Looking Left No. 4: The Irish Socialist


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Here’s the fourth and final programme in the Looking Left series, and the topic is the newspaper of the Communist Party of Ireland, the Irish Socialist. Cedarlounge has a great post on the paper here.

The panel is made up of Dr. Ann Matthews, Tom Redmond, Mick O’Reilly, and myself, and is presented by Daniel Finn.

The programme is about 30 minutes long, and touches on issues such as the Dublin Housing Action Committee, the North, the Irish economy, and Europe, as well as the CPI’s reaction to the 1968 ‘Prague Spring’, and the life and work of Betty Sinclair.

Incidentally, cedarlounge also has a great post on ‘The Squatter,’ a publication associated with the Dublin Housing Action Committee,

Looking Left Ep004 from DCTV on Vimeo.


2 Responses

  1. Gar

    July 30, 2009 11:41 am

    I was among a small group of students one Saturday afternoon early in 1968 that was brought on a guided tour of Marshalsea Barracks near the Guinness brewery just off the quays. Our two guides were Sean O’Cionnaith and Prionsias De Rossa. Both of them were leading members of DHAC, the housing action campaign. Both were also leading members of then pre-split Sinn Fein that was trying to pursue radical social campaigns like housing action, the abolition of ground rents and public access to fishing on rivers and lakes. De Rossa told us the history of Marshalsea Barracks and how the Dublin corpo had turned it into squalid housing accommodation for desperately poor families. On another occasion Mr. O’Cionnaith gave a talk on the housing problem to a number of students in TCD. I was impressed by the grasp of detail and commitment to the issue by these two men, both of them long term residents of Dublin’s less advantaged areas who understood the problems from within. Some students in the years 1966 to the end of the 60s joined demonstrations against the proposed demolition of sound buildings in Lr. Mount Street and elsewhere by developers who wanted to build office blocks. A slogan at demonstrations was Houses Before Office Blocks. I saw CPI general secretary Michael O’Riordain at these demonstrations. A Jesuit priest based at Gardiner Row, Michael Sweetman SJ, joined street marches and shared platforms at meetings with people like O’Riordain, De Rossa and the redoubtable activist Mairin de Burca. The Minister for Local Government, Kevin Boland (who split later from FF and founded the ill-fated Aontacht Eireann party) denounced Sweetman SJ as “a so-called cleric who should know better” in the Dail chamber. At the same time there was an anticommunist scare campaign in the Evening Herald. One story reported that a continental agitator had been brought to Ireland to teach people something about street fighting tactics. Looking back at those innocent protesting times, I wish somebody had thrown a bag of nice soft flour at the front door of the Herald office. I read occasional issues of Irish Socialist at the time, but never joined a party. The CPI had an interesting bookshop in Essex Street (near what later became Project Arts Center) called New Books. Now there’s a shop called Connolly Books, with a small theatre at the back. Lots of curious students and others used to book browse there. Keep putting up these old publications with your special software. Some of the same social issues crop up from one decade to another.