. Irish Flames - a play by John Waller
Freedom Books and Plays

KEVIN: This is a report we just received from Listowel in County Kerry: Colonel Smyth, the Divisional Police Commissioner for Munster, addresses the men of the RIC in Listowel as follows: ‘Well, men, I have something of interest to tell you; something that I am sure you would not wish your wives to hear. Now, men, Sinn Féin has had all the sport up to the present, and we are going to have some sport now.’

MARTIN: (angrily) The man’s an idiot. ‘Sinn Féin – and sport’ he says. This is not sport. This is our fight for freedom. Doesn’t he remember last year Sinn Féin won the General Election.

KEVIN: Con, Martin’s right. In the whole of Ireland, we took 73 out of 105 seats. And only last month we won every rural and district council in the country except for a few in Ulster. We can run the country. Republican courts are keeping the law and order. Hundreds of British magistrates have resigned and the British court-houses are empty.

MARTIN: Con, we’ve had 700 years of British rule; it will soon be over. Sorry, Kevin, please continue.

KEVIN: (reading) ‘The police are not in sufficient strength to do anything but hold their barracks. This is not enough, for as long as we remain on the defensive, so long will Sinn Féin have the upper hand. We must take the offensive. I am promised as many troops from England as I require.’

MARTIN: They say Dublin is crawling with them. How many do you reckon, Kevin?

KEVIN: 45,000. Let me go on.  ‘Police and military will patrol the country at least five nights a week. They are not to confine themselves to the main roads, but make across the country, lie in ambush and, when civilians are seen approaching, shout “Hands Up!” Should the order not be immediately obeyed, shoot and shoot with effect. If the persons approaching a patrol carry their hands in their pockets, or are in any way suspicious-looking, shoot them down.’

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