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Liam Daltun’s Letter To Sean Matgamna Of Events In The Irish Communist Group In 1965 April 15, 2017

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.
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The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project would like to thank Sean Matgamnaa for this Liam Daltun letter that deals with events in the Irish Communist Group in 1965, an important episode in the history of the Irish left. The ICG that was set up in 1964 and was renamed the Irish Workers’ Group in 1966.
Letter can be read here

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1. Paddy Healy - April 15, 2017

I, Paddy Healy, was not a member of the ICG, but I used to get the Magazine Irish Communist. I Joined the IWG in London in 1967 at the urging of the late Liam Boyle, my former school friend in Clonmel CBS. The ICG had split into the Trotskyist IWG led by Gerry Lawless and the hard line Stalinist Irish Communist Organisation led by Brendan Clifford. It was, of course Gerry Lawless who was advised to count to ten by Daltún et al before replying to Clifford at meetings. Eamonn McCann also joined the IWG at about the same time as myself (Gerry Lawless was very critical of Eamonn’s practice of wearing flowers in his hair!!! ) The Phil Flynn is the same one who became General Secretary of IMPACT(then LGPSU) and President of ICTU.

While Ted Grant(Leader of what became known as English Militant and nowadays SP) was assisting Lawless and Daltun in the fight with Clifford, the ICG was not linked to Militant. Grant was atrocious on the Irish National Question.

Daltún and Lawless would speak at Hyde Park corner every Sunday while myself and the younger members would sell the monthly newspaper, Irish Militant (The first place Irish Miliant was sold in Ireland was in Clonmel by Sean Boyle (Brother of Liam Boyle)

Some years later after we had set up a branch of IWG in Dublin, the IWG split into Lawless and Sean Mathgamhna led groups. The Dublin Branch and the Clonmel membes went with Mathgamhna Group. Later the Iriasdh members including myself set up the League for a Workers Republic.

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Paddy Healy - April 15, 2017

It is important to realise that the ICO, which was avowedly Sttalinist was not supportive of the Russian Communist Leadership. It disagreed with the critiism of Stalin and his Policies by Kruschev and the European Communist Parties

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Jim Monaghan - April 16, 2017

Hi Paddy, was Grant always terrible on the national struggle. When he was thrown out of Militant/SP, he and his ally Woods became far more open on it. See here a book with an intro by Gerry Ruddy, then in the IRSP.

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nollaigoj - April 17, 2017

Jim
Wouldn’t Woods’ co-thinkers in Ireland still not argue that socialists in the 26 Counties enter the Irish Labour Party?

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2. roddy - April 15, 2017

Phil Flynn was vice president of SF in the 80s

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Paddy Healy - April 15, 2017

That is correct.Minister Barry Desmond (Labour) refused to deal with him in Phil’s capacity as a trade union General secretary “as a matter of hygiene”. Seamus Healy who was then a national officer of LGPSU/IMPACT led a campaign to force government to deal with him.

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EWI - April 16, 2017

The current head of IMPACT is, of course, a Labour Party member in good standing (and ex-WPer).

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3. Joe - April 15, 2017

“an important episode in the history of the Irish left.”

Ha ha. Very funny.

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Jim Monaghan - April 16, 2017

Out of all this derived, Peoples’ Democracy,League for a Workers Republic Eamonn McCann, Paddy Healy,and many many others.

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Paddy Healy - April 16, 2017

Dead right Jim. IWG memers in the north were influential in the founding of Peoples Democracy and Civil rights marches. I am very proud of the role IWG members played in the great unofficial strike wave of the 1960s culminating in the crushing of the federated Union of Employers in the great Maintenance Strike of 1969, the asis of all modern wages-also role of LWR in the support of H-Block hunger strikers and even Jim in the Irish Student revolt-SDA!!!!

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CL - April 16, 2017

Time for a commemorative plaque at the Lucas Arms.

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Paddy Healy - April 16, 2017

We are not Dead Yet! WUAG LIVES!

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oconnorlysaght - April 16, 2017

From tiny acorns can great oaks grow.

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Paddy Healy - April 16, 2017

Well Said Rayner! Your valuablr writings are also informed by the socialist repulican traditions of the IWG

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4. Paddy Healy - April 16, 2017

Dismissing developments such as the contribution of Gerry Lawless and Liam Daltún in the IWG is very silly and lacks serious revolutionary applicarion. Of course I had my political differeces with Gerry but I learned much from him.
Throughout the sixties through the Irish Militant monthly paper and private conversations he constantly warned that the activites of Roy Johnstone , Tony Coughlan, Cathal Goulding and the Connolly Association in the Repulican movement would lead to disarming the IRA. This wasn’t due to any personal animosity but because he understood from his Trotskyist background that the then Kremlin policy of “the Peaceful Road to Socialism” would have disastrous effects in Ireland unlike in England. He was right! Unfortunately many senior republicans did not listen. This led to a situation in which nationalist working class areas were defenceless against Loyalist and RUC pograms in the early seventies. This lead to a split in the IRA and Sinn Féin.

But some repulicans learned lessons. As a result there was very good relations between the new (provisional) repulican leadership and the League for a Workers Republic for several years. This collaboration led to a very effective strike movement in the 26-counties during the H-Block campaign.

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5. oconnorlysaght - April 17, 2017

Very good, Paddy. We were on different sides when the IWG split. Tho’ there there was a lot of personal shit thrown around at the time, the political basis for the dispute were the questions of how to build a party and what that party’s attitude should be on the national q. As I understood Paddy, he thought that if you organised such a body on strict democratic centralist lines, then you could decide its position on the political issue. I thought the opposite: that forming a tightly disciplined body on what seemed to be the wrong line would handicap it in its analysis of what was to be done on the looming national q.
So we went our separate ways and had some successes during the seventies before being overtaken by events.
Paddy and Seamus are doing good work in Tipp. and I am trying to influence the broader left milieu. I think that we are agreed in doubting whether any of the larger bodies with their parliamentary representatives are likely to be more successful than we have been so far. And ‘so far’ it is; when the USA has elected its oldest President ever, it is not just the fact that it is Trump that means that anything may happen.

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6. Mick - April 17, 2017

The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project would like to thank all comrades for the interesting comments, about the Irish Communist Group and the Irish Workers’ Group. The Irish Workers’ Group is such an important episode in the history of the Irish left.

Paddy Healy do you remember Christy Moore attended meetings of Irish Workers Group in London in the 1967. Christy remembers Gerry Lawless speaking, in addition he sold The Irish Militant at Speakers Corner on a few Sundays.

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