The Making Of The Irish Revolution
Date:1975 c.
Organisation: Sinn Féin [Official]
Series:Repsol Pamphlets, Number 17
Author:Tomás MacGiolla
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Discuss:Comments on this document

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Commentary From The Cedar Lounge Revolution

16th January 2024

Many thanks to Seán Patrick Smyth who forwarded this to the Archive, a genuinely useful document from the mid-1970s. A short pamphlet issued by Official Sinn Féin as the Introduction notes. This was based on:

[a] speech was delivered by Tomas Mac Giolla, President Sinn Féin to the Boston Irish Forum, August 31st 1975.

The speech analyses the policies and strategies of the Republican Movement from the early 1960s up to today.


It sets our clearly what the revolutionary objectives of the Movement were, and are,and of how they can be achieved.

Dealing with the past few years he shows how the potential for victory was lost through the activities of the Provisional Alliance and other sectarian organisations. The activities of these groups allowed the opportunist politicians, Catholic and Protestant, to regain the leadership of the working people who have been sickened and terrorised by the bombing campaign and sectarian killings on one hand and by the repression and killings of the British forces on the other.

Tomas Mac Giolla shows how a policy of short term demands, even of a reformist nature, can be utilised by the revolutionary movement, to mobilise people and build their confidence in their own strength whilst developing their political and social consciousness.

Ending with the present situation of increasing repression North and South and the ever increasing danger of sectarian civil war, Tomas Mac Giolla points outp what the priorities are now to secure any progress towards our goal – a Democratic Socialist Republic.

That last formulation is interesting and somewhat unusual and one wonders was it due to the location the speech was delivered?

The document across nine pages outlines the defined and stated objectives of the Republican Movement, it considers the developments in the late 1960s in Northern Ireland, and then the split that occurred, and notes this was wider than Sinn Féin or the Republican Movement. It argues that ‘by 1972 the back of the people’s struggle was broken North and South and it was subsequently beaten into the ground’.

It suggests that British rule is ‘almost a military dictatorship’ and argues for a Bill of Rights and the idea that ‘working class unity could be developed, first in the North and then throughout Ireland’.

It concludes by stating that: ‘If sectarianism, bigotry and hatred are rooted out the working class will unite in brotherhood to throw out the imperialists North and South and claim the wealth of the whole island.’

Note that this was delivered in Boston.

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