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Last Updated  12/30/2017

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As dark clouds rumbled, wondered I:
How come this grumble from the sky?
The dark clouds clashed and tore asunder,
This very sky that we stood under!
Cold and dark was that Christmas day,
In that awful, blustery, wintery way ;
And hot air and sunshine thought it wise,
To take their peaceful clouds and rise...

(('adjusted' from Kathleen's original, here.)

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Sinn Fein denies Gerry Adams ‘set up’ IRA Loughgall ambush
State Papers 1987: Sinn Féin president was accused of being behind the killings
Peter Murtagh, Ed Carty  ----  Irish Times, Friday Dec. 29, 2017

Féin president Gerry Adams was rumoured to have set up a notorious IRA gang for ambush by the SAS as they tried to blow up a police station in May 1987, previously secret files have revealed.
A Sinn Féin spokesman on Friday dismissed the claim as ‘utter nonsense’.
Eight members of the Provisional’s East Tyrone Brigade were shot dead after they loaded a 200lb bomb onto a stolen digger and smashed through the gates of the RUC barracks in Loughgall, Co Armagh.
British Army special forces were lying in wait and killed them all, along with innocent bystander Anthony Hughes.
Declassified documents released through the National Archives in Dublin revealed that ballistic tests on weapons found on the dead were used in 40-50 murders, including every republican killing in Fermanagh and Tyrone in 1987.
Three civilian contractors had been murdered in the counties that year along with officers in the RUC and British Army’s Ulster Defence Regiment.
The rumour about Mr Adams was passed on to the Department of Foreign Affairs by the highly respected Fr Denis Faul about three months after the Loughgall operation.


Surge in support for Irish unity
41% Britons favour united Ireland; Only 26% want Ulster in UK

Special report: Northern Ireland  ---  Guardian Newspaper 2001

A verdict to strike a chill through Ulster unionism comes in today's Guardian/ ICM poll, which finds more Britons think Northern Ireland should be part of a united Ireland than believe it belongs in the United Kingdom.
In a finding that hits at the very heart of unionist ideology - which regards the province as an integral part of the UK - 41% of Britons believe Northern Ireland should be joined with the Irish republic while only 26% say it should continue as part of the UK.
For unionists, many of whom consider themselves British and refer to Britain as "the mainland", today's findings amount to a cold shoulder from their fellow citizens. Only one in four wants the province to stay part of the country.
Nationalists and republicans are bound to seize on the results as evidence that Britons are ready to let Northern Ireland go. The cherished goal of both movements remains a united Ireland.


Comóradh An Chéad Dáil Éireann, Faisnéis Neamhspleadhchuis

January 21 1919

It was 98 years ago this month that the Irish National Assembly, Dáil Éireann met for the first time and declared Irish Independence.
This followed the watershed General Election of December 1918, the first held that gave women limited franchise. That election gave supporters of Irish Independence overwhelming victory at the polls. Invitations were sent to all elected members for the 32 counties of Ireland and at that first session, Dáil Éireann pledged to adhere the principles of Liberty, Equality and Justice for all the people of Ireland and to follow the mandate of the 1916 Proclamation to "cherish all the children of the nation equally." The first member of a national assembly in Western Europe, Countess Markievicz, was elected and served in the Cabinet of that first democratically elected Irish Government. Women were present and active in all aspects of the national movement for freedom. The British "banned" the democratically elected Government of Ireland, thus ensuring decades of conflict. And the truncated Free State government set up at the British insistence betrayed the sacrifices made by the women of Ireland in the struggle for freedom by restricting their rights as soon as the Free State took power.
Especially at this time in our history, when we see greed, bigotry , self interest and sexism in the ascendancy, we pay tribute to those brave men and women who selflessly sacrificed so much to establish and to defend the Irish Republic, and pledge ourselves to Eire Nua, a vision of an All Ireland Republic that honors and respects the rights and dignity all its citizens, men and women, and those of all background and faiths .

Contributor:  Tomas Abernethy

Republican Gabriel Mackle POW

“There has been a sinister development in the treatment of interned Republican Gabriel Mackle and the regime at Maghaberry prison is now subjecting him to treatment which is tantamount to psychological torture. The British state, not content with the internment of Gabriel have now moved to direct its staff at Maghaberry concentration camp, to degrade, humiliate and breakdown Gabriel. This is nothing new, he has faced it down before and will do so until his unjust imprisonment is overturned. Gabriel has been denied all access to mail, letters and cards from family and friends.  He is routinely refused contact via the phone by the vindictive screws and now is having his family visits disrupted and cancelled a few moments after they have started.

 Gabriel’s partner Joanne visited him this morning (November 26) accompanied by two friends, for one of the friends it was the first time they have ever attended a visit and as such were unaware of the ridiculous rules imposed upon visiting family and friends. She had purchased a coffee at the shop but it being too hot to drink she took the lid off the cup to let it cool, immediately the table was surrounded by screws who told Gabriel to get up, that his visit was cancelled. Despite pleas from Joanne, Gabriel was dragged out of the visiting room. This is could have simply been rectified with a request to place the lid back onto the cup, but instead the brutish screws, with an authority complex moved in, with their usual heavy handed response. Joanne attempted to lodge a complaint with the ‘family’ officer, who refused to take it, instead telling her to place it in writing, and the ‘family’ officer even refused to allocate another visit.

 The entire episode was clearly orchestrated, waiting and seizing upon the opportunity to strike at an innocent man and his family. In the prison’s own rulebook, rule 67 which was revised to comply with the Human Rights Act 1998, (HRA) states that restrictions on communications can only be applied with the guidance of the HRA. To date Gabriel has not been informed of his communications being under rule 67, he is simply being denied access to it, perhaps getting a phone call home once a week. The jail administration, which is under the guidance of MI5 are only interested in destroying families and persecuting a man who stands without charge or trial and are content not only to imprison Gabriel by his family also.

In an attempt to deny his right to political status, Gabriel has been isolated by the administration still refusing to locate him on the political landings of Roe house and keeping him in Bann House. This poses a serious risk to his personal safety from Loyalists and criminal elements. It is a clear attempt to deny Gabriel his right to political status. It is the same psychological torture which is still being inflicted upon republican prisoners as a whole.”