jump to navigation

Selling the family silver? April 29, 2017

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This was noticed by someone recently – and many thanks to the people who forwarded it on. Not good to see collections from this period falling into private hands, as they said ‘to be seen only by the few’.


157. [IRA BORDER CAMPAIGN] A Scrap Album relating to the IRA Border Campaign

December, 1956 to August, 1957 of Newspaper Clippings from national and Northern Ireland newspapers. Large folio album bound in full maroon buckram with seventy-six pages of cuttings. All newspapers with dates identified. In very good condition. Unique. €395

The Border Campaign was a campaign of guerrilla warfare (codenamed Operation Harvest) carried out

by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) against targets in Northern Ireland, with the aim of overthrowing British rule there and creating a united Ireland. Popularly referred to as the Border Campaign, it was also referred to as the “Resistance Campaign” by some republican activists. The campaign was a military failure, but for some of its members, the campaign was justified as it had kept the IRA engaged for another generation. This campaign was the first major military undertaking carried out by the IRA since the 1940s, when the harsh security measures of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland governments had severely weakened the IRA.

The campaign was launched with simultaneous attacks by around 150 IRA members on targets on the Border in the early hours of 12 December 1956. A BBC relay transmitter was bombed in Derry, a courthouse was burned in Magherafelt by a unit led by an eighteen year-old Seamus Costello, as was a B-Specials post near Newry and a half-built Army barracks at Enniskillen was blown up. A raid on Gough barracks in Armagh was beaten off after a brief exchange of fire.

On the evening of 30 December 1956, the Teeling Column under Noel Kavanagh attacked the Derrylin RUC barracks again, killing RUC constable John Scally, the first fatality of the campaign. Others involved in that attack included two prominent IRA men, Charlie Murphy and Ruairí Ó Brádaigh. On 1 January 1957, Seán Garland and Dáithí Ó Conaill planned an attack on the Police station at Brookeborough, but assaulted the wrong building. Two IRA men, Seán South and Fergal O’Hanlon, were killed in the abortive attack. Garland was seriously wounded in the raid. He and the remainder of the group were pursued back over the border by 400 RUC, B Specials and British soldiers.

The funerals of South and O’Hanlon in the Republic produced a strong emotional reaction among the general public there. The two men are still considered martyrs in Irish Republican circles. Up to 50,000 people attended their funerals.

The year 1957 was the most active year of the IRA’s campaign, with 341 incidents recorded. In November of that year, the IRA suffered its worst loss of life in the period when four of its members died preparing a bomb in a farm house at Edentubber, County Louth, which exploded prematurely. The civilian owner of the house was also killed.

The Republic’s government, led by John Costello of Fine Gael, feared that the IRA’s action would drag it into a diplomatic confrontation with Britain and in January 1957, it used the Offences Against the State Act to arrest most of the IRA’s leadership, including its Chief of Staff, Seán Cronin. Clann na Poblachta (led by former IRA Chief of Staff Seán MacBride) withdrew its support for the government in protest over this policy, and the government collapsed. In the ensuing Irish general election, 1957, Sinn Féin won four seats and polled 65,640 votes (c. 5% of those cast), while Clann na Poblachta’s vote dropped sharply.

The new government, of Fianna Fáil, led by Éamon de Valera proved even more hostile to the IRA than its predecessor. In July 1957, after the killing of an RUC man, de Valera introduced wholesale internment without trial for IRA suspects. Then in November 1961 his Minister for Justice, Charles Haughey established military courts which handed down long prison sentences to convicted IRA men. The use of internment on both sides of the Irish border made it impossible for the IRA, most of whose leadership was imprisoned, to maintain the momentum of their campaign.


1. Aengus Millen - April 30, 2017

Yeah I’m running in to this problem right now. I’m writing my thesis on SF/IRA in the period 1927-69 and I’m having a tricky time chasing down newspaper and other sources.


shea - May 2, 2017

broad topic. censorship in the south in the 40’s would be difficult. good luck with it, whats the question.


2. Aengus Millen - May 2, 2017

Basically an exploration of the tension between conservative pastoral idealism and left wing ideology in SF and the IRA from the early days of the activities and eventual rejection of the “lefts” led by Peadar O’Donnell to the split caused by the adoption of marxism by men like Cathal Goulding and Sean Garland.


irishelectionliterature - May 2, 2017

Will have a poke around what I have from the period to see if I have anything of use for you.

Liked by 1 person

oconnorlysaght - May 2, 2017

Have you tried the Peter Graham Memorial Library, part of the Labour History Museum Library in Beggars Bush/ It had an eclectic collection of materials.

Liked by 1 person

3. irishelectionliterature - May 2, 2017

One of the problems is that many of those with private collections of this nature may have been more than ‘collectors’ and that in turn leads to delicacies with regard to incriminating oneself or others by donating to the State. The other part is that there is still a sizeable cohort of Republicans that don’t recognise the State.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: