History repeating: Brookeborough and Crossmaglen

Today I am sure there will be commemorations by republicans (presumably dissident and otherwise) of the IRA raid on Brookeborough on New Year’s Day 1957. Whilst there was a major commemoration in 2007 (the fiftieth anniversary, covered by Miss Fitz) it seems to be a tradition to mark this attack. To many republicans the attackers of Brookeborough RUC station are heroes; helped no doubt by the famous songs about Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon who were left dead or dying at Moane’s Cross, the fairly desolate area (the more so at this time of year) at the foot of the Slieve Beagh mountains, whilst their comrades fled following the attack. Unionists have never made that much of the story. However, it is worth noting that the one sergeant and two constables in Brookebourough RUC station were going about their normal lawful business when they were attacked without warning by terrorists. Outnumbered almost 5 to 1, taken by surprise and faced with men equipped with a machine gun, they still managed to beat off the attackers. If republicans wish to celebrate the heroes of this raid there are three unsung police officers who deserve recognition.

I have mentioned this episode previously and suggested that the dissident attacks we are seeing now are in some ways like those of the IRA border campaign, an idea which is echoed in reviews of the latest book on the Border Campaign (Barry Flynn’s Soldiers of Folly). I still fail to understand how Sinn Fein draw a distinction between the current campaign and that of the IRA of the Border campaign. Indeed the latest attack this time on Crossmaglen police station has a certain resonance; Sinn Fein’s response if (and probably when) some of the current terrorists meet South or O’Hanlon’s fate will be interesting.

  • pinni

    Turgon, what are the names of the 3 police officers?

    Maybe we should be celebrating the heroism and patriotism of these men, which, ultimately, culminated in the recognition by IRA/SF that they could not force the people of NI into a united Ireland.

  • wje

    “Our pen is the Sword, Our voice is the cannon”

    So says the song…….

  • padraig

    Happily the Nationalist community here regard the RUC as brutal, cowardly, terrorists and the IRA as the heroes.

    Currently the Nationalist community is in the minority but is rapidly overtaking the Unionist community at a rate of one quarter per cent a year.

    That in a phrase that Ian Paisley Junior if fond of constantly using , ‘Is the reality of the situation@.

    So, thankfully when we are finally in a United Ireland cowardly terrorists will be as distant and horrible a memory as the Waffen SS is now.

  • Scaramoosh

    There is a better way;

  • padraig

    By the way a little birdie landed on my shoulder and told me all the so called ‘dissident’ groups will be calling a permanent ceasefire early in the New Year.

    Very wise of them.

  • Turgon

    Yes of course you are right. The heroic preplanned (albeit very badly preplanned) surprise attack by 14 men with bombs and a machine gun on three men who had no warning, and were probably planning nothing other than going home. The three men, however, managed to find some weapons and beat off those who intended their murder.

    Now whom do you regard as the brutal cowardly terrorists?

    Incidentally re the SS, I presume you are comparing them to the RUC. Remind me when did the RUC set up gas chambers? That falls foul of Godwin’s Law pretty comprehensively.

  • padraig


    Very many,otherwise sensible German citizens look back with an equal degree of fondness on the eichen gruppen ss and regard them as heroes too.

    Many, otherwise sensible Russian citizens still regard the KGB, the NKVD as the best thing since sliced bread.

    Many American think the stars shine out of the backside of the KlU Klux Klan.

    So you are not alone in your delusional state..

  • Turgon

    As I said remind me of the RUC gas chambers?

    You clearly did not read the link to Godwin’s law. Here is one part of it:

    “For example, there is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically “lost” whatever debate was in progress.”

  • padraig

    Well if ‘Godwin’ says it as a ‘law’ I guess I’ll just have to go somewhere and cry, for that’s me beat, Turgon.

    In either case Her Brittanic Majesty’s Government had the last say on the RUC terrrist outfit. She and her Ministers dumped them at the first chance they got. As she dumped the other terrorist groupings such as the ‘B’ Specials, the UDR. et al. Bless her.

    I have always had a fondness for Elizabeth Windsor, bless ‘er. Consigning those black thugs to the dustbin of history was a great move on her part.

  • willis

    “I still fail to understand how Sinn Fein draw a distinction between the current campaign and that of the IRA of the Border campaign.”


    You are a bright lad. It is not difficult. The IRA expected De Valera to be softer on his old comraes than Fine Gael had been. Big mistake. Dev went in had and stopped the campaign in its tracks.

    The Unionist Govt showed their appreciation by doing nothing except letting things in the North fester for another 10 Years, which provided the fertile soil for Sinn Fein.

    Just tell me how many SF ministers there were in 1964 to celebrate the end of the campaign?

  • Turgon

    Okay remind me the RUC gas chambers?

    Yes you are beaten but that is by the contradictions in your own idiotic statements.
    Incidentally do you regard the IRA as heroes or terrorists?

  • Willis,

    Given how many IRA members had been executed by Dev long before the Border Campaign, I doubt that those involved expected anything but the harshest treatment from him.

    The Border Campaign was a mistake, and the result of a small group of people wrongly thinking they had the right to declare war on behalf of the entire Irish people, but I’d be loathe to describe an open attack on a base like this as terrorism akin to that which we saw during the Troubles.

    As for padraig’s statement that the majority of nationalists regard the Provisionals as heroes. Well that’s just not true, as is clear from the voting patterns for the Provos while engaged in violence and after they stopped.

  • padraig

    Well Turgon since you are telling stories about old times I’d like to share a true story of my very own.

    During the First World War my two grand uncles fought at the Battle of the Somme in the British army. One of them became expert in using a Lewis machine gun and they were awarded several medals by a grateful nation for their courage.

    They returned home were the War of Independence was in full flow and joined the North Monaghan IRA Flying Column were they fought with equally great distinction. I have an old photo on the wall of them standing with their comrade with their IRA medals displayed, very proudly on their chests.

    Anyhow, just after the Protestant State for a Protestant people was set up on the 11 February 1922, a train load of B Specials set out from Fermanagh travelling to Armagh City. Happily a local signal man who happened to be an IRA voluteer detoured the train load of ‘B’ men to Clones were the local IRA Flying Column waitied in ambush {my two uncles also with their Lewis Gun.

    When the ‘B’ men got of the train {under the happy misapprehension they were in Armagh} my uncle and comrades opened up on them.

    Now the point of this story; which I never tired of hearing from my uncles, bless them as a child, was of the dreadful cowardice shown by the ‘B’ men on this occasion , one of them running, for instance crying down the main street of Clones for his mammy.

    Just something I would share with you, Turgon.

    You know….we all have happy tales to tell.

    Inicidentally four ‘B’ men got sent to the big Orange Lodge in the sky that day, my grand uncles helping them on their way with the Lewis Gun.

    Happy memories.

  • padraig

    Anyhow Turgon I will say this.

    In my experience may members of the RUC fought with great courage, distinction and gallantry. Many did not.

    In my experience many Volunteers fought with distinction ,great courage and gallantry. Many did not.

    But on this matter of courage I will say something I have observed. The people, on both sides who talk ,as you do, Turgon, of the ‘cowardice’ of the enemy are the very ones who have never been into battle with the enemy themselves. I include both Unionists and so called Republicans in this.

    Talking of the ‘cowardice’ of the enemy in the casual way you do, is the mark of someone who simply does not know what they are talking about.

    Someone who is in fact a victim of his own sides propaganda.

  • Blair


    Strange that despite their ‘dreadful cowardice’ they managed to shoot dead the commander of that IRA unit. Not bad for part timers who had been lured into an ambush and were caught in wooden rail carriages under heavy machine gun fire.

    But let us not get carried away with ‘whatabout Clones’. Let us concentrate on Brookborough.

    The IRA Pulled up outside the police station in a tipper truck and opened fire on the station. Mr South threw a grenade at it which happily bounced back into the back of the lorry and exploded. This along woith the ricochets from their own bullets and the concentrated Sten gun fire of the RUC Sergeant caused the tipper truck to, er tip up.

    So the IRA were forced to retreat in a tipper truck which was tipped up and could only manage first gear with bullets from a mere 9MM Sten gun sending them on their merry way.

    To compound their night of incompetence and cowardice they then dumped their two wounded friends and skipped off over the border.

    Happy memories indeed.

  • Blair

    “Talking of the ‘cowardice’ of the enemy in the casual way you do, is the mark of someone who simply does not know what they are talking about.”


    Hoist by your own petard matey.

  • padraig

    Blair you may need a sight test, , reread my post in which I said,

    [b]’In my experience many members of the RUC fought with great courage, distinction and gallantry.'[/b]

    Sadly propaganda victim fireside Unionists like yourself and Turgon could never reach this point of inner honesty to admit this. It would choke you both to do so. This is what comes of sitting at the fireside, reading the Belfast Telegraph and actually believing the crap written there.

    Now , Blair see, if you can read the following:


    W C

    Thought so.

    Specs avers are doing a special New Year deal my old matey.

  • Blair

    ‘In my experience many members of the RUC fought with great courage, distinction and gallantry.’


    Admit it? I fully agree with it. Though the em you need is ‘served’ rather than ‘fought’. Small scale terrorist incursions are not wars.

  • padraig

    In my view the mark of a mind, a real thinking mind, is that it jumps the borders of propaganda and hate.

    The mark of limited mind, a child’s mind, is that it is doomed to roam forever in endless circles regurgitating its own tired slogans.

    Those who to not learn the lessons of history are doomed forever to repeat the mistakes of the past.

  • padraig

    You not only require new spectacles , Blair.

    You require a new brain.

    Or a new heart.

  • Turgon

    “Talking of the ‘cowardice’ of the enemy in the casual way you do, is the mark of someone who simply does not know what they are talking about.”

    I have not actually used the word coward or cowardice at all which somewhat invalidates your point. In addition I am unclear if you are speaking from experience of how heroic you would be if fired at (I do not pretend any heroism).

    However, I do call the attack on Brookeborough cowardly as Blair and I have explained it was a no warning attack by terrorists with superior numbers, weapons and the element of surprise on people who were not soldiers fighting a war but village policemen. As to the events in Clones of which you speak: again another ambush of men ill prpeared who were not intending to have to fight. Again seemingly they managed to fight back.

    However, let us bring it back to now. Padraig do you think the IRA of the recent troubles were heroes? I may disagree with Garibaldy on the Border Campaign being terrorism but to be fair at least South (and it seems your relaties for that matter) did not kidnap, torture, murder and secretly bury people. Nor do they seem to have gunned down or blown up workmen on the way home in minibuses; people in church; firebombed dog clubs, blown up war memorials etc. All those seem pretty cowardly acts do you not agree?

    Can you jump that border of propoganda and hate?

    Whatever about the Border Campaign there is no way the terrorists of the Troubles can be called anything but cowardly murderers (see above).

    You are of course correct about the difference. We now have SF ministers. However, one wonders if that was what McGuinness and his colleagues told their supporters was the reason for the IRA campaign. I wonder if he sent word to the “volunteers” that the murders in Claudy would bring about his ministership? I wonder if Adams told Bobby Sands and the others that their painful suicide would bring about his political career?

    I know you are no supporter of the IRA or SF but it is interesting isn’t it that what you have identified is the real difference. Gerry, Martin and co are happy because they have what they always wanted: power. The fact that they climbed over the bodies of more than 2,000 people here including their own supporters to achieve it is of little concern to them.

  • scruff

    I would have serious reservations about the mental stability of Seán South. On the other hand, his brother in Limerick went on to do some magnificent work for special needs children.

  • Blair


    Indeed the cowardice theme was introduced by the great thinking mind of Padraig. 🙂

  • padraig


    You sound like an editorial from the Belfast Telegraph back in 1972.

    Propaganda works like this. You demonise the enemy and seeing him as cowardly, brutish, ammoral , sub human .

    In order to understand things truly we have to jump the walls of our ‘sides’ slanted take up on things.

    I had some interesting conversations with RUC and British Army Officers during the war here in which they had the common sense to recognise the courage and ability of what was generally felt to be the most able Urban Guerilla Army in the world.

    On one occasion, during the first ceasefire, when Gerry A et al were over in Downing Street I met a British Army Colnel and we had the most interesting chat.

    He asked me what I thought Unionist terrorists would do when the Britsh pulled out (at that time the British Commanders thought the plug was about to be pulled.

    I said I expected that Unionist terrorists such as the RUC would attck Catholic areas, especially soft targets such as schools.

    He shook his head and this is what he said,

    ‘You peoplew ere well able for us. You will have no trouble in handling that rabble’.

    I rest my case.

  • scruff

    Pádraig , that’s entertaining fiction on a cold day !

  • padraig

    Of course it is.,cruff

    I would suppose for you anything you don’t like hearing is ‘fiction’

    That’s all right. There, there now.

    Padraig was making it up. Sorry for disturbing you.

  • heamaisbharney

    “…but it is interesting isn’t it that what you have identified is the real difference. Gerry, Martin and co are happy because they have what they always wanted: power. The fact that they climbed over the bodies of more than 2,000 people here including their own supporters to achieve it is of little concern to them.” Turgon.

    As a republican I take no pleasure in saying that you are correct in this. S.F. members and IRA volunteers were told often that they were after nothing less than a British declaration of withdrawal and that any kind of revamped or redesigned partition was unacceptable except under the terms of a stated timetable for Irish unification.

  • padraig

    Well this has been entertaining, if nothing else. Now I must take the dog for a walk.

    Thanks for the fun.


  • padraig

    I have my own dark thoughts about Gerry A and the Marty buy Hearmais;

    But I don’t want to knock Turgon of his thread.

    You’re a fine writer by the Way ,Turgon. I enjoy your stuff.

    But, now, I really must goooooooooooooo

  • Turgon,

    I have to admit this is the first time I have heard of Godwin’s law. I have followed up your references to it. What is being referred to here is a so-called “tactic” used by commenters to kill an argument because the commenter will not meet the issue on the basis of reasoned argument.

    This tactic is not really a tactic at all because in most cases, the commenter is not conscious of it. I believe it is driven by a person’s personality and their prejudices and sometimes aggravated by a lack of intellect in some of those people. I notice it not just in comments but in casual conversations. It is very irritating if you are on the receiving end of them.

    In Northern Ireland, where sectarianism is rife, you will usually see a sectarian comment as a “conversation killer” without any need for a reference to Nazism. In Padraig’s case, you have both.

    Padraigs comments are raw lop-sided sectarianism.

    However, you will always attract this kind of comment if you massage a sensitive sectarian point. By drawing attention to a hero from the RUC you have done that very successfully.

    The trouble with making a reference to an RUC hero is that you also remind people that sectarianism was rife amongst many members of that organisation. That led to unprofessional behaviour which was often illegal (sometimes criminal) and many people (often innoncent) suffered injustice.

    Maybe it would be helpful if more unionists acknowledged this side of the RUC’s history

  • Blair

    “Propaganda works like this. You demonise the enemy and seeing him as cowardly, brutish, ammoral , sub human .”


    I see that you are familiar with the Green Book. “Captain Nervewreck etc”

    “On one occasion, during the first ceasefire, when Gerry A et al were over in Downing Street I met a British Army Colnel and we had the most interesting chat.

    He asked me what I thought Unionist terrorists would do when the Britsh pulled out (at that time the British Commanders thought the plug was about to be pulled.

    I said I expected that Unionist terrorists such as the RUC would attck Catholic areas, especially soft targets such as schools.

    He shook his head and this is what he said,

    ‘You peoplew ere well able for us. You will have no trouble in handling that rabble’.

    I rest my case.”


  • “Maybe it would be helpful if more unionists acknowledged this side of the RUC’s history”

    No, much easier just to change the name 😉

  • regimental 1912

    Padraig my dear delusioned supporter of cowards,I must take from you’r comments that it was a war that you’r scum were engaged in,this being the case you must then agree that the cowardly Pira di in fact surrender as they handed in their weapons to their opponents.To help you understand the reasoning of GA to call a ceasfire,he was in fact pushed into it by FEAR,Mr Adair took the fight to the doors of the bold Mr Adams constituancy and had them living in total fear awiting the next knock on the door,if you are so well informed you will also know that the country boys were 100% against any ceasefire but the bold Gerry was shitting himself,why I do not know as he was not a member of the provies,oops there is another pig flying by.As for the scum being hero’s,the many murders of innocent women and children not to mention being responsible for more deaths of their own community than all the rest combined ays it all,on the poosibilty of a United Ireland I take it from you’r support of the provies campaign you have no problem saluting any members of the P.U.L. community who do likewise.May I ask you what has been gained by the murderous campaign that could not have been gained though politics.I also find it very amusing that the vast vast majority of you’r celebrations are actually remembering defeat.I can assure you that we have not gone away.

  • Alias

    “Propaganda works like this. You demonise the enemy and seeing him as cowardly, brutish, ammoral , sub human .” – padraig

    To a degree, but that demonization of a nation within a state also served as the basis for its rehabilitation within the consolidated state and as the basis for that consolidation.

    The demonised group was led to see the problem as its disenfranchisement from administrative power within that state rather than sovereignty over the state by another nation, and was then be led to see the solution to that reconfigured problem as the granting of parity of esteem between the two main nations within that state rather than the original solution of the attainment of the right to national self-determination for the disenfranchised nation.

    In this way, it is presented that the attainment of administrative power within the state by the formerly disenfranchised nation was a great victory for that nation rather than, when it involved the formal renunciation of its former claim to national self-determination and repudiation of its right to live within an Irish nation-state, a great defeat for it. The actual victory is with the nation that had its formerly disputed claim to the formerly disputed territory validated, and the actual defeat is with those who were led to invalidate their own claim.

    Likewise, the British state has secured a formal declaration from the formerly disenfranchised nation within its legitimised territory and from the state that made a constitutional claim to that territory that sovereignty properly belongs to it and not to them. That, of course, was the declaration that it demanded from both parties since partition.

    The payoff for the Shinners in facilitating this formal renunciation of historical claims and rights by nation who support it, and its substitution by the new claim to parity of esteem, is that it was able to present its own advancement within the consolidated British state as an advancement of its supporters interests rather than a simple advancement of its own contrasting set of interests. In that way, the advancement of the Shinners interests is seen as an advancement of its supporter’s interests even though it came at the direct expense of those interests.

    You can observe the same propaganda in practice to a lesser degree in the matter of how to secure support for the security forces of the British state from those who formerly withheld that support for ideological reasons. The formerly disenfranchised nation will see that the other nation does not think it worthy of ‘parity of esteem’ in regard to sharing administrative power over policing and justice policy and was also led to believe that mysterious ‘securocrats’ also did not think them worthy of such parity within and accordingly conspired to frustrate it, so in this way this demand for ‘parity’ can be substituted for the former ideological demand that they should not be policed by “Her Majesty’s forces of occupation.” The call for an end to British occupation and to British policing is now substituted for a new demand for the transfer of administrative power over reformed British policing within the consolidated British state.

    “Currently the Nationalist community is in the minority but is rapidly overtaking the Unionist community at a rate of one quarter per cent a year.” – padraig

    While the Catholic community may be out-breeding the Protestant community, the nationalist community is most definitely not out-breeding the unionist community. Accepting the legitimacy of the constitutional status quo and acting to improve it is not a process that was designed to increase the desire to alter it but, rather obviously, was designed to produce the opposite outcome. The mandarins of the British state are many moves ahead of a bunch of naive and self-serving taigs led by touts. 😉

  • padraig

    I see this thread is degenerating into name calling. Fair enough if people are happy enough to get into the gutter , I have no intention of climbing in there with them. If there is raw sectarianism coming from anywhere it is not from me.

    I don’t suppose it would be too good to side line Turgons thread but on the question of why this little Protestant six county statelet is doomed to go the way of other neo colonial powers like Zimbabwe and South Africa.

    First, simply go and look at the census figures over say the last 50 years. I am not going to quote from them just go take a cold hard look at them.

    Secondly the young Protestant middle classes go to college in Blighty and most of them never return. Again cold hard fact. The main reason why ,some commentators say the Yanks lost the Vietnam War of Aggression was the middle class did not want to fight. Well the young Protestant middle classes are voting here with their feet in the same way.

    The second reason is that the Protestant population here is rapidly moving back to the old Plantation areas such as South Antrim , North Down and North Derry. The wagons are being circled and the cities such as Belfast and Derry are becoming more and more Catholic with each passing day.

    A third reason is that Unionism is fragmenting more and more with each passing day. Turgon ,you yourself are a prime example of it. You are, effectively tearing your own house round your head from with. I think it was Craigavon who said that the day Unionist turned on Unionist would be the day this Protestant state would fall.

    A fourth reason is that Unionists with each passing year have less and less in common with Blighty, nor Blighty with them. Unionists here have as much in common with Blighty as they have with Eskimos//

    I could go on, but I do not wish to provoke another insane tirade of gutter speak sectarian abuse.

  • willis


    I’m not sure that ‘happy’ is a correct upsum of Gerry Adam’s emotional state at the moment.

    Like it or lump it, Martin McG’s ability to work alongside Paisley made a lot of people look at him differently. Last year’s condemnation of the Masserene murderers struck me as the words of someone who, like Paisley, realised that endless conflict was self-defeating.

    You have read plenty of history. Soldiers do not always make good politicians, however the best of them can make brave decisions that no civilian could get away with. Having said that, a DS is always a good standby.


    SF took the best deal they could get just as FF did 80 years ago.

    My argument is that if Unionist politicians in the sixties had properly appreciated that the Northern Irish nationalist population had largely given up on violence and worked with them better ’69 would never have happened.

    Post rather meandered I’m afraid.

  • Turgon

    I would not argue with much of that least of all with the last sentence about unionist politicians or indeed unionists in general. I think my community collectively failed grossly in trying to make a decent agreement in the 1960s. There are lots of other precedents for failure in other countries and in that (and to my mind that alone) pardaig may have a good point about Rhodesia / Zimbabwe. Still it does not let unionists off the collective hook.

    Then again alternative histories often look brighter: they could also have been much worse.

  • Framer

    The interesting thing, rarely recognised, is that the border campaign ended in 1962 and the civil rights campaign started in 1968, a gap of barely six years.

    That would be the equivalent for us of the IRA campaign ending in 2004 and the 5 October Derry march happening this year.

    Little wonder that the Unionist government was deeply suspicious of NICRA and its demands and yielding to them only under pressure. This was especially true as the new leftist IRA was led by many of the veterans of Brookeborough etc.

    Oddly however Stormont seems to have released the 1956-62 internees and those convicted shortly after the campaign ended. Amazing political generosity for a government regarded as bigoted and heartless.

  • Alias

    The difference being that NICRA wanted reform within the British state, making no challenge to the legitimacy of it, whereas the other group did not.

    The unionists would have been a lot shrewder to see that the demand for civil rights within the state implicitly endorsed the legitimacy of that state, and worked from that starting point.

    In the end it took the Whitehall mandarins to work that one out and run with it as a means of consolidating British sovereignty.

  • willis

    “In the end it took the Whitehall mandarins to work that one out and run with it as a means of consolidating British sovereignty.”

    Yep. That is the rub. Framer may regard the ’60s Stormont administrations as amazingly politically generous, I’m afraid that is not the judgement of history.

    However I do appreciate his counter view to the mainstream. It is a period which is seriouly under researched, not to say under dramatised.

    Here is a project for 2010:

    Cast list and character synopsis for 1968 the movie.

    Captain O’Neill – Kevin Spacey

    Richard II?

    Must do some proper work……….

  • My take on this, to our mutual surprise, might not differ greatly from Turgon-the-Wise. For me, Brookeborough illustrates the paranoid need in all local traditions for distortion and mythologies.

    I see that one “Malcolm Redfellow” addressed this back in 2007. His view then (and subsequently rehearsed here on a couple of occasions) compounded two related aspects:
    1. that the Brookeborough business amounted to another bollux, yet another “achievement” in the long, unmixed career of Seán Garland;
    2. that for too many the airbrushed epicene image replaces the rough-and-ready short-and-curlies of any credible “history”:

    Malcolm … over the years … has fallen out of love for the whole Clancy and Makem Oirish soft-soap, which owes more to the White Horse Tavern, Greenwich Village, than [he] feels comfortable with.

    He totally sympathises with Dominic Behan for what Liam Clancy did to The Patriot Game. Cutting the references to Connolly and de Valera changed the whole tone, making an apology for blood-sacrifice out of a much more bitter, darker, socialist text (here with both versions):
    This Ireland of mine has for long been half free,
    Six counties are under John Bull’s tyranny.
    And still de Valera is greatly to blame/So I gave up my Bible, to drill and to train
    For shirking his part in the patriot game/To play my own part in the patriot game.

    Hardly a game

    If anyone is not aware of the background to Behan’s song, it relates to the shambles that was an IRA attack on the RUC Brookeborough Barracks on New Year’s Eve, 1956.

    Seán Garland’s dozen Volunteers rode a commandeered dumper truck into town, and parked too close to their target, thus warning the RUC men within (who would have been alert after previous IRA activity in “Operation Harvest”). Under covering fire, the Volunteers tried unsuccessfully to plant a mine, but were driven off by return fire from the RUC sergeant. The IRA men retreated to the mountains, recovering the badly-wounded Seán South and Fergal O’Hanlon, both of whom died, in Dublin’s Mater hospital, within hours, of “motor accident” injuries.

    The main consequence of these events, apart from the ballads adding two more heroes to the pantheon, was Seán MacBride wrapping the green flag tightly round him, and causing the downfall of the Dublin coalition government and of his own political career.

    Ah, Malcolm: when you make the effort, you can write.

    What the comments to the sane and moderate post by Turgon-the-wise conclusively show are not only:
    1. the actualité is too readily changed, changed utterly into the deceitful, processed and improved fantasy;
    but also:
    2. too many place their faith in the pub-ballad version.

  • Blair


    These arguments about demographics, migration etc have been made by many nationalist leaders since the creation of Northern Ireland. Unity is always just around the corner as we fast approach our centenary. 🙂

  • padraig

    My main reason for believing that this rotten little Statelet will fall, Blair stems for God for;

    [b]For I, the Lord, love justice. —Isaiah 61:8[/b]

    …and the whole history of this foul abomination that dares to call itself a ‘State’ reeks of injustice and cryes to God to be set aside.

    I shall live to walk in freedom, I believe this with all my heart.

  • regimental 1912

    Padraig as you are one of the great unwashed and probably on STATE benefit,I will gladly purchase a one way ticket to you,r Valhala (Dublin),then you may walk free among the many perverted clergy that reside ther,who knows they may invite you in for teaif you,r lucks in.

  • Blair


    Is Northern Ireland a small state? Isn’t the title ‘statelet’ more appropriate to the ROI as it is indeed a small state. Northern Ireland is a part of a large state. The United Kingdom.

    Good luck with God btw.

  • padraig

    Of course regimental I am a Fenian so I must be on Welfare.

    I must also have a very low IQ, am oversexed with a horde of kids, am probably violent, nasty and my eyes are set close together and a caveman’s forehead.

    I always feel sorry for bigots, in spite of everything. It must be difficult going through life with such hate. The thing about hate like that is that it effects all who meet such, including their own family.

    Hatred and bigotry are terrible things.

  • regimental 1912

    Padraig,my dear subserviant,I would never dream of calling you a fenian,that would deem you a brave warrior,I have no dislike of Roman Catholics or any other religion for that matter,what I do dislike are murdering scum and their supporters who are only in it for self gratification,how the Republican community are still falling for the nonsense,I could use other words,that spout forth from the people who stated,not a bullet not an inch,no ceasefire until a United Ireland is secure etc.etc. and murder 10 of their own men IN THE NAME OF THE CAUSE.and then sit in the very Government that they said they would blow to the end of the Earth is tantamount to treason to the community that trusted them.Well atleast they have got holiday homes in Donegal to run to.The way things are in that little statelet south of the border I think they will want to become part of The United Kingdom once again,sure all their citizens cannot shop enough in the U.K.

  • Blair

    “The thing about hate like that is that it effects all who meet such, including their own family.”


    Get rid of it then.

  • padraig

    Regimental. One thing that always keeps from having the ‘Holier than thou’ attitude that you have, the fault of the Pharisees is this.

    We are ,who we are in terms of politics and so much else is an accident of birth. If I had been born in Sandy Row, no doubt have been a fire eating Orangeman, just as you, if you had been born in, say,Cullyhanna have been a Rebel amongst Rebels.

    However I recall what Sir Winston Churchill once said when asked when he asked why he referred to someone as a ‘Dastard’.

    ‘A bastard’, he said is an accident of birth whilst an dastard is a self made man’.

    Referring to your fellow human beings, no matter who or what theyare is a sure sign of bitter hate.

    Now when Jesus taught us to pray He taught us to ask that our sins might be forgiven [b]as we forgive others[/b]. He also reminded us that there is no virtue in loving are friends it is in treating our enemies as brothers that the real challenge comes. That is the true test of whom are enemies are.

    I would counsel you that if you do not repent of the murdering hate in your heart you will burn in the fires of hell for all eternity. As will all who think like you.

    As for myself, the war is over now and I bear malice or hate in my heart for no man. I counsel you do do likewise lest you suffer eternal damnation.

    This reminds me of something that happened to me one day on the 12th of July near Carlisle Circus. An RUC man waved me down and asked me to give a lift home to a very frail and elderly Orangeman who lived in the Ormeau Road. I was glad doto do. As we were driving up the Lower Ormeau Road he said, with considerable venom and hate,

    @this place is full of rats’

    I was puzzled as to what I meant and asked him him were these rats came from .

    ‘Its the two legged rats I mean’

    I counselled him that since he was so old he might shortly be facing the judgement seat of God and with that hate in his heart he would be cast into the fires of hell.

    In response he slammed the door and called me a Fenian Bastard.

    As to his Eternal fate, well I hope and pray he repented as I hope and pray too, that you repent.Lest you meet the eternal fate of all who hate.

  • padraig

    Blair, I recall helping out one day at the Northern Ireland Hospice, where incidentally I was happy to assist many of my fellow Loyalist and Unionist fellow Irishmen , when I was approached by a Unionist volutneer who addressed me as follows,

    @Padraig I can see you are a very good person as I see you working here nearly every day. But as a Catholic can you tell me why you people all seem to be voting for Sinn Fein now?

    Then I thought to myself, well where do I start. I feel the same sense of puzzlement from folks like yourself. You don’t get it, you just don’t get it. I guess you never will.

    By the way the people whom I work with , many of them are Unionists, I know one of them is an Orangman as I saw him on the 12th. I have perfectly good relations with them. As I say I bear no hatred for them. I simply want to see my country free. That is my right to have my political aspiration just as it is right for you to have yours.

    But you still don;t get that do you? Very,very few Unionists do.

  • Blair


    I seem to recall a passage that said something like “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Also something about “Remove the beam from your own eye.”

    I suggest you reflect on them, and for God’s sake stop making up those stupid stories.

  • padraig

    Ah ,I see I touched a nerve there didn’t I?

    Reflect on what I said, your eternal salvation may depend on it..

    I recall what one old Republican said one time, ‘When love for your country becomes hatred for your enemy, it is time to hang up your gun’.

  • regimental 1912

    So Padraig,to summerise,you beleive it is acceptable to murder innocents as well as you,r own people who would like the same objective as yourself,if they get in the way or indeed assist a dying soldier.I ask you why not support SDLP,did they not massacre anyone and therefore not worthy of your vote.As for pontificating on the subject of religion,I have to laugh as you no doubt belong to a church who beleives in the abuse of children,the sex does not matter,go into a Dr Who box with a curtain and confess to a pervert who is probably pleasuring himself while listening to you,hear someone tell him of murder rape etc.instruct him to say a few mumbo jumbo’s and all will be well with the world,but before you go a blow job would suffice.I am thankful that my bible differs fron you an YES the sooner you and you’r SF comrades meet you’r maker the happier I will be,as the OLd Orangeman said,the sooner we are rid of the two legged rats the better off this part of the world will be,The most popular board game in Republican West Belfats this year was indeed incest,A Game For ALL the FAMILY.

  • Turgon

    It may sound strange (me being a TUVist) but I am deeply committed to open debate and people saying practically whatever they want on these threads. I do not remove any comments lightly. However, you are repeatedly posting a series of claims about paedophile activity on this and other threads.

    They are not relevant to this thread in any shape manner or form.

    In addition neither Mick nor myself can take the time currently to verify the claims you make.

    UK law on blogging and libel is not completely clear as it is largely based on case law. However, as far as I (and I believe Mick) understands: Mick is liable for any content on the site and could be sued. You could be as well but that is an issue for you. Mick’s defence in a blog without premoderation (comments being screened prior to being put up) is to remove any libellous content as soon as reasonably possible.

    It may be safe to leave it up until the potentially libelled individual requests but we cannot be sure as this is case law.

    The default position has always been (for as long as I have been involved in slugger anyway) that if we see stuff which may be libellous we take it down.

    In addition I do not want to threaten and Mick can confirm I have never asked for any commentator to be red or yellow carded no matter what they have said about me. However, if you persist with this naming alleged paedophiles I am not prepared to spend all evening removing the posts as I am hosting a family party. Hence, if this continues I will be forced to ring Mick and set in train a process which may lead to you being barred.

    I am sorry to threaten but you must understand that your repeated posts are potentially putting Mick at risk of libel action.

  • Turgon

    Thank you for that

  • joeCanuck

    There has been a number of newcomers to SOT in the past few weeks. I believe they are all the same person; indeed a person who has been a persistent troll in the past. Hopefully Mick will get the time in the New Year to put an end to this sock puppetry.

  • Paddy

    Sean Garland palyed a prominent role in this attack, where he was wounded, as well as the entire Operation Harvest campaign. Turgon should not be attacking the ex (?) OIRA leader, WP boss, especially as they collaborated so much with the UVF and kindred bodies.

    Also, the machine gun jammed in the attack and one of the IRA volunteers asked South for more bullets (in Irish). I find it odd that they did not curse (more f-g bullets, ya bollox) given the severity of the situation.

    Does Turgon approve of how they disfigured South’s body afterwards? Would he have disfigured and tortured IRA prisoners too?

  • Somewhere back there, the odd (even, very odd) contributor to this thread qualified for my Anjem Choudary Index. As I suggested previously (page 2, post #16), when the facts differ from the pub-ballad, too many prefer the latter as the “truth”.

    So what is Paddy @ 01:42 PM on? For:

    all should cry, Beware ! Beware !
    His flashing eyes, his floating hair !
    Weave a circle round him thrice,
    And close your eyes with holy dread,
    For he on honey-dew hath fed,
    And drunk the milk of Paradise.

    Anyone who can seek to sanctify Seán South (protagonist of anti-semitic, neo-fascist Maria Duce) has the loosest grasp of reality. For the record, any “disfiguring” of South’s body was the result of:
    1. the buoyos secreting it in a bothy which was demolished when hit by a Land Rover; and
    2. in the unnecessary drive from Aghalun to Dublin’s Mater Hospital to report a “motoring accident”.

  • Paul McMahon

    Well Reggie 1912 your’e a real charmer aren’t you? Bit rich of you to condemn people for supposedly finding the murder of innocents acceptable after your appraisal of ‘Mr’ Adair, [what is it with loyalists, kitsch formality and faux militarism? ‘Mr’ Asair UDA ‘Officers’ etc?], taking “the fight to the doors of the bold Mr Adams constituancy and had them living in total fear awiting the next knock on the door”

    Yeah, ‘cos people like Philomena Hanna, Sean Monaghan and Aidan Wallace were all noted Republican activists weren’t they? Oh, one more thing, bext time you mention mumbo jumbo you’d best not mention The Bible in the same sentence.

    A well written thought provoking thread Turgon.

  • Paddy

    Malcolm: As you are Turgon’s spokesperson: Was O’Hanlon’s body also disfigured? Only one of them, I believe, fell into fascist hands. And are you also going to claim, contrary to the evidence, that Ulster’s defenders did not disfigure the fallen who fell into their hands?

    Malcolm, you also do Sean South a dis service. Yes, he was a practicing tight assed Catholic. But he may well have joined OIRA later and targeted Catholics too. We don’t know as he died.

    Ironic that the Sean South song is such a drinker’s favourite. The Irish Special Branch drink it though I doubt Ulster equivalents do.

    Odd that, that Protestant songs are so limp.

  • Blair


    I can’t confirm this as 100% fact, but I heard that the body was brought back to the RUC Depot in Enniskillen in the back of a half track. When they dragged it out of the back his head caught on the door catch and came apart. Grey stuff everywhere. Is that the disfiguring you are talking about?

  • joeCanuck

    his head caught on the door catch and came apart.

    That sounds highly improbable.

  • regimental 1912

    Hope the door catch was re-usable

  • For heaven’s sake, we are allowing this strawman, this troller, to lead us around in circles.

    Stick to the facts: they are all on record, including the findings of the Coroner’s Court. Ignore the “improvements” to the record, many of which seems to be aimed directly or indirectly at burnishing Seán Garland’s personal reputation (it’s called polishing the jobbie). Anyone, especially Paddy @ 04:37 PM, incapable of going to primary documents could start with Barry Flynn’s Soldiers of Folly.

    Essentially Garland intended Brookeborough as the high point of “Operation Harvest”. He chose the place, the time, the tactics. Fourteen volunteers had .303s, two Brens, two Thomsons, two mines, six grenades and six Molotovs to take on three unsuspecting RUC men. Rate the odds.

    Both mines were duff. O’Hanlon and South were seriously wounded (though medical opinion later suggested they could have been saved), and four more volunteers received hits. Their transport was u/s. The RUC sergeant just happened to have a Bren left over from training a day or so before.

    Daithí Ó Conaill, assuming command after Garland was rendered more incompetent than his norm, chivalrously left his two most-seriously wounded to die, and began his own Long March. Monaghan Hospital passed the survivors on to Dublin’s Mater Hospital as “road injuries”.

    Only the ballads saved this one from total and well-deserved ridicule. About the only remaining unknown is who, at the time, was the mole in the Belfast IRA.

  • Paddy


    Garland was a young man at the time and was hardly in control of much. I doubt that Garland, from Keogh Square in Dublin, chose much about Fermanagh. He had earlier been infiltrated into the British Army in Armagh and he wasn’t the Godfather you make him out to be. You also make unneccesary attacks on Garland, who proved himself to be very useful (think US super dollars)

    To assume that an attack in rural Fermanagh would be the higlight of anything seems dubious.

    The RUC sergeant had a vantage point, holding the high ground, an upstairs window. Shooting downwards, he scored a good few hits. No surprise there.

    The Belfast IRA played a negligible role in this campaign. That being so, what is your agenda? Do you deny that Ulster defenders would disfigure corpses?

    Also painting Sean South out as a fascist is also a dirty trick. He spoke Irish and had his own brand of Catholicism. I doubt his politics were sufficiently developed for him to be a Communist or Socialist.

    I have a very good documnetary on this entire campaigh and anyone who follows RSF (Turgon perhaps) would know they rabbit on about Operation Harvest (and the 1940s) endlessly.

    Anyone into boxing would know Joe Christle’s role and most would know of Brendan O’Boyle, Saor Uladh etc.
    So quite a lot is know about this campaign and the torture the prisoners got. Maybe look up back copies of Saoirse Malcolm and come back when you have read them.

  • Paddy @ 10:05 PM: more persiflage. Garland (b. 7 March 1934) was of sufficient age and importance among the poseurs of the IRA of 1956/7 to be excluded from being “a young man at the time and was hardly in control of much”. If he didn’t know the target (which he chose) well enough, you are agreeing with me that Brookeborough qualifies, at least, as a SNAFU.

    Nor do I see any “dirty trick” in representing Seán South as what he was: organiser for his fellow-Tipperary-man, Fr Denis Fahy, of a branch of Maria Duce. Now, which of the various penicious Fahy doctrines (which, by definition, South espoused) do you wish to defend?

  • Paddy


    Malcolm: Here is the video I spoke of. I looked it up for you and others. If you watch it, it tells you who was running the campaign. One can spot MacGiolla and Mac Stiphain marching.

    Again, Garland, mentioned in this video, was not in charge. He was a bit player but an important one. His courage during this campaign – and that of fello fornicator Cathal Goulding – no doubt gave them kudos in the splits that followed.

    Referring back to my earlier post: O’Boyle and Christle wiped to floor with the mainstream IRA during that campaign. Ditto Saor Uladh.

    A proper analysis of the video will put O’Bradaigh and others into their proper day dreaming light.

    If South was the man you would like him to have been, he would have stayed in Limerick, well away from Fermanagh. Like Garland, he was exploring avenues of political expression. And if he was the high profile fascist you would like him to have been, he would not have got the big send off he did.

    Ireland was still very romantic then and the Free State Army did not get any comparable kudos until Niemba.

    So, as reards your question, I do not hit my wife (and nor have I).

  • Paddy