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Connolly Column

Connolly Column

On the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War the Irish socialist, Peadar O'Donnell, urged the formation of volunteer regiments to support the Popular Front government. O'Donnell established the Connolly Column, named after his hero, James Connolly.

In December 1936, Frank Ryan and eighty volunteers arrived in Spain. The majority came from the Free State but there were also a group of socialists from Belfast. Those who went included Charlie Donnelly, Eddie O'Flaherty, Paul Burns, Jackie Hunt, Bill Henry, Eamon McGrotty, Bill Beattie, Paddy McLaughlin, Bill Henry, Peter O'Connor, Peter Power, Johnny Power, Liam Tumilson, Jim Straney, Willie O'Hanlon, Ben Murray and Fred McMahon.

After travelling through southern France by train to Perpignan, they went to the training at Albercete in Spain run by André Marty. The Connolly Column suffered heavy losses at Jarama (February 1937). Charlie Donnelly, Eamon McGrotty, Bill Henry, Liam Tumilson and Bill Beattie were all killed during this battle.

Ryan was badly wounded at Jarama in February 1937 and returned to Ireland to recuperate. On his returned to Spain and was appointed adjutant to General José Miaja. Ryan was captured during the Aragón offensive on 1st April, 1938 and was held at the Miranda del Ebro detention camp. He was sentenced to death but after representations from Eamon de Valera his sentence was commuted to thirty years.


A column by Johns Hopkins historian N. D. B. Connolly causes a firestorm on the website of New York Times

Is black culture what's gone wrong in Baltimore? That's apparently what a lot of people think. When Johns Hopkins's N. D. B. Connolly made the case in an op ed in the New York Times that it's not he faced a firestorm of criticism that played out on the newspaper's discussion board. More than eleven hundred people posted comments. This comment, voted the most popular, was typical:

Connolly, an assistant professor of history at Hopkins, which is located in Baltimore, is the author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida. In the book he argues that racism was profitable to Miami businesses in both the Jim Crow era and afterwards. It's also profitable, he wrote in his Times piece, in Baltimore and the country at large:

The problem is not black culture. It is policy and politics, the very things that bind together the history of Ferguson and Baltimore and, for that matter, the rest of America. Specifically, the problem rests on the continued profitability of racism. Freddie Gray’s exposure to lead paint as a child, his suspected participation in the drug trade, and the relative confinement of black unrest to black communities during this week’s riot are all features of a city and a country that still segregate people along racial lines, to the financial enrichment of landlords, corner store merchants and other vendors selling second-rate goods.

He disparaged stories about the black mother who stopped her teenage son from joining rioters. That just encourages us to misdiagnose the problem, placing the focus on black culture rather than the class and racial structures that keep black people down.

The problem originates in a political culture that has long bound black bodies to questions of property. Yes, I’m referring to slavery.

Slavery was not so much a labor system as it was a property regime, with slaves serving not just as workers, but as commodities. Back in the day, people routinely borrowed against other human beings. They took out mortgages on them. As a commodity, the slave had a value that the state was bound to protect.

Now housing and commercial real estate have come to occupy the heart of America’s property regime, replacing slavery. And damage to real estate, far more than damage to ostensibly free black people, tends to evoke swift responses from the state. What we do not prosecute nearly well enough, however, is the daily assault on black people’s lives through the slow, willful destruction of real estate within black communities. The conditions in West Baltimore today are the direct consequence of speculative real estate practices that have long targeted people with few to no options.

Not everybody who posted comments on the discussion board thought he went too far. Some thought he didn't go far enough.


Mick O'Riordan: The Connolly Column

Mick O'Riordan was a young member of the Communist Party of Ireland when he went to Spain with the International Brigade. Here he describes the background which saw Irish fascists and anti-fascists mobilising around the events in Spain.

Article from Anti-Fascist Action's Fighting Talk magazine #15 (1996)

In Ireland the reaction to the Spanish war was to greet it as a crusade for religion. In 1934 we had the beginning of the Blueshirt movement1, which took a great grip in the political life of the country. They were eventually defeated not by the government but by the Republican Movement, the Communist Party and other progressive groups who fought for possession of the streets and therefore dented the so-called militancy of the Blueshirts. They were completely in accord with the fascist movements throughout Europe. When the Spanish war broke out in 1936 they immediately began to resurrect themselves and issued a call for volunteers to fight for Franco. O'Duffy was the leader of the Blueshirts, and an ex-Police chief who had been sacked by the De Valera government. He raised the cry for people to become involved in the crusade for religion in Spain. The initial appeal was greeted with 5,000 applications. Eventually only 700-800 went to Spain. The leadership of the Blueshirts was composed of ex-officers of the old Free State army and were the core of fascism in Ireland and of the Irish assistance for Franco.

I was born in Cork city2, my parents came from the Cork/Kerry border area. I was involved in Fianna Eireann, which was the youth branch of the Republican Movement. At one stage the man in charge of the Fianna was Frank Ryan, who later led the first Irish contingent of volunteers to Spain in 1936. I was involved from an early age in the question of resistance to the Blueshirts. Cork was a county which was dominated by whether you were a Blueshirt or an anti-Blueshirt, this was as a result of the question of Free State versus Republican ideology. When the Spanish War broke out I was 18 and I was immediately interested in the parallels with the war in Spain and with O'Duffy's Blueshirts. On the matter of creating a crusade for Spain there was another organisation called the Irish Christian Front. This used to have huge rallies they never talked about fascism or blueshirtism, they always talked about Christ the King and the so-called horrible outrages against nuns and priests, church burnings, etc, in Spain. At the big meetings, when they had raised people to a certain degree of hysteria, they used to salute. It was not the salute the fascists used, but they raised their crossed hands over their heads in the form of a cross. That was clerical fascism, although not officially part of the catholic theology. They held many meetings and formed a pogrom-type atmosphere.

The Communist Party was refounded in 1933 in Connolly House, which was burned to the ground by a pogrom incited against it. Religion was always used against anyone with left wing or communist ideas, they were regarded as a stereotype of the devil in all senses, physically, morally and intellectually. That was the atmosphere and when O'Duffy decided to organise a group for Spain there was reaction from the Communist Party first of all and from people in the Republican Congress, which was composed of left Irish Republicans. It was from these ranks that Frank Ryan came and took over the leadership of the first group to go to Spain.

They went quietly enough but they released a manifesto which stated what their reasons were for going:

'The Irish contingent is a demonstration of revolutionary Ireland's solidarity with the gallant Spanish workers and peasants in their fight for freedom against Fascism. It aims to redeem Irish honour besmirched by the intervention of Irish fascism on the side of the Spanish fascist rebels. It is to aid the revolutionary movements in Ireland to defeat the fascist menace at home, and finally, and not least, to establish the closest fraternal bonds of kinship between the Republican democracies of Ireland and Spain'.

The attitudes of the Church would make your blood boil and your hair stand on your head. It was real incitement, as I look back on it it was frightening in many respects, like the Salem witchunts - rumour mongering, admonitions from the altar. When the nazis landed in Portugal at Lisbon they were greeted by the Dominican prior of the Irish church, Fr. Paul O'Sullivan. He delivered the following address which was circulated by the Blueshirts at the time to guarantee their religious credentials:

'Never have we heard, even in the dark days of Nero, never even among the most barbarous hordes, that innocent children were cut to pieces, the bodies of the dead exhumed, insulted and profaned, you are going to fight these monsters who are more like demons let lose from Hell than mortal men. More fierce, more depraved, more godless, than Turks or Moslems'. This is interesting because one of the initial forces who fought for Franco were the Army of Africa, which was composed of Muslims and it was a contradiction that they were the people who were 'saving christianity'.

There were 145 Irish (anti-fascist) Volunteers, they were going from December 1936 until the last battle on the Ebro front in 1938, when we were repatriated by the Spanish government. 63 were killed in various battles. The first main battle in which a large number of Irishmen were killed was the Battle of Jarama in 1937. Nineteen of our peope were killed, a large number of the International volunteers were killed, in this fierce battle. The first group that went to Spain were called the James Connolly Section. They were with the 15th Brigade which was composed of English speaking people. After the first battles there were so few left there was no basis for the Connolly Column but the name was still retained and we are known as the Connolly Column. We named ourselves after Connolly because of adherence to his ideology and because he was a man who bore arms in defence of the working people.

Today, 60 years after the first International Brigades came to Madrid, there are only five left of the Irish who went to support the Spanish struggle. Time has taken its toll.


History, Minus The Historian Herself

Students return to the University of Virginia for the fall semester on August 19, 2017 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Does NPR have a gender problem? A history problem?

Over the weekend, a Washington Post-owned website called The Lily published a very good piece about an infuriating situation involving Here & Now, the two-hour daily news and talk program that is co-produced by NPR and Boston public radio station WBUR. The injustice in the case was done against Sarah Milov, an assistant history professor at the University of Virginia.

Milov has written a book, to be published in the fall, called "The Cigarette: A Political History." The contents of the book were the subject of a 10-minute conversation on Here & Now last Thursday, although Milov was not part of the conversation. The discussion took place between Here & Now co-host Jeremy Hobson and two male historians who make up the four-person team (three men, one woman) behind the BackStory podcast, a program of Virginia Humanities.

BackStory is a regular feature on Here & Now, where two of the podcast's four hosts appear every couple of weeks to talk about some of the history behind topics in the news, from the history of U.S. currencies to abortion. Hobson is credited with starting the regular feature.

Back to the injustice: in the entire segment, Milov's name was never mentioned and her book was not cited, even though it was the main source of the information being shared. After The Lily story broke, Milov was given credit in a prominent note added to the Here & Now website.

I wanted to know how this situation happened and specifically what responsibility Here & Now (and thus NPR and WBUR) bore in the missing credit.

Many who read The Lily piece saw a repeat of a similar situation last summer, when a female co-author of a book was omitted from an All Things Considered story, which referred to her male co-author as the "author." I have not been made aware of another such NPR incident since then, and the units that produce the two NPR shows are completely separate (one is in Washington, D.C., one is in Boston). Still, some have asserted that the latest slight is emblematic of a systemic NPR "gender problem," of failing to give women credit for their work.

NPR also had an embarrassing correction a few weeks back in the regular "Ask Cokie" history feature on Morning Edition. At that time, a number of historians suggested that NPR should interview actual historians, instead of having a journalist summarize or report on the history.

In this case, however, it was two well-regarded historians — Nathan Connolly and Ed Ayers — who summarized the history for Here & Now and neglected to mention Milov. So that wouldn't seem to apply here, but, more on that below.

Neither Milov nor BackStory responded to my request to talk about the situation for this column (although both acknowledged receiving my emails). So, I'm reliant on the reporting that has already been done for their perspectives. No one has raised any suggestion that Milov did anything wrong, or is anything but the victim here.

BackStory initially took responsibility. As The Lily reported:

"BackStory" researchers helped prep Connolly and Ayers for the segment, providing them with talking points from Milov's book, said Diana Lynn Williams, digital editor and strategist for "BackStory."

"We regret the omission," "BackStory" wrote in a tweet on Friday. "We want to be sure that BackStory always gives credit when it's due." In an interview, Williams added that BackStory takes full responsibility for what happened. "Somewhere along the way we dropped the ball," she said.

But on Monday, historian Connolly, in an interview (behind a paywall) with The Chronicle of Higher Education, blamed Here & Now. He said that in the two years that BackStory has worked with the show, it was a "tortured relationship," because the show's editors regularly cut out the information when the historians cited their sources.

"The hat tips ended up on the cutting-room floor again and again," he was quoted as saying. He also described the relationship with the show as "a kind of dance between skimming across the top and our own desires to uphold scholarly conventions." The Chronicle also wrote, apparently summarizing what Connolly said, that Connolly and Ayers "didn't cite Milov because for two years the Here & Now producers have cut and discouraged those citations, so why keep beating their heads against the wall?"

Those are, of course, serious charges, so I put them to executives at WBUR, where Here & Now is based.

Kathleen McKenna, the show's executive producer, said she turned up no evidence that anyone from the show had told BackStory to cut attributions. She said one producer who works with the BackStory team told her "she has never said that," and, as for the producer who started the feature, "I would be surprised if he had ever said that."

Sam Fleming, the interim general manager of WBUR and its top news executive, said, "We believe in attribution." He added, "We [he and McKenna] both find it difficult to believe that it was ever said that we would cut that out."

But Connolly told The Chronicle it was a pattern, not an explicitly stated policy. McKenna said she did not believe that was the case. The BackStory conversations are pre-taped, but McKenna said very little (a couple of minutes at most, including the chitchat as the conversations get underway) is cut out of the conversations to keep them to their broadcast length (usually around 11 minutes). She said she had listened to a couple of the raw recordings and not heard any attributions that got cut out.

So where does that leave us, other than at an allegation that the Here & Now producers deny?

It seems to me (and to some inside NPR with whom I've discussed this) that this is part of a different problem than the common journalistic problem of ignoring women's contributions, including in reporting on history. Here & Now does talk to female historians, including Jill Lepore and Doris Kearns Goodwin, although McKenna said she wishes the show talked to more of them (something which seemingly could be remedied). McKenna said had she known about Milov's book, she would have interviewed her about it.

To me, this is a problem of basic oversight, which comes up repeatedly when I look into instances of reporting gone wrong.

Collaboration between different companies and organizations producing content is a fact of journalism these days newsrooms need content and podcasts such as BackStory want the larger audience that a program such as Here & Now brings. NPR shows get content from many outside sources, from freelance reporters to regular partnerships with organizations such as BackStory and StoryCorps. Not everyone has the same editorial standards or is familiar with NPR's standards (although freelancers, especially, should be). Even if the relationship is trusted and long-term, that doesn't absolve an NPR show of basic oversight of the material it obtains from outside sources and then puts on its air. The ultimate responsibility lies with the show itself to ensure that NPR's standards are adhered to.

It doesn't make sense to me why the BackStory team would continue to work with Here & Now if they felt the standards were so lax, but again, I haven't been able to talk to them. After all, that show's on-air people are historians, and historians, like journalists, are supposed to make their sources clear.

But on Here & Now's part, sharper oversight of the conversations by Here & Now's producing staff could have caught a problem. If sources were not cited, someone on the Here & Now side should have questioned why. A basic question seemingly wasn't asked: "What are the sources for what you're telling us?"

McKenna, while rejecting the idea that citations were routinely cut, said, "This has taught me a lot. This has taught me that maybe, with more of these people [outside contributors], I should have been on the phone when this relationship first started." She added, "I have to be more hands-on," with outside pieces, and "make sure we're all clear on the ground rules."

For its part, BackStory talked to Milov Tuesday for a new podcast episode posted today. Part of the conversation came back to the issue of how history is presented in the media today and the obligation of senior historians, not just journalists, to be clearer about the sources they are relying on.

Milov told them: "In a way, what has happened, it seems to me, is that in contracting with Here & Now, BackStory essentially became a commodity, of basically being your roving historical researchers, and that ends up submerging so much labor. Not just the labor of the books that are relied upon . and yes, my case is an outsized example because it was basically one book and it was an advanced copy . but even if it were synthetic work, and that is real work, the work to synthesize and to make it public and to package it in an attractive way. There is real work that goes on there, but that too relies on the labor of so many other people, researchers, producers, not to mention the sometimes uncredited historians whose work informs that synthesis."

Meanwhile, not surprisingly, today, Here & Now said it will "pause" more collaboration with BackStory pending a full review.

The statement in full, posted here, reads:

Here & Now regrets that historian Sarah Milov wasn't given due credit in a recent segment with two historians from the BackStory podcast. We have worked to remedy the situation and invited Professor Milov onto our program when her book "The Cigarette: A Political History," is published. She accepted. Corrections were made to the text and audio story which is posted online at hereandnow.org. At this time, we're reviewing our editorial process, including the use of attribution, with the BackStory podcast producers and historians. Accuracy is the top priority for Here & Now and WBUR. To that end, we will pause any more collaboration with BackStory until a full review is completed.

I don't want to end on too clinical a note and lose sight of the broader picture noted above, which is that news organizations too often make women's work invisible. A year ago, we detailed internal work at NPR to change that. That work has continued and new research into how NPR is doing on diverse sourcing is coming soon. I'll report on it when NPR lets me make it public.


Flying Columns soared during Irish War of Independence

By July 1920, Crown Forces were flooding the country. Volunteers who were known to the authorities risked life and limb to stay at home or to congregate in familiar places.

With so many men being sought by the Royal Irish Constabulary, Black and Tans, and British Army, the vulnerable Volunteers began banding together. Soon official Flying Columns were formed:

Kerry No.2 Brigade, Ballymacelligott, June 1920 (Tans, Terror and Troubles by T. Ryle Dwyer, p. 208)

East Limerick, July 1920 (The War of Independence in Limerick 1912−1921 by Thomas Toomey, pp. 375−378)

West Clare, August (Blood on the Banner by Pádraig Óg Ó Ruairc, p. 145)

The Cork No.2 Brigade Flying Column, formed at Mourneabbey, 7 August (“The only British Military Barracks captured by the IRA was at Mallow,” The Kerryman, 11 April 1964, p. 6)

Mid-Limerick and West Limerick Brigade Columns, August 1920 (The War of Independence in Limerick 1912−1921 by Thomas Toomey, pp. 428, 431)

South Roscommon/Athlone area, end of summer 1920 (Pat Lennon Witness Statement, p. 9.

East-Limerick Brigade was reorganised by Ernie O’Malley and Sean Wall. Members of a single Brigade Column were selected from all six Battalions, September 1920 (The War of Independence in Limerick 1912−1921 by Thomas Toomey, p. 425)

North Roscommon, September 1920 1st Battalion South Roscommon in January 1921 (They Put the Flag a-Flyin’ The Roscommon Volunteers 19161923 by Kathleen Hegarty Thorne, pp. 67, 179)

Westmeath/Athlone Brigade, September/October 1920 (Witness Statement of Michael McCormack, p. 16) and (Witness Statement of Henry O’Brien, p. 10)

3rd Battalion South Roscommon, October 1920 (Witness Statement of Frank Simons, p. 14)

Tipperary, October 1920 (“Stirring Days with the Third Tipperary Brigade,” Nenagh Guardian, 30 August 1975, p. 4)

A second Tipperary Column formed in November 1920 (“Stirring Days with the Third Tipperary Brigade,” Nenagh Guardian, 30 August 1975, p. 4)

South Leitrim Brigade, December 1920 (Bernard Sweeney Witness Statement, p. 10)

Two Monaghan Columns, end of 1920 (Unsung Heroes by Kevin McGeough, p. 55)

East Mayo formed a Flying Column in December 1920 (Memories of an Old Man 1901−1986 by John Snee). (Sean Walsh in A History of the East Mayo Brigade 1913−1921 by James Reddiough [p. 44], claims the date as January 1921)

Donegal had a fulltime Flying Column by January 1921 that was led by Peadar O’Donnell (Donegal and the Civil War by Liam O Duibhir, pp. 24−25)

Mallow Flying Column in Cork (“I.R.A. Veteran Who Escaped Firing Squad,” Irish Independent, 21 October 1967, p. 9)

Tuam Battalion, North Galway, February 1921 (Pat Treacy Witness Statement, p. 5)

West Mayo Brigade, including Westport, Castlebar, and Newport Columns, amalgamated in the spring of 1921 (Raids and Rallies by Ernie O’Malley, p. 160)

A second Kerry No.2 Brigade Flying Column, 2 March 1921 (Tans, Terror and Troubles by T. Ryle Dwyer, p. 281) and (“A Bitter War of Chance, Courage and Brutal Death,” The Kerryman, 26 August 1994, p. 26)

East Waterford, late May 1921 (Witness Statement of P. J. Paul, p. 35)

When these Flying Columns were based in a particular area, it was not uncommon for the local IRA to act as scouts and security guards and provide them with food and clothing when necessary.

Roving bands of Volunteers was a game-changer in the strategies of the Irish War of Independence. Face-to-face military confrontations on open battlefields were deemed a fool's errand. Hit and run became the order of the day. Members of Flying Columns waited in ambush, robbed trains of British supplies, attacked the nearby military barracks to obtain badly-needed guns, raided the mails to determine who was secretly communicating with Dublin Castle, and, most important, provided a moving target that was difficult for battalions of enemy soldiers to track and contain.

Quote: "I stuck my sandwiches in one pocket of my coat, the bullets in the other, and my rifle down my pants, got on my bicycle and went off to declare war on the British Empire. And you know what? In the end, we beat 'em."

-Spoken by John O'Callaghan, a detainee in Frongoch, as cited in Dublin in Rebellion A Directory 1913-1923 by Joseph E. A. Connell Jr., p. 398.

This article was submitted to the IrishCentral contributors network by a member of the global Irish community. To become an IrishCentral contributor click here.


A column by Johns Hopkins historian N. D. B. Connolly causes a firestorm on the website of New York Times

Is black culture what's gone wrong in Baltimore? That's apparently what a lot of people think. When Johns Hopkins's N. D. B. Connolly made the case in an op ed in the New York Times that it's not he faced a firestorm of criticism that played out on the newspaper's discussion board. More than eleven hundred people posted comments. This comment, voted the most popular, was typical:

Connolly, an assistant professor of history at Hopkins, which is located in Baltimore, is the author of A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida. In the book he argues that racism was profitable to Miami businesses in both the Jim Crow era and afterwards. It's also profitable, he wrote in his Times piece, in Baltimore and the country at large:

The problem is not black culture. It is policy and politics, the very things that bind together the history of Ferguson and Baltimore and, for that matter, the rest of America. Specifically, the problem rests on the continued profitability of racism. Freddie Gray’s exposure to lead paint as a child, his suspected participation in the drug trade, and the relative confinement of black unrest to black communities during this week’s riot are all features of a city and a country that still segregate people along racial lines, to the financial enrichment of landlords, corner store merchants and other vendors selling second-rate goods.

He disparaged stories about the black mother who stopped her teenage son from joining rioters. That just encourages us to misdiagnose the problem, placing the focus on black culture rather than the class and racial structures that keep black people down.

The problem originates in a political culture that has long bound black bodies to questions of property. Yes, I’m referring to slavery.

Slavery was not so much a labor system as it was a property regime, with slaves serving not just as workers, but as commodities. Back in the day, people routinely borrowed against other human beings. They took out mortgages on them. As a commodity, the slave had a value that the state was bound to protect.

Now housing and commercial real estate have come to occupy the heart of America’s property regime, replacing slavery. And damage to real estate, far more than damage to ostensibly free black people, tends to evoke swift responses from the state. What we do not prosecute nearly well enough, however, is the daily assault on black people’s lives through the slow, willful destruction of real estate within black communities. The conditions in West Baltimore today are the direct consequence of speculative real estate practices that have long targeted people with few to no options.

Not everybody who posted comments on the discussion board thought he went too far. Some thought he didn't go far enough.


Flying columns

It would be a mistake to think that large operations characterised IRA activity in the region. Much more common than IRA ambushes or barrack attacks, was destruction and blocking of roads, seizing the mail, individual harassing attacks on police and troops and other such minor actions.

By the time of the truce, the roads in County Monaghan had deteriorated so badly due to the IRA campaign that the Council would no longer pay to have them repaired.[24]

Another very common activity was enforcement of the Belfast Boycott, which forbade doing business with Belfast firms due to the attacks on Catholics by loyalists in that city. Fines were imposed and goods seized of those businesses who defied the boycott. One Cavan Orangeman complained that he was ‘approached by strange men’ and threatened with shooting if he did any business with the northern city.[25]

That said, while most IRA members never engaged in open combat with Crown forces, small effective IRA active service units, capable of concerted military attacks, did, however, emerge in some localities in the region.

Large scale IRA actions were rare and infrequent but a number of significant local flying columns did emerge in Armagh, Monaghan and north Longford.

Sean MacEoin’s North Longford column ranged all over the north midlands region, striking at the RIC at Swanlibar, County Cavan in December 1920 for instance, when a three man RIC patrol was ‘passing dead walls’ when ‘a volley of rifle, revolver and shotgun fire was poured into the patrol from behind a wall on the west side of the wall.’ One constable Peter Shannon was shot dead, hit in the stomach and head.[26]

MacEoin’s most successful action came in an ambush of Auxiliary policemen at Clonfin in Longford on February 1 1921, where, through use of a mine in an ambush of an RIC motorised column, four Auxiliaries were killed and the rest captured and disarmed.[27]

MacEoin himself was captured by the RIC about a month later at Mullingar. His arrest showed his central importance to the IRA in Longford and the region generally, as attacks in his command area declined sharply thereafter.

Large IRA operations remained rare in County Monaghan well after the Ballytrain barracks attack of February 1920. It was January 1921 before O’Duffy’s command again attempted a large scale attack. In that month they ambushed a police patrol and shot five RIC men, one fatally, and an unfortunate civilian in the crossfire, at Ballybay. Another constable was killed on the same day at Coolshannagh.[28]

And it was another six months before the next large encounter in Monaghan an ambush in June 1921, in which a cycling patrol of RIC men was ambushed at Broomfield. Ten of the constabulary were hit by rifle fire and one, a Black and Tan constable named Perkins of the Isle of Wight, was killed.[29]

In short, O’Duffy was an aggressive but not a reckless commander. He sanctioned few large scale attacks and only did so when he was sure of success.

By contrast to the Brigades of O’Duffy, Aiken and MacEoin, Counties Cavan and Leitrim developed no such effective IRA active service units. In Cavan, Paul Galligan, a veteran of the 1916 Rising, who had won a well-deserved reputation as a dedicated and talented republican activist, does not seem to have been suited for guerrilla warfare.

This was best illustrated by an event of mid 1920 in an arms raid at In May, an IRA party from Galligan’s West Cavan unit tried to ambush two RIC men at a fair in Crossdowney to take their weapons. One participant recalled “strict orders were given by the battalion OC [Galligan] that no lives were to be taken in the attempt”.

When the police were challenged, they opened fire with their pistols. In a shootout, one of the Volunteers, Thomas Sheridan, was shot and mortally wounded, his brother Paul and one of the policemen were also injured. The police, who swore they would kill the other Sheridan brothers if the wounded sergeant died, set fire to the thatched roof of the Sheridan house that night.[30]

Galligan himself was arrested and shot and wounded by Black and Tans in September 1920 and interned in Belfast before being imprisoned in England.


Recruitment poster for the Connolly Column Irish volunteers who fought on the republican side in the Spanish civil war

Did the Irish volunteers fight with the republicans or the anarchists during the war?

The Republicans and anarchist unions both fought against the Fascists.

The Connolly Column were the Irish section of the International Brigades.

To my knowledge there were irish who fought with the POUM and the syndicalists, but the vast majority were with the International Brigades.

I haven't found names or much more information about irishmen in the POUM or anarcho-syndicaist groups other than general mentions of Volunteers from Ireland being members.

Rather than a recruiting poster, I'm pretty sure this was made after the conflict to remember Brigaders who were killed (the names in the middle). It's really cool though, do you know anything more about it?

Michael O'Riordan has a fantastic book on the Connolly column.

There's a few other books about irishmen in the Spanish Civil War. Brigadista by Bob Doyle was a good one. there's In Spanish Trenches by Barry McGloughlin and Emmet Oɼonnor but I haven't read that yet.. there's a few more.

Connolly Books is a great place for some of these books that are fairly difficult to find.

If you want the other side, the fascist cunt Oɽuffy himself writes about what a clown show his efforts were in Crusade In Spain

Edit: if you are interested in reading the religious zealotry and lies that Oɽuffy spews in his book, my humble suggestion would be to buy it used so as not to support the publishing house that prints his book, Reconquista Press. Ultra right catholic extremists and fascist scum who push blatant racism, mussolini and books about the eViLs oF lEfTiSm and non-catholics


Books

Simmons, Cindy Brinker and Robert Darden. Little Mo's Legacy: A Mother's Lessons, a Daughter's Story. Irving, TX: Tapestry, 2001.

Periodicals

"Maureen Connolly, Tennis Star, Dies." New York Times, (January 7, 2003).

Other

Films and TV, http://www.filmsandtv.com, (January 9, 2003).

Handbook of Texas Online, Maureen Catherine Connolly Brinker profile, http://www.tsha.utexas.edu/handbook/online/articles/view/BB/fbr54.html, (December 4, 2002).

"Maureen Connolly, Class of 1968." International Tennis Hall of Fame, http://www.tennisfame.org/enshrinees/maureen_connolly.html, (January 7, 2003).

Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation Inc., http://www.mcbtennis.org, (January 9, 2003).

"Women's History Month: Maureen Connolly." Gale Group, http://www.gale.com, (January 9, 2003).

Sketch by Paul Burton

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‘Candy aspirin,’ safety caps, and the history of children’s drugs

This is an excerpt from Cynthia Connolly’s new bookChildren and Drug Safety: Balancing Risk and Protection in Twentieth Century America” published in April 2018 by Rutgers University Press. Below, listen to audio of Connolly reading the excerpt, in three parts.

The development, use, and marketing of drugs for children in the 20th century is a history that sits at the interface of the state, business, health-care providers, parents, and children. Many of the drugs administered to children today have never been tested for safety and efficacy in the pediatric population. Although almost every recent American drug law was enacted because of a pediatric disaster, the drug-safety template historically improved for adults, not for children.

There have been major turning points in pediatric drug development, particularly in regard to children’s risk, rights, and protections in the evolving context of childhood, child-rearing, and family life. But those have been punctuated with nuances of race, class, gender—and political agendas. Nowhere were the issues starker than in the over-the-counter drug market, as the story of “candy” aspirin reveals.

A new drug for children
In 1947, the Plough Company, founded by entrepreneur Abe Plough, successfully reformulated an old, off-patent medication—aspirin—into a flavored, small-dose chewable tablet designed to appeal to children’s palates. Plough had made his fortune buying failing proprietary drug companies and marketing their products aggressively. Although Plough purchased St. Joseph in 1921, by the 1940s he had yet to see much profit.

The explosion of births after World War II provided him an opportunity. Plough put St. Joseph chemists to work developing a pediatric aspirin formulation attractive to children in color and taste. In September 1947, the company released the bright-orange St. Joseph Aspirin for Children amid a wave of creative marketing.

Although Plough used radio and, later, television to sell his products, he relied heavily on newspaper and magazine ads, particularly those in Parents magazine. Like the articles they surrounded, the families and scenarios in the St. Joseph ads presented an idealized, Madison Avenue vision of the American family, replete with overt gendered and classed messages. Mothers in well-appointed living rooms chatted while girls played with dolls and boys with trucks or action toys. The messages were also racially coded: Without exception, during this era, the children in St. Joseph Parents ads were white.

Despite this homogeneity, cultural messages were contradictory. Mothers looked relaxed, but copy implied that parenting was stressful and difficult. The ads were designed to tap into mothers’ anxieties by persuading them that postwar parenting was much more complex. As a result, the ads implied, children could face danger if a mother purchased a product that had not been scientifically formulated to accommodate her children’s physiological and psychological needs.

Plough’s new product achieved blockbuster status almost immediately. By the early 1950s, aspirin was the most common drug used in pediatrics, spurring Bayer and other manufacturers to launch competing versions. Even Benjamin Spock was not immune: He didn’t mention children’s aspirin in the 1940s editions of his book, but gave it prominent acknowledgment by the mid-1950s.

Unintended consequences
By the 1950s, low-dose, flavored aspirin was the number-one drug ingested by children, far outstripping its chief competitor, penicillin. Plough’s profits increased by double digits, in some years by as much as 50 percent.

If the narrative had ended here, the candy aspirin story would be a reification of American capitalism’s dynamism and societal benefits. But an unintended consequence soon appeared. Within a few years the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) documented a dramatic increase in aspirin poisoning in young children. The statistics seemed irrefutable: By 1951, three years after St. Joseph Aspirin for Children became available, preschool-age children represented 80 percent of aspirin deaths.

Plough’s marketing strategy had clearly worked: Children loved the taste of St. Joseph Aspirin for Children.

But nothing in Plough’s advertisements mentioned the importance of keeping it away from toddlers and preschoolers, and many parents may not have realized the threat from an overdose. They were undoubtedly horrified to learn that a toxic dose of aspirin could cause ringing in the ears, sleepiness, rapid and deep breathing, vomiting, and vision problems. An especially high dose could result in seizures, coma, even death.

Parents even sometimes inadvertently overdosed children. There was no mandate for a standardized children’s aspirin preparation. Each company decided how much acetylsalicylic acid to put in a tablet. St. Joseph, for example, sold a 1.25-grain tablet (80 mg), whereas Bayer’s was 2.5 grains (160 mg). Parents needed to read each label carefully. This confusion worried the AAP, which publicized the problem. As soon as the organization reported that 50 percent of accidents in children were poison-related, pediatricians, nurses, and public-health officials began tracking all accidental ingestions in children. In most instances, aspirin topped the list.

Despite evidence mounting in the news media and professional literature, as well as from FDA field agents, the aspirin industry, with Plough in the lead, denied any safety problem with children’s aspirin. If any action was needed at all, Plough executives argued, it was simply parental education.

Other companies in that market agreed. Just as the tobacco industry had begun doing with regard to health risks from cigarettes, aspirin manufacturers shaped the debates concerning aspirin poisoning using similar tactics. Any problems resulting from product use were the fault of the individual, not the product in the case of aspirin, this meant poor parenting.

The Conference on Accidental Aspirin Poisoning
Growing concerns about candy aspirin poisoning led the FDA to convene a meeting in February 1955. The FDA, AAP, and American Medical Association (AMA) leaders, accompanied by vocal supporters from the American Public Health Association, hoped to succeed on two major issues: a label warning parents to keep aspirin bottles away from young children and a standard, industry-wide dosage. Aspirin makers arrived at the meeting hoping to forestall with their presence what one trade journal called “drastic and unrealistic measures,” such as banning flavored aspirin, which had been proposed by some physicians.

The aspirin industry got its wish. Despite heavy pressure from the FDA, the only concrete conference result was a recommendation that industry voluntarily consider different packaging. Industry tentatively agreed to an aspirin warning label, but no timeline was outlined, nor wording specified.

Several months after the conference the AMA Committee on Toxicology published a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association acknowledging that many types of drug manufacturers increasingly sought to appeal to children’s palates. Because aspirin was the most widely used, however, available in most homes, its candy formulations caused the most accidental ingestions.

According to AAP, the problem was not parents not reading directions rather, youngsters aggressively hunted for the aspirin. As a result, significant parental diligence was necessary to prevent access by the determined toddler or preschooler. As numbers of aspirin-poisoned children continued to grow, one pediatrician, Jay M. Arena, decided to act. By the 1950s, Arena was one of the nation’s leading pediatric poison experts. After two children under age five died in one week from an overdose of “candy aspirin,” a frustrated Arena called Abe Plough himself.

Plough was initially reluctant to do anything, admitting to Arena he was “scared to death” that taking any action would negatively affect sales for his leading product. Arena responded with an appeal, explaining that St. Joseph Aspirin for Children could differentiate itself by demonstrating a commitment to child well-being, and, as proof of the company’s largesse, promote its financial investment toward a protective barrier on these bottles.

Plough assigned one of his executives to work with Arena to develop what’s known today as a safety cap. In the first advertisement for the safety cap–protected St. Joseph Aspirin for Children, in the December 1958 Parents, the company featured it prominently. Within a year Bayer was advertising its safety-capped children’s aspirin, too. However, mortality rates from aspirin poisoning continued to rise. The determined toddler or preschooler could overcome the barrier. In an effort to educate parents, the FDA, poison control centers, and pharmacists’ associations instituted public-health campaigns focused on aspirin-poison prevention.

Although manufacturers had, by 1960, agreed to standardize the amount of aspirin in one tablet, they refused to budge on limiting the number of pills per bottle. They faced little opposition. In the context of other concerns about the pharmaceutical industry, such as the thalidomide crisis, the regulatory energy surrounding children’s aspirin fell by the wayside in the short term.

Politics in the medicine cabinet
The aspirin issue roared to life again a few years later when, in 1964, Consumer Reports publicized its concern about “candy aspirin” poisoning. The next year Missouri Representative Leonor K. Sullivan introduced a bill that prohibited interstate sale of children’s aspirin. The effort received publicity, putting the issue back in the legislative spotlight.

A few weeks later, investigative journalist Jack Anderson wrote in a Washington Post column about his two nieces nearly dying from flavored aspirin overdoses. And soon after, South Dakota Senator George McGovern introduced the Children’s Aspirin Amendment of 1965, which did not ban flavored aspirin entirely but rather limited the number of tablets in a bottle.

Evidence of aspirin’s dangers on young children continued to mount. In 1965, the National Clearing House for Poison Control Centers received 34,483 accidental drug ingestion reports by children under five, of which 16,328 (47 percent) involved aspirin or other salicylates. In 1966, poison control centers documented that 88 percent of the nearly 11,000 children under age five treated in an emergency room for aspirin ingestion had overdosed on a flavored formulation.

Mortality figures from flavored aspirin motivated support for several bills expanding federal control over hazardous substances. A series of hearings regarding the Child Safety Act (soon renamed the Child Protection Act) were scheduled for 1966. Among many new powers, the potential law would provide the FDA statutory authority to regulate all aspects of manufacturing, bottling, and labeling of children’s aspirin.

The 1966 Child Protection Act hearings
Any hope that children’s aspirin makers harbored for avoiding negative publicity from the Child Protection Act hearings was dashed on March 21, 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson issued a statement directly addressing them, calling specifically for limiting amounts available in retail packages and requiring safety caps.

Aspirin makers seemed stunned by the negative attention.

Debate over the need for more federal oversight became the hearings’ focal point. The only consensus occurred on day one, when everyone involved agreed to act in a way that benefited children. But it was quickly clear that there was little accord over what constituted the best interests of children, who were seen as valuable and negotiable political property.

One of the first witnesses, new FDA commissioner James L. Goddard, argued stridently that toddlers and preschoolers were best served by mandating safety caps and limiting pills per bottle. Although he acknowledged the broad range of potentially toxic household products, he was adamant that robust data suggested that “the greatest danger [to children in the home] is posed by the flavored children’s aspirin.” Goddard even supplied the committee with a number of different safety caps to practice opening.

Representative Sullivan also testified, imploring colleagues not to heed the numerous forthcoming witnesses from the aspirin industry and reminding legislators that young children overdosed on aspirin in a ratio of four to one relative to other medications.

Aspirin manufacturers, led by Plough, and related trade organizations also testified. Plough’s representative, like several previous speakers, emphasized that industry—not children—needed protection and such protection should come from governmental regulation. He also told the committee that St. Joseph Aspirin for Children, voluntarily and before any others, safety cap-protected its product. He declared that Plough wanted to cooperate, but that this new bill went too far.

Industry participants also challenged the data and the FDA’s motives for seeking new regulation. By the end of aspirin industry’s testimony, subcommittee members who had previously supported the FDA now felt angry and betrayed, and the tone was very different when Goddard returned to the Hill. Industry had successfully shifted the issue from discussing how best to use epidemiological evidence to protect young children, to the need to reign in a rogue federal agency. Goddard’s detailed, point-by-point rebuttal mostly fell on deaf ears.

Although Congress did pass the Child Protection Act, the proposal to limit tablets in a bottle and other aspirin-related mandates like safety caps were dropped. Policymakers declared that the problems could be addressed with a voluntary FDA-industry conference.

Mandating safety barriers
The Child Protection Act congressional hearings showed how easily industry had shifted the terrain from discussions surrounding protecting children to safeguarding itself. Despite additional negative press, the mood was celebratory for aspirin makers in December 1966. In the past year, they had fended off regulations and embarrassed FDA commissioner Goddard.

Then came the 1967 conference, which included representatives from groups active in the poison-control movement, aspirin manufacturers, and the FDA. In his opening remarks, Goddard admonished stakeholders that he would not hesitate to return to Congress if he determined industry was not participating in good faith. He had been assured that if problems regarding safety caps and mandatory limiting of tablets per container could not be solved, Congress would be willing to consider future legislation.

Perhaps fearing Goddard would make good on his threat, industry quickly reached consensus regarding a pills-per-bottle standard. Companies also agreed to support a national poison education campaign and acquiesced to the FDA request to fund a subgroup, the Subcommittee on Safety Closures, to determine an ideal safety device that all manufacturers could agree to adopt.

Between 1967 and 1971, the Subcommittee on Safety Closures met formally eight times. The group oversaw a series of industry-funded studies that enrolled hundreds of young children, mothers, and older people to identify a safety cap that prevented children from opening the bottle but made it as easy as possible for adults.

The FDA and members of the subcommittee came to Capitol Hill in October 1969 to report their progress during Senate hearings for a new bill: The Poison Prevention Packaging Act. Stakeholders eventually cobbled together enough support to pass the legislation, which required that all potentially toxic household products carry child-safety closures within a specified period of time. Aspirin was the first product covered by the new law, with packaging to go into effect by August 1973.

By the mid-1970s, aspirin mortality rates in young children had declined significantly, thanks to safety caps and other poison-preventing measures. Nonetheless, many children got sick and a number died because of the protracted delay in mandating this important poison-prevention measure. In an era rife with child-protection rhetoric, debates surrounding children’s aspirin in the years between 1948 and 1973 reveal what can happen when recommendations for children’s well-being challenge corporations’ economic well-being.

Cynthia Connolly holds the Rosemarie B. Greco Term Endowed Associate Professorship in Advocacy and is an associate professor of nursing in the School of Nursing. She is also associate director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing and the co-faculty director of the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice & Research in the School of Social Policy & Practice. The text above is excerpted from “Children and Drug Safety: Balancing Risk and Prevention in Twentieth-Century America” (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2018.) ©Cynthia A. Connolly. Reprinted with permission from Rutgers University


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