NIFC's FOUNDING MEMBERS
and others founded The
National Irish Freedom Committee in 1987. They did so out of concern for what they believed to be a betrayal of traditional Republican principles and values after
the Sinn Fein convention was highjacked and the sitting
leadership ousted. Their fears were well founded. It turned out that the agenda of the new
leadership had more to do with maintaining the United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland that with achieving a united
In supporting the British initiated Good Friday
Agreement (GFA) the new leadership of the reconstituted
Provisional Sinn Fein (PSF) acknowledged and
accepted the British occupation of six-counties as a fait
accompli. In furtherance of that acceptance they proceeded to
work within the existing political, military and security institutions,
the same colonial era institutions that bedeviled the
native Irish for centuries.
For their part the British
rewarded PSF with legislative and ministerial positions in the
reconstituted Stormont government, personal protection by
British security forces, and a free hand to control opposition
to the GFA, thus, the continued British presence in the six
occupied counties. In pursuit of this British mandate, PSF thugs
resort to beatings, knee cappings, and murder.
founding the National Irish Freedom Committee the intent of the
founding members was to build an organization that would
safeguard and ensure that the traditional Republican principles
and values would continue to be represented here in the United
States of America. defined by Wolfe Tone and sanctified by the blood of
countless thousands of patriots down through the centuries
including Tone himself, Emmet, Pearse and more recently the
martyrs of 1981,
leadership of National Irish Freedom Committee takes this
responsibility seriously, has and will continue to abide by the
intent of the founding members and by its charter. In so doing,
the leadership has set forth clear and achievable objectives and
has developed an action program to pursue and achieve those
objectives in strict adherence to the founding members dictum.
GEORGE HARRISON 1915 - 2004
George Harrison was born May 2,
1915, in Shammer, Kilkelly, County Mayo, in an Ireland oppressed and
impoverished by British occupation. A year after his birth the Easter
Rising, which was crushed by British troops, took place. Its executed
leaders James Connolly and Padraic Pearse would become Harrison's
As a young man Harrison worked as a wheelwright and a stonecutter. At
age 15, he enlisted in the East Mayo Battalion of the Irish Republican
The Depression forced Harrison to leave Ireland. He first went to
England, where, like many Irish emigrants, he picked crops and labored
on building sites. In 1938 he came to New York, working first as a
bartender and then on the docks. He served in the U.S. Army during World
War II and later became a security guard for Brinks Armor. Working at
Brinks for 30 years, he fought for justice as a shop steward and union
Over the years, George developed a relationship with the legendary
transport workers' leader Michael Quill who would on occasion pass money
to George to assist in George's life long commitment to supply the
resistance in Ireland with the means to resist. Quill knew how the money
might be spent and gladly gave it anyway.
George supported freedom movements worldwide. Of George it was said,
"Never met a revolution he didn't like." and to paraphrase the old
ballad, "God grant you glory, old George, and open heavens to all your
men, the cause that called you may call tomorrow in another cause for
the Green again."
To George the fight for Irish freedom was one with the world struggle
against imperialism and racism. He stood vigil every week outside the
British Consulate in New York to support the Irish people. And he was at
every march against war and racism or in solidarity with the people of
South Africa, Palestine and Latin America.
In 1981 the Reagan regime prosecuted George, Tom Falvey, Michael
Flannery, Paddy Mullens and Tommy Gormley for arming Irish freedom
fighters. The "IRA Five" refused to deny the charges but waged a
political defense. Witnesses on George's behalf included Irish leader
Bernadette Devlin McAliskey and Sam Gulabe, United Nations
representative of the African National Congress. (Dr. Gulabe, then known
as David Ndaba, is today a colonel in the South African army and
physician to Nelson Mandela.) The five were acquitted.
George remained an Irish republican because he was an anti-imperialist
and a socialist. Consequently he was the Patron of Republican Sinn Féin
and an implacable foe of the Good Friday Agreement.
Unfortunately, the fruits of George's and his friends' labor is now
being bartered as the price of admission for revisionist former
Republicans to participate in British direct rule of the six occupied
counties in the north of Ireland. Adams and his purloined posse are
swapping semtex for summer homes, guns for governmental positions, and
they are cementing over arms dumps to secure their status as second
class citizens in their Loyalist controlled state - not what George and
his compatriots had in mind when they set about their clandestine
But he never stopped thinking of the struggle. On the day he died,
Harrison penned a verse for the newspaper Saiorse: "May the spirit of
those who suffered in the torture chambers of the Empire of Hell animate
us with enough strength to free the land of our heart's desire. In
dedication to all my comrades--the living and the dead."
George was in his ninetieth year and his passing leaves a huge gap in
the ranks of Irish American supporters of the Republican Movement in
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1903. Athlete, patriot, father and
friend are words synonymous with Joe Stynes, the renowned Clan na Gael
leader of the latter half of the 20th century.
Around 1927, Stynes emigrated to the United States, settling in New York City. He remained active in both North American GAA and emigrant Irish Republican groups.
He regularly returned to visit Ireland, and represented America in football internationals against Ireland at the Tailteann Games in Dublin in both 1928and 1932. During his 1928 trip, he turned out once more for Dublin in their Leinster Final defeat to Kildare He also represented New York in challenge tour matches against Mayo in 1932and Kerry in 1933. In December 1932, he won a Dublin junior club title with Sean McDermotts. He won New York state championships with Kildare in 1938[ and with Kilkenny as late as 1947.
Stynes was politically active in Clan na Gael, and after 1948 was leader of the few branches that had remained loyal to the rump of the IRA.In 1938, he signed on behalf of the American GAA an Irish-American petition for the release of Frank Ryan, the IRA leader imprisoned by Franco's Nationalists during the Spanish Civil War for fighting in the International Brigades. After the decline of Clan na Gael, and the outbreak of the Northern Troubles, he was sympathetic to NORAID. He sided with Republican Sinn Féin after its 1986 split from Provisional Sinn Féin, and in 1987 he co-founded the National Irish Freedom Committee (NIFC; Irish: Cumann Na Saoirse Náisiúnta) for its American supporters
Joseph Andrew Stynes married Bridget Mahon 06-Jan-1930 in St Stephen RC Church at New York, New York. Joseph was born 15-Jan-1903 at Newbridge, Ireland. Joe was very active in the IRA which he joined in 1920. He was a friend of Michael Collins but after the treaty of December 1921 he sided with DeValera and the anti-treatyites. At Joe's death, Gerry Adams the Sinn Fein leader sent a message to the mourners. Seeking more details of Joe's descendants. Joseph died 29-Jan-1991 at New York, New York; Remains: Woodlawn Cemetery
Joe was #1 to all of us who worked with him in the Clan over the last
twenty or more years of this (now betrayed) campaign, and although I
miss his guidance and experience, at times I am grateful that he missed
the full extent of the current treachery.
Joe was no novice to failure and betrayal. He witnessed the
establishment of the Free State and with his brothers rose again in arms
against the Treaty and the
traitors who betrayed the Republic, for which they had fought and bled.
He was jailed for his part in the Civil War and upon his release he left
a divided Ireland and sailed for America.
He joined the Clan upon his arrival in New York and remained faithful
for life to the precepts of the Clan's Fenian legacy.
My years with Stynes and Sheehan as my mentors opened for me a
connection with a veritable Who's Who of Irish Republicanism stretching
back to the Black and Tan era and the Civil War.
Cosgrove, Healey and 0 Higgins were judged and found wanting as were Mac
Eoin, Collins and Lemass. The arch fiend de Valera was skewered each and
every week, as was Sean McBride, who deserted the Movement in the dark
days before World War 11, and de Valera's programs of the 1940s (that
lasted past the death of Sean MacCaughey in 1946).
The heroes of the long struggle came alive once more. Cathal Brugha,
Sean Tracey, Dan Breen, John Joe Sheehy, John Joe Rice, Sean Russell,
Liam Lynch, Liam Mellows, Harry Boland, Peadar 0 Donnell, Frank Ryan,
Joe McGarrity, George Plant, Harry White, Joe Crystal, the three Mac's,
Charlie Kerins and Richard Goss. South, 0 Hanlon and the Edentubber martyrs were remembered with pride
tempered with regret.
But it wag the martyrs of this campaign that brought the struggle full
circle and unbroken. The Hunger Strikers, Loch Gall and the Gibraltar
Martyrs were spoken of by younger members of the Camp who had known or
served with many of the martyrs. But it was the murder of our fellow
camp member Liam Ryan in 1989, that brought it back home to all of us.
In old Joe's own words; "A shame and a waste of a brave Irish Patriot."
Now before we create the image of Joe Stynes as a single faceted
individual, we must remember that this great Fenian was also a repeat
All Ireland Champion, a stalwart of the New York GAA and the father and
grandfather of a large and loving family, and a man who followed
baseball, football and other American sports, and I would be remiss if I
didn't mention his keen appreciation of the French art of cognac making.