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Wood Quay Occupation News July 8, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

To download the above please click on the following link. occupation-news-3-june-1979.pdf

Please click here to go the Left Archive.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive.

As noted previously the Wood Quay protests of 1978 and 1979 were not explicitly left-wing, however in the materials used to promote the protests and occupation there was an appeal to trade unionists and others. Individuals later prominent in the Labour Party and other groups were involved.

The collection brings together documents related to the campaign. Many thanks to the family of Leo Swan for forwarding these documents to the Left Archive.

This edition of Wood Quay News is arguably slightly better produced than previous ones. Dating from June 1979 it includes photographs and a banner.

It outlines the occupation and the injunctions taken out against nine of those on the site. Broadly speaking it is optimistic about the future noting the visit of the newly elected Lord Mayor of Dublin, William Cumiskey, to the site. There is even a ‘Plan for Wood Quay’ that details an education centre, housing, restaurant and so on.

The front page article details the occupation and argues that ‘it was a protest for the rights of democracy against the inertia of bureaucracy, for the wishes of the citizens of Dublin against the wishes of the Corporation. These wishes were clearly shown by the voters during the protest… a new Council, pro-Wood Quay has been elected.’

And it argues that ‘this twenty-day protest both in its personalities, execution and success was unprecedented. Although the Supreme Court has found against the protestors, Wood Quay will be saved’.

Please note: If files have been posted for or to other online archives previously we would appreciate if we could be informed of that. We are eager to credit same where applicable or simply provide links.


1. EWI - July 8, 2019

As noted previously the Wood Quay protests of 1978 and 1979 were not explicitly left-wing

To put it mildly. I think ‘Wood Quay’ has been disastrous on several fronts, but my impression has always been that it was led by Ye Olde Dublin types, including certain higher social classes and conservative types (on the same subject, the favoured media portrayal of David Norris as a left-wing radical type is laughable).


EWI - July 8, 2019

*opposition to it was led by


WorldbyStorm - July 8, 2019

There is a tone to these publications that sets my teeth on edge – and there are a couple of anecdotes I’ve heard of the occupation that strike me your critique isn’t a million miles from the truth -I would say this though that although ye olde Dublin there was a very strong stand of cultural nationalism running through most of not quite all of those involved – sort of old style FF distinct to the Anglo Irish strand (again for the most part). A lot of then National Museum people etc – but that tone. 😦

I agree with their aims – just the way they went about it and who they appealed to leaves me very cold.


2. Alibaba - July 9, 2019

As I remember it, for three years from 1977 on, the enormous archaeological significance of Wood Quay was brought to the public’s attention impressively and protests took place which generated anger. The call of the organisers for passive resistance ensured that it was dissipated, when a more radical approach could have won.

And yet, it must be said, they knew full well the power of networks and strong communications. Publications like the one shown here is telling. Look at the excellent uncredited photographs and engaging cartoons. Lessons for the self-regarding and unpersuasive left perhaps.


WorldbyStorm - July 9, 2019

Very true – I think the production etc is very strong and as you say they mobilized strongly (as well as which even in defeat made a very persuasive case about how important archaeology and heritage are and do in a way had a real victory) – it’s more a certain attitude in the pieces that gets me.


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