Interview with Jim Lane: veteran socialist-republican

A couple of comments on the introductory words on the video as they contain a few small errors.  Saor Eire (Cork) was not involved in forming the Cork Workers Club, but some SE (Cork) members were.  (And, of course, the Cork group was entirely separate from the later group of the same name which emerged in Dublin.)  The Revolutionary Armed Forces’ An Phoblacht wasn’t a newsletter, it was a paper.

The interview was conducted and filmed by Mick Healy; Bas Ó Curraoin did the editing; Jim Lane supplied the photos; and the music is by The Tinkers.

I should add that the Cork Workers Club’s reprints of important socialist works on Irish history helped educate me in socialist-republicanism and they remain relevant today.  I’m hoping over time to get some more of them up on the blog.

Posted on August 9, 2013, in Border Campaign/Operation Harvest, British state repression (general), Civil rights movement, Democratic rights - general, Economy and workers' resistance, General revolutionary history, Interviews, Irish politics today, IRSP, Partition, Political education and theory, Prisoners - past, Provos - then and now, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Republicanism 1960s, Republicanism post-1900, Republicanism pre-1900, Revolutionary figures, six counties, Social conditions, twenty-six counties, War for Independence period, Women in republican history. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Do you mind if I repost?

    Wonderful interview and an impressive Republican. Aside from his lucid memory of events 50-60 years ago, its rare to see someone so well developed and at ease with both the military and political end of things. Looking forward to part 2.

  2. Btw he wrote an account of the goings on within the movement during the 50’s called “Notes on Republicanism and Socialism in Cork,” goes into more detail on some things- worth a read if you haven’t already:

    Click to access Jim-Lane-Misc-Notes.pdf

  3. Miceal, if you are looking forward to part 2 you wont be disappointed.Jim takes us up to the 1969 the Republican split and the uprising in the north, in addition Saor Eire (Cork).
    There will be part 3-4.

    The Frank Keane interview should be up around September-October.

    A short video of the 1st Des Swanton ( IRA) Cork commemoration 1964 will be put on youtube soon. It is silent but is in colour. Bas is doing the edit.

  4. Miceal did you see video commemoration for Liam Walsh (Saor in 1997.
    Someone filmed the 1997 commemorations for Walsh and Mairin Keegan on a camcorder.
    A number of years ago the video was given to me, eventually changing it to a DVD.
    Sutcliffe or Frank Keane were unaware of it’s existence until they heard the video was on youtube.


  5. Maith thu, Mick! Great work.

    Thanks for the heads up about the upcoming videos. I did see the new one on Walsh, glad someone brought a camcorder for that.

    Lane sounds like a gold mine of info, that you have 3-4 parts. Will be interesting to hear his experiences of 69 and the war.
    For the record, he talks about Cork men in the north; there was another, Kevin Neville, but he was with Saor Uladh and was up before the Border campaign started, at the Rosslea raid. He was one of a handful of Cork socialist republicans that sided with SU and Jim Lane and the IRF did quite a bit to remember him after his death in 64.

    • It’s great that there are videos, and of course videos are mass-access. But it would be excellent if someone or several people took on an oral history project involving all these folks – SU, IRF, SE (both groups) – while some veterans are still with us. Preferably some activists with a decent knowledge of good oral history conventions etc, rather than someone from academia for whom it’s another notch on their CV. (I know there are some decent folks in academia, but I tend to be fairly cynical, based on experience.)


      • Agree- esp regarding academia.
        There’s also a lot of things, important to record, that can be said in an oral history one simply can’t say under other circumstances. For example- It would be interesting to know the details of how Saor eire pulled their different bank jobs; some might say under the cloak of anonymity to a trusted interviewer, but certainly not if its going to be broadcast. The old school writers like TP Coogan and J Bowyer Bell were especially good in this area.

  6. Philip
    Conor McCabe I believe has done a lot of oral history with left veterans.

  7. With reference to Miceal’s comment on Corkman Kevin Neville I would add the following . I was once told by an old friend of mine the late, Gerry Higgins, that Kevin who at the time he was interned in the Curragh Camp, signed out when the Soviet Union was invaded by Germany. He signed out as a response to a call within the Left worldwide to join the forces of the countries that were at war against Fascism. Kevin done this by joining the RAF sometime after he signed out. For him it was a sign of his opposition to Nazi Fascism. However, when he returned to Cork after the war, he was refused membership of the IRA, because he had joined a foreign force. The fact that to do that, he had to sign out of the Curragh Internment Camp and was seen as a RED, didn’t exactly help his case. In later years he went North and joined Saor Uladh, seeing that as his way of fighting against British Imperialism. He was involved in the Saor Uladh armed attack in November 1955, on the Roslea RUC Barracks, a year before Operation Harvest was launched by the IRA. Connie Green of Derry was shot dead in that attack. Kevin died in June, 1964 and buried in Inniscarra, Co.Cork, where an oration was delivered by Saor Uladh leader, Frank Morris, of Tyrone and later Donegal. He was a true soldier of Ireland.

    • Hi Jim,
      GRMA for your reply!
      Not much heard about him these days. I hope republicanism has, or will someday, overcome the inbred mentality that sidelines people like Kevin Neville (or like yourself and the IRF vols for that matter)
      I’m working on a project regarding Saor Uladh, about whom no serious study has been done yet. Would you know any more about their presence in Cork? I heard mention that they, or Fianna Uladh, had several other members from there but nothing else.

      – Miceal

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