‘Personally I would prefer to see no army in Ireland. The very existence of an army means fighting, and if it is not fighting for some aggressive purpose, it will be drawn into some European war, or will be turned on the workers, or something of that sort. My views on the army question might not be acceptable to the whole Congress, but I do think we ought to make up our minds as to what form of army there will be in the future, whether it is to be professional, or such an army as is established in other small countries’. (Louie Bennett, Irish Women Workers Union)
Part of the fascinating debate by the Irish Trade Union Congress and Labour Party in 1922 on whether they should run candidates or not in the Treaty debate. Supporters and opponents of the Treaty called on Labour to wait yet again as in 1918, but the majority of delegates voted to participate and the party won 22 seats.
To access the ITUC&LP Archive for 1901-1925 go to http://centenaries.nationalarchives.ie/centenaries/.
Launch of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School 2016
Maldron Hotel, Shandon on Wednesday 29th June at 1pm.
The 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival/ Summer School will again be held in Shandon and this year has been extended over five days through the August bank Holiday weekend from Thursday 28th July until Monday 1st August 2016. The last day is designated by Cork City Council as Mother Jones Day in the city. Hundreds of visitors are expected from all over Ireland, England and Scotland to what has become quite a major summer school featuring over 20 different events. (more…)
Another view of the Easter Rising, 1916
Lecture at Annual General Meeting of the Irish Labour History Society, April 23rd, 2016
I would like to thank the Irish Labour History Society for inviting me to give another view of the Easter Rising on this the centenary of the day on which it was supposed to take place.
It has been borne in on me, as I am sure it has on you this year that commemoration is not history, nor is it about honouring all traditions equally, or unequally for that matter. It is about presenting history as we wish it to be; it is about self-identity and it is about seeking inspiration based on a reaffirmation of established identities, be they on the left, right or centre. Or it can be about rejecting a perceived past if it conflicts with what the dominant consensus within a commemorative group thinks it should be. This approach to commemoration covers both the general, for instance identifying the state with the Rising, and the particular, such as the Rotunda Hospital celebrating its commitment to delivering babies throughout Easter Week 1916. Hence the inevitable title of its exhibition, ‘Birth of A Nation’. Unlike history, commemoration does not need to be accurate but it must strike the right note. The current controversy over the Glasnevin ‘remembrance wall’ is a case in point. It should perhaps be rechristened the ‘wall of death’. On the other hand Joe Duffy’s ‘Children of the Rising’ has been a runaway success and well deserved. (more…)