be gained from a not ungrateful people by a judicious treatment of the social and political wants of our country is lost to England through the vindictive spirit by which her concessions are accompanied to a sensitive and impulsive nation. The con- cession upon the Arrears question is now offered side by side with a bill purporting to be aimed at secret societies and for the pre- vention of crime — (loud hisses) — but in reahty intended to arrest the further pubUc action of the people of Ireland towards the abolition of landlordism. Here, in the face of the most pro- pitious hour that has presented itself to English statesmanship during the past eighty years for an effective settlement of the Irish difficulty, the fatal dual policy of the past is again resorted to, and outrage upon liberty, personal and political, is flung like a brand into Ireland, to excite again the angry passions which lead to lawlessness and crime. I am confident that if the healthy feeling of horror which was created throughout Ireland by the Phoenix Park tragedy was permitted to have its full effect upon the popular mind of the country, assassination would have been assassinated in Ireland by the melancholy event of the 6th of May. Now the country will see the use that Mr Gladstone is about to make of that event. (A voice : " No.'') The Land League movement is to be crushed. (Cries of '' Never," and cheers.) Every barrier that could stand between the people and landlord vengeance is to be removed in order that no polidcal action in Ireland shall interfere with the subtle policy of the Whig Government in support of a doomed system. What will be the consequence ? The people of Ireland can never place con- fidence in any English Government — (hear, hear) — that places the administration of its laws in the hands of Dublin Castle —(hear, hear) — that depot of centralised despotism — (loud cheers)—without a parallel in the history of constitutional government.Those in whom they have reposed confidence, to whom they look for guidance and support, are menaced with gagging laws, the very discussion of which in the English House of Commons has brought shame to the face of thousands of Englishmen. What will be the consequence? The field of Irish political strife will be left clear to the landlords, armed with unlimited power by Mr Gladstone, and the equally unlimited power of secret combination, freed from the antagonism and rivahy of an open movement. To which of these two powers will the victims ot Irish landlordism — those who know the implacable nature of land-lord vengeance so well — secretly incline? I will ansv/er this question in memorable words once uttered by John Bright:'• When law refuses its duty, when Government denies the right of a people, when competition is so fierce for the little land which the monopolists grant to cultivation in Ireland, when, in fact, for a bare potato millions are scrambling, these people are driven back from law and the usages of civilisation to that which is termed the law of nature, and if not the strongest, the law of the vindictive ; and in this case the people of Ireland believe, to my certain knowledge, that it is only by these acts ot vengeance,periodically committed, that they can hold in suspense the arm of the proprietor and the agent — (hear, hear) — who, in too many cases, if he dared, would exterminate them. At this moment there is a state of war in Ireland. Don't let us disguise it from ourselves.There is a war between landlord and tenant ; a war as fierce, as relentless, as though it were carried on by force of arms. There is a suspicion, too, between landlord and tenant, which is not known between any class of people in this country, and there is a hatred, too, which, I believe, under the present and past system, has been pursued in Ireland, which can never be healed or eradicated." These expressions of John Bright's, years ago, face to face with a similar state of affairs in Ireland as that which confronts us now, I bring forward to show to Mr Gladstone and the
English people what will be the consequences of this battle of vengeance that is going to commence between the landlords of Ireland and a great portion of the people of Ireland. In presence of this state of affairs in Ireland, vengeance is to be pitted against vengeance, the settlement of the agrarian war is to be left between the Clifford Lloyds— (loud hooting) — and the wild justice of revenge born of landlord oppression. I again ask, what will be the consequence ? Had Mr Gladstone been in the confidence of the secret powers with which he pretends alone to grapple he could not have more completely played into their hands.It is only when a people despair of justice at the hands of their rulers, and see their hereditary enemies unopposed by any protective movement, that occult agencies are looked upon with favour by such people, and that the sympathies of the injured areextended to those who avenge the wrongs that are inflicted in the name of law. There is no power at the disposal of Mr Gladstone, there is no method short of the extermination of the whole Irish race, that can grapple effectually with a secret movement when it is made to appear as the only protector of a wTonged and trampled people — (loud cheers) — and which confronts the mandates of unlimited despotism Tl'ith the weapon of retaliation.
If the Land League is to be prevented from succouring the evicted, if every channel of political eftbrt not favourable to Whig kgislation on the land question is to be closed up, then, indeed, will the whole situation be surrendered to the secret movement, and lex taltoiiis become the only refuge of despair. As the moral responsibility of the outrage epidemic of the past twelve months must, in my humble opinion, rest upon the Whig Administration for its coercive incitation to vengeance, so must the crimes that will follow additional coercion be placed at the same door. If jMr Gladstone is earnest in his eiforts to put down crime, let him go to the source of all agrarian outrage, and remove Irish land lordism from Ireland. (Cheers.) If he be determined to put down secret societies, let him remove from the government of Ireland what makes English rule detested and English law dis- trusted — let him sweep away Dublin Castle — (loud cheers) — and show that he can repose the same confidence in Ireland that has not been abused in Canada. (Cheers.) If be believes that peace will be restored in Ireland while landlords have power to evict ajid the Castle power to trample upon every political opponent and every vestige of liberty, he has read the history of the Anglo- Irish difficulty to no purpose. As well might the doctor dream of restoring to health and vigour a patient in whose sensitive flesh the instrument that made the ^vound lies unremoved. I believe the admirable temper and manly self-control that has distinguished almost the whole of this country during the past fortnight, in face of what might have provoked an outburst of unjust and ungenerous wrath, together with the wide-spread anxiety that peace should be restored to Ireland and crime extinguished by generous and just legislation, would sanction measures of justice and con- ciliation which the past would not contemplate, and which the future, if embittered by angry passions and violence, may refuse to consider. Has Mr Gladstone the courage to respond to this feeling among the unprejudiced of his countrymen, and to make an heroic concession to justice and right; or will he continue, as n the new Coercion Bill, to be guided by the poHcy of a Forster — (loud hisses) — and the tactics of political adversaries ? It would be vain for me to think that he would be guided in his actions by a man like myself. But humble and obscure though my origin and position may be — (prolonged cheers) — the son of an Irish peasant — (cheers) — who was reftised shelter in an Irish workhouse by Irish landlordism ; the son of an Irish mother who had to beg through the streets of England for bread for me — humble as that origin may be, the memory of that mother has made me swear that so long as I have tongue to speak, or head to plan, or hand to dare for Ireland — (cheers, during which a great part of the audience rose and applauded vociferously) — Irish landlordism and English misgovernment in Ireland shall find in me a sleepless and incessant opponent. (Renewed cheers.) It is useless to think that Mr Gladstone would be influenced by my advice, but had my voice been listened to when I last emerged from the prison into \Yhich his Government thrust me in 1870 — (shame) — the sad history- of the past two years would never have to be written, and the Ireland of to-day might have been otherwise than a standing reproach to English government. I tell him now, that, although the Arrears Bill may land his Government over a temporary difficulty, the very next season of scarcity or partial famine that unpropitious seasons will bring upon Ireland, wdll re-open the Irish Land question, and call into play the same passions and provoke the same strife between conflicting interests that have brought the Land League into existence and forced the hands of unwilling legislation. If he persists in dealing only with the Irish social problem as intensified by the Land League agitation, instead of grappling with it as Irish Land reformers propose in connection with a train of retrospective ruin, present discontent, and the certainty of landlordism continuing to move in a circle or reproductive wrong, he will bequeath the settlement of the Irish Land war to the future, and leave the primary cause of Irish poverty, disaifection, crime, and misery to the country he is anxious should look to him as its friend.
Dark as is the present outlook for Ireland, I do not despair.(Hear, hear.) In a period of unexampled trial, the attitude of her people has been steadfast, courageous, and unbroken. The march of the social has dragged the setdement of the national question in its wake. If victory has not yet crowned the efforts of the Land League, we have called into existence the elements of proximate success. (Cheers.) From every prison in Ireland voices will go forth to teach the oft-repeated lesson that force is no remedy — (cheers) — against a cause which rest* for support and sanction upon the ordinances of God and the dictates of justice and reason. Every parish in Ireland will have one or more in its midst that has suffered in the cause of liberty and fatherland ; and from this outcrop of national sentiment, from men unjustly punished, women imprisoned — (shame) — and children indoctrinated in the creed of patriotism and social rights, will spring a generation before whose might no wrong can stand, and from whose birthland every vestige of social and political servitude must fall,as falls the withered leaves of autumn before the angry blasts of winter. (Cheers.) Ere concluding what I fear has been a too lengthy speech — (" No, no *') — I feel compelled to make a few observations upon a subject which, of all others that are discussed in connection with the present state of Ireland, is the most painful to dwell upo
The outrages that have been committed during the past year in Ireland, cuhiiinating in the assassinations of the 6th of May, 1882, liave placed the character of our country in a very odious light before public opinion throughout the world. The prejudice that has been thus excited against our cause will not permit of that calm and dispassionate inquiry which would trace to the primary source of all agrarian crime what our enemies have endeavoured to fasten upon a movement that has aimed at the removal of the one grand incentive to murder and revenge. It was in vain that over and over again it was pointed out that if the leaders of the people were deprived of liberty and evictions allowed to proceed, fierce passions would be evoked, and a spirit of evil unchained, throughout Ireland. The sanguinary record of the past twelve months is the sad fulfilment of these predictions. But who or what has suffered in consequence of such crimes? Apart from the obloquy which they are made to bring upon our country, they, and they alone, are responsible for the check that has been given to the Land League movement, and for the crisis with which we are now confronted. Granting all that can be said on the head of provocation — all that can be quoted to show that the balance of crime and outrage has ever been on the side of our oppressors in the past — when will we learn the lesson which common sense and prudence teach, that the one grand fatal error in all popular movements is to allow the promptings of individual passion to silence the warnings of moral sense and prudence in order to seek a selfish and criminal gratification, regardless of all consequences to a people's cause? (Hear, hear.) Are there not far nobler principles and more exalted and manly aspirations bequeathed to us from the past than those of hatred and revenge ? If the powers on high seem indifferent to interfere in the defence of right, shall the cause of justice be sullied by unholy vengeance ? If the one supreme danger that besets the path of this great movement be that of outrage, and the greatest obstacle in the way of success be the gratification of passionate resentment, why should not policy, prudence, morality, and religion stay the suicidal acts of those
who retaliate for the wrongs inflicted upon injured men ? If Irish landlordism finds its only support from public opinion in appearing to be the victim of a people's implacable vengeance, why should its life be prolonged by the excesses of its victims ? (Hear, hear. ) This may wear the appearance of preaching to the inherent weaknesses of human nature, a fruitless effort to stay those excesses of passion that are beyond the control of reason and religion, as their acts are unforseen and above the power of any Influence to arrest. But it is heart-rending to think that, were it not for the excesses of the past year, the cause of justice would by this time have triumphed, and Ireland would stand to-day in the position of a victor in her own cause and that of humanity also. (Cheers.) Had the promptings of revenge not frustrated the plans of the Land League, Irish landlordism could no more have withstood the forces that our plan of action had arrayed against it than could a rotten hulk, rigged with matchbox spars and tissue-paper sails, bear up against the fury of an equinoctial gale. (Cheers.)
As for the other class of outrages that have stained the record of our country during the same period, no language is sufficiently strong with which tp reprobate and condemn them. As in those above alluded to, comparison with similar classes of crime in this and other countries is of no avail to avert the stigma which their commission fixes upon our peasantry. As to the individuals who perpetrate these horrible brutalities, whether actuated by the incomprehensible motive that could prompt a tenant farmer to perform them, or by the worst design that would incite the degraded instruments of Irish landlordism to their perpetration for the purpose of bringing odium upon the cause of Irish Land Reform, no difference of opinion can exist in Ireland or England as to the punishment which such crimes deserve. The wretch who is capable of such monstrous barbarity towards a dumb and inoffensive beast, places himself beyond the pale of human sympathy, and merits being branded with some indelible mark of popular execration, that should point him out for ever to his fellow-man as infamous and detestable.
And now, one word more before I conclude. Amidst all the troubles of the present movement, and in face of the opprobrium that has been heaped upon Ireland by its enemies in this country there have not been wanting generous and justice-loving Englishmen who could brave the storm of popular prejudice in defence of the cause of the Land League and its leaders. (Cheers.) What Irishman's heart would refuse to beat with the warmest throbbings of gratitude at the name of honest Joe Cowen ? (Loud cheers.) Or who among us could read the declaration of Mr Storey — (cheers)— in the House of Commons, on Friday night, unmoved, when he
asserted that if twenty English Radicals had seats in that Assembly, the Coercion Bill of last year would never have been passed into law? (Cheers.) When the representative of England's artisan class also declares that the voice of the country is against further coercion for Ireland, and in favour of justice to our people's cause, can we not see that other Broadhursts — (cheers) — are In the background, and that the tide of popular English feeUng is turning in the direction of fearless and unprejudiced equity in the policy of ruling Ireland? (Cheers.) The stand taken during the excited temper of the past fortnight by the Pall Mall Gazette, and some few more English journals, to avert an outburst of unjust resentment against us in this country, is worthy of the highest praise for its enlightened and courageous advocacy of dispassionate justice replacing the hereditary policy of coercion for
Ireland. Should we not endeavour to multiply such advocates here in England ? It is easy of accomplishment. It needs no sacrifice of principle or national aspiration ; it calls for nothing but what it is our moral duty to perform, our best policy to pursue. Let outrage cease in Ireland — (cheers) — let no suspicion of sympathy on your part here in England be made to arise at any act, great or small, that seeks justification from past events in the history of our country, and rely upon it that the number of the Cowens, Storeys, Broadhursts, Taylors, Laboucheres — (cheers) —
Lawsons, Collings, and Thompsons, will multiply and lend to the cause of Ireland's social and political rights the cause of justice and humanity, the manly advocacy of fearless English minds, and the unstinted sympathy of generous English hearts. (Prolonged cheering.)
Address delivered in League Hall, St Anne Street, Liverpool,
on Tuesday, 28rd May, 1882.
That the discussion of the Irish question at so critical a stage as
that to which it is now advanced is fraught with responsibihty to
whoever undertakes the task on behalf of the Land League, few
will deny. When the Government is believed to be aiming at
the prevention of all public discussion in Ireland, and the leaders
of the National party are supposed to be at variance upon vital
questions of principle and pohcy, the elements of precaution cannot
be eliminated from the duty I am here to perform this evening.
Nevertheless, I am of opinion that the time and occasion are
opportune for an enunciation of what I believe to be the real
objects of this movement, and what I venture to say is asked for
and required by the whole Iiish race. (Cheers.) I venture to
assert that the entire Irish question is not, as a rule, judiciously
presented to public opinion by many who undertake to define its
true character outside of Ireland ; and it may also be said against
us that we have hitherto been wanting in practical statesmanship
by insisting upon heroic remedies for Ireland's social and political
wrongs, without pointing out, clearly and candidly, how those
remedies could be applied. We have left an impression upon the
public mind of this countrj^ that an ulterior object lies behind the
social refonn m.ovement which we have initiated. Doubts are ex-
pressed by even friendly Englishmen as to whether the Land League
is aiming at the abolition of landlordism or at something else. We
are charged with raising the cry of " The Land for the people,"
and not defining its meaning ; of demanding the expropriation of
the Irish landlords, and falling shy of the question of compensa-
tion. My efforts this evening shall be directed to the removal of
these doubts by presenting, as well as limited time and limited
ability will permit, the Irish question in its entirety, as well as the
solution which I believe the w^hole Irish race demand, and which
wise and practical English statesmanship can safely and with
credit to itself undertake to concede. (Cheers.)
Ere endeavouring to do this, I think it of the first importance
to give a bird's-eye view of the situation in Ireland, in order that
Englishmen may the better understand the motives which have
actuated the Land Leaguers, and more calmly discuss the means
whereby that situation can be changed with profit to Ireland and
safety to British interests.
That the disturbed state of pubHc order in Ireland during the
past two years is not due to accident, few Englishmen will deny;
that it is the logical outcome of short-sighted English statesman-
ship most public men in this country are now beginning to admit.
It will require very little reasoning to convince practical-minded
Englishmen that fires are not lit by spontaneous ignition, or great
movements started without a basis of solid justification. What
has been the general character of English rule in Ireland, looked
at from an impartial point of view ? That it has not been of a
nature to win the people of Ireland to an abandonment of Irish
institutions and aspirations, to the acceptance of those of their
rulers, seven centuries of a struggle proclaim and the present con-
dition of oiu: country confirms. (Hear, hear.) No power on earth
claiming to assert its authority over a people of another race can
justify a rule whereby all the motives that have the greatest influ-
ence over that people's existence are stupidly ignored or wan-
tonly trampled upon. (Cheers.) The motives which form the
distinctive characteristics of the Irish people are, and always have
been, enthusiastic devotion to their religious convictions, unflinch-
ing loyalty to the principle of nationality, and a passionate attach-
ment to the soil of their fatherland. Is not the history of England's
rule in Ireland a heart-breaking record of systematic oppression
upon each and all of these inherent principles of Irish character ?
It is only within the present generation that a full concession of
justice has been made to the first of the motives I have indicated,
and that the Irish people have been accorded religious liberty.
Was it an unjust concession? Has it been followed by conse-
quences that can cause Englishmen to regret having made it ?
This, however, is finally settled, and. Irish Catholics and Irish
Protestants are now upon equal footings of religious freedom ; and
I am sure that neither Irishmen nor Eif^lishmen will ever again
pit one faith against another for political motives. The two re-
maining principles of Irish national character are at this moment
contending against the very policy which denied Catholic emanci-
pation until 1829, and withheld religious equality from the Irish
people until our own days. Can these principles be stamped out?
Will such policy succeed? These are questions which I am
anxious to place before English public opinion at a time when, to
borrow an expression of Mr Gladstone's, the English mind "is
open " upon them.
Let us now see what are the grounds upon which these principles rest a claim for concessions of justice, and what are the
forces arrayed behind them for their vindication. That Ireland
has a just right to self-government no one can deny — (cheers) —
that our people are unanimous in demanding it is apparent from
Irish representative, opinion and the admissions of the public
press outside of Ireland. That self-government can be enjoyed
by English dependencies, consistent with the integrity of the
British Empire, an independent Irish Parliament ninety years ago,
and Canadian and Australian Legislatures existing at the present
hour, plainly demonstrate. (Hear.) That the Act of Union was an
infamous transaction and has proved a complete failure, English
modern history itself concedes. (Loud cheers.) That Dublin Castle
rule — (groans) — is one of the primary factors in the present dis-
content of Ireland, and has ever been a source of the keenest
exasperation to our people, is now beginning to be made rlear in
this country. Upon these grounds, which no one can deny to be
just ones, or can consistently refuse to discuss, we rest our claim
for political autonomy. (Great cheering. ) The grounds upon which
we claim a settlement of the Land question are, if possible, niore
just, more urgent and imperious, than those advanced in behalf of
the national question. That Irish landlordism has broken down
— that it is discredited and repudiated by our people more
thoroughly than any other system that has ever fallen before a
nation's resolve and the march of progressive ideas — the present
situation in Ireland declares in unmistakeable language. That it
has been a ruin and a curse to our people, no sane mind will gain-
say. (Hear, hear.) Three millions of a population driven from a
country in one generation — ("Shame") — from a land capable of
supporting more than twice its present population — the prevalence
of widespread poverty among the unexterminated remainder —
increasing disaffection among the masses, consequent upon ruin-
ous exactions and the exercise of social tyranny by the landlords
— a reign of terror and violence, giving birth to horrible crimes by
calling forth heated and vindictive passions — all threatening a
complete social disruption of the country, and all apparently, to
the Irish people, sanctioned by English public opinion, and
intensified by the blind and vindictive policy of one who had been
a popular English statesman ere he left Bradford for Dublin Castle —
(loud groans) — this is our justification for demanding the abolition
of landlordism and the substitution of a national system in its
I shall now point out the forces that are arrayed behind these
two principles of social and political reform, in order that the
expediency of dealing justly and promptly with them— as formerly
with that of religious equality — may be seen by practical English
minds. That there is a new spirit abroad in Ireland — intelligent,
resolute, and practical — has been borne testimony to everywhere.
(Loud cheers.) That such a spirit might by despair or by desperate
men be turntd into complete subversionary action, the history of
the French Revolution declares. It was not dreamy speculations
upon the origin of society which sent the frenzy of madness
through a people's mind. It was the squalor of the ragged
peasant in contrast with the luxury and effeminate splendour of
the privileged class ; the pallid faces and wasted forms of the
peasantry who prowled hungry and fever-stricken through the
land ; the hopeless, helpless degradation of the mass of the
French people spurned and ignored by the Government of the
day. This was the bitter writiiig that was traced in characters of
maddening portent which the multitude read with flaming eyes,
and sprang wildly to their feet to revenge and efface. (Cheers.)
That such a spirit should be driven to such deeds in Ireland,
God forbid — but that such a spirit is abroad, and can be arrested
by just and timely concession, I fearlessly proclaim here to-night.
(Cheers.) The force that can guide that spirit to safe and moral
action, that can shape its ends to beneficial work for Ireland, or
that, by letting it drift into headlong passion by simply abandon-
ing it to itself, would be then unable to restrain its excesses,
should be one that ought to command the careful consideration
of English public opinion. That force consists in the character
of the men who are now the leaders of the Irish people. From
Mr Parnell — (loud cheers) — downwards, they are nearly all young
men, with full tw^enty years of political life before them. If they
have succeeded in doing so much during the past three years, what
are they capable of accomplishing in the next twenty. (Loud cheers.)
They have given proof of abiHty, courage, self-devotion, and
energy, both outside and inside of Parliament, unparalleled in any
previous agitation or reform movement. They stand pledged to
the Irish people to work out the social and political regeneration
of their country, and I know them too well to believe that
calumny, coercion, or imprisonment will ever make them abandon
— (cheers) — what every rational mind must admit to be a just, a
moral, and a winning cause. (Loud cheers.)
This is something like an outline of the general situation upon
the Anglo-Irish difficulty at present; but there is a more particu-
lar or immediate aspect of it, which I will endeavour to bring
before Englishmen. Upon what is the English Parliament now
engaged ? Ireland, almost exclusively — to the almost total neglect
of the general business of the empire. The Arrears Bill, while
being good in its way, and calculated to arrest crime and outrage
to some extent, is a most convincing argument that the Land Act
is a failure, and leaves the agrarian war almost where it has hitherto
been. In no part of Ireland is the Land Act considered so much
of a failure as in Ulster, where leaseholders and every other class
of tenants are burdened with rents that were fixed when prices
Avere high and competition from outside unthought of. In my
travels through the West and North, recently, I found everywhere
a want of confidence in the Land Courts, and heard from all classes
that the landlords, as in every other branch of Irish administra-
tion, had succeeded in turning these courts to their own purposes
in all but a few instances. (Hear, hear, and hisses.) While
travelling in the West of Galway I found a state of aftairs that have
recently been brought before the public by an English correspon-
dent. Evictions are taking place in hundreds, when, on the
admission of the authorities that carry them out, the household
belongings of 130 families were not worth a single pound all
together. I found that a rent of from 15s to ;^i per acre is de-
manded for patches of a stony mountain side, from which it is
impossible to extract sufficient food for a year for those who till
them. These rents and accumulated arrears are now demanded,
when almost every source from which they were paid in the past
have ceased to supply them — kelp-burning, fisheries, turf-seiling,
and remittances from friends in America and England. The soil
of Carroroe can no more produce rent than can oranges be made
to grow upon the Liverpool race-course — (laughter) — jet, in defi-
ance of all theories upon rent for land, people are evicted for the
non-payment of unjust and impossible rent.
But my object is not to dwell upon scenes of misery to-night.
I am anxious to point out how misery, discontent, and crime can
be banished from Ireland entirely ; and I will therefore proceed
with my bird's-eye view of the present situation. There is but
one more feature in that situation which I wish to dwell upon
before discussing the remedy for the Anglo-Irish difficulty, and it
is this : — Mr Gladstone, speaking in the House of Commons the
other night, proudly termed that assembly "The Temple of
Liberty."' From an English point of view, this may or may not
be a true name for England's Parliament ; but from an Irish point
of view, there can be no difference of opinion on that point at the
present hour. (Applause.) This '* Temple of Liberty " is asked
by the greatest of living statesmen to strike at every single prin-
ciple that constitutes liberty in any land or among any people.
(Hear, hear.) Trial by jury is called the palladium of liberty in
every constitutionally governed country as well as in England ;
yet Mr Gladstone is about to abolish trial by jury in Ireland lor
three years. (Groans.) The right of public meeting is one of
the most cherished privileges of a free people ; yet Mr Gladstone
is about to make public meeting in Ireland dependent upon the
will ©f a single English functionary. The liberty of the press is
prized by every civilised nation as the greatest safeguard of its
liberty ; yet Mr Gladstone is resolved upon gagging the Irish
press. (Groans) The inviolability of domestic privacy is one
of the proudest boasts of Englishmen ; yet Mr Gladstone is about
to empower an Irish policeman to intrude upon any Irishman's
home at any hour of the night he may please to consider it the
object of suspicion. (Cries of "Shame.") Verily, this ^'Temple
of Liberty " is at present occupied with anything but a creditable
or congenial task.
Having now defined the real nature of the situation, and look-
ing upon the present lull in the Land League movement as a tem-
porary cessation of hostilities during which a parley can be made,
I will endeavour to point out the way in which unprejudiced
minds on both sides of the Irish Sea can discuss the terms of
peace, and end the agrarian war in Ireland for ever. I am about
to undertake a task that should have been performed long ago —
that is, the definition of " The Land for the people," the charter-
cry of the Land League, and the bugbear of the landlords and
Conservative organs. (Cheers.) In doing this, I will lay myself
open to the suspicion of differing from Mr Parnell and most of
my colleagues in the Land League movement; but the fact is, there
is not a particle moreof ciifference of opinion between the member
for Cork and myself upon this question, than there was when we
first stood together upon a public platform in Westport, three years
ago. (Loud and prolonged cheering.) Mr Parnell advocates
peasant proprietary ; I am in favour of the land becoming the
national property of Ireland. If peasant proprietary is conceded,
either by Lord Salisbury, when he gets into power, or by Mr Glad-
stone ere he gets out — (hisses) — I am perfectly satisfied that
the purchase-money that must be advanced by the State for
carrying out such a scheme will become the title-deed of the State
to the land of Ireland, and that the nationalisation of the land
will be the consecjuence. Believing this to be inevitable from
the growing poverty of Irish agriculture, I am almost indifferent
as to whether Mr rarnell's plan or my own be adopted ; but as I
was tlie first to raise the cry of " The Land for the people," I
think the time has now come for giving a clear definition of what
I mean and propose. (Applause.)
The following statistics will be given only as an r. oproximation
to the actual figures, because I have been compehed to borrow
them from my " J^il Journal,"' and I have not had time since my
release from prison to compare them with later official returns : —
Putting the average annual value of all the cereal produce of
Ireland at;^3o,ooo,ooo, and annual produce of live stock wealth
at say half the total return for any given year, we will have about
an equal sum of ;£"30,ooo,ooo. This will give, say, :^6o,ooo,ooo
as the total annual produce of the land of Ireland. Assuming
the present annual rental of the land to be ;^ 15,000,000, we have
thus one-fourth of the gross produce, or 25 per cent, of the annual
wealth of the country seized upon by the Irish landlords. Twenty
pounds out of every one hundred that is earned by the labour
and enterprise of our entire agricultural class is claimed by a small
number of persons who contribute nothing whatever to its produc-
tion, and who cap the climax of this annual confiscation by taking
most of this money out of the country which produced it, and spend
it to the benefit of other lands and peoples than ours. (Hisses.)
I maintain that rent for land that is cultivated by labour alone —
or by the joint agencies of capital and labour — independent of
li^dlord assistance, risk, or superintendence, is an unjust and in-
defensible tax upon a country's industry, that can be more truly
described as legal theft than by the conventional terms that desig-
nate it a tribute legally due to the prescriptive rights of an un-
justly privileged class. If the land became national pioi)erty — -
landlordism being abolished, and full Stat^ protection and eacour-
agement given to the produce of industry and capital — it would
be no exaggerated estimate to put do\^Ti the yearly value of cereal
wealth at double the present amount — that is, p£"6o, 000,000.
Adding to this the former estimate of yearly live stock wealth, we
would have a total of ;^ 90,000,000 annually from the land of
Ireland. Allowing 10 per cent, off this for diminution of prices,
consequent upon increased production, we would still have
;^ 2 0,000, 000 more wealth from the soil every year than we have
now under the existing state of things. (Hear, hear.) Instead of
charging this yearly cereal and live stock wealth with a 20 per
cent, rent to the landlords, it would only be taxed, under the
national land system, in proportion to the amount of money re-
quired for the civil government of the country — administration of
law, police, education, liospitals. poor-rate, w^tf^r-rales. or the
various public purposes for which special taxes are now levied upon
the country, and duties placed upon the food and comforts of the
To see what such a tax would amount to ordinarily, and there-
by determine the difference between the rent now paid to the
landlord, and the land tax that would then have to be paid to the
State, it will be necessary to make an estimate of the probable
annual public expenditure of Ireland. We will put down the cost
of civil administration, including payment of police, at
/^4,ooo,ooo; education, ;£ 1,500,000; poor-rate, ;j^i,ooo,ooo;
total local rates, ;£" 2,000,000; borough and water-rates,^ 1,000,000
— giving in all a total of ;2^9, 500,000 annual outlay in carrying on
the national business of the country. In order to meet this yearly
public charge without levying a penny of it upon the non-agricul-
tural classes — that is, exempting all classes from both the direct
and indirect taxation that is now imposed for Imperial and local
government purposes — we should only have to abolish landlordism
and rent for land, and place such a tax upon all land values as
would meet the public expenditure, as just specified. (Hear,
hear.) Ten per cent, on the gross annual agricultural produce of
Ireland —or half what is now paid to the landlords in rent and
lost to the country — would, under the national land system, carry
on the civil government of Ireland, save the tenant farmer half
of what he now pays in rent, remove all the taxes that now fail
upon the mercantile, commercial, professional, and industrial
classes, and take off those duties from the commodities of daily
life that burden the lives of the artisan and labouring classes, and
deprive the masses of healthy and sufficient food. (Applause.)
The State would simply be the steward of the national property.
For the use of that property, and the protection that would be
given to the farmers and labourers who worked it from the confis-
cation of their interest in the same, a tax of say 10 per cent, upon
the estimated annual produce would be levied. This tax, instead
of going into the pockets of an idle class, and being lost to the
country, would be expended in the interests of the country, and
would augment the national prosperity. The farmer would have
absolute security of tenure from the State, subject to the
payment of this nominal tax, v/hile the property which his
capital and industry would create in the land which he cultivated
would be his, to dispose of when he pleased, as tenant-right is
now sold or disposed of when farmers so desire. Such tenant-
right or property created in the soil by improvements not to be
interfered with or taken by the State without a full equivalent
compensation being given in return by the same; agricultural
labourers to be secured the occupancy of such plots of land by
the State as would be sufficient to supply themselves with the
independency and comforts that are claimed for them under the
peasant proprietary plan; the professional and trading classes
would be exempt fiom direct taxes ; the great industrial and
labouring classes would be freed from all the tribute that is now
levied upon their earnings in the shape of borough and county
rates ; while those duties, which place nearly all the comforts and
luxuries of life beyond thereach of the poorer industrial orders, could
be entirely removed to the direct gain of the whole community.
(Hear, hear.) Thus, the non-agricultural classes would receive a
dividend out of the annual produce of the land, equivalent to
what they now pay out of their earnings for the carrying on of
the general and local government of the country, the education
of the people, and the support of the destitute and infirm ; while
the farmers would possess all the security that a peasant pro-
prietary could offer without liaving to provide the purchase-money
which such a scheme would require them to pay for the fee simple
of the land. They, like the rest of the community, would also
be free from the taxes, rates, and duties upon articles of consump-
tion that now fall upon the public generally. (Cheers.) This is
what I mean by " The Land for the people." (Loud applause.)
The questions that will at once be addressed to the proposer
of such a scheme of social reform will be — 1st, Upon what grounds
can the land be resumed as the property of the State ? 2nd, Would
such a land system be the best for society and the interests of
good government ? 3rd, Is it feasible ? and what compensation, if
any, are the landlords to receive for the expropriation of the pro-
perty which they claim to have in the soil? I will endeavour to
answer those objections in the order in which I have put them.
To make the land of Ireland, or of any country, national property,
would simply be the resumption of that State ownership of the
soil which obtained amongst all nations anterior to the system of
land monopoly which class government has established for the
aggrandisement of a privileged section in society. This system
of land monopoly having failed completely as a land code, as is
evidenced in social discontent, prevalence of poverty, and non-
fulfilment of the obligations upon the performance of which it
could alone rest a claim for existence, it becomes both the duty
and the right of the State to call upon " the unjust steward to give
an account of his stewardship, for he can now be steward no lon-
ger." (Loud and prolonged cheering.) To permit a class to
hold the land of a country as its absolute property Involves the
giving of an influence over the lives, happiness, and industry of
the people of that country inconsistent with the freedom and wel-
fare of mankind, the maintaining of which should be the primary
object of every people. The right of all men to participate in the
benefits of the soil by the State ownership thereof can be claimed
from the fact that land is a natural agent, and that the value of
land arises from, and is maintained by, the aggregation of popula-
tion and the exercise of industry by a people. (Cheers.) The
value thus imparted belongs to the people, and not to an individual
or a class. That a national land system would be the best for
society and good government is self-evident. (Hear, hear.) By
insuring a more equal distribution of wealth, increasing the pro-
ductiveness of the soil through the breaking up of large estates,
and giving a stimulus to agricultural industry, poverty would be
diminished, and crime deprived of most of the incentives to its
commission ; while Government would have on its side the Con-
servatism that would not fail to result from the removal of all
grounds for agrarian crime and social discontent through a just
and final settlement of a burning question. (Applause.)
The feasibility of such a settlement will be best evidenced by
grappling at once with the chief difhculty in the way of any
scheme of Land Reform that aims at the abolition of landlordism.
(Hear, hear.) I will endeavour to show how this difficulty can
be successfully met. The; question of compensation is practically
the only one now left to discuss in connection with the fate of
Irish landlordism. I start with the proposition that, in accord-
ance with strict justice, the landlords of Ireland are not entitled
to their fares from Kingston to Holyhead — (loud and prolonged
applause) — for the loss of their criminally-abused proprietary
rights; but, as conventional justice or the claims of prescriptive
right cannot possibly be repudiated by the English Government,
or avoided by Ireland, if a peaceful settlement of the land war is
to be arrived at, we must face the question of compensation.
(Hear, hear.) Well, according to even conventional or political
justice, those who, by their enterprise and labour, have given the
present value to the land of Ireland, are surely entitled to their
share of its market price — (hear, hear) — in other words, the
farmer's property in the soil which he alone has improved by
his industry and capital, must be equal in value to that claimed
by the landlord in virtue of either purchase or prescriptive right.
Leaving this property to the farmer, we will only have to deal
with the landlord's share. To determine this, it would be necessary to arrive at an estimate of the intrinsic worth of the land
anterior to the increment of its vaUie by the present generation.
In the time of Dean Swift, the annual rental of Ireland was but
;^2,ooo,ooo. To-day it is about ^^15, 000,000. Will any one,
conversant with the history of Irish landlordism since that date,
hesitate to say whether this increased value is due to the land-
lords or to the people of Ireland. Taking the farmers' and the
landlords' interest to be equal, the latter's share of the market
price of the land of Ireland now would be twenty years' purchase
of half the present annual rental, or ;^ 140,000,000. This sura I
would propose to raise by either public loan or the issue of
Government bonds bearing 3 per cent, interest, principal and in-
terest to be chargeable to Ireland's contribution to the Imperial
revenue. Thus: Annual revenue of Ireland, say ;£7,ooo,ooo;
interest on ;^ 140,000,000 at 3 per cent, per annum, ;^4,200,ooo;
leaving annual balance of;£" 2, 800,000 for sinking fund with which
to pay off the principal. This it will do in a period of about fifty
years — the land tax of, say, 10 per cent, upon all land values sup-
plying the expenditure of civil administration now met by such
revenue. By this plan of settlement Ireland itself would get rid
of landlordism without touching the pockets of the English tax-
payer; a compensation would be given to the landlords to which,
in strict justice, they are not entitled — (hear, hear) — all incentives
to social discontent would be removed ; agrarian outrage would
of necessity disappear from the absence of landlord tyranny and
conflicting agrarian interests ; while the whole country would not
fail to commence a new life of peace, contentment, and prosperity.
To this plan of settlement, even if granted to be feasible, there
will be two objections made, representing both extremes of the
Anglo-Irish ^difficulty. The English Government may say that
the people of Ireland would refuse to pay a land tax for the sup-
port of alien rule — that similar difficulties would arise in the
collection of such a tax as are now encountered in the exaction of
rent. I will dispose of these objections before discussing the more
serious one that will be offered from the other extreme. There
could be no more difficulty in collecting such a tax than has to be
met in collecting the ordinary direct revenue of the country at
present. The fact that a land tax that would probably never
exceed half the amount that is now paid in rent was to be ex-
pended for the good of the countr}% and would constitute the
farmers' title to security in his holding, would make such an
annual tribute a willing contribution. His property in the soil
would also be a reliable security against repudiation of fiscal obli-
The other objection is a more serious one than that just
answered, as it will stand upon the strong ground of Irish national
sentiment, and appeal to the fears which jealously guard the highest
aspirations of our race. To propose that the English Government
should become the owner, steward, or guardian of the soil of Ire-
land, will, at first sight, appear an anti-national settlement of the
land question, and one which involves a principle of renunciation
that cannot be sanctioned by Irishmen who belong to the extreme
or Nationalist party. I am convinced, however, that a calm con-
sideration of the question will dissipate the idea that the national-
isation of the land of Ireland is any more of a recognition of
England's right to rule us than is involved in the payment of
taxes or in calling upon its Government to advance the necessary
funds for the carrying out of a scheme of peasant proprietary.
(Applause.) While I yield to no Irishman alive in my allegiance
to the principle of Ireland's right to govern itself — (applause) — I
w®uld infinitely prefer to deal directly with an English Govern-
ment than with its exacting and unscrupulous mercenaries — the
Irish landlords. (Hear, hear, and applause.) Better to have the
land of our country administered by even Executive English
authority, than see it made the instrument of social slavery and
degradation — of tyranny and exaction — by the merciless and pol-
luted hands of Irish landlordism. (Loud cheers.)
There is, of course, the probability that such a land code
would appeal to the Conservative instincts of an agricultural
people, and cause them to look with favour upon and pay with
allegiance the power that would secure them in the enjoyment of
social peace and prosperity. This result may be reasonably ex-
pected from any settlement of the land question whatever that
may be won from the Government of England, as the great
majority of mankind are rationally actuated by that excusable
selfishness which impels them, as in the ordinary affairs of
business life, to seek the best bargain from society in the matter
of human comfort and security. (Hear, hear.) When contend-
ing forces are aiming for the approval and support of the people
who are to be benefited by the outcome of the contest, it is only
natural to expect that whoever gives to or secures most for the
people will gain most in their regard. Admitting, what no one
can deny, that England must be a factor in any settlement of the
land question that takes place, so long as England's authority is
dominant in Ireland, the selection of land systems must be
'jeterimned by their relative merits as such, and their respective
adaptability to the genius and requirements of our people. I
contend, therefore, that the nationalisation of the land under the
existing political relationship of the two countries would be no
more of an abandonment of national right or national honour
than is involved in any transaction of the every-day political life
of our country ; while I claim for such a settlement more solid
social advantages, both for agricultural and non-agricultural classes
alike, than can be obtained under an improvement of the existing
system, or by the substitution of a peasant proprietary. (Loud
But my proposal or plan of pacification does not rest here;
the social difficulty is not the only factor in the Anglo-Irish
question. An older difiiculty and equally disturbing element in
the politico-social life of our country is its present system of
government. That Dublin Castle rule — (hisses) — is as monstrous a
failure as Irish landlordism, is a proposition which few will be
found courageous enough to deny. (Cheers.) It is simply a
systematised rule of national exasperation; a mode of administra-
tion as little understood by the English people, and as unrepre-
sentative of constitutional government, as if the ill-omened
edifice that stands upon Cork Hill were situated on the banks of
Yang-tse-Kiang, instead of being whhin a few hours'^ sail of
Liverpool. (Loud cheers.) It is at last becoming as evident to
enlightened English opinion that Ireland must be granted some
form of self-government, as that Irish landlordism is repudiated by
our people and "has proved a complete and disastrous failure. It
is no extravagant proposition, therefore, to couple the settlement
of the national with that of the land question, and to insist that
rational demands upon both must be considered by English
pubhc opinion. The present is the most opportune time that has
l)resented itself for the solution of the Anglo-Irish difficulty since
the passage of the Act of Union, and the only effectual remedy,
in my opinion, is self-government for Ireland and the nationalisa-
tion of the land under the administration of an Irish Parliament.
That this will be considered an extreme programme by most
of the English press I am prepared to admit ; but I am confident .
that, if Englishmen will approach the discussion of it with calm
and unprejudiced minds, it will be found to contain the basis
upon which Ireland's peace and happiness may be built with
safety and credit to the enhghtened statesmanship that may have
courage and foresight enough to offer timely justice to a people who
are no longer a power to be despised or a nation willing to submit
to continued insult and injustice. (Loud and prolonged cheers.)
I would ask Englishmen to remember that there is not a single
newspaper in England, or scarcely a public man representing
P^nglish public feeling, that does not now admit that England's .
rule of Ireland has been unjust, illogical, and indefensible in the
I^ast. (Cheers.) What has convinced them of this ? Movements
like that which the Government is now desirous of suppressing —
men who are now undergoing the same punishment and encountering
the same calumny and abuse that were heaped upon Irish public
men connected with former agitations. Time will again vindicate
the course I am advocating here to-night, and show that the Land
League leaders, who are now stigmatised in every possible language
of abuse and misrepresentation, are advocating the true remedy
for admitted wrongs, and pointing out the means by which that
remedy can be applied, and which, if rejected, as other remedies
have been rejected in the past, an English generation will yet live
to mourn and deplore. (Loud cheering.)
I have ]iow defined what I mean by " The Land for the people."
I have endeavoured to point out how that can be accomplished
without drawing upon the pockets of Englishmen, and with a cer-
tainty of ending the agrarian war in Ireland. (Hear, hear.) I
have promulgated my full programme, and I have only to say that
from this night forth, so long as I have life to devote to the cause
of Ireland, that life shall be devoted to furthering this programme
in the interests of my countrymen. (Applause.) I have only to
ask from the' Irishmen and Irish ladies of LiveriX)ol that sympa-
thetic assistance and consideration which has already been ex-
tended to that movement which I had a hand in initiating.
(Applause.) I cannot conclude my speech here this evening
without tendering, as an Irishman and Land Leaguer, my thanks
to the Irish ladies of Liverpool for their magnificent assistance to
the people of Ireland during the recent crisis, and I cannot at the
same time sit down without giving expression to my pride of
living in an age when the women of Ireland, not only in Ireland,
but in England and America, have been aroused to show that
patriotism and courage which once characterised our country-
women on the walls of Limerick. (Loud and prolonged cheering,
the entire audience rising and waving their hats and handker-