One morning they received news of a terrible ambush of Cadets, and on arriving at the scene of the ambush Blake found the dead bodies of the Cadets still lying on the road. All their equipment and personal effects had been stolen, and their faces smashed in with an axe. Probably in several cases this barbarous mutilation had been committed before the unfortunate Cadets were dead.
Two days afterwards the bodies of the murdered Cadets passed through Esker en route for England. All shops were closed, and great crowds collected in the streets. Blake was greatly struck by the different attitudes of sections of the crowd, some taking their hats off with every mark of reverence and sympathy when the coffins passed, while others kept their hats on until ordered by the officers to uncover, and many showed plainly by their faces that they were in full sympathy with the murderers.
Shortly afterwards a public inquiry was held, and it was clearly proved that every policeman in the town could be satisfactorily accounted for during the night of the murder, and, moreover, that every round of rifle and revolver ammunition could also be accounted for. However, this did not suit the Sinn Feiners, and a verdict of “guilty” was brought in against the authorities, though there can be no possible doubt in any unbiassed mind that the Mayor of Esker was murdered either by, or by the orders of, the Inner Circle.
The police had no power outside their barracks, and in many districts a policeman was never seen for weeks on end, whole districts being policed by civilian Volunteers.
In 1914, before the war broke out, all thinking Irishmen knew that the coming and growing danger in Ireland was the Transport Union, formed originally for the perfectly legitimate object of raising the status and wages of the working classes (quite apart from the small farmer class) by combined action. But in a very short time this Union became the instrument of Bolshevism in Ireland under the able command of James Connelly, a disciple of Lenin’s long before the latter had risen to power.
And so thoroughly and well had Connelly made out his plans for the future that in every town and village the complete machinery of Soviet Government had been prepared, ready to start working the instant the revolution should break out. Men had been appointed to every public office, and the houses of the well- to-do allotted to the different Commissioners and officers of each local Soviet.
Luckily for Ireland, the rebellion of 1916 saw the end of James Connelly, probably the most dangerous and one of the cleverest men of modern times in Ireland.
[O’Kelly, a union organiser] could really speak, and held his audience spellbound while he unfolded the Irish Eldorado of the future ; but through all his speech ran the one idea to kill, always to kill those in a higher station of life than his listeners. To finish with he called upon them to start with the police, to shoot them like the dogs they were, and when they were gone the rest would be easy.
After O’Kelly had left the room the Auxiliary told Blake that he knew the man well, and had often seen him in Glasgow, where, previous to 1919, the man had lived for two years working as a Jewish Bolshevik agent, and that he had suddenly disappeared from Glasgow when the police began to get unpleasantly attentive.
THE movements of the flying columns of the I.R.A. gangs of armed ruffians, usually numbering about forty, but sometimes more, sometimes less, and led by men with military experience (ex-soldiers and even ex-officers, to their everlasting shame) have always corresponded accurately to the amount of police and military pressure brought to bear on them, which pressure has continually fluctuated in agreement to the whims and brain-waves of the politicians in power.
Figuratively speaking, these same politicians have kept the police and military with one hand tied behind their back, and sometimes when the screams of the mob politicians in the House have been loudest, have very nearly tied up both their hands. If a chart had been kept during the Irish war showing the relative intensity of the politicians’ screams and the activities of the I.R.A., the reading of it would be highly interesting and instructive.
Extra pressure, more rigid enforcement of existing restrictions on movement, and increased military activity have always resulted in a general stampede of flying columns to the mountains of the west, where the gunmen could rest in comparative safety, and swagger about among the simple and ignorant mountain-folk to their hearts’ content.
Here they would stay until the politicians, frightened by inspired questions in the House, would practically confine the military and police to barracks. The gunmen would then, with great reluctance, leave the safety of the mountains, and return to the southern front, to carry on once more the good work of political murder.
Aubrey Long (attributed), Tales of the R.I.C.: http://www.archive.org/details/talesofric00edinuoft
Hugh Pollard, The Secret Societies of Ireland: http://www.scribd.com/doc/30955237/Pollard-The-Secret-Societies-of-Ireland-1922-Complete
Brian Murphy, The origins & Organisation of British Propaganda in Ireland 1920, Spinwatch/Aubane Historical Society (2006)
David Miller, ‘British propaganda in Ireland and its significance today’: http://www.spinwatch.org.uk/component/content/article/49-propaganda/227-british-propaganda-in-ireland-and-its-significance-today
Owen Sheridan, Propaganda as Anti-History: Peter Hart’s The IRA and its enemies, Aubane Historical Society (2009)
Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc, ‘Death of Alan Lendrum’: http://www.warofindependence.net/?page_id=139
Robert A. Emery, The author of Tales of the R.I.C., Notes and Queries (2010) 57 (2): 226-228