Monthly Archives: July 2014

Nora Connolly – a brief note on her life

nora2The following piece appeared on éirígí’s facebook page.  Now being unemployed, and living a quiet life in a place near the end of the world, I hope to have more time to write, especially as I only want to work part-time for the rest of my life.  Near the top of what I want to write is an appreciation of Nora Connolly.  As I’ve indicated before, too often in discussions re Republican Congress it is Peadar O’Donnell who is primarily remembered.  In my view, in the political fight that led to the effective break-up of Republican Congress, Nora Connolly was right in arguing for the transformation of the Congress into a revolutionary (socialist-republican) party and O’Donnell and his supporters (who wanted it to be a coalition of republicans, including attempts to involve elements of Fianna Fail) were wrong.  The pressing need at the time was for a revolutionary party; such a party might then help coalesce and lead a wider alliance, but the party was key. 

Nora, in my opinion, has never been given her full due, probably because she made the subsequent mistake of going off into the Labour Party and, later, serving as a De Valera-appointed member of the Seanad.  Those mistakes, however, don’t wipe out her impressive credentials from before the Easter Rising, through the Rising and war for independence, through the civil war (at one point in time she was acting paymaster-general for the IRA), the 1920s and the organising of Republican Congress.  It was only after the defeat of her arguments there that she ended up feeling she had nowhere to go and the fact that Labour had begun talking again about the ‘workers republic’ idea that led her into Labour.  To her credit, she didn’t stay and become an apologist for Labour, the way her brother Roddy did.  The formation of the IRSP and the apparent leftward development of the Provisionals brought her back into activity in her late 70s and early 80s, especially around the hunger strikes of 1980-81.

From éirígí on facebook, June 17:

The veteran Irish socialist republican, and daughter of the great James Connolly, Nora Connolly O’Brien passed away on June 17, 1981.

Nora lived her life in absolute dedication to the cause of Irish National Liberation and Socialism.

Nora was a veteran of the 1916 Rising, the Tan War and the war in defence of the Republic which followed. Like her father, Nora believed that the class struggle and the national struggle in Ireland were the same fight, and during the 1930s Nora was a key organiser in the left wing Republican Congress.

In the 1970s Nora described Seamus Costello as Read the rest of this entry

Some comments on the May 24 election results

This is a brief thing I wrote for the most recent issue of Poblacht na nOibrithe, the bulletin of Clann éirígí.  I didn’t think of putting it up here until just now:

The May 24 elections saw a massive surge of support for Sinn Fein in the south, while the party held its support in the north. It’s clear that the surge in the south came largely at the expense of the Labour Party and, to a lesser extent, of Fianna Fail. These two capitalist parties were punished by southern voters for their roles in the vicious attacks on workers since the collapse of the ‘Celtic Tiger’.

Moreover, Sinn Fein is now the dominant party in Dublin, as revealed at council level and Euro seat level. The Shinners hold 16 seats in Dublin, compared to 9 for Fianna Fail and 8 each for Fine Gael and Labour. Across the 26-county state, SF took 157 seats (up 103) to Labour’s 51 (down 81). The Shinners’ biggest achievement was, interestingly, in the Euro poll where they were not far behind Fianna Fail and Fine Gael. Labour lost all its Euro seats and won only 88,000 votes, while the Shinners took 3 seats (just one behind Fine Gael) and 323,000 votes (Fianna Fail won 400 more votes than Fine Gael but came out of it with only one seat).

Left of Labour constituency

Of course, there has always been a left-of-Labour constituency, but it has not been this large since the early 1920s. There are three reasons why Sinn Fein has been able to capitalise on disillusion with Labour. One is that they were the largest force to the (sort of) left of Labour, another is that Fianna Fail is also discredited so Labour votes didn’t drift back there, and the third is that the working class in the south is republican (with a small ‘r’). The republicanism of the southern working class, no matter how Read the rest of this entry

Revolutionary Women walking tour