Sunday, April 17, 2016

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Ned Breslin: Butcher Of Ballyseedy

Thomas Dixie Elliot responds to claims that Ned Breslin did not murder republican prisoners in Ballyseedy during the Irish Civil War. Dixie Elliot is a Derry artist.

I read the piece in the Derry Journal about Derry man Ned Breslin who played a part in the notorious Ballyseedy Massacre including the claim that the Free Staters, including Breslin, had merely forced prisoners to remove a barricade when it exploded killing them.

This claim goes against not only the witness who survived the brutal massacre, Stephen Fuller, but another eyewitness who saw the remains with hands still tied behind their backs. 

I've read a lot on this massacre including Dorothy Macardle's Tragedies of Kerry written in 1924, a year after the massacre, and it was nothing other than the cold blooded murder of Republican prisoners.

Rather than write a lengthy piece I'll post a documentary on the massacre which includes an account by Stephen Fuller in his own words and that of other eye-witnesses. In it Ned Breslin is mentioned as having been among those who prepared the barricade beforehand rather than it having been there....




4 comments :

Henry JoY said...

Horrific events in the south-west. And sadder still when viewed from a perspective and understanding that the 'full-loaf' wasn't ever realistic or achievable. In their heart of hearts most wise and mature Irish people now accept that the idolised 'Irish Republic' was never on ... at least not without even greater civil war, death and carnage in the north-east.

pat murphy said...

Without British interference the six counties would have been incorporated into the free state in a very short time. On their own they were nothing but a bunch of corner boy thugs who had down through the centuries bullied and slaughtered their catholic neighbours with the full support of the great British empire. Britain taught the true sons of Ulster a lesson for their threats in 1913 by marching them into the Krauts guns in the first world war. Redmond tried to do his bit for them as well but hadn't the same success. Britain had a big strategic reason for holding on to the six counties and it certently wasn't the population. No more then than now. The Irish have been easly cowed by Britain's threats. The men and women who fought the recent war were not cowed. That was left for the so called leaders.

Steve Ricardos said...

Pat

"Without British interference the six counties would have been incorporated into the free state in a very short time."

Considering how many those 'corner boy thugs' numbered, and how well armed and organised they were including their own Motor Corps and Ambulance department, I somehow doubt that the six counties would have been annexed in 'very short time'.

"corner boy thugs who had down through the centuries bullied and slaughtered their catholic neighbours with the full support of the great British empire"

An appeal to emotion, and a blatantly biased one at that. Do you think Protestants just woke up one morning and thought, 'hey, lets just start hating those Catholic bastards for no reason'? Unlikely, especially given the harshness of times they were living in. Using history to justify present day hatred is foolhardy, how far back to you go? The prods will go back to the Reformation and the massacres of them by the RC church as heretics.

"The Irish have been easly cowed by Britain's threats. The men and women who fought the recent war were not cowed. That was left for the so called leaders."

This is just bullshit. The Irish people are 'cowed' by no-one. The leaders of the present day RM went down the path of dialogue as it became apparent to them as it was to everyone else that a war of attrition would not remove Britain from Ireland, and as much as they despised it and how ever much it went against their ethos, the principle of consent was the insurmountable obstacle that no amount of ANFO could dislodge.

"Britain taught the true sons of Ulster a lesson for their threats in 1913 by marching them into the Krauts guns in the first world war."

This is the equivalent of a Brit making fun of The Famine, in that you refer to an event that happened a long time ago and appear to be obtaining perverse joy out of the deaths of many young men far away from home, on a battlefield in a war which had nothing to do with them.

Shame on you.

Gerry Cassidy said...

As the person who was involved in article in the Derry Journal I feel the need to respond to Dixes comment. At no stage in the article did I make any claim that Ned Breslin was innocent of the many allegations that have been made about his role at Ballyseedy. I did quite clearly state that there were two narratives that emerged after that terrible event. The one that has been well documented and the one that was put out by the Free State government. The documentary is nice TV but some of the claims made by it can not stand up to scrutiny. I have carried out lots of research in both Dublin and London and the facts around Ballyseedy are not as clear cut as the program suggests. one claim that was made about Ballyseedy was that Ned Breslin married a sister of one of the Men he killed at Ballyseedy which is nonsense. The civil war in Ireland and especially Kerry was a horrible and brutal episode in our history and it my opinion that no side came out of it with any glory. I think I have read every article book about the civil war and it pains me that my gran uncle was involved at all in such events. I had decided that I would like to tell his whole story, the story of a young Derry lad who made his way to Dublin who was very quickly recruited as a full time member of the Dublin ASU, was as to join Michael Collins squad as a replacement for Dan Breen and his comrades who were returned south. took part in the second biggest operation after the Easter rising. Took Collins side after the treaty and yes served with the newly formed Dublin guard and after the ending of the civil war took part in a little know army Mutiny. Ned resigned as did many former members of the Dublin ASU and was not dismissed after the mutiny another fact that proved incorrect. I have no idea how I would react if two of my best friends and comrades who were with me during the war of independence were blown up by my now ex comrades. I wish I could look at it simply as Dixie has done and condemned him but I choose not to. I have been to visit my gran uncles grave since I started my research and will continue to do so. I have attempted to show the full story of Ned Breslin and will continue to. Do I think that Ned know was was to happen that night at Ballyseedy I think he did. Will I now condem him the answer should now be clear and it's no. Will I condem the men who planted the mine at Knocknagashel as butchers No I will not. I some how remember many making claims about how unhelpful condemnation is, I might just go by that advice.