Saor Eire activist Seamus Ryan, 1937-2014

by Mick Healy

The funeral took place on July 23, 2014 in Mount Jerome cemetery, Dublin, of former Saor Eire activist Seamus Ryan who died after a long illness in London.

Seamus was born in September 1937 in Dublin and as a teenager joined the Republican Movement. In 1956, like others of his generation, he emigrated to London to find  employment. He later became an accomplished photographer, creating hundreds of remarkable images which are a vital part of the history of the Irish  left-wing in Britain.

He later became involved  with the Trotskyist Irish Workers Group (IWG), along with his friends Liam Daltun, Frank Keane and Gery Lawless. Around  this time his photographs were featured  frequently  in the IWG monthly magazine, the Irish Militant.

In the late 1960s he forged links with Saor Éire, a militant Marxist-republican group which was set up in the 1960s by former members of the IRA and a layer of Trotskyist activists associated with the Fourth International.

Seamus was arrested in 1967 at Northchurch Road, Dalston, London and charged with possession of a starting pistol, eight rounds of blank 6mm. ammunition, twenty-four rifles, two Bren machine guns, four Bren machine gun barrels and a case containing twelve magazines and six rifle slings. Found guilty he was to spend three years in British prisons.

Family and friends including Frank Keane and Liam Sutcliffe escorted  Seamus’ coffin, led to the graveside by a lone piper, playing a lament.  He was laid to rest in a quiet part of the cemetery where Saor Eire activists Liam Walsh and Máirín Keegan are also buried.

Posted on August 5, 2014, in 21st century republicanism and socialism, General revolutionary history, Partition, Prisoners - past, Public events - Ireland, Repression and resistance in 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, Republicanism 1960s, Republicanism post-1900, Revolutionary figures. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Saor Eire activist Seamus Ryan, 1937-2014.

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