Jarama Commemoration 2013

6th Annual Jarama Walk

The 76th anniversary of the Battle of Jarama will take place between the 14th and 17th of February; the main event, as always, will be the Jarama Walk on Saturday 16th.

The full programme is available for download here.

Jarama Commemoration 2013

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New LookLeft out now!

Ireland’s leading magazine for progressive news, views and solutions – available in Easons stores and good independent newsagents across the country – 48 pages for just €2/£1.50.

In the latest issue of LookLeft:

New LookLeft out now!The New Frontline – Trade unions are re-forging their links with working class communities and building new alliances in the fight to defend vital local services, Dara McHugh reports

No More Victims – Ireland’s abortion laws have been claiming victims for decades, writes Stephanie Lord

Where’s the left? – The left of centre received its highest vote ever in the Republic in February 2011, but the country has since been run on unwaveringly right-wing lines without the political upheaval evident in other EU States. Kevin Brannigan asks what has happened to the Irish Left.

Beyond the Law: the US Military at Shannon Airport – In opposition, Labour leader Eamon Gilmore repeatedly committed himself to dealing with the US military’s use of Shannon Airport. But in Government what has he done? Paul Dillon reports

The Attack on Public Transport – The push towards privatisation at Dublin Bus is part of a wider strategy of undermining public transport in the name of profits. Harry Stoneman reports.

The Ideals Remain – Aleida Guevara, a Cuban paediatrician and daughter of revolutionary leader Che, visited Ireland in October and talked to Paul Dillon

A Stranger in Her Own Land – Palestinian politician Haneen Zoabi talks to Francis Donohoe about how Israel’s apartheid policies forced her to take a stand.

Eric Hobsbawm: Revolutionary Historian – Ultán Gillen looks at the life of the Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, and how he helped transform our understanding of the history of the working class.


Unions must lead campaign to repudiate bank debt
Anti-capitalist prank lands Occupy activist in prison
Industrial action low in the Republic
Central Bank wrong on wages
The Waterford Spring
The Household Tax Battle Continues
LookLeft politicians pensions campaign
Only the first steps for children’s rights
IKEA Ireland: No trade unions here
Irish who fought for the Spanish Republic commemorated in Dublin
Irvine Welsh backs bridge for fellow Hibs man Connolly
The Live Register: For Real TV
Charting the Left course for Northern Ireland
Hidden Crackdown in Bahrain

Gavan Titley explores the politics of the new racism
Michael Taft on Public Enterprises
Tom O’Connor on the economic myths peddled by the Irish establishment.
Conor McCabe on the Irish tax exiles
John Jefferies on development of Primary Health Care centres
Mick Finnegan calls on SIPTU President, Jack O’Connor, to reconsider his support for Labour

Are elections a waste of time for the Left? – Alan Myler and Mark Hoskins debate

Irish Socialist Republicanism 1909-1936
Come here to me: Dublin’s other history
Privatisation: Robbing the people’s wealth

‘History from Below’ Network launched in Barcelona, Donal Fallon reports
A True Red Rebel – David Lynch on the live and times of Con Lehane
US hip-hop artist Boots Riley of The Coup
Supporters have revived the pride of North Wales, Wrexham Football Club, writes Barry Healy
Plaque to honour Francis Hutcheson
LookLeft Forum: Connolly’s Legacy Debated

LookLeft is published the Citizen Press for more information visit
www.lookleftonline.org or email: lookleftonline@gmail.com

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Frank Conroy Commemoration

Cumann Pheadar Uí Dhálaigh/The Peter Daly Society would like to congratulate the Frank Conroy Commemoration Committee on their inaugural event and look forward to working with them again in the future.

Frank Conroy Commemoration

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Death of Sean Redmond, Former Connolly Association General Secretary, Irish Trade Union Official and Historian

Sean Redmond, former General Secretary of the Connolly Association, died on Saturday 15 December at his home in Drumcondra, Dublin, at the age of 76, having been ill for some time.

Sean Redmond

© Victor Patterson

Sean and his brother Tom grew up in Dublin and they emigrated to London in 1956, where their parents also lived for some years. Both became very active in the Connolly Association, which around that time had launched its campaign to expose the iniquities of the Stormont Unionist regime in British labour, trade union and liberal circles. This campaign was based on the concept that the movement to end Partition in Ireland and bring about Irish national unity in independence needed allies in the British labour movement and the support of progressive public opinion in this country.

In the early 1960s Sean became General Secretary of the Connolly Association and for the rest of that decade he did outstanding work in highlighting the deplorable civil liberties situation under Unionist majority rule in the Six Counties. During that period he represented the Association on the executives of the National Council for Civil Liberties (now Liberty) and the Movement for Colonial Freedom and played a key role in inducing those bodies, which were very influential in British labour circles at the time, to take up the issue of discrimination against Northern Nationalists and Catholics.

As Connolly Association General Secretary he worked closely with the late Desmond Greaves, who edited the Association’s monthly paper “The Irish Democrat”. He edited some issues of that paper himself when Greaves was in Ireland undertaking research for his biographies of James Connolly and Liam Mellows. Sean became widely known and respected in the Irish community and in labour circles across Britain in those years and was much admired as a public speaker. He organised numerous lobbies of MPs in the House of Commons on Six County discrimination issues.

As one example from that campaign, in May 1966 Sean Redmond wrote on behalf of the Connolly Association to Northern Premier Captain Terence O’Neill pointing out that the 1949 Ireland Act offered Stormont no protection “if the British Parliament decides in its wisdom to abolish your government altogether”. To which O Neill replied denying the existence of gerrymandering, discrimination and police repression in the North and saying “I was entertained to read your complex and ingenious version of our constitutional status”, but the constitutional position of Northern Ireland “has a conventional as well as legislative basis.” The following years would show O’Neill that the North’s constitutional position was indeed an illusion and that what Redmond had intimated was right.

Because of his work in those years Sean Redmond may validly be considered one of the progenitors of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Movement which destroyed Unionist hegemony in that part of the world. He later wrote the pamphlet “Desmond Greaves and the origins of the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland” describing the solidarity work in Britain in which he had played a leading part from the late 1950s until the mid-1970s.

That work was important in generating an anti-Unionist climate in British labour circles which impelled the Wilson-led Labour Government that took office in 1964 to put pressure in turn on the Terence O’Neill-led Stormont administration to end discriminatory practices affecting the Nationalist/Catholic population in the Six Counties. This pressure from progressive British public opinion paralleled the pressure that came from within the North itself when the Civil Rights Movement got going there in the 1968-70 period.

On returning to Ireland Sean worked as a trade union official with the Irish Municipal Employees Trade Union, now IMPACT. He was one of the most influential organisers of that union and became greatly respected in Dublin labour and trade union circles for his political shrewdness, good sense and political and industrial experience. He wrote the official history of his union under the title, “The Irish Municipal Employees Trade Union 1883-1983”. He also described the public-spirited action of some of his fellow union members in the union publication, “Belfast is Burning 1941: the story of the assistance given by the emergency services from Eire following the German bombing of Belfast” .

In the 1980s along with some colleagues in other Irish trade unions he helped establish the group, Trade Unionists for Irish Unity and Independence, to lobby for a stronger stand by Irish and British trade unions for those democratic objectives as being in the best interests of the labour movements and peoples of the two islands.

Sean was a lifelong student of the history of the Irish and British labour and national movements. He was a member of the Irish Labour History Society. His experience working in both countries and his political commitment to the classical leftwing position that the labour movement, socialists and radicals should be the foremost advocates of national independence and democracy, led him to embark on a study of successive solidarity movements with the Irish national cause in Britain, going back to the days of the United Irishmen. He had virtually completed this before illness struck him.

In the 1970s and 1980s he was an active member of the Irish Anti-Apartheid Movement and in the 1990s he was a committee member of the annual Desmond Greaves Weekend Summer School in Dublin.

He met his wife Susan while working in the Connolly Association in London and they have one son, Sean Og. The Connolly Association Executive sends its commiserations to his wife, his son and other relatives. The many friends and political acquaintances he made while working in Britain will mourn the passing of an outstanding socialist republican, a committed trade union activist and a fine and much-loved human being.

Personal commiserations should be sent to Mrs Susan Redmond at 33 Lindsay Road, Dublin 9.


Photo of Sean Redmond by kind permission of Victor Patterson

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Frank Conroy Commemoration – 16th December 2012

Frank ConroyMain speaker: Harry Owens
▸ Kildare Republican Memorial (Market Square)

Sun­day 16 December, 1 pm.

Frank Conroy came from Fair Green, Kildare town and was an IRA activist who fought with the working class against the fascist Blue Shirts in Kildare and Dublin during the hungry 1930s. Like many Republicans he joined the Republican Congress and Communist Party. Conroy volunteered to fight with Republican leader Frank Ryan in the International Brigade to defend the Spanish Republic against Franco.

Organised by the Frank Conroy Commemoration Committee

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Communities against Cuts Pre Budget Protest

Communities against Cuts Pre Budget Protest The Communities Against Cuts campaign is a joint trade union and community sector initiative aimed at protecting and maintaining public investment in the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities across Ireland.

Union activists have spent the past year campaigning and lobbying politicians and telling them why the sector needs to be protected, but now is the time to hit the streets.

On 24th November, 1pm Communities Against Cuts will be joining the Dublin Council of Trade Union’s pre-budget demonstration at Parnell Square, Dublin.

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New Booklet on Socialist Republican Jimmy Gralton

JIMMY GRALTON – Leitrim Socialist (1886-1945)

Jimmy Gralton, the great Leitrim SocialistJimmy Gralton, the great Leitrim Socialist was born at Effernagh, near Gowel, Co Leitrim, on the 17th of April 1886. Like so many Irish people he was forced to emigrate, first to Britain and later to the United States, where he took out US citizenship.

It was in the USA that Gralton first became involved in the labour struggles of the time. Never breaking his links with Ireland he was active in the Connolly Club in New York which also counted among its members Jim Larkin, Nora Connolly and Liam Mellows.

The War of Independence drew him back to Leitrim and he returned home on the 2nd of June 1921, weeks before it ended. The Black and Tans had burned the social hall in Gowel so at once Gralton became active, erecting a large hall on his parents land, which he named the “Pearse-Connolly Hall in honour of the Socialist and Republican leaders of 1916.

The hall became a very popular centre for both social enjoyment and political study. It also became the base for the Direct Action Committee which Gralton had set up to help tenant-farmers regain lands from which they had been evicted. Gralton and his supporters drove cattle on to the property of large estate-owners and settled former tenants on the land. Eventually the frequent cattle drives from the big estates, the Arbitration Courts held in the hall and the land takeovers gave the district the name of the Gowel Soviet.

It was not long before Jim Gralton became the target of the local clergy’s wrath. The more popular the activities in the hall, the greater became the attacks on its founder.
In June 1922 with his authority considerably undermined by constant clerical condemnation, Free State troops came to arrest him. But Gralton escaped and returned to America.
In the US Jimmy Gralton became active in the Communist Party and immersed himself in the work of the American Labour movement, and with a number of other Irishmen he played a leading role in the formation of the powerful Transport Workers’ Union. He also kept in touch with events back home.

In 1932 he returned to Ireland to help his aged parents with the family farm at Effernagh and he quickly picked up the threads of his earlier activity.

Gralton re-opened the Hall and took up the land agitation once again. The local establishment and clergy were furious. Gralton was not easily put off. Stories about him and the clergy have lived on in local folk memory. One is a story about Canon McGraver. Preaching during mass in Kiltubrid, Canon McGraver denounced the hall as a den of iniquity and said he would put horns on Gralton and on anyone who attended it. Some days later Gralton presented himself at the priest’s doorstep “to have his horns fitted”.

Gralton joined the Revolutionary Workers Group and spoke at numerous anti-evection meetings and at meetings of the National Unemployed Movement. He addressed Leitrim County Council on the issue of road workers and along with his cousin Packie Gralton, and other comrades, he organised a series of cultural and political activities in the hall.

However the local political establishment of Cumann na nGael and Fianna Fail colluded with the local gombeen men and the clergy and whipped up another campaign of opposition to Gralton. On one night in November 1932 a dozen shots were fired into the hall. Gralton told the people to throw themselves on the floor, and there were no injuries. The band kept playing. But finally on Christmas Eve 1932 the Hall was burned in an arson attack.

A massive Red Scare now gripped both the country and county Leitrim and in the January 1933 general election the priests openly supported the local Fianna Fail candidate, helping him to secure a seat in the Dail. In return a deportation order was issued by the new Fianna Fail Government ordering Gralton – “an undesirable alien” – to leave Ireland before March 5th.

Gralton went on the run. A local defence Committee was formed by his neighbours and supporters. A national Committee was also formed by such notables as Barney Casey of the Workers Union of Ireland, Seamus McGowan of the Transport Union, Patrick Flanagan of the National Union of Railwaymen, Donal O’Reilly of the plasters Union, Peader O’Donnell, Sean Murray, George Gilmore, Mrs Despard, Frank O’Connor and others. Despite the campaign of the Defence Committee the De Valera government refused to rescind the deportation order.

Gralton, on the run in Leitrim, and in ever worsening health, was thrown on his own resources and on the kindness of neighbours. Except for a couple of days in Dublin he spent all the time he was in hiding in Leitrim sheltered by the local people. In Jul he wrote to Leitrim County Council. The letter was delivered by his mother. To their credit a small number of councillors pleaded on compassionate grounds that the Council call on the Minister for Justice to Gralton a fair trial where he might answer whatever charges were made against him. A deputation of road workers who were in attendance at the meeting seeking concessions in respect of their work shouted “Up Gralton” and called for fair play. However the great majority of councillors were extremely hostile to Gralton with one councillor saying “I suggest we get Hitler over here for a few days”…. (Laughter). Gralton’s plea was ruled out of order.

At a further Council meeting after a debate which centred around whether his father had been attended by a priest before he died, the Council decided to burn any letters received in support of Gralton’s case and a motion to prevent any similar letters being read to the Council was carried unanimously.

On Saturday night, August the 10th 1933, the police eventually caught up with Jim Gralton and he was captured in the home of Frank Beirne of Gorvagh.

He was taken to Ballinamore Barracks and on the following morning he was moved to Cork jail. That afternoon a guard went to the family homestead at Effernagh and told his aged mother that he was under arrest and was to be deported the following day. She asked if she could see him and if he would ever return. The Guard answered “No” to both questions. The old woman was very upset. Distracted by sorrow, she died a number of years later in St. Columba’s Hospital, Sligo, without ever seeing her son again.

Gralton was lodged in Cork jail at 11.p.m. at night and on the following day the Gardai brought him to Cobh where he was put on board a vessel which was leaving for America. Back in Leitrim the priests and local gombeen men set about organising groups to remove the pro-Gralton posters and obliterate the slogans.

Jimmy Gralton was deported in 1933, about the same time as the newly appointed Chancellor of Germany began his persecution of Jews, Socialists, Gypsies and others.
The Leitrim Socialist was never allowed to return again. He spent the remaining days of his life in the American Labour Movement. He was a candidate for the Communist Party in the Borough elections in Manhattan. He again became involved in the Irish Workers Clubs in New York, reprinted Connolly’s pamphlets, raised funds for the International Brigades in Spain and participated in the many campaigns of the period. He died in New York on December 29th 1945 and was buried in Woodlawn cemetery.

In an obituary in the “Irish Advocate” Charlie Byrne concluded “One might disagree with Gralton, but nobody could doubt his sincerity. Let all of us, who believe in the principles for which Gralton stood, pledge ourselves anew to the continuation of the fight for complete political, cultural and economic rights of the working classes in all lands.”

John Mullaly delivering a short talk at Gralton’s grave said “Stone monuments were built in memory of men in the past. This is not the kind of monument Jim Gralton wanted, but a world in which human beings can have security, free from hunger and misery, with sufficient leisure time to study art and music; a world wherein there will be no wars, famine or depression in the midst of plenty.” declan bree

“Deported” – Jimmy Gralton An Undesirable Alien – has been re-published and is available from: Connolly Books, 43, East Essex Street, Dublin 2. T: 01-6708707 E: connollybooks@eircom.net.

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AFA Ireland – 21st Birthday Celebrations – Bob Doyle – Connolly Books

Undertones - Anti-fascism and the far-right in Ireland 1945-2012The Peter Daly Society would like to congratulate AFA Ireland on the events they put on to celebrate their 21st birthday, the launch of the booklet “Undertones – Anti-fascism and the far-right in Ireland 1945-2012” the unveiling of the beautiful plaque outside Connolly Books and the mural to our own Bob Doyle all added to a dignified and defiant weekend.

AFA Ireland - 21st Birthday Celebrations

More photos from the day on AFA Ireland’s Facebook page – click here to view.

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A night of music and song in celebration of the International Brigades

A benefit evening for the second level schools’ Spanish Civil War Essay Competition.

The Friends of the International Brigades in Ireland are hosting a night of music, song and poetry in the Teachers’ Club, Parnell Square,Dublin 1 on Friday November 9 at 20.00. Admission is €5 and all proceeds will be put towards the Civil War Essay prize.

A night of music and song in celebration of the International Brigades

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New Trade Union Activists Website

A new trade union activists website has just been launched at www.tuleftforum.com.

The purpose of the Forum is to encourage and initiate serious examination and debate from a Left/class perspective of the major questions facing the labour movement in Ireland.

Trade Union Left Forum

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