REVOLUTIONARY CITIPHILIACS

Ructions paid an unexpected visit to O'Donnell in the Curragh Military Detention Centre in November 1973.

Speaking in code he told O'Donnell that the irregulars had now merged with the anarchist Angry Brigade and had adopted the Black/ Scholes mathematical formula of the value of derivatives. That is C= Sn(d) Le-Rn(d-q)T). This really angered the Cork based Saoirse Eire who held with Louis Bachelier that each FT is an X valued random variable.

O'Donnell confirmed that Bachelier was a chancer, the kind of fellow who would be able to factor simultaneous equations in two unknowns onto quadratic expressions and accumulative frequencies in imaginary tangents and Bob's your uncle, the buckos in the revenue commissioners wouldn't even notice that he'd square rooted the modulus without removing the brackets. He pointed out that the F in Bachelier's equation only stood for "fuckability" and wondered, as he rolled a cigarette, how a man who never wrestled with a shovel in a pile of dung on a mucky day could be anything but...iffy.

"That's from Paddy Kavanagh's poem," announced the military policeman triumphantly. He was desperately trying to take notes of the conversation.

"Ah yes," agreed Ructions. "The man who doesn't dig in the dung deep is only fooling himself." Then he absented himself before O'Donnell could ask if he had left in any tobacco.

Ructions headed straight for the Peacock. There he joined the Black/ Scholes faction seated at the table near the door. It was a week after an anarchist was dangled over one of the top balconies of a Ballymun tower block and asked if he could fly.

Those seated at the table were discussing the Apparition at Knock with Denis Dennehy and Tommy Byrne.

Denis Dennehy

"It was Kavanagh, the priest, who used what they called a magic lantern at the time, that projected the image on the gable wall of the church," Long explained, "and remember that Kavanagh was known to be friendly to the landlords and against the Land League which he considered to be a dangerous socialist idea."

"Isn't it fucking amazing," remarked Ructions, "that these apparitions always appear in the back of beyond, to peasants who are already stuffed with religious superstition, you know, how come they never appear in Times Square to millions of city slickers."

"Even better," added Byrne. "Why did they not appear at the Nineteentieth Party Congress in Moscow. Wouldn't the sight of Our Lady winking down at Uncle Joe Stalin have had him jumping out of his jocks."

The others laughed. All around them wisps of cigarette smoke made silver spirals in the air. Outside, in the darkness, the pavement began to glisten as the first hard frost of the winter hammered itself home.

"They were all there on the whitewashed wall in gleaming robes, Mary, Joseph and John the Evangelist," mocked Ructions, "and all looking like pale Europeans when in real life, if they ever existed, they were probably a bunch of shabbily dressed, Aramaic speaking Jews from Palestine."

"The hundredth anniversary is coming up in '79, we should picket that," suggested Byrne.

"What would you have on the banners?" asked Dennehy.

"How about 'Knock is a load of Cock'?" ventured Fitzgerald. He had just arrived, having encountered Galvin behind a lamppost further down the road. But first he told them about a friend of Miss Reid who had only lately endured a visitation from the Legion of Mary.

"She had an abortion and some pervert from the Legion got wind of it. He called to her flat and laid into her for all kinds of a baby-murdering whore."

"Isn't it strange," mused Dennehy, "that those who shout loudest about rights for the unborn are very quiet altogether about their rights when they're actually fucking born and living here amongst us. They're all fucking right-wingers who support the death penalty. They support the right to life until its time they want to hang some poor bastard of a former foetus. Far as those fuckers are concerned we give up the right to life the instant we're alive."

"A bunch of aul' popers mad keen to be flogging paupers," said Byrne a trifle indistinctly, and laughed.

"That is because in their world, religion and all the ridiculous emotional paraphenalia of it trumps rational thought. They elevate a foetus, a zygote, a non-human, to the status of a full-grown, fully human woman," Fitzgerald explained.

"Humanity is socially, not biologically, determined," added Dennehy.

"These nutters can't grasp that the foetus is an inert biological subject of ideological speculation. It can, maybe even will, become human, but it isn't conceived in full possession of the rights of man and the citizen."

"Not to mention possession of any more gray matter than the Slug or Pah Wah." interjected Marsh. "And anyway, what about Galvin?"

Galvin Keeping A Spy's Eye On Things

Fitzgerald told the company how Galvin had given him a fright. How he was walking past a lamppost near the pro Cathedral humming the Dominic Behan song 'Limerick Green' when he heard a voice hiss "Dan." He looked around and saw no one and then he heard it again. "Dan," low but clear out of the dark shadows of the dismal street. A chill ran up his spine and he was about to question his militant atheism when he lowered his gaze and there he was, Galvin, with his weasley face, peeping out from behind a lamppost. Then Fitzgerald asked Marsh to follow him out to the toilets.

While this did not apply to Fitzgerald, some people were afflicted by what was called 'Harrieritis'. These were people who were obsessed with seeing Special Branchmen everywhere.

They sat in pubs claiming to have seen Branchmen hiding behind lampposts, bushes and trees, on streets, and in public parks. They saw them peering in windows when they were having their hair cut by their local barber: they saw them pretending to fix slates on the roofs of tall buildings: they saw them digging up roads, staring down basements, running after busses, standing on street corners and sitting in doorways begging with febrile expressions on their faces.

Then, as the night gathered dust and the drinks mounted up the hectic harrier sightings became more unusual. Branchmen were spotted driving up Baggot Street while chewing their toenails: Branchmen in soutanes were seen slipping into confession boxes in churches situated adjacent to Sinn Fein offices, or Branchmen, disguised as postmen, were seen removing bags of post from public post boxes.

However, what was most annoying of all were the fellows who saw Branchmen in pubs. A drinker would feel a slight tug on his sleeve and a voice, close to his ear, would whisper: "Follow me out to the jacks, tell the others."

Five or six people would then, like Browne's cows, file into the pub toilet. There they would be told that the fellow at the end of the counter accompanied by the large, red haired woman whose donkey-like laugh stiffened drinkers in their seats, was a Branchman. This could happen many times in an evening. These coming and goings of serious faced men in tight groups to the toilet often brought suspicious looks from customers and bar staff alike. And, especially when it occurred in a small public house with a small gent's toilet.

This portentous observation would take precedence over all other news. Even if an eminent scientist was to rush in off the street with cast iron proof that the end of the world was schduled for dawn the following morning, he would be directed towards the toilet to hear about the Branchman at the end of the counter.

Fitzgerald gave Marsh a brown envelope. There was an address of a flat in Glasnevin on it. Marsh looked at the address.

"It's from Galvin. Some of the Saoirse Eire crowd is holed up there at the moment. Take note of the address and swallow the envelope."

"I've had me dinner," said Marsh as he crumpled the envelope and threw it into the toilet bowl. "How would you know where that little fucker had his hands," he muttered, shaking his head. "Send Edwards in."

"Glasnevin!" said Edwards. "That's handy. Right beside the jaysus cemetery." He headed off to acquire transport. Davis left with him. He had to pick up a number of small arms.

By ten o'clock the gang had transport and were all tooled up and ready to leave the pub. Most of them were soused.

"Jim, don'tsh leh any cunt tooch dem pint...we aah won't besslong," Davis splurged.

Eight giddy irregulars squeezed into the stolen Cortina. Three sat in the front and five managed to jam themselves into the back, two sitting on the laps of others.

"Jaysus, Jimmy yev an arse as big as the moon."

The car shuddered and then took off urgently up Parnell Street. Suddenly the Parnell Monument seemed to veer up in front of the bonnet. The car lurched sideways narrowly missing it.

"Steady fucking on Joe, that whoremaster's ballocksing monument is made of solid stone."

"Just like his conjoculars," quipped another.

One of the passengers had just finished reading a book 'Seize the Time', by Black Panter leader Bobby Seale. "Burn baby burn...baby burn," he chanted in mantra fashion.

As the car careered up Parnell Square the prattling occupants assured each other that all the signs were propitious and they repetitiously swore that tonight, be jaysus, they would douse the glim of the Saoirse Eire reactionaries. The windows began to fog up as they passed Hugh Lane's Municipal Gallery.

"There's fucking nude paintings in there, tit galore," one jabbered.

"Watch the cunt on the bike," someone shouted.

Edwards swerved. A line of cars, whose owners were merrily dancing the night away in the National Ballroom, were more or less written-off in three to four seconds of crunching and tearing.

"Everybody fucking out," Edwards commanded in an authoritative slur.

Semi-drunk and drunken figures stumbled out and staggered around. One was gasping for breath. The impact had thrown Jimmy's arse into his stomach like a giant medicine ball. A passer-by grabbed a man: "Hold it there head. What's going on?"

"Just something political like," an anarchist slobbered.

"Like what?" inquired the baffled citizen. Before he could utter another syllable he was sent flying with a vicious kick from behind.

"Like fucken that, Pal."

Davis, who had seven different kinds of steam coming out of his head, the result of the drink and the car's stuffiness interfusing with the sudden rush of cold, fresh air, stared at the prostrate figure. He despised inquisitive, law-abiding citizens and he only resisted an overwhelming urge to boot massage the hapless individual, because he felt a more urgent desire to scarper before the arrival of the gardai. Jimmy scratched his arse, took a deep breath and legged it to the Peacock.

Joe Edwards In Durance Vile

Minutes later the Special Branch arrested Edwards, one of the joy riders, in nearby Dorset Street, whereupon he was subjected to a forensic cross examination. On mature recollection he heard, knew or saw sweet "fuck all." He happened to be in the environs because he was going to a "swearing competition." However, he got sidetracked and after drinking more than he needed he was beset by a ravenous hunger that could impel him to devour a farmer's arse through a blackthorn ditch. Because of this, he was on his way to see an aunt who, as luck would have it, lived in the vicinity and whom he had not seen for about thirteen years. He thought that the line of smashed cars outside the dancehall was probably a crocked car convention going on inside. He considered the suggestion that he only used the truth in emergencies because he held it in such profound reverence as scurrilous. Soon after he was released.

Within an hour the others were all back at the Peacock. Although they had somewhat sobered up they were bent double in hysterical laughter.

"Jaysus Joe. You must have a distinction in the scrap business."

They got a special laugh out of the idea of the carefree rural dancers, or culchies as they called them, who were still knocking spots out of the floor, trying to impress their dancing partners, female culchies who were also living and working in the city.

"Begob Mary," they laughed, mimicking country accents, "I have a lovely, snazzy little runner outside an' sure after the dance sure maybe you'll come for a ride in, I mean, to the Phoenix Park.

"Go on yah muck savage yuh or I'll tell me mother."

"Sure she's spanking new, not a scratch on her. Never even had a hoggit in the booth. Isn't that right Scober."

"She's pure mule Mickeen, pure mule."

"Did anyone see where the fucker on the bike vanished to?" Davis inquired.

"No. Musta been a culchie to be abroad in the city without lights, the cunt."

By the year's end the Angry Brigade still managed to have O'Connell Street closed off to pedestrians and traffic on two consecutive Saturday nights on December 2nd and 9th as gardai hunted for their incendiary bombs.

The Angry Brigade campaign continued into 1974. In March, they firebombed the Spanish Institute in retaliation for the execution, by garroting, of Barcelona anarchist Salvador Antich.

In April the gardai again toured Dublin with loud hailers after firebombs exploded in some stores. Commandant Henry McGuinness said that the devices were the most dangerous and best constructed he had ever seen.

By July most of the anarchist leadership was imprisoned in the Curragh Military Detention Centre on conspiracy to cause explosions.

On June 27th, Saoirse Eire announced that it was disbanding in the interests of the working class. The statement followed the murder of its leader, Larry White, who was shot dead on Mount Eden Road in Cork on June 10th 1975 by the Official IRA.

Later, ex-Officials, Noel and Marie Murray were sentenced to death after they were convicted of the murder of Garda Michael Reynolds following a bank robbery in Killester in September 1975. The sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. The arrest of the Murrays effectively brought an end to the Angry Brigade campaign.

Tommy Marsh was never obliged to appear before the courts.

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