‘D’ Company Annual Memorial parade

Yesterday 11th May, Dalaradia attended the Red Hand Comrades Association ‘D’ Company Annual Memorial parade.

The parade formed up at Drumhirk Drive and proceeded to the unique memorial garden at Owenroe Drive for a short service.

Afterwards there was entertainment in the Kilcooley Community Centre.

The patriots blood is the seed of freedoms tree.

Honor, Service, Sacrifice – Lest We Forget

William Savage Memorial

This Friday 10th May evening our friends in the William Savage Memorial (Toye Flute Band) are hosting thier annual parade through the Co Down Village of Killyleagh.

The parade will begin at 7:30pm from Killyleagh Orange Hall and will take the following route through the Village:

Killyleagh Orange Hall
Frederick Street
Cross Street
Shore Street
Irish Street
Catherine Street
High Street
Frederick Street
Killyleagh Orange Hall

All welcome.

Memorial Parade 11/5/19

This Saturday 11th May the annual D Company Memorial Parade will be taking place in the Kilcooley Estate in Bangor.

The parade will begin at 11:30am from Drumkirk Drive
and will take the following route:

Drumkirk Drive
Owenroe Drive

Finising at the memorial garden. All are most welcome.

Honour, Service, Sacrafice.

Election day

It is Election day folks. We cannot stress enough how important it is to vote. Across the world people have died fighting for the right to vote and to be part of a democracy. To sit in the confines of your home with the destructive attitude of “politicians do nothing for me” is to ignore the very sacrifices they made for us.

We also must stress how important it is to vote all the way down the ballot paper. The MOST important thing to remember is to transfer to ALL Unionist candidates from number 1 down. Unity is strength! Under our almost unique voting system, the Single Transferable Vote (STV), it pays to vote all the way down to maximise the effectiveness of one’s ballot for and against individual candidates. Do not use an “X” or tick, this will spoil your vote. Use numbers.

By doing so, you are making your voice heard and registering your opinion on how you think your local council should operate. Local councils are responsible for a significant proportion of our public services. Whether your concerns relate to employment and housing or potholes and fly tipping, their budgets are handed to them from Westminster but it’s up to them how they are spent.

Choose wisley, choose Unionist!


Belfast City Airport are searching for Northern Ireland’s ‘Best Small Visitor Attraction’ and they need your help!

Each attraction has a chance to win £30,000 worth of free marketing support and brand visibility at the airport.

Among them is the Somme Heritage Centre where we celebrated the 100th anniversary of armistice on Remembrance Day 2018 – you can view the video using the following link – https://www.facebook.com/dalaradiagroup/videos/255553101976453?s=100001031564621&v=e&sfns=xmwa

Also among them is the Museum of Orange Heritage and the The Siege Museum, both of which we have visited and highly recommend.

In order to decide who makes it to the final stage of the competition, we would like you to vote for your favourite by ‘liking’ the image of their product within the link and photo album below.

The product image from each council area that receives the most ‘likes’ will win its place in the final. Only likes on images in this post will be counted, and not likes on images within shares of this post.

Visit www.belfastcityairport.com/TourismNI for more information on the shortlisted products.

You have until 12th May to cast your vote!

A great turnout

Today members of Dalaradia attended a fun day organised by one of our sub groups the – RATH. Community Group.

Unfortunately due to the bad weather it was moved inside to the City Mission, Rathcoole.

A big thank you to them for the last minute change. Also a big thanks to Funky Fun Ltd, Kyles Inflatables and donuts, EUROSPAR NI and also Tesco Newtownabbey Community for their kind donations.

The event was attended by hopeful representatives who are standing in the local elections – Robert Foster (UUP), Stafford Ward (IND), Thomas Hogg (DUP), Paul Hamill (DUP), Dean McCullough (DUP) and also Danny Kennedy (UUP) who is standing as European representative for his party.

A massive thank you to all the volunteers on the day and throughout last few weeks who have helped make the event possible.

And most importantly a huge thank you to the people of Rathcoole, we hope your enjoyed your day.

RATH Community Group fun day

A fun day organised by the RATH. Community Group, a sub group of Dalaradia.

All are most welcome.

UPDATE: Due to adverse weather the event is now being held at the Rathcoole City Mission, Innis Avenue.

The Story of Ireland in stained Glass.

The Story of Ireland in stained Glass.

This book, by Frank Rogers, will be launched in the Ballycastle Golf Clubhouse on April 16th at 14:00. The book covers all aspects of Irish Mythology, early Irish Christianity and Irish History from the very earliest times to the present.

The book features Dalaradias very own stained glass window which was first unveiled by President Michael D. Higgins on 27th October 2016 and also exhibited at the opening of the Irish Secretariat, Linenhall Street, Belfast in Spring 2017. The creation of the window enabled our group to explore aspects of our identity, respect, heritage and culture using language, poetry, and the visual arts and crafts.

More information on it can be viewed here – http://www.dalaradia.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/window.pdf

The book is lavishly illustrated and annotated. Launch Price: £20.00

Refreshments will be provided – Entertainment by Mike Spalding and Chloe McVitty.

Republic of Ireland played integral role in supporting IRA, says historian


Sinn Fein vice-president Martin McGuinness pictured with masked IRA men at the funeral of Brendan Burns, 1988
Sinn Fein vice-president Martin McGuinness pictured with masked IRA men at the funeral of Brendan Burns, 1988

Philip Bradfield

An Irish historian says his new book aims to shine a light for the first time on the role of people from all levels of Irish society in supporting the Provisional IRA from its inception in 1969 to 1980.

Gearóid Ó Faoleán spent his Phd at the University of Limerick gathering evidence of active support for the IRA from all southern political parties, members of the Gardai, Irish Defence Forces, civil service, judiciary and GAA.

Gearoid O Faolean  did his Phd on support in the Republic of Ireland for the Provisional IRA. His new book 'A Broad Church' is based on much of his thesis.
Gearoid O Faolean did his Phd on support in the Republic of Ireland for the Provisional IRA. His new book ‘A Broad Church’ is based on much of his thesis.

And now after living in London for three years he has added to that the British dimension of the story, after plundering the Public Records Office at Kew.

Surprised by the breadth of support for the IRA in the Republic that he uncovered, his new book is named ‘A broad church’.

He intends his book to bring academic balance to current discussions focusing on the role of the British state in the Troubles, and to open a window that is rarely looked at.

This is something that the book aims to do, is to put the Troubles in context. It wasn’t an isolated thing that happened in Northern Ireland and it wasn’t because of people on both sides in Northern Ireland who were fuelling this. It was certainly being fuelled by people in the Republic of Ireland, as well as other countries.

Gearóid Ó Faoleán

“This is something that the book aims to do, is to put the Troubles in context,” he told the News Letter. “It wasn’t an isolated thing that happened in Northern Ireland and it wasn’t because of people on both sides in Northern Ireland who were fuelling this. It was certainly being fuelled by people in the Republic of Ireland, as well as other countries.”

The IRA could not have survived so long – claiming almost 1,800 lives – without persisting support from the Republic, he says.

“I think this will shine a light particularly when people look at the longevity of the IRA’s campaign. It will shine a light in showing that the south, willingly or unwillingly, was an engine for the IRA; logistically in terms of arms coming in, training, the acquisition and production of explosives and in terms of financing – the south was all of that.”

Successive Irish governments struggled to maintain a balance of cooperation with the UK whilst appeasing nationalist sentiment among the population – and their own parties, he said.

Gearoid O Faolean says his groundbreaking book A Broad Church is the first to detail just how integral the Republic of Ireland was to the Provisional IRA�s campaign at every level. Published by Merrion Press.
Gearoid O Faolean says his groundbreaking book A Broad Church is the first to detail just how integral the Republic of Ireland was to the Provisional IRA�s campaign at every level. Published by Merrion Press.

Originally from Shannon in Co Clare, he had his eyes opened to IRA support in the Republic during his undergraduate history degree, when he investigated the high number of people from Northern Ireland living in his area.

The most surprising aspect of his Phd was his finding that – contrary to common perception – the IRA was not mainly funded from the US, but actually from the Republic.

“This idea that America and Noraid were funding the campaign is not true. Maybe 12% of IRA funding came from North America. The majority came from the south and mostly from bank robberies.”

The location of where the device was discovered; inset: a close-up image of the device. (Photos: P.S.N.I.)

In 1978 there was almost one bank robbery every second day in the south, and in the early seventies, there was widespread public sympathy for the raids.

“In the early years there was a Robin Hood element among a large part of the public,” he said, but as the robbers became more violent, public support later drained away.

Another factor that surprised him was that hundreds of IRA volunteers were trained in secret camps across every province often overseen by a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

The introduction of juryless courts in the 1970s was not because juries were being intimidated by the IRA, he discovered; they had been “acquitting republicans” and openly celebrating in court.

“The only way we can really deal with the Troubles is to talk about it and if it is not even being taught in schools, if people are not really aware of it… in the Republic, if it is not really on the curriculum, how are people ever going to be able to engage with it?”

He adds: “Officially there is a denial, it sounds like a cliche, but among the Dublin media, that it is not talked about. But what was really interesting during my Phd was that anytime I mentioned what I was studying people were very interested. But that interest, it seems, is never reflected in the news or documentaries… successive [Irish] governments have certainly not wanted to address it.”

The demographic who are open to discussing it, he says, are people in their 30s or 40s. “They seem to be the people who really want to know because they felt that they missed out on the way government and the media was not willing to shine a spotlight on it.”

Those who actively supported the IRA were eager to get their story on record as censorship kept Sinn Fein off the Republic airwaves in the south during the Troubles.

Those he interviewed, which included Sinn Fein TDs, spanned people who were unapologetic to those who felt their contribution was not worth it in light of the fact that Sinn Fein had “sold out”.

But nobody he spoke to regretted getting involved. “A lot of them cited that it was because of Bloody Sunday or internment that they got involved… they felt it was the right thing to do at the time in response to events.”

From the political establishment, to the civil service, the security forces – even the GAA – publisher Merrion Press says the new book offers “startling revelations” on just how integral the Republic was to the Provisional IRA’s campaign;-

Government action – Successive Dublin governments struggled to maintain cooperation with British counterparts whilst appeasing nationalist sentiment. Taoiseach Jack Lynch told a British ambassador that certain named Irish judges were being “bad” or “weak” on the IRA.

The introduction of juryless courts was largely driven by the fact that republicans were being acquitted by local judges and juries.

In a number of cases juries cheered the acquittal of republicans and shook their hands after the trial. Among cases dismissed in one form or another in 1971 were;- Peter Donnelly, who was charged in Clones with having a Thompson sub-machine gun; an extradition application in Monaghan for three Dungannon men on bail from NI on explosives charges; and four men who fired at the British Army across the Louth/Armagh border.

Support – Members of all major political parties in the Republic provided active IRA support in the 1970s. The illegal 1973 IRA booklet, Freedom Struggle, was published in Drogheda by somebody referred to by the government as ‘a prominent Fianna Fáil member’. Four Irish soldier were convicted of stealing explosives from McGee Barracks in 1974; a Garda passed police documents to republicans after Bloody Sunday and a civil servant was charged with passing files to the IRA in 1975.

Training – From 1971, hundreds of IRA volunteers passed through training camps but less than twenty were ever prosecuted. Once inn rural Munster, IRA volunteers reportedly went down to the local village for cigarettes armed and in full uniform without fear of Garda.

Training ranged from basic small arms and explosives manufacturing to heavy machine guns, overseen by a former member of the Irish Defence Forces.

Arming – Shannon Airport and Cork and Cobh harbours were used extensively by the IRA for arms importation during the early 1970s aided by sympathetic workers on-site.

Gelignite stolen from quarries, farms and construction sites in the Republic was behind the 48,000lbs of explosives detonated in NI in the first six months of 1973 alone.

One IRA arms factory near the Stannaway Road, Dublin, was producing six firearms a day in 1973. A Garda report on another, discovered in the County Dublin village of Donabate in 1975 stated: ‘it was a centre for the manufacture of grenades, rockets and mortars. The Provisionals were careful to work “nine to five” hours in order not to attract suspicion.’

The GAA – the 1974 annual congress unanimously voted to campaign for the reinstatement of civil servant Donal Whelan who was sacked after being convicted of attempting to smuggle five tons of weaponry.

Ulster Unionist Party Justice Spokesman Doug Beattie says the new book will help ‘redress the balance’ in how the story of the Troubles is currently being recounted.

“A Broad Church’ will help redress the imbalance in how the story of the Troubles has been told, and in particular the extent to which the IRA was able to make use of the territory of the Republic of Ireland to support its murderous activities north of the border,” he said.

“This book will help address the selective amnesia at play in the Republic regarding its role during the Troubles. For decades the IRA was able to mount cross border raids almost at will, and murder hundreds of people as part of an ethnic cleansing campaign of border protestants. The Republic was also the source of numerous arms dumps and training camps. It is also a fact that the 30 year IRA campaign could not have been sustained had there not been support – both overt and tacit – from a significant section of the population there.

“The most uncomfortable aspect of the past for the Dublin Authorities is the extent to which the IRA received support and assistance from the political class, elements of the judiciary and sections of the police. The media and Dublin Government are quick to rush to judgement regarding claims of collusion between the British State and loyalist gangs, but are nowhere to be seen when it comes to an honest appraisal of the role played by the Dublin Government, its state actors and some of citizens in facilitating the activities of the IRA.”

If the book shines a light on facts which Dublin would rather not be reminded of, he said, then it will be “a very useful addition indeed”.

• ‘A broad church’, the Provisional IRA in the Republic of Ireland 1969-1980’ by Gearóid Ó Faoleán (Merrion Press) £17.99 from Waterstones Belfast or online booksellers.

A great gesture

Members of the Wm Strain Wm Lightbody Memorial Flute Band, Newtownards presentating a football autographed by the Rangers FC team to young Adam at the REACH UK offices, Newtownards Road, Belfast.

As told in previous articles, Adam is an enthusiastic Rangers supporter and is confined to a wheel chair because of his degenerative muscle wasting disorder.

A brilliant gesture by the band.