Proclamations of an Irish Republic, 1803, 1867, 1916

The proclamation issued in 1916 wasn’t the first of its kind to be issued in Ireland. At least two other proclamations were direct precursors of the 1916 proclamation, the first issued in 1803, the second in 1867.

On 23rd July 1803, the last official communication from the Society of Irishmen was printed in Dublin. Some 10,000 copies were made and Robert Emmet himself read some of it in Thomas Street before his rebellion. Only a small number of copies made their way into the hands of the public.

In 1798, John Sheares had written a text for a proclamation that was to be issued if the United Irishmen were successful in Dublin, it read:

IRISHMEN ! Your country is free, and you are about to be avenged. That vile government, which has so long and so cruelly oppressed you, is no more! Some of its most atrocious monsters have already paid the forfeit of their lives, and the rest are in our hands. The national flag — the sacred green, is at this moment flying over the ruins of despotism; and that Capital, which a few years past had witnessed the debauchery, the plots and crimes of your tyrants, is now the citadel of triumphant Patriotism and Virtue! Arise, then, United Sons of Ireland , arise like a great and powerful nation, determined to live free or die! Arm yourselves by every means in your power, and rush like lions on your foes. Consider that for every enemy you disarm, you arm a friend, and thus become doubly powerful. In the cause of liberty inaction is cowardice, and the coward shall forfeit the property he has not the courage to protect. Let his arms be secured and transferred to those gallant spirits who want and shall use m them. Yes, Irishmen , we swear by that Eternal Justice, in whose cause you fight, that the brave Patriot who survives the present glorious struggle, and the family of him who has fallen, or shall hereafter fall in it, shall receive from the hands of a grateful nation an ample recompense out of that property which the crimes of our enemies have forfeited into its hands, and his name shall be inscribed on the great national record of Irish Revolution, as a glorious example to all posterity ; but we likewise swear to punish robbers with death and infamy. We also swear never to sheath the sword until every being in the country is restored to those equal rights which the God of Nature has given to all men, until an order of things shall be established in which no superiority shall be acknowledged among the citizens of Erin, but that of virtue and talent.

Rouse, all the energies of your souls ; call forth all the merit and abilities which a vicious government consigned to obscurity, and under the conduct of your leaders, march with a heady step to victory. heed not the glare of a hired soldiery or aristocratic yeomanry ; they cannot stand the vigorous shock of freemen ; their trappings and their arms will soon be yours ; and the detested government of England, to which we vow eternal hatred, shall learn that the treasures it exhausts on its accoutred slaves for the purpose of butchering Irishmen, shall but further enable us to turn their swords on its devoted head.

Many of the military feel the love of liberty glow within their breasts, and have already joined the National standard.

Receive with open arms such as shall follow so glorious an example ; they can render signal service to the cause of freedom, and shall be rewarded according to their desserts. But for the wretch who turns his sword against his native country, let the national vengeance be visited on him — let him find no quarter.

Attack them in every direction by day and by night. Avail yourselves of the natural advantages of your country, which are innumerable, and with which you are better acquainted than they. Where you cannot oppose them in full force, constantly harass their rere and flanks, cut off their provisions and magazines, and prevent them as much as possible from uniting their forces. Let whatever moment you cannot devote to fighting for your country be passed in learning to fight for it, or preparing the means of war, for war, war alone must occupy every mind and every hand, until its long oppressed soil be purged of all its enemies.

Vengeance, Irishmen! vengeance on your oppressors ! Remember what thousands of your dearest friends have perished by their merciless orders : — Remember their burnings, their rackings, their torturings, their military massacre, and their legal murders, — Remember ORR

The 1798 text never got to be issued as a proclamation, though and was instead used in the case against Sheares (thanks to Gina McGinley for the link). That 1803 proclamation was much longer than the one that was issued by the Fenians on 5th March 1867. Theirs was delivered to various newspapers and the text was carried by The Times in London (the printed original apparently had the Fenian harp logo on the top).

The 1867 proclamation is much closer to the better known 1916 proclamation in length and tone and is the model on which the 1916 proclamation is based. Whereas the 1867 proclamation specifically speaks to the world, that in 1916 speaks to the Irish people. Similarly, the 1867 document was signed by ‘The Provisional Government’, the 1916 document was merely signed ‘on behalf of the Provisional Government’. The 1867 and 1916 parallels are by no means accidental, as both emerged from the Irish Republican Brotherhood movement.

You can compare the text of the 1867 and 1916 proclamations side-by-side by clicking the image below.

1867 and 1916

Some images and full texts of each of the proclamations are included below, along with a footnote of one issued by the IRA Army Executive on 28th June 1922.

1803

emmetproclamation

The Provisional Government To The People of Ireland

You are now called on to shew to the world that you are competent to take your place among nations, that you have a right to claim their recognizance of you, as an independent country, by the only satisfactory proof you can furnish of your capability of maintaining your independence, your wresting it from England with your own hands.
In the development of this system, which has been organized within the last eight months, at the close of internal defeat and without the hope of foreign assistance; which has been conducted with a tranquility, mistaken for obedience; which neither the failure of a similar attempt in England has retarded, nor the renewal of hostilities has accelerated; in the development of this system you will show to the people of England, that there is a spirit of perseverance in this country, beyond their power to calculate or to repress; you will show to them that as long as they think to hold unjust dominion over Ireland, under no change of circumstances can they count on its obedience; under no aspect of affairs can they judge of its intentions; you will show to them that the question which it now behoves them to take into serious and instant consideration, is not, whether they will resist a separation, which it is our fixed determination to effect, but whether or not, they will drive us beyond separation; whether they will by a sanguinary resistance create a deadly national antipathy between the two countries, or whether they will take the only means still left, of driving such a sentiment from our minds, a prompt, manly, and sagacious acquiescence, in our just and unalterable determination.
If the secrecy with which the present effort has been conducted, shall have led our enemies to suppose that its extent must have been partial, a few days will undeceive them. That confidence, which was once lost, by trusting to external support, and suffering our own means to be gradually undermined, has been again restored. We have been mutually pledged to each other, to look only to our own strength, and that the first introduction of a system of terror, the first attempt to execute an individual in one county, should be the signal of insurrection in all. We have now, without the loss of a man, with our means of communication untouched, brought our plans to the moment when they are ripe for execution, and in the promptitude with which nineteen counties will come forward at once to execute them, it will be found that neither confidence nor communication are wanting to the people of Ireland.
In calling on our countrymen to come forward, we feel ourselves bound, at the same time, to justify our claim to their confidence by a precise declaration of our views. We therefore solemnly declare, that our object is to establish a free and independent republic in Ireland: that the pursuit of this object we will relinquish only with our lives: that we will never, unless at the express call of our country, abandon our post, until the acknowledgment of its independence is obtained from England; and that we will enter into no negotiation (but for exchange of prisoners) with the government of that country while a British army remains in Ireland. Such is the declaration which we call on the people of Ireland to support – And we call first on that part of Ireland which was once paralysed by the want of intelligence, to shew that to that cause only was its inaction to be attributed; on that part of Ireland which was once foremost, by its fortitude in suffering; on that part of Ireland which once offered to take the salvation of the country on itself; on that part of Ireland where the flame of liberty first glowed; we call upon the NORTH to stand up and shake off their Slumber and their oppression.
Men Of Leinster, Stand To Your Arms
To the courage which you have already displayed, is your country indebted for the confidence which it now feels in its own strength, and for the dismay with which our enemies will be overwhelmed when they shall find this effort to be universal. But men of Leinster, you owe more to your country than the having animated it by your past example; you owe more to your own courage, than the having obtained, by it a protection. If six years ago, when you rose without arms, without plan, without co-operation, with more troops against you alone, than are now in the country at large; you were able to remain for six weeks in open defiance of the government, and within a few miles of the capital what will you not now effect, with that capital, and every other part of Ireland ready to support you? But it is not on this head that we have need to address you. No we now speak to you, and through you, to the rest of Ireland, on a subject, dear to us even as the success of our country, – its honour. You are accused by your enemies of having violated that honour; excesses which they themselves had in their fullest extent provoked, but which they have grossly exaggerated, have been attributed to you. The opportunity of vindicating yourselves by actions, is now for the first time before you; and we call upon you to give the lie to such assertions, by carefully avoiding every appearance of plunder, intoxication, or revenge; recollecting that you lost Ireland before, not from want of courage, but from not having that courage rightly directed by discipline. But we trust that your past sufferings, have taught you experience, and that you will respect the declaration which we now make and which we are determined by every means in our power to enforce.

The nation alone possesses the right of punishing individuals, and whosoever shall put another person to death, except in battle, without a fair trial by his country, is guilty of murder. The intention of the provisional government of Ireland, is to claim from the English government, such Irishmen as have been sold or transported, by it for their attachment to freedom; and for this purpose, it will retain as hostages for their safe return, such adherents of that government as shall fall into its hands. It therefore calls upon the people to respect those hostages, and to recollect that in spilling their blood, they would leave their own countrymen in the hands of their enemies.
The intention of the provisional government, is to resign its functions, as soon as the nation shall have chosen its delegates, but in the mean time, it is determined to enforce the regulations hereunto subjoined; – It in consequence takes the property of the country under its protection, and will punish with the utmost rigour any person who shall violate that property, and thereby injure the present resources and the future prosperity of Ireland.
Whoever refuses to march to whatever part of the country he is ordered, is guilty of disobedience to the government, which alone is competent to decide in what place his services are necessary, and which desires him to recollect, that in whatever part of Ireland he is fighting, he is still fighting for its freedom.
Whoever presumes by acts or otherwise to give countenance to the calumny propagated by our enemies, that this is a religious contest, is guilty of the grievous crime of belying the motives of his country. Religious disqualification is but one of the many grievances of which Ireland has to complain. Our intention is to remove not that only, but every other oppression under which we labour. We fight, that all of us may have our country, and that done – each of us shall have his religion.
We are aware of the apprehensions which you have expressed, that in quitting your own counties, you leave your wives and children, in the hands of your enemies; but on this head have no uneasiness. If there are still men base enough to persecute those, who are unable to resist, shew them by your victories that we have the power to punish, and by your obedience, that we have the power to protect, and we pledge ourselves to you, that these men shall be made to feel, that the safety of every thing they hold dear, depends on the conduct they observe to you. Go forth then with confidence, conquer the foreign enemies of your country, and leave to us the care of preserving its internal tranquillity; recollect that not only the victory, but also the honour of your country, is placed in your hands; give up your private resentments, and shew to the world, that the Irish, are not only a brave, but also a generous and forgiving people.
Men Of Munster and Connaught
You have your instructions, we trust that you will execute them. The example of the rest of your countrymen is now before you; your own strength is unbroken;-five months ago you were eager to act without any other assistance. We now call upon you to shew, what you then declared you only wanted the opportunity of proving, that you possess the same love of liberty and the same courage with which the rest of your countrymen are animated.
We now turn to that portion of our countrymen whose prejudices we had rather overcome by a frank declaration of our intentions, than conquer their persons in the field; and in making this declaration, we do not wish to dwell on events, which, however, they may bring tenfold odium on their authors, must still tend to keep alive in the minds both of the instruments and victims of them, a spirit of animosity which it is our wish to destroy. We will therefore enter into no detail of the atrocities and oppression which Ireland has laboured under during its connexion with England; but we justify our determination to separate from that country on the broad historical statement, that during six hundred years she has been unable to conciliate the affections of the people of Ireland; that during that time, five rebellions were entered into, to shake off the yoke; that she has been obliged to resort to a system of unprecedented torture in her defence; that she has broken every tie of voluntary connexion by taking even the name of independence from Ireland, through the intervention of a parliament notoriously bribed, and not representing the will of the people; that in her vindication of this measure she has herself given the justification of the views of the United Irishmen, by declaring in the words of her ministers,
 ” That Ireland never had, and never could enjoy under the then circumstances the benefit of British connexion; that it necessarily must happen when one country is connected with another, that the interests of the lesser will be borne down by those of the greater. That England has supported and encouraged the English colonists in their oppression towards the natives of Ireland; that Ireland had been left in a state of ignorance, rudeness and barbarism, worse in its effects, and more degrading in its nature, than that in which it was found six centuries before.” 
Now to what cause are these things to be attributed? Did the cause of the almighty keep alive a spirit of obstinacy in the minds of the Irish people for six hundred years?
Did the doctrines of the French revolution produce five rebellions? Could the misrepresentations of ambitious and designing men drive from the mind of a whole people, the recollection of defeat, and raise the infant from the cradle, with the same feelings with which his father sunk into the grave? Will this gross avowal which our enemies have made of their own views, remove none of the calumny that has been thrown upon ours? Will none of the credit [which] has been lavished on them, be transferred to the solemn declaration which we now make in the face of god and our country. We war not against property – We war against no religious sect – We war not against past opinions or prejudices – We war against English dominion. We will not however deny, that there are some men, who, not because they have supported the government of our oppressors, but because they have violated the common laws of morality, which exist alike under all or under no government; have put it beyond our power to give to them the protection of a government. We will not hazard the influence we may have with the people, and the power it may give us of preventing the excesses of revolution, by undertaking to place in tranquillity the man who has been guilty of torture, free quarters, rape and murder, by the side of the sufferer or their relations; but in the frankness with which we warn these men of their danger, let those who do not feel that they have passed this boundary of mediation, count on their safety.
We had hoped for the sake of our enemies to have taken them by surprize, and to have committed the cause of our country before they could have time to commit themselves against it, but though we have not altogether been able to succeed, we are yet rejoiced to find that they have not come forward with promptitude on the side of those who have deceived them, and we now call on them before it is yet too late, not to commit themselves further against a people they are unable to resist, and in support of a government, which, by their own declaration has forfeited its claim to their allegiance.
To that government in whose hands, though not the issue, at least the features with which the present contest is to be marked, and placed, we now turn. How is it to be decided? is open and honourable force alone to be resorted to, or is it your intention to employ those laws which custom has placed in your hands, and to force us to employ the law of retaliation in our defence?
Of the inefficacy of a system of terror, in preventing the people of Ireland from coming forward to assert their freedom, you have already had experience. Of the effect which such a system will have on our minds in case of success, we have already forewarned you – We now address to you another consideration – If in the question which is now to receive a solemn and we trust final decision, if we have been deceived reflection would point out that conduct should be resorted to, which was the best calculated to produce conviction on our minds. What would that conduct be? It would be to shew to us that the difference of strength between the two countries [is such], as to render it unnecessary for you to bring out all your force; to shew to us that you have something in reserve wherewith to crush hereafter, not only a greater exertion on the part of the people, but a greater exertion, rendered still greater by foreign assistance: It would be to shew to us that what we have vainly supported to be a prosperity growing beyond your grasp, is only a partial exuberance requiring but the pressure of your hand to reduce it into form. But for your own sake do not resort to a system, which while it increased the acrimony of our minds would leave us under the melancholy delusion that we had been forced to yield, not to the sound and temperate exertions of superior strength, but to the frantick struggles of weakness, concealing itself under desperation. Consider also that the distinction of rebel and enemy is of a very fluctuating nature; that during the course of your own experience you have already been obliged to lay it aside; that should you be forced to abandon it towards Ireland you cannot hope to do so as tranquilly as you have done towards America, for in the exasperated state to which you have raised the minds of the Irish people; a people whom you profess to have left in a state of barbarism and ignorance, with what confidence can you say to that people ” while the advantage of cruelty lay upon our side, we slaughtered you without mercy, but the measure of our own blood is beginning to preponderate, it is no longer our interest that this bloody system should continue, shew us then, that forbearance which we never taught you by precept or example, lay aside your resentments, give quarter to us, and let us mutually forget, that we never gave quarter to you.” Cease then we entreat you uselessly to violate humanity by resorting to a system inefficacious as an instrument of terror, inefficacious as a mode of defence, inefficacious as a mode of conviction, ruinous to the future relations of the two countries in case of our success, and destructive of those instruments of defence which you will then find it doubly necessary to have preserved unimpaired. But if your determination be otherwise, hear ours. We will not imitate you in cruelty; we will put no man to death in cold blood, the prisoners which firstfall into our hands shall be treated with the respect due to the unfortunate; but if the life of a single Irish solder is taken after the battle is over, the orders thence forth to be issued to the Irish army are neither to give or take quarter. Countrymen if a cruel necessity forces us to retaliate, we will bury our resentments in the field of battle, if we are to fall, we will fall where we fight for our country – Fully impressed with this determination, of the necessity of adhering to which past experience has but too fatally convinced us; fully impressed with the justice of our cause which we now put to issue. We make our last and solemn appeal to the sword and to Heaven; and as the cause of Ireland deserves to prosper, may God give it Victory.
Conformably to the above proclamation, the Provisional Government of Ireland, decree that as follows.
1. From the date and promulgation hereof, tithes are for ever abolished, and church lands are the property of the nation.
2. From the same date, all transfers of landed property are prohibited, each person, holding what he now possesses, on paying his rent until the national government is established, the national will declared, and the courts of justice organized.
3. From the same date, all transfer of Bonds, debentures, and all public securities, are in like manner and form forbidden, and declared void, for the same time, and for the same reasons.
4. The Irish generals commanding districts shall seize such of the partizans of England as may serve for hostages, and shall apprize the English commander opposed to them, that a strict retaliation shall take place if any outrages contrary to the laws of war shall be committed by the troops under his command, or by the partizans of England in the district which he occupies.
5. That the Irish generals are to treat (except where retaliation makes it necessary) the English troops who may fall into their hands, or such Irish as serve in the regular forces of England, and who shall have acted conformably to the laws of war, as prisoners of war; but all Irish militia, yeoman, or volunteer corps, or bodies of Irish, or individuals, who fourteen days from the promulgation and date hereof, shall be found in arms, shall be considered as rebels, committed for trial, and their properties confiscated.
6. The generals are to assemble court-martials, who are to be sworn to administer justice; who are not to condemn without sufficient evidence, and before whom all military offenders are to be sent instantly for trial.
7. No man is to suffer death by their sentence, except for mutiny; the sentences of such others as are judged worthy of death, shall not be put in execution until the provisional government declares its will, nor are court-martials on any pretext to sentence, nor is any officer to suffer the punishment of flogging, or any species of torture, to be inflicted.
8. The generals are to enforce the strictest discipline, and to send offenders immediately before court-martials, and are enjoined to chase away from the Irish armies all such as shall disgrace themselves by being drunk in presence of the enemy.
9. The generals are to apprize their respective armies, that all military stores, arms, or ammunition, belonging to the English government, be the property of the captors and the value is to divided equally without respect of rank between them, except that the widows, orphans, parents, or other heirs of such as gloriously fall in the attack, shall be entitled to a double share.
10. As the English nation has made war on Ireland, all English property in ships or otherwise, is subject to the same rule, and all transfer of them is forbidden and declared void, in like manner as is expressed in No.2 and 3.
11. The generals of the different districts are hereby empowered to confer rank up to colonels inclusive, on such as they conceive to merit it from the nation, but are not to make more colonels than one for fifteen hundred men, nor more Lieutenant-Colonels than one for every thousand men.
12. The generals shall seize on all sums of public money in the custom-houses in their districts, orin the hands of the different collectors, county treasurers, or other revenue officers, whom they shall render responsible for the sums in their hands. The generals shall pass receipts for the amount, and account to the provisional government for the expenditure.
13. When the people elect their officers up to the colonels, the general is bound to confirm it – no officer can be broke but by sentence of a court-martial.
14. The generals shall correspond with the provisional government, to whom they shall give details of all their operations, they are to correspond with the neighbouring generals to whom they are to transmit all necessary intelligence, and to co-operate with them.
15. The generals commanding in each county shall as soon as it is cleared of the enemy, assemble the county committee, who shall be elected conformably to the constitution of United Irishmen, all the requisitions necessary for the army shall be made in writing by the generals to the committee, who are hereby empowered and enjoined to pass their receipts for each article to the owners, to the end that they may receive their full value from the nation.
16. The county committee is charged with the civil direction of the county, the care of the national property, and the preservation of order and justice in the county; for which purpose the county committees are to appoint a high-sheriff, and one or more sub-sheriffs to execute their orders, a sufficient number of justices of the peace for the county, a high and a sufficient number of petty constables in each barony, who are respectively charged with the duties now performed by these magistrates.
17. The county of Cork on account of its extent, is to be divided conformably to the boundaries for raising the militia into the counties of north and south Cork, for each of which a county constable, high-sheriff and all magistrates above directed are to be appointed.
18. The county committee are hereby empowered and enjoined to issue warrants to apprehend such persons as it shall appear, on sufficient evidence perpetrated murder, torture, or other breaches of the acknowledged laws of war and morality on the people, to the end that they may be tried for those offences, so soon as the competent courts of justice are established by the nation.
19. The county committee shall cause the sheriff or his officers to seize on all the personal and real property of such persons, to put seals on their effects, to appoint proper persons to preserve all such property until the national courts of justice shall have decided on the fate of the proprietors.
20. The county committee shall act in like manner, with all state and church lands, parochial estates, and all public lands and edifices.
21. The county committee shall in the interim receive all the rents and debts of such persons and estates, and shall give receipts for the same, shall transmit to the provisional government an exact account of their value, extent and amount, and receive the directions of the provisional government thereon.
22. They shall appoint some proper house in the counties where the sheriff is permanently to reside, and where the county committee shall assemble, they shall cause all the records and papers of the county to be there transferred, arranged, and kept, and the orders of government are there to be transmitted and received.
23. The county committee is hereby empowered to pay out of these effects, or by assessment, reasonable salaries for themselves, the sheriff, justices and other magistrates whom they shall appoint.
24. They shall keep a written journal of all their proceedings signed each day by the members of the committee, or a sufficient number of them for the inspection of government.
25. The county committee shall correspond with government on all the subjects with which they are charged, and transmit to the general of the district such information as they may conceive useful to the public.
26. The county committee shall take care that the state prisoners, however great their offences, shall be treated with humanity, and allow them a sufficient support to the end that all the world may know, that the Irish nation is not actuated by the spirit of revenge, but of justice.
27. The provisional government wishing to commit as soon as possible the sovereign authority to the people, direct that each county and city shall elect agreeably to the constitution of United Irishmen, representatives to meet in Dublin, to whom the moment they assemble the provisional government will resign its functions; and without presuming to dictate to the people, they beg to suggest, that for the important purpose to which these electors are called, integrity of character should be the first object.
28. The number of representatives being arbitrary, the provisional government have adopted that of the late house of commons, three hundred, and according to the best return of the population of the cities and counties the following numbers are to be returned from each:-Antrim 13 – Armagh 9 -Belfast town 1 – Carlow 3 -Cavan 7 -Clare 8 Cork county, north 14 -Cork co. south 14 -Cork city 6 -Donegal 10 -Down 6 -Drogheda 1 -Dublin county 4 -Dublin city 14 -Fermanagh 5 -Galway 10 -Kerry 9 -Kildare 4 -Kilkenny 7 -Kings county 6 -Leitrim 5 -Limerick county 10 -Limerick city 3 -Londonderry 9 -Longford 4 -Louth 4 -Mayo 12 -Meath 9 -Monaghan 9 -Queen’s county 6 -Roscommon 8 -Sligo 6 -Tipperary 13 -Tyrone 14 -Waterford county 6 -Waterford city 2 -Westmeath 5 -Wexford 9 -Wicklow 5
29. In the cities the same sort of regulations as in the counties shall be adopted; the city committee shall appoint one or more sheriffs as they think proper, and shall take possession of all the public and corporation properties in their jurisdiction in like manner as is directed for counties.
30. The provisional government strictly exhort and enjoin all magistrates, officers, civil and military, and the whole of the nation, to cause the laws of Morality to be enforced and respected, and to execute as far as in them lies justice with mercy, by whcih [sic] alone liberty can be established, and the blessings of divine providence secured.

1867

The Irish People to the World

We have suffered centuries of outrage, enforced poverty, and bitter misery. Our rights and liberties have been trampled on by an alien aristocracy, who treating us as foes, usurped our lands, and drew away from our unfortunate country all material riches. The real owners of the soil were removed to make room for cattle, and driven across the ocean to seek the means of living, and the political rights denied to them at home, while our men of thought and action were condemned to loss of life and liberty. But we never lost the memory and hope of a national existence. We appealed in vain to the reason and sense of justice of the dominant powers. Our mildest remonstrance’s were met with sneers and contempt. Our appeals to arms were always unsuccessful.

Today, having no honourable alternative left, we again appeal to force as our last resource. We accept the conditions of appeal, manfully deeming it better to die in the struggle for freedom than to continue an existence of utter serfdom.

All men are born with equal rights, and in associating to protect one another and share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying it.

We therefore declare that, unable longer to endure the curse of Monarchical Government, we aim at founding a Republic based on universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour.

The soil of Ireland, at present in the possession of an oligarchy, belongs to us, the Irish people, and to us it must be restored.

We declare, also, in favour of absolute liberty of conscience, and complete separation of Church and State.

We appeal to the Highest Tribunal for evidence of the justness of our cause. History bears testimony to the integrity of our sufferings, and we declare, in the face of our brethren, that we intend no war against the people of England – our war is against the aristocratic locusts, whether English or Irish, who have eaten the verdure of our fields – against the aristocratic leeches who drain alike our fields and theirs.

Republicans of the entire world, our cause is your cause. Our enemy is your enemy. Let your hearts be with us. As for you, workmen of England, it is not only your hearts we wish, but your arms. Remember the starvation and degradation brought to your firesides by the oppression of labour. Remember the past, look well to the future, and avenge yourselves by giving liberty to your children in the coming struggle for human liberty.

Herewith we proclaim the Irish Republic.

THE PROVISIONAL GOVERNMENT

1916

POBLACHT NA hÉIREANN

The Provisional Government of The Irish Republic To The People Of Ireland

Irishmen and Irishwomen: In the name of God and of the dead generations from which she receives her old tradition of nationhood, Ireland, through us, summons her children to her flag and strikes for her freedom.

Having organised and trained her manhood through her secret revolutionary organisation, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and through her open military organisations, the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army, having patiently perfected her discipline, having resolutely waited for the right moment to reveal itself, she now seizes that moment, and supported by her exiled children in America and by gallant allies in Europe, but relying in the first on her own strength, she strikes in full confidence of victory.

We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people. In every generation the Irish people have asserted their right to national freedom and sovereignty; six times during the past three hundred years they have asserted it in arms. Standing on that fundamental right and again asserting it in arms in the face of the world, we hereby proclaim the Irish Republic as a Sovereign Independent State, and we pledge our lives and the lives of our comrades in arms to the cause of its freedom, of its welfare, and of its exaltation among the nations.

The Irish Republic is entitled to, and hereby claims, the allegiance of every Irishman and Irishwoman. The Republic guarantees religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens, and declares its resolve to pursue the happiness and prosperity of the whole nation and of all its parts, cherishing all of the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien Government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past.

Until our arms have brought the opportune moment for the establishment of a permanent National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women, the Provisional Government, hereby constituted, will administer the civil and military affairs of the Republic in trust for the people.

We place the cause of the Irish Republic under the protection of the Most High God, Whose blessing we invoke upon our arms, and we pray that no one who serves that cause will dishonour it by cowardice, inhumanity, or rapine. In this supreme hour the Irish nation must, by its valour and discipline, and by the readiness of its children to sacrifice themselves for the common good, prove itself worthy of the august destiny to which it is called.

Signed on behalf of the Provisional Government:

THOMAS J. CLARKE, SEAN Mac DIARMADA, THOMAS MacDONAGH, P. H. PEARSE, EAMONN CEANNT, JAMES CONNOLLY, JOSEPH PLUNKETT

And a footnote: Proclamation by Óglaigh na hÉireann, 28th June 1922

1922irapoclamation

Proclamation.

Fellow Citizens of The Irish Republic

The fateful hour has come. At the dictation of our hereditary enemy our rightful cause is being treacherously assailed by recreant Irishmen. The crash of arms and the boom of artillery reverberate in this supreme test of the Nation’s destiny. Gallant soldiers of the Irish Republic stand vigorously firm in its defence and worthily uphold their noblest traditions. The sacred spirit of the Illustrious dead are with us in this great struggle, “Death before Dishonour” being an unchanging principle of our national faith as it was of theirs, still inspire to emulate their glorious effort. We, therefore, appeal to all citizens who have withstood unflinchingly the oppression of the enemy during the past six years to rally to the support of the Republic and recognise that the resistance now being offered is but the continuance of the struggle that was suspended by the truce with the British. We especially appeal to our former comrades of the Irish Republic to return to that allegiance and thus guard the Nation’s honour from the infamous stigma that her sons aided her foes in retaining a hateful domination over her. Confident of victory and maintaining Ireland’s independence, this appeal is issued by the Army Executive on behalf of the Irish Republican Army.

(SIGNED)
Comdt. Gen. Liam Mellows, Comdt. Gen. Rory O’Connor, Comdt. Gen. Joseph McKelvey, Comdt. Gen. Earnan O’Maille, Comdt. Gen. Seamus Robinson, Comdt. Gen. Séan Moylan, Comdt. Gen.   Michael Kilroy,   Comdt. Gen. Frank Barrett,     Comdt. Gen. Thomas Derrig,  Comdt. T. Barry, Col. Comdt. F. O Faolain, Brig. Gen J. O’Connor, Comdt. O Rutiless, Gen. Liam Lynch,   Comdt. Gen. Liam Deasy, Col. Comdt. Peadar O’Donnell.

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Wexford and Belfast, 1916

What is often overlooked in regard to the Easter Rising is the extent of personal interconnections between participants. Denis McCullough, President of the Supreme Council of the IRB in 1916, had led the Belfast volunteers to Coalisland at the start of the Rising, from where they were supposed to proceed to Connacht. There they would have been under the command of Wexford man, Liam Mellows.

McCullough is an interesting character for a number of reasons, not least of which that he shot himself in the hand at Coalisland and had to be patched up by Nora Connolly. Although he went along with it (he personally funded the Belfast volunteers travelling to Coalisland), McCullough had been kept in the dark about the planning and actually opposed the Rising. He told Tom Clarke that, if they survived he would have it out with Clarke afterwards. McCullough was never prominent after the Rising, which makes me wonder if some suspected his hand wound was deliberately self-inflicted.  At the time, McCullough was in a relationship with Agnes Ryan, from Wexford, who left Belfast to be in Wexford for the Rising (they were later to marry). Her sister, Mary (known as Min) had been a founding member of Cumann na mBan along with Sarah Jordan, Liam Mellows mother. Min Ryan was close enough to Sean MacDiarmada that it was expected they would marry (had he survived the Rising – instead she was later to marry Richard Mulcahy). MacDiarmada himself had spent considerable time living in Belfast.

Min Ryan had also been directed to bring Eoin McNeill’s countermanding order to Wexford to stop the Rising taking place. McNeill, like his classmate Major John McBride, was a past pupil of Saint Malachy’s College Belfast. McBride’s son, Sean, later to be briefly IRA Chief of Staff, was sent to school at Mount St Benedict, near Gorey in Wexford, where Agnes Ryan headed at the start of the Rising. The school’s matron, Aileen Keogh, headed in the opposite direction, leaving Wexford to join the Dublin garrison for the Rising.

While the executions were taking place after the Rising, the Sunday Independent reported how John Redmond and Edward Carson had both pledged their ‘volunteers’ to suppress the Rising. With regard to Wexford, the British royal commission of inquiry into the Rising was told that 200 Redmondites turned out in Wexford to assist the RIC (Enniscorthy and surrounding areas being under control of republican forces and had held out longer than Dublin). The Hibernians, the inquiry was told, had also assisted the RIC.

After the Rising, one Wexford Alderman supported a motion condemning the Rising, saying “…heretofore we were led to believe that Sinn Féin meant ourselves alone but now we know it stands for anarchy of the worst type. Ireland was now disgraced in the eyes of the world just at a moment when all classes in the country were reconciled and confident in prosperity“. If you saw the exact same words from a Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil or Labour TD during the last few years, you wouldn’t have batted an eyelid..

  

Antrim’s Patriot Dead

IMG_0539

In the mid-1960s, the National Graves Association in Belfast produced two commemorative booklets as part of an attempt to raise funds for works in Milltown cemetery. One was 1916-66: Belfast and nineteensixteen  which I posted previously. The other was Antrim’s Patriot Graves which had appeared previously in various formats, as Belfast Patriot Graves and, to some extent, had originated as the song Belfast Graves.

The latter serves as a reminder of the breadth of the wider commemorative landscape created by republicans in Belfast in the period up to the 1960s. Access to the production of physical monuments and architecture was severely limited due to lack of resources and vigilant opposition of the northern government. Instead, republicans created an imagined architecture (in the sense of Benedict Anderson’s imagined communities) overlaid upon the unionist-dominated physicality of the city. This took various forms. GAA clubs, most obviously Joe McKelvey’s, but also Sean McDermot’s, Pat Nash’s, Sean McCartney’s, Sean Martins, Seamus Burns, Tom Williams and other clubs were named after individuals in the city’s republican canon. The popularity of gaelic games served to keep their names in circulation. Pipe bands and other cultural organisations could be named in the same way. Similarly, poetry and ballads that referenced the same individuals kept their names and exploits current in popular culture. Thus Belfast Graves, became a popular song in venues in the late 1930s (it was written in 1936). To understand republican commemoration gives a better sense of how the forms of resistance they manage to maintain in spite of the attentions of the unionist government.

Related reading:

Belfast’s first Easter Rising commemoration, 1917

Easter Rising commemorations in the 1930s and 1940s

National Graves Association book online: 1916-1966 Belfast and Nineteensixteen


As the centenary of the 1916 Rising is being commemorated, it seems fitting to post up a copy of the booklet produced to mark the fiftieth anniversary in Belfast.

Ostensibly, the booklet was one of two produced to raise funds on behalf of the National Graves Association in Belfast and defray the cost of erecting the County Antrim Memorial on the Tom Williams plot in Milltown Cemetery. In the 1950s and 1960s, Jimmy Steele had edited a number of versions of what is now Belfast Graves, a compendium of biographies of republicans who had died while actively involved in various campaigns.

The book represents one dimension of republican commemoration and remembrance that also included poetry and songs, physical monuments, occasionally, but rarely, buildings (such as Pearse Hall) and equally significant but less tangible memorials such as naming GAA clubs, pipe bands and cultural organizations after key individuals.

Commemoration, as a theme, provides a window on the wider republican communities, often reflecting the degrees of division and fragmentation. Noticeably, the singular focus that the Twelfth gives unionism is absent in republican commemoration despite a generally agreed pantheon from Tone to Connolly. This autonomy and independence in commemoration is arguably integral or a function of revolutionary organizations that espouse republican equality as opposed to monarchy (although the depth of antagonism often shown is deeply unproductive, except to opponents of republicanism, and needs to be overcome some way if republican ideals are to be realised). Physical monuments, up to the 1970s, were largely confined to the republican plots at Milltown with their representative, but by no means comprehensive, listings of the dead. The incompleteness and ambiguity of the original lists on the County Antrim Memorial in Milltown belies any idea that republicanism is overly obsessed with history (otherwise the monument would be informed by painstaking detail of all relevant dead, with correct dates, etc). But, in reality, some dead are listed there to remind republicans of a common purpose and to deter the faint-hearted. One message, also found in songs and poems, is clearly that to participate is to risk death, usually misinterpreted as glorifying ‘sacrifice’, when possibly the opposite is intended – it is to put off those who may succumb to treachery to avoid that ‘sacrifice’. The location, in a Catholic cemetery at Milltown, does clash with the idealism of secular republicanism but is possibly the only physical space which unionism would concede for such a purpose (as it conveniently allows unionism to Catholicise it to fit its own narrative). Notably, McArts Fort on Cavehill was the venue of choice until the 1920s (revived temporarily in the 1960s).

That said, Belfast and Nineteen Sixteen, for its era, overcame many of these issues. It includes republican and left republican voices, both male and female, and originating within and outside the contemporary republican movement. It also encompassed those who supported and opposed the Treaty in the 1920s.

Contributions to Belfast and Nineteen Sixteen included articles by Cathal O’Shannon, Dennis McCullough, Nora Connolly O’Brien, Joe McGurk, Liam Gaynor and Steele himself. An additional item was an older piece about James Connolly written by Constance De Markievicz. It also contained poems and songs by Steele, Francis O’Grady and Cathal O’Shannon.

McCullough had been President of the Military Council of the IRB and local commandant in Belfast in 1916. He had also been a key figure in various IRA veteran organisations that were dominated by supporters of the Treaty. O’Shannon was a prominent Labour activist. Their collaboration in the book signalled a broad rapprochement across various strands of the left and republicanism. Connolly O’Brien’s contribution reflected on the key role the women of Cumann na mBan played in 1916.

You can view the whole book here: Belfast and Nineteen Sixteen

From Belfast Town, 1916-2016

From Belfast Town

by Jimmy Steele (as published in 1916-66: Belfast and ninteensixteen,followed by a list of republican dead, 1916-2016)

 

A Cause was born upon Cave-Hill.

For it men vowed their blood to spill,

And Belfast Town answered the Call,

“Break the Connection with the Gall.”

On Antrim Town they marched with pride

To fight and die by McCracken’s side;

Or on the scaffold met their fate,

Our martyred Dead of Ninety-eight.

 

The flame they kindled blazed anew,

In hearts, where Fenianism grew.

On them Co-ercions laws were plied,

In Belfast jail, Harbinson died.

When up to ‘Sixteen’s Glorious Week,

Our foes had deemed us slaves and meek.

The first to win a martyr’s crown,

Was Monaghan from Belfast Town.

 

McCartney fell in war’s grim fray,

McAstocker died from Sniper’s play:

The Midnight murd’rers took their toll,

And new names graced our Honour’s roll.

Trodden, O’Carroll, Gaynor brave,

With the Duffins found a Martyr’s grave

In Mountjoy Jail McKelvey died,

To join our Country’s glorified.

 

For County and for comrades sake,

‘Fore death Sean Martin did not quake:

And on Al Rawdah’s Prison ship,

Sean Gaffney felt death’s icy grip.

Within an English Prison Cell,

Malone and Perry heard Death’s Bell:

O’Callaghan, courage, true,

His young life gave for Roisin Dubh.

 

Tom Williams walked with steps so proud.

To don the Patriot’s martyred shroud:

And Seamus Burns with gun in hand,

A Soldier’s death, died for Ireland.

Along the torturous hunger trail,

Brave Sean McCaughey did not quail:

His Body starved, wasted away,

And o’er his head a Halo lay.

 

In accident some met death’s fate,

Young DoyleO’Boyle passed through that gate:

They too had joined that faithful band,

Who vowed to free their native Land.

The Prison scars and hardships load,

Soon told on some who trod that road,

Nash, DohertyO’Malley brave,

‘Mongst others found an early grave.

 

That seed which on Cave-Hill was sown,

O’er Belfast Town its fruit has grown:

And they who served, suffered and died,

Their blood our Cause has sanctified.

Be proud of them – Our martyred Dead …

And in their footsteps let us tread:

They died for us, that we might see

IRELAND – UNITED – GAELIC – FREE

 

List of the dead, 1916-2016

Charlie Monaghan, April 21st 1916
Bernard MacMackin, May 29th 1917
James Johnston 1917
Joseph Giles, July 20th 1920
John Murray, August 28th 1920
Edward Trodden, September 26th 1920
John McFadden, September 26th 1920
Sean Gaynor, September 26th 1920
Sean O’Carroll, November 30th 1920
Dan Duffin, April 23rd 1921
Pat Duffin, April 23rd 1921
Sean McCartney, May 8th 1921
Alexander McBride, June 11th 1921
Alexander Hamilton, July 11th 1921
James Ledlie, July 12th 1921
Freddie Fox, August 15th 1921
Murt McAstocker, September 25th 1921
Bernard Shanley, December 16th 1921
David Morrison, December 27th 1921
Patrick Flynn, December 28th 1921
Joseph Burns, January 20th 1922
Frank McCoy, February 14th 1922
James Morrison, February 14th 1922
Thomas Gray, February 16th 1922
Thomas Heathwood, March 6th 1922
Andrew Leonard, March 13th 1922
Augustine Orange, March 18th 1922
Edward McKinney, March 24th 1922
James McGee, March 26th 1922
John Walker, April 20th 1922
J.P. Smyth, May 11th 1922
William Toal, May 25th 1922
William Thornton, June 18th 1922
Joseph Hurson, June 23rd 1922
Leo Rea, June 23rd 1922
Edward McEvoy, August 9th 1922
Joe McKelvey, December 8th 1922
Pat Nash, January 31st 1925
Francis Doherty, January 13th 1936
Dan Turley, December 4th 1936
Liam Tumilson, March 14th 1937
Jim Stranney, July 31st 1938
Sean Martin, April 25th 1940
Jack Gaffney, November 18th 1940
Joseph Rooney, May 5th 1941
Joe Malone, January 21st 1942
Terence Perry, July 7th 1942
Gerard O’Callaghan, August 31st 1942
Tom Williams, September 2nd 1942
Richard Magowan 1943
Tom Graham 1944
Seamus Burns, February 12th 1944
Sean Doyle, April 10th 1944
Dickie Dunn, February 27th 1945
Sean McCaughey, May 11th 1946
Brendan O’Boyle, July 2nd 1955
Tommy O’Malley, December 10th 1959
Patrick McLogan, July 21st 1964
Gerald McAuley August 15th, 1969
Liam McParland November 6th, 1969
Jimmy Steele August 9th, 1970
Michael Kane September 4th, 1970
Peter Blake October 27th, 1970
Tom McGoldrick October 27th, 1970
James Saunders February 6th, 1971
Charles Hughes March 8th, 1971
Tony Henderson April 4th, 1971
Billy Reid May 15th, 1971
Patrick McAdorey August 9th, 1971
Séamus Simpson August 11th, 1971
Rose Curry September 23rd 1971
Gerard O’Hare September 23rd 1971
Terence McDermott October 2nd, 1971
Dorothy Maguire October 23rd, 1971
Maura Meehan October 23rd, 1971
Martin Forsythe October 24th, 1971
Tony Nolan December 8th, 1971
Gerald McDade December 21st, 1971
Danny O’Neill January 7th, 1972
Michael Sloan January 11th, 1972
Eamon McCormick January 16th, 1972
Gerry Donaghy January 30th, 1972
Joseph Cunningham February 10th, 1972
David McAuley February 19th, 1972
Gerard Bell February 21st, 1972
Gerard Steele February 21st, 1972
Robert Dorrian February 21st, 1972
Joseph Magee February 21st, 1972
Albert Kavanagh March 4th, 1972
Gerard Crossan March 9th, 1972
Tony Lewis March 9th, 1972
Seán Johnston March 9th, 1972
Tom McCann March 9th, 1972
Seán O’Riordan March 23rd, 1972
Patrick Campbell March 25th, 1972
Samuel Hughes April 7th, 1972
Charles McCrystal April 7th, 1972
John McErlean April 7th, 1972
Joe McCann April 15th 1972
Michael Magee May 13th, 1972
Edward McDonnell May 28th, 1972
Jackie McIlhone May 28th, 1972
Joseph Fitzsimmons May 28th, 1972
Martin Engelen May 28th, 1972
Joseph Campbell June 11th, 1972
Tony Jordan June 28th, 1972
John Finucane June 28th, 1972
David McCafferty July 9th 1972
Gerard Gibson July 11th 1972
Edward Brady July 14th 1972
Louis Scullion July 14th, 1972
James Reid July 15th, 1972
John Dougal July 9th, 1972
Tobias Molloy July 16th, 1972
Joseph Downey July 21st, 1972
Séamus Cassidy July 28th, 1972
Robert McCrudden August 3rd, 1972
Michael Clarke August 11th, 1972
Anne Parker August 11th, 1972
Joseph McComiskey September 20th, 1972
Jimmy Quigley September 29th, 1972
Patricia McKay September 30th 1972
Daniel McAreavey October 6th, 1972
Patrick Maguire October 10th, 1972
John Donaghy October 10th, 1972
Joseph McKinney October 10th, 1972
Stan Carberry November 13th, 1972
Bernard Fox December 4th, 1972
Seán Hughes December 4th, 1972
Francis Liggett January 18th, 1973
James Sloan February 3rd, 1973
Tony Campbell February 4th, 1973
James McCann February 4th, 1973
Patrick McCabe March 27th, 1973
Edward O’Rawe April 12th, 1973
Robert Millen April 14th, 1973
Brian Smyth April 17th, 1973
Joseph McKenna May 16th, 1973
Seán McKee May 18th, 1973
Patrick Bracken July 6th, 1973
Francis Hall August 30th, 1973
Patrick Mulvenna August 31st, 1973
Anne Marie Petticrew September 1st, 1973
James Bryson September 22nd, 1973
Michael Marley November 24th, 1973
Daniel Burke April 9th, 1974
Frederick Leonard May 7th, 1974
Martin Skillen August 3rd, 1974
Patrick McGreevy September 18th, 1974
Gerard Fennell November 8th, 1974
John Rooney November 15th, 1974
John Kelly January 21st, 1975
John Stone January 21st, 1975
Bridie Dolan February 9th, 1975
Hugh Ferguson February 20th, 1975
Sean Fox February 25th, 1975
Robert Allsopp March 23rd, 1975
Danny Loughran April 6th, 1975
Paul Crawford April 12th, 1975
Liam McMillen April 28th, 1975
Brendan McNamee June 6th, 1975
James Templeton August 29th, 1975
Robert Elliman October 29th, 1975
Thomas Berry October 31st, 1975
Séamus McCusker October 31st, 1975
Kevin McAuley November 6th, 1975
John Kelly November 9th, 1975
John Brown November 11th, 1975
Paul Fox December 1st, 1975
Laura Crawford December 1st, 1975
Ronnie Trainor December 15th, 1975
Rosemary Bleakley January 13th, 1976
James O’Neill February 12th, 1976
Seán Bailey February 13th, 1976
James McGrillen February 15th, 1976
Paul Best February 18th, 1976
Seán McDermott April 5th, 1976
Thomas Kane July 6th, 1976
Gerard Gilmore July 13th, 1976
Danny Lennon August 10th, 1976
Martin McDonagh January 13th, 1976
Colm Mulgrew June 5th, 1976
Frank Fitzsimmons October 16th, 1976
Joseph Surgenor October 16th, 1976
Paul Marlowe October 16th, 1976
Maire Drumm October 28th, 1976
Trevor McKibbin April 17th, 1977
Brendan O’Callaghan April 23rd, 1977
Trevor McNulty July 27th, 1977
Tommy Tolan July 27th, 1977
Paul McWilliams August 9th, 1977
Jackie McMahon January 18th, 1978
Jackie Mailey June 21st, 1978
Denis Brown June 21st, 1978
Jim Mulvenna June 21st, 1978
Laurence Montgomery January 5th, 1979
Frankie Donnelly January 5th, 1979
Billy Carson April 25th, 1979
Joseph McKee June 9th, 1979
Martin McKenna October 23rd, 1979
Kevin Delaney January 17th, 1980
Miriam Daly June 26th, 1980
Terence O’Neill July 1st, 1980
Ronnie Bunting October 15th, 1980
Noel Lyttle October 15th, 1980
Liam Hannaway February 2nd, 1981
James Burns February 23rd, 1981
Bobby Sands May 5th, 1981
Jim Power May 7th, 1981
Emmett McClarnon May 12th, 1981
Joe McDonnell July 8th, 1981
John Dempsey July 8th, 1981
Kieran Doherty August 2nd, 1981
Eamon Kerr March 11th, 1983
Dan Turley June 9th, 1983
David Nocher Octber 29th, 1983
Joe Craven December 5th, 1983
Paul McCann June 15th, 1984
Tony Campbell August 4th, 1985
Tom McGill February 28th, 1986
Jim McKernan September 14th, 1986
Brian Dempsey June 25th, 1986
John O’Reilly January 20th, 1987
Thomas ‘Ta’ Power January 20th, 1987
Mickey Kearney February 18th, 1987
Thomas Maguire March 7th 1987
Gerard Steenson March 15th, 1987
Kevin Barry Duffy March 21st, 1987
Emmanuel Gargan March 21st, 1987
Laurence Marley April 2nd, 1987
Finbarr McKenna May 2nd, 1987
Margaret McArdle June 7th, 1987
Colm Maguire October 10th 1987
James McPhilemy August 10th 1988
Mairéad Farrell March 6th, 1988
Dan McCann March 6th, 1988
Seán Savage March 6th, 1988
Kevin McCracken March 14th, 1988
Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh March 16th, 1988
Brendan Davison July 25th, 1988
Séamus Twomey September 12th, 1989
Seán Bateson June 7th, 1990
Alex Patterson November 12th 1990
Martin ‘Rook’ O’Prey August 16th 1991
Patricia Black November 15th, 1991
Frankie Ryan November 15th, 1991
Proinsias Mac Airt January 8th, 1992
Pat McBride February 4th, 1992
Paddy Loughran February 4th, 1992
Jimmy Brown August 18th, 1992
Conor Maguire April 29th, 1992
Hugh McKibben August 27th, 1992
Pearse Jordan November 25th, 1992
Alan Lundy May 1st, 1993
Thomas Begley October 23rd, 1993
John O’Rawe April 4th, 1994
Gino Gallagher January 30th 1996
John Fennell March 5th, 1996
Dessie McCleery May 25th, 1996
Francis Shannon June 9th, 1996
Jimmy Roe August 12th, 1996
Hugh Torney September 3rd, 1996
Pat McGeown October 1st, 1996
Harry Burns February 3rd, 1999
Patrick Campbell October 10th, 1999
Joseph O’Connor October 13th, 2000
Gregory Fox November 13th, 2012
Tommy Crossan April 18th, 2014
Gerard Davison May 5th, 2015
Kevin McGuigan August 12th, 2015

McArts Fort and Cave Hill Country park, Belfast - geograph.org.uk - 957637

A brief reflection on commemoration, 1916-2016

Commemoration is an act performed by the living for the living. Despite the apparent focal role played by the dead, by definition, being dead, they have no say in how they are remembered or why. It differs from the act of remembering, since remembering is often an unintended, involuntary action prompted by the strength of an emotional legacy of past experiences. Commemoration, then, is really a conscious forcing of memory, using the dead to convey a particular message to the living.

The legacies of a century’s struggle to restore a republic founded on the same principles as 1916 is such that there is no shared physical space that acknowledges all Belfast republicans who have died during that same struggle. Those who proclaimed a republic in 1916 embraced a shared aspirations over their own particular differences. This blog conventionally focuses on the history of Belfast republicanism in the period up to 1970, but in the absence of a shared physical memorial, I have incorporated those named, by various organisations, as having died as a result of their republican activities, into a single list to act as a virtual memorial.

Typically, a list such as this would be described as a ‘roll of honour’, but that would not adequately reflect the complex emotional resonances of incorporating all those named into a single unified list, with its attendant implication that their shared republicanism might transcend other divisions. For that reason, it is, instead, given as a ‘list of the dead’, deliberately opening up a greater range of readings, reflections and ambiguities.

Even such a list, though, is still unsatisfactory. It gives no acknowledgement to the contribution of those many others who gave of themselves, subordinating their own hopes, futures, health and well-being to the pursuit of a republican ideal. To some, the list will be meaningless outside the wider context of the names of all those who died or were injured during a century, and more, of conflict. Within its own terms though, it is intended to be a comprehensive list of Belfast’s republican dead, 1916 to 2016.

The virtual memorial can be viewed here.

Belfast list of republican dead, 1966-2016

This post goes outside the usual pre-1970 timeline for this blog (and will be controversial), but 1970 was unsatisfactory as an end date. Simply put, this is a combined list of Belfast’s republican dead, from 1966 to present, to follow on from the 1916-66 list (names are taken from various online sources, such as An Phoblacht, CAIN and Londain Republican’s blog). All those listed are those who were died during the conflict as a result of their involvement in a republican organisation and are given here without reference to rank, organisation etc.

This is a very rough first draft, I’ll produce an updated version (1916-2016) for Easter Sunday, so please correct any errors (particularly those not from Belfast) or suggest additions. Its not yet in full chronological order, either (so search for a name if you don’t see it), although I’ll correct the chronological order a.s.a.p.

 

Gerald McAuley August 15th, 1969
Liam McParland November 6th, 1969
Jimmy Steele August 9th, 1970
Michael Kane September 4th, 1970
Peter Blake October 27th, 1970
Tom McGoldrick October 27th, 1970
James Saunders February 6th, 1971
Charles Hughes March 8th, 1971
Tony Henderson April 4th, 1971
Billy Reid May 15th, 1971
Patrick McAdorey August 9th, 1971
Séamus Simpson August 11th, 1971
Rose Curry September 23rd 1971
Gerard O’Hare September 23rd 1971
Terence McDermott October 2nd, 1971
Dorothy Maguire October 23rd, 1971
Maura Meehan October 23rd, 1971
Martin Forsythe October 24th, 1971
Tony Nolan December 8th, 1971
Gerald McDade December 21st, 1971
Danny O’Neill January 7th, 1972
Michael Sloan January 11th, 1972
Eamon McCormick January 16th, 1972
Gerry Donaghy January 30th, 1972
Joseph Cunningham February 10th, 1972
David McAuley February 19th, 1972
Gerard Bell February 21st, 1972
Gerard Steele February 21st, 1972
Robert Dorrian February 21st, 1972
Joseph Magee February 21st, 1972
Albert Kavanagh March 4th, 1972
Gerard Crossan March 9th, 1972
Tony Lewis March 9th, 1972
Seán Johnston March 9th, 1972
Tom McCann March 9th, 1972
Seán O’Riordan March 23rd, 1972
Patrick Campbell March 25th, 1972
Samuel Hughes April 7th, 1972
Charles McCrystal April 7th, 1972
John McErlean April 7th, 1972
Joe McCann April 15th 1972
Michael Magee May 13th, 1972
Edward McDonnell May 28th, 1972
Jackie McIlhone May 28th, 1972
Joseph Fitzsimmons May 28th, 1972
Martin Engelen May 28th, 1972
Joseph Campbell June 11th, 1972
Tony Jordan June 28th, 1972
John Finucane June 28th, 1972
David McCafferty July 9th 1972
Gerard Gibson July 11th 1972
Edward Brady July 14th 1972
Louis Scullion July 14th, 1972
James Reid July 15th, 1972
John Dougal July 9th, 1972
Tobias Molloy July 16th, 1972
Joseph Downey July 21st, 1972
Séamus Cassidy July 28th, 1972
Robert McCrudden August 3rd, 1972
Michael Clarke August 11th, 1972
Anne Parker August 11th, 1972
Joseph McComiskey September 20th, 1972
Jimmy Quigley September 29th, 1972
Patricia McKay September 30th 1972
Daniel McAreavey October 6th, 1972
Patrick Maguire October 10th, 1972
John Donaghy October 10th, 1972
Joseph McKinney October 10th, 1972
Stan Carberry November 13th, 1972
Bernard Fox December 4th, 1972
Seán Hughes December 4th, 1972
Francis Liggett January 18th, 1973
James Sloan February 3rd, 1973
Tony Campbell February 4th, 1973
James McCann February 4th, 1973
Patrick McCabe March 27th, 1973
Edward O’Rawe April 12th, 1973
Robert Millen April 14th, 1973
Brian Smyth April 17th, 1973
Joseph McKenna May 16th, 1973
Seán McKee May 18th, 1973
Patrick Bracken July 6th, 1973
Francis Hall August 30th, 1973
Patrick Mulvenna August 31st, 1973
Anne Marie Petticrew September 1st, 1973
James Bryson September 22nd, 1973
Michael Marley November 24th, 1973
Daniel Burke April 9th, 1974
Frederick Leonard May 7th, 1974
Martin Skillen August 3rd, 1974
Patrick McGreevy September 18th, 1974
Gerard Fennell November 8th, 1974
John Rooney November 15th, 1974
John Kelly January 21st, 1975
John Stone January 21st, 1975
Bridie Dolan February 9th, 1975
Hugh Ferguson February 20th, 1975
Sean Fox February 25th, 1975
Robert Allsopp March 23rd, 1975
Danny Loughran April 6th, 1975
Paul Crawford April 12th, 1975
Liam McMillen April 28th, 1975
Brendan McNamee June 6th, 1975
James Templeton August 29th, 1975
Robert Elliman October 29th, 1975
Thomas Berry October 31st, 1975
Séamus McCusker October 31st, 1975
Kevin McAuley November 6th, 1975
John Kelly November 9th, 1975
John Brown November 11th, 1975
Paul Fox December 1st, 1975
Laura Crawford December 1st, 1975
Ronnie Trainor December 15th, 1975
Rosemary Bleakley January 13th, 1976
James O’Neill February 12th, 1976
Seán Bailey February 13th, 1976
James McGrillen February 15th, 1976
Paul Best February 18th, 1976
Seán McDermott April 5th, 1976
Thomas Kane July 6th, 1976
Gerard Gilmore July 13th, 1976
Danny Lennon August 10th, 1976
Martin McDonagh January 13th, 1976
Colm Mulgrew June 5th, 1976
Frank Fitzsimmons October 16th, 1976
Joseph Surgenor October 16th, 1976
Paul Marlowe October 16th, 1976
Maire Drumm October 28th, 1976
Trevor McKibbin April 17th, 1977
Brendan O’Callaghan April 23rd, 1977
Trevor McNulty July 27th, 1977
Tommy Tolan July 27th, 1977
Paul McWilliams August 9th, 1977
Jackie McMahon January 18th, 1978
Jackie Mailey June 21st, 1978
Denis Brown June 21st, 1978
Jim Mulvenna June 21st, 1978
Laurence Montgomery January 5th, 1979
Frankie Donnelly January 5th, 1979
Billy Carson April 25th, 1979
Joseph McKee June 9th, 1979
Martin McKenna October 23rd, 1979
Kevin Delaney January 17th, 1980
Miriam Daly June 26th, 1980
Terence O’Neill July 1st, 1980
Ronnie Bunting October 15th, 1980
Noel Lyttle October 15th, 1980
Liam Hannaway February 2nd, 1981
James Burns February 23rd, 1981
Bobby Sands May 5th, 1981
Jim Power May 7th, 1981
Emmett McClarnon May 12th, 1981
Joe McDonnell July 8th, 1981
John Dempsey July 8th, 1981
Kieran Doherty August 2nd, 1981
Dan Turley June 9th, 1983
David Nocher Octber 29th, 1983
Joe Craven December 5th, 1983
Paul McCann June 15th, 1984
Tony Campbell August 4th, 1985
Tom McGill February 28th, 1986
Jim McKernan September 14th, 1986
Brian Dempsey June 25th, 1986
John O’Reilly January 20th, 1987
Thomas ‘Ta’ Power January 20th, 1987
Mickey Kearney February 18th, 1987
Thomas Maguire March 7th 1987
Gerard Steenson March 15th, 1987
Kevin Barry Duffy March 21st, 1987
Emmanuel Gargan March 21st, 1987
Laurence Marley April 2nd, 1987
Finbarr McKenna May 2nd, 1987
Margaret McArdle June 7th, 1987
Colm Maguire October 10th 1987
James McPhilemy August 10th 1988
Mairéad Farrell March 6th, 1988
Dan McCann March 6th, 1988
Seán Savage March 6th, 1988
Kevin McCracken March 14th, 1988
Caoimhín Mac Brádaigh March 16th, 1988
Brendan Davison July 25th, 1988
Séamus Twomey September 12th, 1989
Seán Bateson June 7th, 1990
Alex Patterson November 12th 1990
Martin ‘Rook’ O’Prey August 16th 1991
Patricia Black November 15th, 1991
Frankie Ryan November 15th, 1991
Proinsias Mac Airt January 8th, 1992
Pat McBride February 4th, 1992
Paddy Loughran February 4th, 1992
Jimmy Brown August 18th, 1992
Conor Maguire April 29th, 1992
Hugh McKibben August 27th, 1992
Pearse Jordan November 25th, 1992
Alan Lundy May 1st, 1993
Thomas Begley October 23rd, 1993
John O’Rawe April 4th, 1994
Gino Gallagher January 30th 1996
John Fennell March 5th, 1996
Dessie McCleery May 25th, 1996
Francis Shannon June 9th, 1996
Jimmy Roe August 12th, 1996
Hugh Torney September 3rd, 1996
Pat McGeown October 1st, 1996
Harry Burns February 3rd, 1999
Patrick Campbell October 10th, 1999
Joseph O’Connor October 13th, 2000
Tommy Crossan April 18th, 2014
Gerard Davison May 5th, 2015
Kevin McGuigan August 12th, 2015