Category Archives: Historiography and historical texts

Tracing Frank Conroy

by Mick Healy

On 13 December 1936 Frank Conroy, a member of the Republican Congress and the Communist Party of Ireland, sailed on the Holyhead ferry, alongside Frank Ryan, determined to defend the Spanish Republic against the fascist rebellion.

This Spanish Civil War hero died on 28 December 1936 fighting with the 15th International Brigade.

With no clue to when or where Frank Conroy was born or any trace of his family, and with only a few snippets of information about his involvement in the Spanish Civil War, the Frank Conroy Commemoration Committee organised its first event on 16 December 2012 at the Republican Memorial in Kildare.

Historian James Durney, who attended this first commemoration, said that, while all historical references to Conroy mention that he was from Kildare, it’s not clear if he was from the Read the rest of this entry

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Street Stories Festival, Smithfield, Dublin, Fri, Dec 1 – Sun, Dec 3

Dublin launch of ‘History of Irish Working Class Writing’

Dear all,

A History of Irish Working-Class Writing, published by Cambridge University Press, will be launched on Friday 24 November, at 6pm, in Griffith College, Dublin. The special launch price at the venue will be €30.

I’d be really grateful if you could circulate this to contacts who may be interested in the volume, and do drop in for a glass of wine and a chat if you’re around Dublin on Friday evening.

Best wishes,
Michael

__
Dr Michael Pierse
Lecturer in Irish Literature
Queen’s University
Belfast
BT7 1NN

Link: https://www.cambridge.org/core/books/history-of-irish-workingclass-writing/408F6C590994812D02F7FBBF2EB9D75E

Statements from prisoners in 26-county state and six-county state to Saoradh ard fheis, November 18

Statement From Portlaoise Republican Prisoners, read by Ger Devereux

We the Republican Prisoners incarcerated in E3/E4 Portlaoise Gaol send solidarity greetings to our Revolutionary comrades in attendance today, and Revolutionary Socialist activists internationally, engaged in their numerous campaigns. We particularly applaud the unilateral declaration of independence by the Catalan parliament, but as the Catalonian people have now witnessed, colonial powers will never relinquish their illegal occupation voluntarily. History has thought us that it is not sufficient to affirm your independence through symbolic declarations or demonstrations- you must be prepared to defend them.

We would also like to commend our imprisoned comrades in Maghaberry Gaol for their continued resolve and discipline in the face of a sectarian aggressor. The oppressive measures being implemented against our comrades needs to be highlighted, but more worrying of late are the increased physical attacks occurring on a weekly base. As a small token of solidarity with our comrades, the Republican Prisoners in Portlaoise will embark on a 72 hour fast commencing this week, to highlight the ongoing sectarian attacks that they face.

Like all emerging Revolutionary organisations we have had our teething problems, but the party’s emphasis on principles rather than Read the rest of this entry

Liam Sutcliffe commemoration, Dublin, Sunday, Dec 3

 

 

Friends and comrades of Liam Sutcliffe have organised a commemoration to mark Liam’s passing and his contribution to Irish national liberation and socialism.

The commemoration will be starting at St Patrick’s Cathedral at 1pm on Sunday 3rd December and marching to Mount Jerome Cemetery.

This is an independent commemoration, so please no party political material, but all Republicans welcome.

The Liam Sutcliffe Commemoration Committee has set up a facebook page, here.

Repose and funeral details for Liam Sutcliffe

Liam by The Spire of Dublin, the monument which eventually replaced Nelson’s Pillar. Photo: Luke Fallon

 

Reposing at the Fanagan Funeral Home, Aungier Street, Dublin from 5pm until 7.30pm, Tuesday, 7th November, with family in attendance.

Requiem Mass at 11.30am on Wednesday, 8th November, in Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Whitefriar Street (Aungier Street), Dublin.

Funeral thereafter to Mount Jerome Cemetery, Harold’s Cross Road, Dublin 6W.

 

Liam Sutcliffe: a revolutionary life

Liam with other Saor Eire activists

by Mick Healy

Socialist-republican and former Saor Éire activist Liam Sutcliffe passed away suddenly at his home in Greenhills, Dublin on Friday 3rd November, 2017.  His wife Bernadette, to whom he was married for over 60 years, died in February 2016.

Liam came from an historic Dublin working class area, The Liberties, and was recruited into the Irish Republican Army along with Tomás Mac Giolla in 1954. Within a few months he was operating as an IRA agent in Gough barracks in Armagh, passing important information to the Republican Movement.

This was part of the preparations for Read the rest of this entry

Liam Sutcliffe, 1933-2017

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Liam Sutcliffe, a veteran of the IRA, Saor Uladh and Saor Eire. 

Oh, and the blowing up of Nelson’s Pillar in 1966!

Liam died at home in Walkinstown (Dublin) on Friday.

Check out the filmed interview with him here:  https://theirishrevolution.wordpress.com/2013/05/02/interview-with-liam-sutcliffe-socialist-republican-veteran/

We’ll provide funeral details as soon as these are known.

 

The 1932 Belfast Outdoor Relief riots and lessons for today

Seán Mitchell, Struggle or Starve: Working-Class Unity in Belfast’s 1932 Outdoor Relief Riots, Chicago, Haymarket Books, 2017

Does intense class conflict with bosses, cops and government necessarily lead workers to draw radical conclusions asks Barney Cassidy? To put the question another way, does struggle mean that the working class becomes conscious of what is in its own best interests?

In 1922 striking miners defending their jobs in the South African town of Witwatersand fought gun battles in the streets killing about 70 troops. The political conclusion those white workers drew from their experiences was that they needed a Nationalist-Labour Pact with the Afrikaaner Nationalist Party. This was despite the involvement of the newly founded Communist Party of South Africa in the struggle. Even intense and bloody class conflict is no guarantee that the working class will necessarily act in its own best interests.

That’s a lesson it’s worth holding in mind when reflecting on politics in the north of Ireland.

Seán Mitchell, a member of Read the rest of this entry

In review: UVF – behind the mask

I agree with most of this review.  And the review is well worth reading and thinking about, which is why I’ve reblogged it.  However, it also has a problem.  Mike M notes that whenever catholic and protestant workers have united, the protestant establishment has played the Orange card, and this has always succeeded in getting the protestant workers to split and line up again behind their exploiters.  Very true.  Yet, at the end of the review, what does Mike suggest? 

Well, he suggests protestant and catholic workers unting on economic issues!  The reason is that the political tendency Mike identifies with has never understood the importance of the national question.  At least, unlike the CWI followers in Ireland, they recognise that there is a national question; but they fail to integrate it into the reasons for the divisions in the working class in the north-east. 

So Mike falls back into suggesting as a road forward something he has already identified as failing!  Moreover, as Seamus Costello noted way back in the 1970s, you can’t trick the protestant working class into a false unity by ignoring the national question; they’re not stupid.  You have to be honest with them on the national question.  Instead of adopting a partitionist view which focuses on uniting wage-workers in the six counties across the sectarian divide, by ignoring the national question, it is necessary to counterpose the solving together of the national and class questions through uniting the mass of the Irish working class on an all-island basis.  This points to an all-Ireland workers’ republic in which the protestant workers would be free, instead of being the alienated tools of imperialism. – P.F.

Aaron Edwards, UVF: Behind the Mask, Dublin, Merrion Press, 2017, £14.99; reviewed by Mike Milotte.

UVF: Behind the Mask is a vast if somewhat episodic account of the killings, feuds and internal factionalism of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force written by a lecturer at Sandhurst, the British Army’s officer training college. It would barely merit mention in this journal* were it not for its underlying, yet never fully argued thesis that Ulster loyalism is a genuine expression of Protestant working class discontent, while the violent conflict in Northern Ireland in which the UVF played such a significant part, was an “ethnic civil war”.

The author, Aaron Edwards, comes from an area of Belfast where the UVF was particularly active. During the “peace process” he befriended several leading UVF figures, one of whom persuaded him to write this book. While he rejects UVF violence, the book itself is permeated with a sense of Edwards’ high opinion of some of its worst perpetrators.

Socialists or pro-imperialists?

Edwards expresses sympathy for the views of former UVF men who have declared themselves to be socialists, but his key formulations are clearly at odds with the view of most left-wing activists and writers for whom working class loyalism is a form of Read the rest of this entry