An ICA Sergeant’s Story

Frank Robbins joined the Irish Transport and General Workers Union when he was 15 and was a life long member of that Union and the Irish Labour Party. He joined the Irish Citizen Army in 1914. His Witness Statement gives an insider’s view of the labour movement in the lead up to the Easter Rising. It is as interesting for the insights it gives into the mindset of a young revolutionary activist, who combined socialist beliefs with a strong sense of Irish nationality and commitment to his Catholic faith, as for the historical details.

Robbins is highly critical of Jim Larkin and had a much higher regard for Connolly, although he argues that one reason for the failure of the ICA to expand was the latter’s unpopularity in Dublin.

This Witness Statement clearly forms the basis for Robbins’s book ‘Under The Starry Plough’, long out of print. The discrepancies between the two are also interesting.

Frank Robbins in Citizen Army uniform