The earlier prehistory of the civil rights campaign: more IRA than NICRA?

Far from dismissing the involvement of the IRA and Sinn Féin in the formation of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) in 1967, is it time to acknowledge, instead, that it drew its roots and methods more from prisoner release organisations of 1960-62 than any of the individuals and organisation that subsequently coalesced withContinue reading “The earlier prehistory of the civil rights campaign: more IRA than NICRA?”

Joint IRA and British Army barricades, Belfast, 1969

For a period of time in September 1969, barricades in many Belfast districts were effectively guarded jointly by the British Army and IRA, under the guise of the local Citizen’s Defence Committees (CDC). The Central CDC in Belfast was chaired by Jim Sullivan who was also acting O/C of the IRA’s Belfast Battalion. The BelfastContinue reading “Joint IRA and British Army barricades, Belfast, 1969”

Hundreds of pets killed in sectarian attack – Belfast, 1969

From The Irish Press, Tuesday 16th September, 1969: “The threat to the owner of a pet shop that his premises would be burned out if he did not sack his Catholic manager was carried out yesterday morning. More than 100 birds, 170 mice, 20 parrots, 20 hamsters and scores of tropical fish died in theContinue reading “Hundreds of pets killed in sectarian attack – Belfast, 1969”

The Manchester Martyrs centenary and echoes of the 1969 split in the IRA

Up to the Easter Rising, one of the key annual events in the republican calendar was the commemoration of the ‘Manchester Martyrs’, William Philip Allen, Michael Larkin, and Michael O’Brien, the IRB members who were publicly hanged in front of a crowd of 8-10,000 outside Salford Gaol on 23rd November 1867. They were hung for theContinue reading “The Manchester Martyrs centenary and echoes of the 1969 split in the IRA”

Belfast IRA commandants from 1916 to 1969

Previously, I’d published a chronology of the Belfast IRA commandants from 1924 to 1969, including some revisions and a look at gaps in the list. As more files, mainly pension applications, have been released by the Military Archives in Dublin, it has been possible to put together a picture from the Easter Rising in 1916Continue reading “Belfast IRA commandants from 1916 to 1969”

Hugh McAteer centenary

This year is the centenary of the birth of the former IRA Chief of Staff Hugh McAteer. To mark it, I’ve put together various pieces about McAteer, including a lengthy memoir he published in instalments in The Sunday Independent in 1951. You can read it here: https://issuu.com/jjconeill/docs/hugh_mcateer_the_escape  

Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla

This is the text of the Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla as circulated by a Brazilian radical, Carlos Marighella, in 1969. It is reputedly based, in part, on his analysis of IRA tactics in 1919-21. Many on the left, in particular, believed that the model applied and promoted with some success by Mao, Guevara andContinue reading “Minimanual of the Urban Guerrilla”

Interview with Ivor Bell

Interesting interview with Ivor Bell (pictured below) about 1969-70, with reference to strategy, particularly in Belfast where he was Brigade Adjutant. Much of the analysis offered for this period is based on journalistic opinion, often heavily influenced security briefings. While Frank Kitson has become a bit of a bogeyman in writing the history of theContinue reading “Interview with Ivor Bell”

A brief history of Cumann na mBan in Belfast from the 1920s to 1960s

This is a short history of Cumann na mBan in Belfast from the end of the civil war through to the 1960s. Obviously, anyone with information that enhances the story or adds further details is more than welcome to share it in the comments section. Jack McNally (in his 1989 autobiography, Morally Good, But Politically Bad)Continue reading “A brief history of Cumann na mBan in Belfast from the 1920s to 1960s”

List of commandants of Belfast IRA, 1924-1969 (updated)

The following is an updated version of the previously posted list of officers commanding the IRA’s Belfast battalion (the name normally given to its structures in the city for most of this time) from 1924 to 1969. The list is based on a variety of sources. Despite the revisions and corrections there are still gapsContinue reading “List of commandants of Belfast IRA, 1924-1969 (updated)”