Republican Worker, May 1976
Organisation: Sinn Féin [Official]
Publication: Republican Worker
Issue:Meitheamh 1976
Type:Publication Issue
View: View Document
Discuss:Comments on this document

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

19th January 2009

“Republican Worker” was the monthly newsheet of Official Sinn Féin in Cork City. It is a fairly basic production, typed on A4 sheets.

Inside the level of political discourse is of variable quality. It would have surprised those living in Madrid to discover that ‘no state in Europe has such repressive legislation as the twentysix counties…’.

There is an appraisal of Volunteer Martin O’Leary, a member of the Official IRA who was injured fatally by an explosion in 1971 in Co. Tipperary during a labour dispute at the Mogul Mine. That this was not something that figured highly in the party in later years is perhaps explained by a quote from Roy Johnston’s interesting site here  gives some insight into the event (as well as his response).

…on July 12 1971 claimed Martin O’Leary as the first martyr of the new phase of struggle; his funeral in Cork was reported; Seamus Corry of the ITGWU laid a wreath. He had lost his life at the Mogul mine at Silvermines, an an IRA action in support of the striking miners. According to local lore this action, which involved disabling an ESB sub-station (a hazardous operation), had a positive political effect. The present writer however wants to place on record that he had nothing to do with it, and would have opposed it had he known it was in prospect. It illustrates perfectly the nature of the problem of dealing with the still dominant culture rooted in the traditional military nature of the IRA, which had persisted despite my best efforts since 1965. The elitist role of the IRA, in acting ‘for’ the workers from outside, is the antithesis of that projected for the type of left-wing democratic activist organisation we had being trying to build. This was the beginning of the end of my association with the movement.

As it happens this is also mentioned in the Left Archive in the Critique by Eoin Ó Murchú of the Workers’ Party. For another interesting reference to the incident consider this .

The laudatory reference in Republican Worker would seem to indicate that there was a sea-change in the nature of OSF at this time from its later SFWP and Workers’ Party incarnations (and it’s unlikely that even three years later one might have read, as one does here, about “Hiberno-Nazi-British-Policy”, even in jest). Yet there is nothing on international affairs or indeed Marxism although the concentration on the E.E.C. Is notable.

It is useful to compare and contrast this with this document also from Official Sinn Féin/Official Republicanism during the same period. The differing emphases possibly indicate both a political and, in some senses, a cultural divide within the organisation on the island.

In sum a document that seems to link more closely to the early 1970s that that which would come later.

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  • By: Garibaldy Mon, 19 Jan 2009 09:21:55

    Interesting enough, though as WBS says variable, and indicative I’d have thought of a period of reaction and downturn. O’Leary was the first southern republican death as opposed to the first republican death after things blow up in the north.

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  • By: ejh Mon, 19 Jan 2009 11:06:54

    What’s the “Extortion in Blackpool” bit all about?

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  • By: Joe Mon, 19 Jan 2009 11:46:14

    It’s about the price of a game of pool in Blackpool (a suburb of Cork city to you, EJH). Dirty filthy capitalist exploiters were tempting the youth of Blackpool into playing 8 ball instead of the more healthy pursuits of the Fianna, extolled in another section of the paper. It was all further exposed in the ballad made famous by Jimmy Crowley of that diocese:
    “This pool you will find is a game designed
    For foolish, illiterate louts
    You puts in four bob, you press an oul knob
    And a big shower of balls they come out
    They’re placed on the table and then if you’re able
    To knock em all into a hole
    More money goes in, you start over agin
    And you lose every bob of your dole.”

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  • By: Jim Monaghan Mon, 19 Jan 2009 13:51:34

    In the O’Murchu there is a mention of the slate Costello wanted on the Ard Comhairle. O’Murchu refers to it as the secret list.
    He says Padraigh Yeates was on it. I wonder who else? I suppose Gregory, Jack Lynch (Cork, there ws more than one as with the Jim Ms).

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  • By: John O'Neill Mon, 19 Jan 2009 14:13:37

    “The Secretariat will report to …..Commissioner Donal Coughlan, Bandon”

    What’s a commissioner?

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  • By: Seán Ó Tuama Mon, 19 Jan 2009 15:00:54

    Presumably a member of a Town Commission, form of local autority lower than UDC. I think they have now been abolished.Unless it was yet another level of authority in SFWP, relaqted to secret cumainn!!!!

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  • By: ejh Mon, 19 Jan 2009 15:51:15

    Christ, I thought I was a joyless character but Jimmy Crowley sets the bar pretty high doesn’t he?

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  • By: D.J.P. O'Kane Mon, 19 Jan 2009 16:07:04

    Bandon, eh? My mum’s from there. She was telling me a while back that in the 1970s, someone turned up and tried to cause trouble between the Protestant and Catholic communities in the town (the only bit of the 26 counties with a Protestant majority).

    She couldn’t remember if this guy was a political or just a nutter, but he was run out of town by both sides.

    Could an incident like that have a connection to the kind of politics we’re discussing here?

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  • By: WorldbyStorm Mon, 19 Jan 2009 20:36:11

    I never knew that about Bandon… very interesting. Not sure it influenced OSF… but then again…

    Another level of authority in SFWP… Dear God no!!! 😉

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  • By: Garibaldy Mon, 19 Jan 2009 21:08:58

    We all know everyone answered only to Harris

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  • By: Old SFWP Mon, 19 Jan 2009 23:00:05

    Funnily enough in Tony Gregory’s interview in Hot Press he says Harris was given too much power by the leadership.

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  • By: Neues aus den Archiven der radikalen Linken - eine Auswahl « Entdinglichung Tue, 20 Jan 2009 10:08:44

    […] * Official Sinn Féin (OSF): Republican Worker, Juni 1976 […]

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  • By: Joe Wed, 21 Jan 2009 09:16:54

    Donagh Coughlan , now deceased, was an elected OSF/SFWP Town Commissioner in Bandon in the 70s and early 80s. I know because my mother in law and brother in law voted for him. The Town Commission still exists, lots of smallish towns have them. Town Commissioner is one step down from County Councillor, sort of.
    I know Bandon and its people well and I have never heard of anyone arriving in the town in the 70s to stir up trouble between Catholics and Protestants. But if they did, DJP, it certainly wasn’t Donagh Coughlan of SFWP. Donagh lived in the town, was elected by the people of the town, was very involved in the rugby club which has a very mixed in terms of religion. I can tell you that there is a large Protestant population in the town and its environs but it is by no means a majority.
    Finally EJH, you have much to learn about the Irish ballad tradition. The Pool Song is ironic.

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  • By: D. J. P. O'Kane Wed, 21 Jan 2009 10:49:43

    Hey, I’m just repeating what I heard. Do you remember Gamble’s Medical Hall, btw?

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  • By: Joe Wed, 21 Jan 2009 14:12:45

    As I read your post 8 DJP, you repeated what you heard from your mother about someone coming to Bandon in the 70s and trying to stir up trouble between Catholics and Protestants there. I’ve never heard the story myself but that’s not to say it didn’t happen.
    However you finish post 8 with the question: “Could an incident like that have a connection to the kind of politics we’re discussing here?”
    My post was in part a response to that. The answer is simply no.

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  • By: D. J. P. O'Kane Wed, 21 Jan 2009 15:24:08

    Well, pardon me for asking.

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