People's Voice, No. 2
Date:December 1968
Organisation:Saor Éire [Cork]
Publication:People's Voice
Issue:Number 2
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Discuss:Comments on this document

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

17th July 2017

This repost of the Saor Éire (Cork) publication People’s Voice brings a better copy of the edition to the Archive and many thanks to Jim Lane for that. There’s much to consider in the 12 page issue. It has a range of articles – one on TACA (which notes that ‘Jobbery is our game’), an outline of the position of workers under Franco, another on Nixon, a piece on ‘The Red Flag over Knocklong’ and another on the Derry Riots.

Perhaps most interesting is an Open Letter to Republicans. This is in response to an article in the November 1968 issue of the United Irishman entitled ‘The dilemma of Sinn Féin’.

Saor Éire argue that:

…regardless of our well known hostility towards the political course pursued by the movement over the past few years, we will be the first to admit that it certainly appears to have had the positive, and therefore welcome effect of shaking the movement out of the lethargy and political fantasy which had dogged it for so long.

And it continues that while the article in the UI saw the dilemma being that SF faced a ‘stronger radical movement made up of the Free State Labour Party in alliance with the Trade Unions’ it sees it differently.

In our view the [Labour Party is not a radical body], it never has been and it never will be. And in all fairness to that party, it has never claimed to be radical, in the sense that the term is clearly understood by revolutionaries.

And it continues that the real dilemma facing the Republican Movement is parliamentarianism.

REFORM OR REVOLUTION: THIS IS the question now facing Radical Republicans. The present Republican Movement, due to factors endowed by its organised life, and by the middle class ideology which originally instituted and shaped its structure, is incapable of reorientation to meet the requirements presently demanded of a radical movement. therefore for Republican radicals to continue to uphold the movement in the light of recent disclosures means in effect they opt for reformism and cease to be radicals.

And in conclusion it calls for the building of a ‘new movement, which by being radical in its objects, will also be the true inheritor of that revolutionary pattern of development that is the proud tradition of our people’.

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  • By: crocodile Mon, 28 Jul 2008 16:31:08

    In yesterday’s Sunday Times the satirical novelist Carl Hiassen tells of 2 far-right militia men whose bank-robbing conviction he covered in his days as a crime reporter:
    ‘It [their house] was all paranoid ‘America’s about to be invaded by the UN sort of stuff. Of course, they weren’t so patriotic it prevented them robbing banks.’
    Who is?

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Wed, 30 Jul 2008 11:17:12

    There was a commoration for Maureen Keegan at Mount Jerome Church a few years ago. Ranor Lysaght organised it. Liam Walsh’s grave is there. His children attended.
    I talked to a 50’s veteran who claimed the credit for the Nelson thing and expressed his regrets at recruiting Garland.
    On the banks I never heard that any of it was diverted for personal purposes. While I disagree with the political and military strategy of Saor Eire, by all accounts they were dedicated militants.
    At the time there was a real fear of further Loyalist pogroms and thus a need for defence of the Nationalist ghettoes.

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  • By: Fintan Lane Wed, 30 Jul 2008 20:01:29

    WBS: “that said the thing that threw me completely was the letter to Republicans which claimed it was from comrades.”

    There’s no reason why this should have confused you into thinking it was the Dublin-based Saor Eire Action Group. The Cork-based Saor Eire was largely made up of former IRA members as well, including several who had actively participated in the 1950s border campaign.

    By and large, the (Cork) Saor Eire members were working-class left-republicans who moved towards Maoism in the mid to late 1960s. This explains what Mark P has referred to as the lack of ‘jargon’ typically associated with 1960s and 1970s Maoism. The purveyors of jargon were usually from the student milieu and, I guess, were more interested in impressing each other and the rest of leftworld than actually engaging with working class communities.

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  • By: Starkadder Wed, 30 Jul 2008 21:10:02

    That’s interesting, Fintan,abouth the
    two Saor Eire groups. It might insightful
    for someone to write an article or pamphlet on the
    left-wing groups in Ireland in the late Sixties (I know
    Jim Lane has written some material on the period in
    Cork in
    the Cork City Library).

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Thu, 31 Jul 2008 06:49:56

    Sorry Fintan, my level of knowledge on this is nowhere near as good as yours. If you or anyone, to take Starkadders thoughts one step, would like to write a proper intro to this I’d be very grateful.

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  • By: Fintan Lane Thu, 31 Jul 2008 09:58:22

    Sorry, WBS, no can do as I’m off to Berlin, where I shall remain until mid-August. That said, I’d be happy to write an introduction on this group, and their antecedents, if you web-publish any more of their stuff in the future.

    Tschüss.

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  • By: Finian Thu, 31 Jul 2008 14:38:45

    My father, a Garda, was believed to have been killed by Saor Éire in 1970. However it has been suggested that those who were accused and acquited of his murder were framed. Can anyone enlighten me?

    I am not looking for anyone to be punished or jailed, just the truth. My family has suspected for a long time that the gang members were protected by the State (and were possibly being run by the State). For example, in 2006 the Government revealed to a journalist that the brother of a Fianna Fáil minister had been seen in London in the company of a member of Saor Éire shortly before the Arms Trial.

    I’m surprised by the possibility that there may been two organisations, one in Cork. I would like to speak with anyone who has direct knowledge of the organisation. Again, I and my family are not looking for revenge. It would mean a great deal to me and my siblings to know the truth and close the door on this incredibly destructive experience.

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  • By: Fintan Lane Thu, 31 Jul 2008 15:09:53

    “I’m surprised by the possibility that there may been two organisations, one in Cork.”

    Finian, this isn’t a possibility, it is a fact. The Cork-based Saor Eire were rather taken aback when a group of largely Dublin-based republicans began to publicly claim robberies as the ‘Saor Eire Action Group’. This second Saor Eire eventually recruited a couple of members in Cork, but they had no organisational connection whatsoever with the pre-existing Saor Eire, which published the newspaper above.

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  • By: Finian Thu, 31 Jul 2008 17:11:09

    Fintan, there was no attempted diminution of your belief in your “fact” through my use of the term “possibility”.

    This is the first time that I have come across this information (about there being two separate organisations) and I have been discussing and researching this issue for some time. I see that this information was only recently published elsewhere however as far as I am aware any previous references to Saor Éire (that I have come across in the National Archives or in publications) did not differentiate between the Cork and Dublin organisations, hence my use of the term. I was attempting to be as objective as I could be in fairness to all concerned.

    What really concerns me is that no one with direct knowledge of the death of my father has stepped forward publicly to date in order to defend, explain or denounce whatever stance was taken at the time and which resulted in the death of my father. Nor have any known members of either Saor Éire group stepped forward with information on the case that might resolve the issues I have raised publicly for many years. I have stated publicly on a number of occasions that I do not want anyone jailed for this murder and if anyone was after stepping forward publicly I would support any protest against this.

    I believe this silence to be completely at odds with whatever principles peaceful supporters of the left would avow and wonder at their 48 year silence on the matter. There were many who knew exactly what went on in Dublin in those days and they have yet to reveal their experience of the story.

    I realise that I am opening myself to verbal attack here however I am risking that in the hope of an open and respectful dialogue with whomever wishes to participate. That said, I don’t relish having this discussion in public as I am exposed to the possibility of whatever information that appears here being made public in a way which demeans what I consider to be an honourable and just pursuit of the truth.

    My question, my challenge, to those who know remains: “Can anyone enlighten me?”

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Thu, 31 Jul 2008 21:14:45

    Finian, it would seem from the paper that the two groups weren’t linked. In fairness here we’re dealing with some very small groups, and the main interest is in published material. I’ve not seen any material from the other much better known Saor Éire and if any comes to light it’ll be flagged up. As regards the justifications for the murder I don’t know enough about SÉ to even suggest whether they gave any. That SÉ, from the Blanket article, seems to have ultimately been a gangster organisation with a shell of politically motivated activists.

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  • By: The Securocat Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:45:42

    The only published documents coming from the Saor Eire connected to the Garda Fallon incidents were:
    – The Saor Eire Manifesto
    – A Red Mole interview in 1971
    – A 1973 letter from some of its imprisoned members calling for the organisation to stand down.

    As Peter Graham was the main political brains behond the group, it is not surprising that it did not come up with more material after his murder.

    Finian: check wikipedia under Jim Lane – it is very informative regarding the Cork group.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Fri, 01 Aug 2008 13:48:38

    The Securocrat, you don’t happen to know where I could source copies of same for the Archive?

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  • By: eannai Mon, 15 Sep 2008 18:27:07

    Saor eires unit in cork was formed when some members who had escaped from the enfield raid were contacted after their dissmissal from the then republican movement and began requieting amongst dissafeccted members and ex members.There was a number of small militant left wing groups in cork at the time and there was close co-operation bweeten them,paticularly during the derry riots in august 1969, when a number of cork people travelled to derry wih some weapons. Saor Eire never succeded in becoming a coherent organisation for two main reasons, 1.It was never able to form a united military structre with a central command over the various units, this led to ;a. no unified stragety, and b; no delevopement of an agreed political philosophy, and as the membership was drawn from dissafected republicans it encompessed a variety of of republican opinion. This lack of strong central leadership led to internal in fighting, and the formation of different cliques using the name Saor Eire some with teneous connections. 2. The formation of the Proviosnal movement, and its sucess in reqruiting, and sourceing arms made Soar Eires major focus at this time i.e. arming northren nationalists redundant.

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 15 Sep 2008 20:15:36

    But that’s the other Saor Éire isn’t it?

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  • By: Owen Thu, 07 May 2009 01:33:41

    Finian
    Garda Fallon killers got their day in court and were found not guilty.
    You were only 3 when you lost your father, I was 3 years of age when my hero died for what he belived in. Our lives will never be the same without them, It seems to me you are looking for the smoking gun, Well the man Cj who knew about that is also dead.
    He too had his day in court and went on to great thing’s Ireland.
    Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam

    stephendorri.
    Christy Dunne was not a member of Saor Eire, Dublin or Cork,
    He did however know the Walsh’s from childhood day’s that’s all. This also was before the Irish courts with the “rag” Smack.

    Liam Walsh was killed in October 1970 at Black Horse Ave Dublin 7.
    He was not alone at the time.

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  • By: Tarnation Fri, 10 Jul 2009 12:08:43

    Owen you obviously know a bit about what went on. Unfortunately your response is not very clear, logical or consistent. It confirms that people who support destruction of this kind eventually lose touch with logic and truth.

    You only have to look at what is going on in the Middle East and how despicable acts are being defended with utterly illogical rationales to understand that.

    That you can equate the death of a “hero” (presumably unrelated to you) with the family of Garda Fallon losing their father is appalling. There is nothing heroic about using a gun and murdering an unarmed policeman. Nor is this comparable with going out with the intent to murder someone else and getting killed in the process.

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  • By: Budapestkick Thu, 22 Apr 2010 20:21:01

    They were quite an interesting grouping. Particularly as a lot of the criticisms they raised in the early/mid 60s of the IRA leadership was implicitly recognised by Goulding et al. Also, for anyone interested, the first 5 issues of their paper (An Phoblacht) are available in Cork City Library thanks to Jim Lane.

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  • By: Cas Sun, 11 Sep 2011 18:46:57

    Do you think it fair to state that the three men are guilty, when a court has found otherwise? Do you further think it is fair to feed speculation of that kind to a victim who could hardly be expected to look at it with any measure of discernment, having spent a lifetime hungering for tit-bits of information? Unless you have sound information available to you that you are quite sure, then it would be better not to abuse that vulnerable man by offering your suspicions and gossip. But maybe you do know something concrete?

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  • By: Left Archive: An Phoblacht Issues 1 and 2, Irish Revolutionary Forces, 1965 | The Cedar Lounge Revolution Mon, 20 May 2013 06:52:08

    […] These documents, An Phoblacht, Issues 1 and 2, were published by the Irish Revolutionary Forces, a Cork based republican socialist group composed in the main of former members of the IRA, in September and November of 1965 [for more information see here]. The IRF would become Saor Éire in 1968 (a copy of their publication, People’s Voice is in the Archive here). […]

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  • By: dragon city hack android Wed, 26 Feb 2014 10:15:00

    Very descriptive post, I enjoyed that a lot.

    Will there be a part 2?

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