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Ireland was much on my mind these past weeks. As we watched the first stage of Britain’s divorce from the European Union, the ever-rebellious Scots and Northern Irish were getting ready for a new struggle for independence.

St Patrick’s Day arrived last week, commemorating the patron saint of Ireland, a grand and glorious day when Irish and adopted Irish whoop it up, drink too much, sing traditional songs and get into fist fights over nothing.

Then, a prominent leader of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) Martin McGuinness died, aged only 67. McGuinness had long battled for British-ruled Northern Ireland to join the Irish Republic.

The British, who suffered greatly from IRA bombings and killings, damned McGuinness a ‘terrorist’ until he renounced violence and joined the political wing of the IRA. Many of his fellow Irish hailed him as a freedom fighter and patriot in the centuries-old resistance to British rule.

But I was also reminded of my dear, long-departed Auntie Mairead McCartney. She was a silver-haired, aristocratic Irish lady living in New York City who was very close friends with my mother. Auntie Mairead (as I called her) lived in a vast apartment on New York’s West End Avenue adorned by Tiffany lamps, Irish antiques, figurines of naughty Irish elves known as leprechauns, Victorian paintings and rich Persian carpets.

Auntie Mairead shared the apartment with her elderly cousin, Matt Finnegan. They ran a clerical garb business catering to the New York Catholic Arch Diocese. There were boxes and boxes of nun’s and priest’s wear, rosaries, assorted crucifixes and piles of religious paraphernalia.

The apartment had a thick steel door secured by what is known in New York as a ‘police lock,’ a stout steel brace that fits into a special socket in the floor and then behind the main door lock. Once in place, it was near impossible to force the door open.

And well so. The steel door bore innumerable signs of efforts to force it. I recall lying in bed there at night, listening to would-be intruders trying to jimmy the lock or force the door frame. I was often parked at Mairead’s by my mother, an intrepid journalist who was one of the first female writers to cover the 1950’s Mideast. She interviewed Egypt’s Nasser and Sadat and Jordan’s King Hussein.

My mother discovered and reported that nearly a million Palestinians had been driven from the new state of Israel and were living in tents. This was when the official line was that Palestine, what became Israel, was ‘a land without people for a people without land.’

I recall many festive nights when Auntie Mairead, who was the queen bee of Irish society in New York City, gave parties for visiting Irish writers, poets, artists and musicians. She would sit at her grand piano and thunder out lusty songs about Ireland’s quest for freedom and the lovely Scottish ‘Skye Boat Song.’

At the end of such evenings, our glasses would be refilled with Irish whiskey and we would cry out in unison, ‘Death to the British, Long live Ireland.’ I never admitted that I rather liked, even admired, the wicked Brits.


Years later, I discovered why we lived behind a fortified door. It transpired that my beloved Auntie Mairead was a senior IRA leader in the New York City region and a scourge of the British. She was a chief IRA fundraiser who fuelled the Irish independence struggle. While American officials fulminated against so-called Mideast ‘terrorism,’ the then rampaging IRA was being chiefly funded from New York City and Boston.

Not only that. My mother told me years later that dear Auntie was New York’s leading fence for hot rocks. In retrospect, I do recall Mairead once showing me one of the many cigar boxes she kept under her bed that was filled with lots of shiny little clear, blue and red stones. My child’s brain did not understand that this was a king’s ransom in jewels.

This was how my auntie financed the IRA. I would not be surprised, looking back, that behind the cartons of nun’s wear were boxes of Thompson .45 submachine guns and ammo. Even the holy saints sometimes used swords.

The Feds never caught on to Auntie, and we were never assaulted by British SAS commandos. Crooks and robbers never broke in our fortress. Auntie Mairead waged her little holy war against the British until some sort of peace finally came to Northern Ireland.

To this day – over half a century later – I still don’t know how living with my Auntie Mairead shaped me. I’ve always been a rebel by nature and resistant of authority. I feel sympathy for underdogs and the oppressed. I admire all those who fight for their freedom. Like traditional Japanese, I admire those who decide to fight even when they know the odds against them are overwhelming.

I guess I’ve become partly Irish by osmosis.

(Republished from by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Irish, Terrorism 
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  1. IRA was being chiefly funded from New York City and Boston

    True that. I remember back in the 90s, at the Southie st Patty’s day parade, they were openly collecting right on the street, in full view of Boston brahmins: Weld, Kerry, Flynn, and a whole bunch of Kennedys.

    • Replies: @Matra
    , @Bill Jones
    , @Hibernian
  2. Matra says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    In the 70s when only a very small percentage of proper Irish voted Sinn Fein that party was dominant with Bostonians and New Yorkers. Diaspora populations in general are a pain, not only to their hosts, but often to the motherland itself. Irish and Jewish Americans, Ukrainians in Canada, Turks in Germany are often more extreme than those in the originating country.

    • Agree: Mao Cheng Ji
    • Replies: @Kiza
    , @Anonymous
    , @Mr. Hack
  3. Dan Hayes says:


    “I guess I’ve become partly Irish by osmosis.”

    Welcome Aboard!

  4. Anon • Disclaimer says:

    Enemies of Ulster

    The enemies of Ulster are cowards, every one

    they call themselves the IRA, but they are only scum.

    The souls of those they’ve murdered, proud from heaven above

    but the enemies of Ulster don’t know the word called love.

    They shoot and kill then runaway and crawl back to their den

    these monsters are not human, they are not even men.

    But their time will come, for mark my word

    they’ll pay the price someday

    for they’ll be cut down like the mad dogs they are

    by the men of the UDA.

    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
  5. @Mao Cheng Ji

    Terrorism is good as long it’s your terrorism,

  6. Kiza says:

    You forgot the English of Rhodesia.

  7. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Those “ever-rebellious Scots” had a chance to vote for their independence a few years ago in an open referendum. They voted no.

    Yet another example of Margolis selective amnesia. His anti-English bias never ends.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    At least they’re not a race of pedophiles, like the English.

    • Replies: @22pp22
    , @anon
  9. Svigor says:

    The apartment had a thick steel door secured by what is known in New York as a ‘police lock,’ a stout steel brace that fits into a special socket in the floor and then behind the main door lock. Once in place, it was near impossible to force the door open.

    So that’s what those are called. I bet those 12ga breaching rounds cops use would make short work of the hinges, and thus the door.

    At least they’re not a race of pedophiles, like the English.

    Yeah, no boy-buggers in the Irish Catholic Church, let me tell ya.

  10. Two things:

    1) The Irish had a right to fight back.

    2) The Brits have never proved that “Irish America” funded a single terrorist incident involving the killing of civilians with explosives.

    If the Brits could have proved #2, they most certainly would have sued in court for civil damages, the way they sued Libya for Lockerbie. But they never could prove jack shit. So, they just run their mouths instead, and send us bona fide terrorists like Richard Reid, whose useless existence we continue to pay for.

    And let’s remember something else. The Republic of Ireland are maybe the biggest sellouts of all. They wouldn’t lift a finger to help their cousins in the North, and were too far up Britain’s arse to bring the perpetrators of the ’74 Dublin bombings to justice. Someone had to help the Ulster Catholics. And history shows that help expedited the GFA.

  11. 22pp22 says:

    So you funded terror in Britain. Maybe you deserved 9/11. What goes around, comes around.

    • Replies: @Sam Lawrence
  12. 22pp22 says:

    1). The great majority of child abusers in Britain are foreigners, especially Pakistanis.
    2). The same is not true in Ireland.

  13. @Anon

    That’s rather what happened isn’t it? The UDA started to get access to British Army intelligence somehow and families of the senior IRA members started to be targeted. And the IRA leaders had crossed 40 years old.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  14. Svigor says:

    Whups, rereading I see I’d missed the “steel door” part. Yeah, that’s pretty good security. 🙂

  15. Svigor says:

    Normally I side with the secessionists. If people want out, it’s their right. But the IRA are such a pack of anti-nationalist looney leftists that I find myself agnostic. Kick out the Brits so we can race-replace the Irish *yay!*

  16. Dan Hayes says:


    Unfortunately what you say is true. Ireland is one of the few countries in Europe where political race-consciousness has been aborted. This is due in no small part to the Adams-McGuiness IRA violently squelching it.

  17. anon • Disclaimer says:

    English? It is the Muslims, especially the Pakistanis, who are the paedophiles in England sport. It should also be recalled the inventor of Islam, the “prophet”‘ married a six year old girl.

    • Replies: @RadicalCenter
  18. LondonBob says:
    @Philip Owen

    True, the numbers killed by loyalist paramilitaries rocketed up until the peace process begun in earnest. The killings got more targeted too thanks to British intelligence. A great example of how to run a successful counter terrorism campaign. Of course the IRA was also being thoroughly infiltrated by informers, likely including McGuiness.

    I agree with the comment on diaspora communities, a menace to people they claim to love.

    Anyway the Irish tried many times to invade England, always lost. Lose gracefully I say!

    • Replies: @Dan Hayes
  19. LondonBob says:

    Once we leave the EU Scottish independence will be even less popular.

  20. Dan Hayes says:


    The Irish stopped losing with the Canary Wharf and City of London demolitions which caused property damages in the billions of pounds. Mother England always looks at the bottom line and acted accordingly by eventually acquiescing to the so called peace process.

    • Replies: @LondonBob
  21. LondonBob says:
    @Dan Hayes

    Murdering some more innocent people, or demolitions as you so call them, were just attempts to gain leverage. The early 90s had seen the growth of the all powerful surveillance state, smarter thugs like Adams had seen the writing on the wall even before then.

    Irish-Americans playing out the rebel with the lives of others always deserve contempt, show a little loyalty to your host country instead.

    • Disagree: Dan Hayes
  22. martin2 says:

    Its funny how the Irish supposedly hate the British but they seem to follow them all over the world.The USA was founded by the British, as was Canada and Australia and New Zealand. There are masses of Irish immigrants in all of these countries. They seemingly have no ethical problem with displacing the Red Indians, Abos, and Maoris. There are millions of people of Irish descent living in the UK too.

  23. @martin2

    Its funny how the Irish supposedly hate the British but they seem to follow them all over the world

    Sweeping generalizations are always very problematic.

    • Replies: @iffen
  24. iffen says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    Sweeping generalizations are always very problematic.

    This one excepted.

  25. segundo says:

    “I guess I’ve become partly Irish by osmosis.”

    Or…maybe you haven’t and you can kindly piss off.

  26. Hibernian says:
    @Mao Cheng Ji

    They openly collected on the far south side of Chicago in the ’80s.

  27. Hibernian says:

    If you’re going to emigrate, it helps to emigrate to a place where you don’t have to learn a new language. The vast majority of Irish emigrants/immigrants spoke English only or were bilingual English/Irish Gaelic speakers; very few were Gaelic only.

  28. Heymrguda says:

    You’ ve noticed that, have you?

    Even in Scotland, which the Irish supposedly despise, people of irish catholic origin make up from 16 -20 percent of the population.

  29. @anon

    But not to worry: as a muslim once told me in mitigation, “Mohammed did not consummate the marriage until several years later.” In other words, he raped a nine-year-old girl.

    HELL be upon him.

  30. anon • Disclaimer says:

    Your comment is a meaningless oranges and apples comparison. The “red Indians, Abos and Maoris” certainly did not fill up the lands in question in any even remotely meaningful sense of spatiality. Even today there are enormous stretches of Australia where you will see nobody around. 200,000 Abos hardly ‘filled’ Australia. Even today with a population 100 times larger it is an essentially empty island-continent. The Maoris came closest to meaningful spatial occupation, if only because New Zealand is so vastly smaller then America or Australia, but even there, their demographic ‘footprint’ was minimal.

  31. @22pp22

    America didn’t deserve 9/11 because a number of assholes funded terrorism in Boston and New York. Remember, more Britons died in 9/11 than in the 7/11 bombings in London.

    I detest the notion of collective responsibility, that because one member of a group did something evil, another member of that group, who most likely completely disagrees with what that person did, has to be punished for their actions.

  32. Mr. Hack says:

    Care to elaborate why you consider Ukrainian-Canadians to be a ‘pain’? For what ‘crimes’ did the Canadian government sanction the internment of Ukrainian-Canadians to twenty-four internment camps and related work sites – also known, at the time, as concentration camps? Later on, one of their own, Senator Paul Yuzyk, held high office as a Senator in the province of Saskatchewan. As the father of Canadian multiculturalism, Paul Yuzyk worked with many ethnic groups, supporting their cultural endeavours and promoting their interests.

  33. @Anon

    Where on earth did you get this horseshit?

  34. Geordie says:

    The multiple marriages of Mohamed helped to bring about unity between the primitive constantly warring tribes. Or is it easier for you to be a dupe and follow the constant Jewish propaganda?

  35. The Feds never caught on to Auntie

    You might be surprised. See if you can get access to her FBI files.

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