by Donal Kennedy
AT CHRISTMAS 1953 I was given a book token by my aunt Eileen, with which I acquired The Four Glorious Years extracts of which I had read in the Sunday Press. It was written by Frank Gallagher, under the pen-name 'David Hogan' and, as his daughter was in class with my sister, I had it autographed. It was his memoir of the years 1917-21 before the split in the independence movement and the disastrous Civil War.
Gallagher was a journalist of brilliance, who with other journalists of equal, if not greater brilliance, produced The Irish Bulletin, which refuted the lies of of the British government concerning Ireland, at the peril of their own lives, and ensured that it was put in the hands of parliamentarians, editors and diplomats over much of the world.
Its reports were quoted, but never refuted abroad. The Crown Forces mounted raids in Dublin for the Bulletin's staff and once found its office. The paper was typed and mimeographed and, in a black propaganda exercise the British circulated a carefully crafted bogus Irish Bulletin to destroy its credibility.
The scam was exposed as the real Irish Bulletin continued publication.
The staff included Erskine Childers, the acclaimed author of Riddle of The Sands, Desmond Fitzgerald, a published poet and minister for publicity in the Dáil Éireann cabinet, Robert Brennan a professional journalist and author of the Sinn Féin election manifesto of 1918. Sinn Féin's founder, Arthur Griffith had set out one of the movement's aims , the breaching of the "Paper Wall" which England maintained around Ireland. When the wealthy Edward Martyn, a co-founder of Sinn Féin, endowed the Abbey Theatre, the Pipers' Club and the Palestrina Choir of Dublin's Pro-Cathedral, Griffith reckoned that Ireland would be better served had the money gone to establish a national daily newspaper with backbone. Griffith himself founded various periodical of he mosquito press, changing the titles as the British suppressed them.
Brennan wrote, amongst other things, the memoir Allegiance and Desmond FitzGerald wrote a short memoir. Childers was shot after a court martial for possession of a pistol which had been a present from Michael Collins whom he had opposed in the Civil War.
By that time Collins had been shot and Fitzgerald was in the cabinet which approved the execution. Shortly before the outbreak of the Civil War Desmond Fitzgerald reported to the Dáil the continued existence in Belfast of a publicity office under his department which was still combating British propaganda about the situation there. His son Garret, when taoiseach, seemed quite happy to acquiesce in the lies spread by the Northern Ireland Office and the British Foreign Office concerning Belfast and environs..
The Internet and the online Irish Democrat provide us with opportunities undreamt of by those who produced the Irish Bulletin.
All we need do is tell the truth, shame the Devil, and all his spin doctors.
Connolly Publications Ltd, 244 Gray's Inn Road, London, WC1X 8JR
Copyright © 2001 Connolly Publications Ltd