Striving for a world transformed by justice and peace - a TL from 1827

North of Ireland
Sean and Bridget Heaney had been married for 31 years since 1852. He was 54 years old and she was 52. They had seven children - four sons and three daughters - living on 5 October 1883. Aoife was their youngest daughter, and their second youngest chlld.

Sean and Bridget lived on their small farm in County Fermanagh from 1852. In 1878 they fell on hard times and sold their farm. They moved to Belfast, where Sean got a job at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, and Bridget a cleaning job.

Their eldest daughter, Sinead Heaney, was 25 years old, born in 1858. She wrote poetry and has had a book of poems published. Her poems were about life on her parents' farm and the Fermanagh countryside.
 
Thomas Lawson was 52 years old and his wife Margaret was 47 years old. They had been married for twenty-seven years. On 5 October 1883 they had five living children, three boys and two girls. Frank was their second oldest child and second oldest son.

Thomas was a middle level manager with Harland and Wolff. Frank and Aiofe were junior clerks in the head office of Harland and Wolff in Belfast.
 
The Peace Crusade was donated a large building in Donegall Street in Belfast city centre, for its headquarters. Bridget Heaney designed a banner and merchandise in the Crusade's colours of green, orange and white. Sinead Heaney became editor of its weekly newspaper Hope . She was on its ten person executive committee, together with her parents, Thomas and Margaret Lawson and another five people. There were five men and five women on the committee. They planned for a hopefully huge demonstration in Belfast city centre on Saturday 8 March 1884.

Meanwhile the Ulster Volunteers continued with their bonbings and shootings during the winter of 1883/84.
 
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There were an estimated 120,000 people at the Peace Crusade rally in Ormeau Park , in south-east Belfast, in the afternoon of Saturday 8 March 1884. (1). They were from Belfast and all over the north of Ireland. Some parents brought their children with tjhem. Many wore sashes in the Crusade's colours of green, orange and white.

Among the speakers were Bridget Heaney and Thomas Lawson, and representatives
from all the political parties, except UK Conservative. Nancy Allen, the Commonwealth Party MP for Belfast South, (the park was in her constituency) and the widow of Michael Allen, a barrister who was murdered on his door step by Ulster Volunteer (UV) gunmen in February 1882, was speaking when UV gunmen machine gunned the people on the platform and into those listening to them. (2) They shouted 'Death to traitors to Ulster.' 'Death to traitors to Protestant.' 'No peace without freedom'.

Mrs Allen died a hail of bullets, together with Bridget Heaney and Thomas Lawson, and six other people on the platform. Seventy-eight other people in the park were killed. Two hundred and sixty people were injured.

(1) For Ormeau Park see http://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/Ormeau-Park-p676551.

(2) Nancy and Michael Allen are fictional characters.
 
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Forty-two women, thirty one men, nine girls and five boys under 18 years old were killed by Ulster Volunteer gunmen in Ormeau Park. In addition to Nancy Allen, Bridget Heaney and Thomas Lawson, the other six people on the platform who were killed were the following: The Local Government Secretary in the Irish government, the Commonwealth Party member of the Irish Parliament for Belfast Cormac, the Irish National Party MP for Atmagh South, the leader of the Commonwealth Party group on Belfast city council, the leader of the Irish Conservative Party on Newtownwards town council, and the leader of the Liberal Party group on Down County Council.
 
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The Local Government Secretary in the Irish government who was killed in Ormeau Park was Edmund Dwyer Gray. [1] John Blake Dillon replaced him as Local Government Secretary by Charles Stewart Parnell. The Irish National Party MP for Armagh South who was killed, was Philip Callan. (2)

There were no armed or unarmed police at the Peace Crusade rally because the organisers asked for none to be there. They wanted it to be entirely peaceful.

[1] Here is his entry in Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edmund_Dwyer_Gray_(Irish_politician)

(2) Here is his Wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Callan. In this TL he was first elected as Irish National MP for Armagh South in the 1870 general election.
 
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On 10 March 1884, tributes were paid in the House of Commons to Nancy Allen and Philip Callan, who was in effect the Irish National Party shadow Home Secretary. There was a two minutes silence for the two murdered MPs. Mrs Caitlin Healy, the Commonwealth Party MP for Limerick City, said Nancy Allen was a strong and compassionate woman. They were close friends. Healy drew the Commons' attention to the fact that the majority of those murdered in Ormeau Park were women and girls. But the women of Ireland would keep on working for peace. They would never surrender to the murderers of the Ulster Volunteers.

Sarah Taylor, the President of the Health and Local Government, also made a heartfelt speech in tribute to her dear friend, Mrs Allen. She also paid tribute to Edmund Dwyer Gray with whom she had an excellent relationship as Local Government Secretary in the Irish gpvernment.
 
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Roisin Allen, the only daughter of Michael and Nancy Allen and their eldest child, was selected as Commonwealth Party candidate in the Belfast South by-election caused by the murder of her mother. She was twenty-eight years old, born in September 1855, and worked as a solicitors clerk in Belfast.
 
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In the morning of Monday 10 March 1884, a man walked into police headquarters in Belfast city centre. He said that his name was Brian Cunningham and he had important information about the Ulster Volunteers (UV) and asked to speak to a senior police officer. He was shown into a back room and introduced to a police superintendent. Cunningham told the superindent that he had been a captain in the
UV, but had resigned from the Volunteers because he was appalled and disgusted by their massacre of people in Ormeau Park, two days previously. He said that the leader of the UV, Malcolm Andrews, and his senior officers were in a house in Newtownwards in County Down.
.
That night 25 armed police broke into the house. They arrested Andrews and seven other senior officers of the UV.

Cunningham was 29 years old and married with three children, all sons.
 
Brian Cunningham owned a grocer's shop in Newtownards, which he had inherited when his father died the previous June. His wife's name was Molly. She was 28 years old. When she read a newspaper report of the Ormeau Park massacre, she told her husband that he must leave the Ulster Volunteers and tell the police all he knew about them, for the sake of their sons. She did not want them growing up to be murderers in the UV. She and Brian joined the Peace Crusade.
 
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While Brian Cunningham was walking home from his grocer's shop in the evening of Wednesday 12 March 1884, he was surrounded by six armed men of the Ulster Volunteers. They shot him repeatedly in the head, chest and back until he was dead. Later that evening when he had not come home, his wife, Molly, when out to look for him. She found him lying on the roadside with multiple wounds. She wept profusely over his dead body. A notice was tied around his neck saying 'This is what happens to traitors and deserters'.
 
Molly Cunningham walked to the local police station and told the police what had happened. They went to the site of the murder. After examining the body, they arranged for it to be taken to undertakers.

The next day, the Ulster Volunteers sent a statement to local, Belfast and Irish newspapers. This said that "The deserter and traitor Brian Cunningham was executed by men of the Ulster Volunteers in Newtownards on 11 March. This is a warning to all those who intend desertion and treachery."
 
With the leader of the Ulster Volunteers (UV), Malcolm Andrews, in prison awaiting trial for murder, the Officer Commanding the South Tyrone Division of the UV, Alfred Robertson, became leader. He was a hardliner.

In the morning of Saturday 15 March 1884, nine armed men forced their way into the head office of the Commonwealth Party in central London. They announced that they were UV, then machine gunned party workers and threw bombs. When they left, 36 people were dead, or died soon after of their injuries, of which 21 were women and 15 were men. Among those killed was the General Secretary of the Commonwealth Party, Stewart Headlam. [1] He was 37 years old.

[1] For Headlam see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stewart_Headlam. In this TL he decided not to be ordained in the Church of England, and chose a different career.
 
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Also in the morning of 15 March 1884, armed UV volunteers burst into Commonwealth Party constituency offices of the Prime Minister, twelve other cabinet ministers and two junior ministers in towns and cities in Britain. They shouted that they were from the Ulster Volunteers, then they threw bombs and shot as many people as they could. A total of 239 persons were killed, of which 131 were women, 103 were men, three were girls and two were boys.

The government ministers and their constituencies which were were the subject of UV attacks were as follows:
Robert Applegarth, Prime Minister: Sheffield Central
Lydia Becker, Postmaster-General: Manchester Blackley
Harry Broadhurst, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Stoke-on-Trent Stoke
Joseph Burgess, Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office: Heywood
William Chadwick, President of the Board of Trade: Rochdale
Joseph Chamberlain, Parliamentary Secretary Health and Local Government Board: Birmingham Ladywood
Thomas Connolly, Secretary of State for War: Doncaster
David Ellis, Secretary of State for Wales: Merthyr Tydfil (fictional character)
George Howell, Secretary of State for the Colonies: Norwich North
Samuel Morley, First Lord of the Admiralty: Finsbury East
William Morris, First Commissioner of Works: St Pancras North
Anthony John Mundella, Secretary of Statr for India: Sheffield Brightside
George Potter, Foreign Secretary: Poplar
Thomas Rankin, Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons: Salford North
Sarah Taylor: President of the Health and Local Government Board: Liverpool Kirkdale (fictional character).
 
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Three government ministers were shot dead by UV gunmen on 15 March. They were Joseph Burgess, Thomas Connolly and David Ellis. Four ministers were injured:
William Chadwick, Joseph Chamberlain, Thomas Rankin and Sarah Taylor, though all survived. Luckily, Robert Applegarth was not at his constituency party office that morning.

Burgess and Chamberlain were targetted though they were only junior ministers. Burgess because the Home Secretary, Donald Mckenzie, was MP for the rural constituency of Sutherland in the north of Scotland, and Chamberlain because he was a forthright and passionate opponent of the Ulster Volunteers. His right arm was badly injured and had to be amputated.

Eye witnesses reported that UV gunmen shouted 'kill the bitch, kill the whore' at Sarah Taylor. They shot her in both breasts, and in her chest, and left her for dead. She
was taken to hospital in Liverpool.
 
Also in the morning of Saturday 15 March 1884, armed Ulster Volunteers (UV) forced their way into the head office of the Irish National Party in Dublin, and into Irish National Party offices in the following constituencies: Cork City South, Dublin St. Stephen's Green, Dundalk, Galway, Kilkenny, Limerick East, Sligo, and Waterford South. They shouted that they were from the UV and shot as many people as they could, and threw bombs. 177 people were killed, of which 98 were men and 79 were women.
 
Ib the afternoon of 15 March, UV gunmen ambushed shot and killed two policemen on patrol in Rathfriland, County Down. In the same afternoon, the UV bombed the police atation in Newtownstewart, County Tyrone. Nine police officers and men werr killrd. That evening the UV bombed a Catholic social club in Omagh, County Tyrone. Twelve men and aeven women were killed.

A total of 482 people were murdered by the UV that day. 239 men, 238 women, three girls and two boys.
 
Ib the afternoon of 15 March, UV gunmen ambushed shot and killed two policemen on patrol in Rathfriland, County Down. In the same afternoon, the UV bombed the police atation in Newtownstewart, County Tyrone. Nine police officers and men werr killrd. That evening the UV bombed a Catholic social club in Omagh, County Tyrone. Twelve men and aeven women were killed.

A total of 482 people were murdered by the UV that day. 239 men, 238 women, three girls and two boys.
Even considering the different views of the time, the pressure to crackdown effectively on the UV must be growing.
 
In the morning of Monday 17 March 1884, the Assistant General Secretary of the Commonwealth Party, Mrs Amie Hicks, sent telegrams and wrote to all Commonwealth Party constituency chairmen and chairwomen, telling them to close their offices until further notice, when it was safe to re-open them.

That same morning the Prime Minister, Robert Applegarth, appointed ministers to replace those who had been killed by the Ulster Volunteers (UV). He promoted Robert Blatchford from Under-Secretary at the War Office to Secretary of State for War. He was the Commonwealth MP for Halifax. He had at one time served with the army in Ireland. (1). William Abraham, universally known by his bardic name of Mabon, Commonwealth MP for Rhondda, was promoted from Under-Secretary at the Welsh Office to Secretary of State for Wales. (2). Llewellyn Atherley-Jones, Commonwealth MP for North-West Durham, was appointed Under-Secretary at the Home Office. (3)

The House of Commons was in sombre mood when it met at 2.30 pm on 17 March. Robert Applegarth began his statement on the atrocities committed by the UV, by asking MPs to observe a minute's silence for the men and women murdered by the UV.

(1) For Blatchford see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Blatchford[/URL].

(2) For Abraham see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Abraham__(trade_unionist)

(3) Here is the Wikipedia entry for Atherley Jones: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Llewellyn_Atherley-Jones.
 
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Robert Applegarth said that the attack by the UV on the Commonwealth Party head office, and constituency party offices, was an attack on democracy. All MPs would join with him and his colleagues in mourning for Mr. Burgess, Mr. Connolly and Mr. Ellis, and the nearly five hundred men and women murdered by the UV.

Applegarth informed MPs about the condition of ministers injured in the UV attacks. Both legs of Thomas Rankin, the Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons, were blown off in a bomb blast. He would never walk again and would have to use a wheel chair. William Chadwick, the President of the Board of Trade, was shot about an inch above his heart. Fortunately the wound was not fatal and he is making a good recovery in hospital. Sarah Taylot, the President of the Health and Local Gpvernment Board, was shot in the chest and both breasts. UV gunmen also shot her in both legs, in her thighs. These were flesh wounds, so her legs would not need to be amputated,. But her doctors have said that she would need to use crutches to walk with. She is in a critical, but stable condition in hospital. Joseph Chamberlain, the Under-Secretary at the Health and Local Government Board, was shot in his right arm, which had to be amputated.
 
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