Saturday, April 1, 2023

Irish Eyes


By Mattie Lennon


Kitson’s Irish War, by David Burke tells in some detail the story of Frank Edward Kitson who was the eldest son of Sir Henry Kitson vice-admiral in the Royal Navy. For generations Kitson family members had been officers in the Royal Navy and Sir Henry expected nothing from Frank Edward but it wasn’t to be. Kitson himself wrote; “Being asthmatic I was no use to the Navy so I had to join the Army instead. This caused some stir in the family, but as I was obviously unsuited to the Church there was no alternative short of breaking a father-to-son tradition which had lasted for over 200 years.”

Kitson was The Brigadier of 39 Brigade – the officer in charge of all British soldiers in Belfast during the Ballymurphy massacre. His accomplice was Colonel Derek Wilford, the former commander of 1 Para.

Prolific author David Burke takes a fresh look at Bloody Sunday and provides information omitted from two tribunals of inquiry.

The author says, “The British Widgery and Saville inquiries did not hold Kitson and his elite troops accountable for Bloody Sunday. Kitson's Irish War lays bare the evidence they discounted and unlocks the some of the key secrets of the Dirty War that the British government is still determined to cover-up.” And, as in all his previous works the extent of his research is unbelievable as he leaves no stone unturned to uncover facts which were undisclosed for forty-nine years. This book includes evidence from a deserter from the Parachute Regiment who joined the IRA and a whistle blower as well as what ,” . . .British diplomats might have circulated in Washington and elsewhere around the globe.”

The late Paddy Devlin, once commented that Frank Kitson, “Probably did more than any other individual to sour relations between the Catholic community and the security forces”. I think David Burke would omit word “probably.”

The facts uncovered by Burkes are unbelievable. He doesn’t pull any punches, “To nationalists, Kitson became the personification of evil, Britain’s counter-insurgency bogeyman driving young men into the ranks of the paramilitaries, “Had he set out to become a recruitment sergeant for the IRA, he could not have done a better job.”

David Burke

David Burke is a practising barrister and is the son of Dick Burke, a FG TD in the 1970s. His other works include, An Enemy of the Crown and Deception and Lies all well worth reading.

Kitson’s Irish War, which is dedicated, “To all victims of state violence”, was published in 2021 but between one thing and another I only got to read it last week. It is published by Mercier Press. ISBN:978 1 78117 798 3.

The cover: Kitson's Irish War

* * * * *

“The first race meeting of the Kildare Hunt Club took place at Punchestown on 1 April 1850. According to the Leinster Express

The morning broke hazy and threatening and caused an exceedingly thin attendance from Dublin, the assemblage at Punchestown being chiefly composed of persons from the surrounding neighbourhood…while the course was laid out with about a score of leaps in the three miles, and fourteen in the two-mile run, several of them teasers, the arrangements lacked perfection.”

In my young days the Punchestownn races which were held in the last week of April each year. It was imperative to have the potatoes sowed “before the races.” And during the Month of May some Priests would be heard to say, from the pulpit, “This is the second Sunday after Punchestown.”

For many people in west Wicklow and the surrounding areas it was their only outing for the year. One year, on his return from the races a neighbour was asked, “I suppose there were thousands in Punchestown.” His reply, “Thousands the divil. There were hundreds at it.” You would also hear post-festival comments such as, “ I backed the right horse but the wrong one won.” And of several jockeys, it would be said, “He wouldn’t ride a fat woman in a settle-bed.”

After 173 years the Punchestown Festival is still going strong. The 2023 event runs over five days, from Tuesday 25th April to Saturday 29th April. This Festival is the highlight of the racing calendar and our favourite week of the year for the horsey set..

Essays, poems and ballads have been penned about this unique festival..

If you are one of the diasporas who will be back in the green and misty island at the end of April you could do worse than spending a day at the races.

* * * * *

A Thought to Ponder


The donkey said to the tiger:
“The grass is blue”.

The tiger replied:
“No, the grass is green.”

The discussion heated up, and the two decided to submit him to arbitration, and for this they went before the lion, the King of the Jungle.

Already before reaching the forest clearing, where the lion was sitting on his throne, the donkey began to shout:
“His Highness, is it true that the grass is blue?”

The lion replied:
“True, the grass is blue.”

The donkey hurried and continued:
“The tiger disagrees with me and contradicts and annoys me, please punish him.”

The king then declared:
"The tiger will be punished with 5 years of silence."

The donkey jumped cheerfully and went on his way, content and repeating:
"The Grass Is Blue"...

The tiger accepted his punishment, but not before he asked the lion:
- "Your Majesty, why have you punished me? after all, the grass is green."

The lion replied:
- "In fact, the grass is green."

The tiger asked:
- "So why are you punishing me?

The lion replied:
- "That has nothing to do with the question of whether the grass is blue or green.
The punishment is because it is not possible for a brave and intelligent creature like you to waste time arguing with a donkey, and on top of that come and bother me with that question."

* * * * *

The worst waste of time is arguing with the fool and fanatic who do not care about truth or reality, but only the victory of his beliefs and illusions. Never waste time on arguments that don't make sense. There are people, who, no matter how much evidence we present to them, are not in the capacity to understand, and others are blinded by ego, hatred and resentment, and all they want is to be right even if they are not. When ignorance screams, intelligence is silent. Your peace and quiet is worth more.

Have a Happy Easter.

See you in May

Click on author's byline for bio and list of other works published by Pencil Stubs Online.

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