From the vaults: Irish workers’ protest, London, 1966


Irish Workers Group member Frank Keane carrying the Irish tricolour, Dublin Republican activist from the 1950s-60s Eamonn Nolan carrying the Starry Plough. Butch Roche, who threw a cannister of CS gas into the chamber of the House of Commons in 1970, behind Keane holding the banner.

On the 21st August 1966 about 350 Irish exiles and rank-and-file British labour movement activists took part in an Irish Trade Union Defence Committee demonstration against the Irish Government’s anti-trade union legislation. The then Lemass government proposal that a strike could not be deemed official until a secret ballot was held and strike action agreed to by sixty-one per cent of voting members. The demonstration rallied at Hyde Park and marched to the Irish Embassy in Grosvenor Place where a picket was held. Speakers were Eamonn McCann, Michael Farrell, Liam Daltun and John Palmer.



Posted on April 9, 2014, in Economy and workers' resistance, Historiography and historical texts, Public events - Britain, Republicanism 1960s, Revolutionary figures, Trade unions. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. great pic – maybe we should be collating this type of pics into a narrative

    • Mick Healy sent it to me.

      Yes, it would be great to keep pictures like this.

      That period from mid-sixties to about 1972 or 73, when a lot was up for grabs, is fascinating. I think by 1973 or 74, the Brits and the southern ruling class had got the initiative back but there was a period where it was all possible. Without minimising the difficulty of taking on the Brits and southern state, which any revolutionary movement in Ireland has to, our side kind of fluffed it.

      I’ve just bought Matt Treacy’s book on the IRA in the 50s and 60s, which I’m looking forward to reading. But there’s a few more good books that could be written, especially about the, say, 1966 (or 1968) to 1973/4 period.

      I tried to dealt with some of it (1972 on) but only at blog article depth:


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