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16.00, 4 May, at Senan Court, 109 Emmet Road, Inchicore, Dublin 8 (opposite Bulfin Road).
On 4 May, the Inchicore Friends of the International Brigades are erecting a plaque to the memory of six local men who went to Spain to defend the Spanish Republic against the military coup of July 1936.
Seen by many as the first act of the Second World War, the Spanish conflict pitted the majority of Spaniards and their democratically-elected government against their own military, backed by troops, aviation and materiel from Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy. A non-intervention pact arranged between the European democracies forced the Spanish government to rely on the assistance of the Soviet Union, however tensions between the disparate elements supporting the government and increasing military assistance from international fascism and global capital ensured the victory of Franco’s armies and the subjection of the Spanish people. The repression continued until the dictator’s death in 1975.
Inchicore is unusual because of its development around the railway works and for the multiplicity of religious faiths (and none) represented in its workforce. Perhaps as a result of this mixture of socialism and non-conformity, Inchicore had a unique concentration of volunteers in the ranks of the International Brigades. Of the six men commemorated, two came from a protestant background and all had republican or communist connections. Three died in Spain and one survivor was to write perhaps the most significant first-hand account of the early fighting (Joe Monks, With the Reds in Andulusia, London, 1985).
Those being commemorated are:
Tony Fox (1914-28.12.1936). From Goldenbridge Avenue, Fox was a member of A. Coy., 4th Batt., Dublin Brigade, IRA and was with the first organised detachment of Irish volunteers to join the International Brigades. He crossed the Pyrenees with Frank Ryan and his school friend and neighbour Mick May on 15 December 1936 and was killed in action at Lopera on the Córdoba front less than two weeks later. Fox had just finished dressing the wounds of two friends, John Gough and Seamus Cummings, when he himself was fatally wounded. His body was never recovered.
Mick May (1916-28.12.1936). Michael May from Connolly Avenue was also a member of Fox’s IRA unit. He was additionally a member of the Communist Party of Ireland. He died close to Tony Fox at Lopera on 28 December 1936 and was last seen alive, single-handedly covering the retreat of comrades, armed with a rifle.
Liam ‘Bill’ McGregor (d. 22.09.1938). McGregor was the Dublin secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland and the son of Esther McGregor, president of the Municipal Tenants’ Association. He attended the Lenin International School in Moscow and on his return volunteered to fight in Spain. He was killed on the very last day the XV Brigade saw action on the Ebro front, alongside fellow Dubliner Jack Nalty.
Joe Monks (1915-1988). Joe Monks came from Park Street and went to school in James’s Street with Tony Fox and Mick May. A member of the Communist Party he was one of the initial volunteers along with his two school friends. He was one of the defenders of Connolly House, headquarters of the Revolutionary Workers’ Group (forerunner of the Communist Party of Ireland) when it was attacked in March 1933 by a hymn-singing mob. Author of With the Reds in Andulusia, Monks was wounded in the chest at Lopera but was to see further action in March 1937 at the little known battle of Almadén. He was repatriated later in 1937 and was active with the Republican Congress before immigrating to the UK where he remained involved in radical politics until his death in 1988.
Paddy McElroy (b.1911). Paddy McElroy came from 20 Nash Street. His brother Christopher had taken part in the 1916 Rising. A mechanic with the TE&FU, he joined the XV International Brigade on 7 January 1937 and was seriously wounded at the battle of Jarama outside Madrid in February. He was repatriated on account of his wounds and after a brief stay in Dublin he appeared again in Cairo in 1939. Returning to Liverpool via Durban, he was curiously listed as a government official with an address in Southampton. He was subsequently involved in a wages hold-up at Amiens Street in March 1943 and was defended by Sean MacBride. From this point onwards McElroy disappears from the historical record.
Bill Scott (1908-1980). Bill Scott came from Ring Street and was a member of the Communist Party of Ireland. One of the Irish Citizen Army’s earliest recruits was his father, William Scott, a member of the Church of Ireland and an activist in the Bricklayers’ Trade Union. During the 1916 Rising, Scott fought alongside William Partridge in the College of Surgeons garrison, under the command of Michael Mallin and his deputy Constance Markievicz. His son was possibly the very first Irish International Brigade volunteer to fight in defence of the Spanish Republic, finding himself in Barcelona at the Workers’ Olympics when the coup broke out. He was elected political commissar for the English Tom Mann Centuria in September 1936, before joining with the German Thaelmann Battalion in the defence of Madrid. Bill went back to Ireland where he was withdrawn as a CPI candidate in a Dublin by election in favour of Frank Ryan. He returned to Spain with Ryan and received a serious leg wound and was sent back to England. Disillusioned with the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, he left the CP for a period before re-joining in 1941. He then became a member of the Essential Construction Corps, building infrastructure throughout the UK. After the war he continued his trades union activities until his death in 1980.
The Inchicore Friends of the International Brigades is a local group dedicated to remembering those who volunteered to defend the Spanish Republic against the forces of international fascism and capital. As part of the Friends of the International Brigades in Ireland (FIBI), the group is affiliated with the International Brigades Memorial Trust. Future projects include the erection of a memorial to Jim Prendergast in Temple Bar in September 2013 and the continuation of a second-level schools’ essay competition, launched successfully in 2012.
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DOCUMENTARY PREMIERE – OPEN INVITATION – ADMISSION FREE
Tadhg Barry Remembered
Produced by Framework Films, with the Cork Council of Trade Unions
Triskel Christchurch, Saturday 4 May, 2.30pm
A screening of the documentary Tadhg Barry Remembered will take place in the Triskel Arts Centre on Saturday 4th May 2013 at 2.30pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.
This documentary tells the story of Tadhg Barry (1881-1921), a native of Cork city, who has largely been forgotten. It seems hard to believe that a man whose funeral closed shops and factories could be relegated to a footnote in history. And yet this is what has happened to a man who was one of the last people to be killed by British forces, just weeks prior to the signing of the Treaty.
Tadhg Barry Remembered tells the story of Barry’s growing involvement in labour politics and the GAA in Cork. We learn of his poetic writings and his journalistic writings on GAA affairs and the labour movement. Through interviews with historians, trade union officials, the GAA and members of his family, we learn of his involvement in the ITGWU, in the advanced nationalist movement, how he was elected to the Cork Corporation in January 1920, only to be arrested a year later at a Corporation meeting and transported to an internment camp in Co. Down. Finally we learn of his tragic demise at the hands of a sentry in the Ballykinlar internment camp in Co. Down, just weeks before he would have been released following the signing of the Treaty.
The documentary brings his story to life and also explores the historical context, which brought a young man who loved his country and who strived for equality and social justice to such a tragic end. It is an opportunity to honour his memory and to remove him from the footnotes to his rightful place in history.
Tadhg Barry Remembered has been produced by Frameworks Films in collaboration with the Cork Council of Trade Unions for broadcast on Cork Community Television. It will first be broadcast on Cork Community Television (available on Channel 803 on UPC’s digital cable package) on Sunday 5th May at 8pm. The documentary was funded under the Sound & Vision scheme, an initiative of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland.
For further information contact Frameworks Films on 021-4322454.
THE SCREENING WILL BE INTRODUCED BY WRITER AND DOCUMENTARY-MAKER
Liam Sutcliffe Irish Republican- Soldier and Revolutionary. April 30, 2013Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish History, Republicanism, Video interview.
This is the story of veteran Republican Liam Sutcliffe who joined the IRA in 1954. Within a few months he was an IRA agent in Gough barracks Armagh during `operation Harvest’. Sutcliffe later left the IRA and operated with the breakaway Joe Christle group during the 1950s Border campaign.
In 1966, on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Easter rising he was involved in an operation to blow up Nelson’s Pillar in O’Connell Street Dublin.
In 1970 Sutcliffe joined Saor Eire. He was instrumental in organising the funeral in Mount Jerome Cemetery of Saor Eire member Liam Walsh, who was killed in a premature explosion at the rear of McKee army base in Dublin.
Many thanks to the sender.
The issue of the day… April 30, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
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So. Today is the day, or perhaps tomorrow, depending on reports in the media. Three doctors or four, or two. A ‘deal’ has been struck and the Protection of Maternal Life Bill 2013 will, presumably go forward. And it’s no small step either, even if deeply constrained. By the way, Peter Mathews performance last night on Vincent Browne was instructive, but not in a good way.
Anyhow, reading the Irish Times yesterday morning and the contention that the abortion debate was becoming more ‘fractious’ on foot of the cod-revelations in the Sunday Independent on Sunday that – shock, swoon, some Labour TDs actually sought to move towards a ‘further liberalisation’ of abortion laws beyond X legislation, it struck me that the Constitution plays a strange role in all this.
It is regarded as the rock upon which all else stands or falls – by the anti-abortion side and yet is also regarded, and this simultaneously, as somehow being unfit for purpose. How else to explain the dissonance evident in the views of many Fine Gael TDs on the matter (or sheer ignorance displayed on the VB show last night?).
For example, we know that any measures to introduce legislation on foot of the X case today will be minimal enough, that there will be significant areas where even in the constrained provision of abortion that will become the status quo which will not be addressed.
And yet, consider the following:
Galway West Fine Gael TD Brian Walsh expressed disquiet at the views expressed in the taped conversations: “It is clearly the case that legislation providing for abortion in the case of suicidal ideation is seen as a stepping stone to abortion on demand by Sinn Féin, Deputy Clare Daly and some Labour TDs quoted in the Sunday Independent .”
Mr Walsh said he fully supported the Taoiseach and the Government but he would be failing in his responsibility if he knowingly participated in the enactment of legislation that was fundamentally flawed.
Yet his argument makes little sense if it is the Constitution that is the bedrock of curtailing abortion provision, and also, and this is more important again, that the Constitution as expressed by the relevant amendments represents the will of the citizens of this state. Because if the latter is correct then as long as legislation remains within the Constitution then it is indeed broadly representing the will of citizens. That doesn’t mean that legislation won’t be open to a challenge, but assuming they get it alright on the night the chances of any such challenges being successful should be limited.
Moreover it is clear from successive Constitutional amendments that the citizens of the Republic are, shall we say, equivocal about matters some would prefer them not to be. When offered the choice to amend it in such a way as to exclude the threat of suicide they’ve resiled. As, is understandable.
Of course in reality the Constitution is in no sense the hallowed document some might think in this discussion, but is instead a rampart or a buttress, there to be used when necessary and discarded when not.
And this means that the suicide option is entirely Constitutional, how could it be otherwise given the outcomes of referendums? Small wonder that a raft of FG luminaries, including…
…John Deasy, Peter Matthews, Michelle Mulherin and James Bannon have expressed opposition to the inclusion of the suicide option.
They have to, because all this proves is that it is perhaps beyond the wit of woman and man to provide ‘copper fastened’ legislation in matters such as this. For all the certainty expressed there will always be contention or grey areas.
There’s another point that is worth noting about the Sunday Independent fracas. There seems to be an attitude abroad, as evidenced by the Independent itself running the interviews and some of the response to it, that politicians pushing a pro-choice line are somehow out of bounds, that his aim is in and of itself unreasonable or reprehensible.
How else to explain Walsh’s thoughts or the following comment:
Minister of State for European Affairs Lucinda Creighton, the most prominent Fine Gael opponent of the plan to legislate for suicide, said the disclosure was worrying. “It is a matter of concern if that is the intent of the Labour Party,” she said.
I find this inexplicable. Creighton knows that this is a democracy of sorts, and that in a democracy it is entirely reasonable for people to hold and propose views. She also knows – none better – the difference between personal views on a matter and the policy of a party. Her colleague, one L. Varadker, could explain that distinction in relation to issues of the public service etc.
All Creighton has to do is to go to the Cabinet table and address the Tanaiste if she requires clarification on the matter.
Granted the LP has been somewhat vague over the years on the issue, but its broad thrust of legislation for X and a sympathy towards the extension of abortion provision is hardly a massive secret. Or any secret at all. It’s probably not the party to join if you are a convinced anti-abortion advocate.
So all of this is a bit amateur hour on drama night.
But Creighton also knows, and again few better, that in order for any extension to abortion provision, beyond that allowed under X, would require a referendum. The practical politics of this are simply that it is vanishingly unlikely that any such referendum will be put before the Irish people under this government, or – I’d be willing to bet – it’s successor.
So this too is entirely rhetorical. Her stand is, in some respects meaningless. Inclusion of suicidal ideation as a reason for permitting abortion is Constitutional. It has to be legislated for. it will presumably, whether six doctors or two, be ring fenced and made difficult to access. It does not lead to abortion on demand in the sense that term is used anywhere else.
It is entirely possible that this provision will alter attitudes to abortion in this state. But attitudes have changed already and one suspects will continue to do so whether this is introduced now or not.
Creighton knows precisely the room for movement on the issue at hand, what is possible, what isn’t possible and where a grey area may exist.
It really is disingenuous of so many, but particular those in FG on the anti-abortion provision side, to pretend otherwise (it’s hardly worth adding that politically taking a pro-choice or anti-abortion approach is entirely valid – even if people disagree deeply, it’s how a view is presented that is the issue being addressed above).
But it strikes me that politically this is very interesting. Watching people parade their consciences is hardly an edifying sight at the best of times, but is it possible that this time we’re seeing this parade being staged due to weakness (even taking into account the minimal nature of the provision noted above) rather than strength?
One would have to hope so, no?
If only they had the will to use them… April 29, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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CAG report into SIPTU Health and Local Government Levy Fund April 29, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.
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For those that are interested… the full text…
Such courage… April 29, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
… is the thought that comes to mind reading that Fine Gael TD, Brian Walsh, is willing to lose the Fine Gael whip over the proposed abortion legislation.
He claimed his stance had the potential to end his career within the Fine Gael parliamentary party, “and probably the end of my political career, full stop”.
That I should live to see this day, a day that in years to come women and men will speak of in hushed tones. A day when they will ask in those ages yet before us what stuff was this man made of that when it came to his political allegiance or his conscience he knew which route to take? Not the route of party patronage or ambition but the one of…
…er… what exactly? Losing the whip? What’s the worst that can happen to the man? He can it is true be forced from the FG offices in the Dáil into the outer darkness of Agriculture House where the Independents and one or two LP apostates languish. Other than that, depending on whether there is room, he will suffer in no functional way whatsoever. He will remain a member of the FG party. He will, almost certainly, vote with the government in all votes (something that the LP dissidents don’t – for the most part).
His suffering is hardly existential.
And given that there’s a small left party’s worth of Labour TDs (and MEP) – or should that be a medium sized left party’s worth – who have already lost the LP whip and somehow the gesture seems… well… not very much at all.
Meanwhile look who has joined the fray, why it’s John Bruton…
[who] said introducing a law on the suicide threat “was not something that should be done under the pressure of artificial deadlines”.
Writing in today’s Irish Independent, he said: “The notion that a simple threat of suicide would make right something that would otherwise be wrong is a really dangerous principle.”
Oh dear. It’s not as simple as right and wrong, at least not in that sense. But then one must echo Fintan O’Toole’s thoughts – granted not a man often quoted here for various reasons – that given what we are told the stakes are in relation to abortion it is remarkable how casual, on some levels, those against it actually are. If it is as ‘wrong’ as he suggests then why not bar pregnant women from leaving the state, or ban all information on the procedure, or… or could it be that this isn’t an issue that is amenable to such measures, whatever the rhetoric. And people know it.
Remember, this man was our Taoiseach.
From Spain: 28 April 2013 April 29, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, European Politics, The Left.
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ejh has returned after a break of some weeks. And it is a disturbing and thought-provoking piece on the nature and constraints of political language in the context of Spain and austerity, but with ramifications further afield.