About this Collection

Many thanks to former TD and Labour Party Cllr. Eamonn Walsh for donating this range of materials to the Archive (and to Eoin Breathnach for scanning and forwarding the documents).

This is an unusual but important addition to the Archive. It consists of a range of documents, pamphlets, newsletters and other materials relating to the British Miners Strike  of 1984 and 1985 (IEL added this to the Left Archive here on the same topic). This pivotal industrial action excited both solidarity and activism across the United Kingdom and further afield as evidenced here.

In this selection of materials are papers relating to the visit of striking miner’s partners and children to Tallaght in August 1984. The seven day visit included visits to the Mansion House in Dublin for a Lord Mayor’s reception, a meeting with the Chair of Dublin County Council, meetings with Tallaght Community Council, trips to Mosney Holiday Camp, Cantrell & Cochrane and Portmarnock racecourse.

There is also a leaflet from the striking miners explaining their action, an edition of The Miner – the publication of the miners – and a document from ‘Barnsley Women Against Pit Closures’.

In total it builds into a picture of local support around the issue and in a way which perhaps other documents in the Archive tend to lack, offers a sense of life at the time for working people. This is of particular value both in political and social terms.

Eamonn Walsh adds the following overview of the materials, and makes an interesting comparison with the events of 1913.

“The most memorable event in my political career was my involvement with a project to assist the women and children of striking miners in the 1980′s in Barnsley and alleviating the struggle with thatcher’s regime. A group of Labour Party members in Dublin south west got together to collect money, every Saturday night in pubs to assist the miners in their struggle. When we had a sizeable sum collected we decided that a holiday in Tallaght for women and children would be the best way to use the collection. An interesting story emerged during one of the sports day we organised, when presenting trophies to the Barnsley children, one of the women recognised the three castles, the arms of Dublin, and said that she had seen these three castles on a memento on a mantel piece in Barnsley. After further research it transpired that children from Dublin brought it with them to Barnsley when they were being looked after during the 1913 lockout in Dublin following their evacuation… history then repeating it self in Dublin. I am very proud that I played a leading role in that epic struggle of the Barnsley miners.” Today’s struggle by myself & many others from within the Labour party with our present government, shows the need to demonstrate more than ever labours core values and beliefs in order to protect ordinary families that are under attack. Eamonn Walsh, Former Labour TD and Councillor and member of the Labour Party for 34 years.


Comments 1

  • AonRud

    Workers' Music Co-operative

    By: AonRud | 6th April 2014, 11:13am

    I came across a brief mention of this in Francis Devine's introduction to John McDonnell's book, Songs of Struggle and Protest, particularly the involvement of the Workers' Music Co-operative. (McDonnell appears to have been heavily involved in the above visit to Tallaght (note his signature is on the letters). He was also a founding member of the WMC).

    During the Great Miners' Strike 1984-1985, WMC ran fund-raising gigs. McDonnell, greatly assisted by Paul Mulhern, Labour Party, organised a week's holiday in Tallaght for twenty-four children and five miners' wives from Barnsley Women Against Pit Closures - a spin off from Ann Scargill, Maureen Exley and Marsha Marshall's speaking tour, August 1984. The adults enjoyed a night at the WMC Club, claiming 'they never heard so many miners' songs in their lives'.

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