UPDATE:About Paddy Healy

Unconditionally Socialist, Unconditionally Republican, in the James Connolly Tradition


Retired Lecturer And Research Physicist (DIT), now renamed Technological University of Dublin (TUD)

Former President, Teachers Union of Ireland and Former Executive Member Of Dublin Council of Trade Unions

Anti-Capitalist organiser since his late “teens” and life-long trade unionist

H-Block Campaigner and H-Block General Election Candidate

Paddy Healy served as National Secretary of the National H-Block Trade Union Committee; He led the organisation of  strikes throughout the 26-counties in support of the demands of the prisoners in Long Kesh and in Armagh. When trade union leaders refused to act, with others he organised a series of “unofficial” strikes. The biggest stoppage took place on the day of the funeral of Bobby Sands.

He resigned his position as National Secretary in protest at the winding-down of the strike campaign in the Republic of Ireland following the death of Bobby Sands, despite several remaining on hunger strike and subsequently dying. His proposals to escalate the campaign in the 26-counties were rejected by Sinn Féin leaders. This was despite several IRA sympathisers in the 26-counties going on solidarity hunger strikes at a number of centres after the death of Bobby Sands. The IRA leadership ordered these to cease the hunger strikes as “they would divert attention from the prisoners.”

Lifelong Opponent of Stalinism which has led to the restoration of capitalism in former Soviet Union, Eastern Europe and China.

Strongly Influenced by the writings of Leon Trotsky but deeply opposed to the anti-republican position of some Irish socialist organisations who claim to be Trotskyist

Deeply influenced by ideas of  republican anti-treaty leader Ernie O’Malley , particularly by his book: “The Singing Flame”

Member of Workers and Unemployed Action WUAG (Co Tipperary)

Former President, Teachers Union of Ireland and Former Executive Member Of Dublin Council of Trade Unions

5 Proudest Political Moments

Proud to have led an “unofficial” strike campaign in support of the hunger strikers and having been a H-Block Candidate in Dublin North East in 1981 General Election

Proud to have been expelled from National Executive Of Labour Party in 1970 for Opposing Return of Labour Party to Coalition With Fine Gael

Proud to have been elected President of the Teachers Union of Ireland  and of having won the key election to the vice-presidency against the wishes of the union’s leadership!

Proud to have contributed to improving the pay and conditions of Teachers and Lectures in the his own workplace and throughout the country.

Proud to have led the campaign against the erosion of academic freedom in universities, institutes of technology and other third level institutions

AS elected President Of Teachers Union of Ireland and Member of Governing Body and Academic Council Of Dublin Institute of Technology , proud to have been ruled ineligible by Chairman of ESRI Board for election to Governing Board Of Economic and Social Research Institute as he hadn’t been “Pre-Approved” by Existing Governing Body of ESRI.  The nomination of Paddy proposed in person by Professor Brian Norton, President of Dublin Institute of Technology, at the AGM of ESRI was ruled “out of order”

Paddy Had been nominated in writing by ESRI member bodies -TUI, Dublin Institute of Technology andthe biggest trade union in Ireland, SIPTU, for election at ESRI AGM
ESRI later failed to predict the economic crash, predicting a “soft landing”!
Garret Fitzgerald turned up at ESRI AGM to Oppose Paddy’s election! (Remember that ESRI had numerous Doctors of Economics and Related Subjects(PhDs) working in the Institute before and after the crash. Nobody broke ranks to predict the crash. These included Dr John “The Soft Landing” Fitzgerald. John is son of Garret but also Brother of Mark, CEO of biggest estate agent in Ireland, Sherry Fitzgerald)


 Fundamental Position: https://wp.me/PKzXa-2

The effective support of the Irish Labour and trade union leaders for the British backed “Free State”  side in the Irish Civil War( 1921 to 1923), is the Irish equivalent of German Social Democracy voting for the war credits to enable the German capitalist state to fight a world war with its imperialist capitalist competitors . It represented a definitive going over to the side of capitalism by the leaders of Irish workers. Anybody on the left who persists in not accepting this will become an obstacle to a successful socialist revolution in Ireland and currently(2020) the great majority of prominent left-wing political representatives, including the ultra-left, do not accept this. The British armed Free State army not only enforced the reactionary anti-democratic  partition of Ireland but also put down the rebellion of workers, farm labourers and small farmers, which had its highest points in the Munster Creamery “Soviets” and the great General Strike of 1920 (during which town soviets emerged). The famous General Montgomery,”Monty” then a British Army officer, who had been stationed in Cork during the War of Independence, said it all when he wrote to Colonel Percival of the Essex Regiment in 1923.

Montgomery came to the conclusion that the conflict could not be won without harsh measures, and that capitalist self-government for a partitioned Ireland was the only feasible solution; He wrote later

“My own view is that to win a war of this sort, you must be ruthless. Oliver Cromwell, or the Germans, would have settled it in a very short time. Nowadays public opinion precludes such methods, the nation would never allow it, and the politicians would lose their jobs if they sanctioned it. That being so, I consider that Lloyd George was right in what he did, if we had gone on we could probably have squashed the rebellion as a temporary measure, but it would have broken out again like an ulcer the moment we removed the troops. I think the rebels would probably [have] refused battles, and hidden their arms etc. until we had gone…..

The only way forward therefore (for Britain) was to give them [the Irish capitalists] some form of self-government, and let them squash the rebellion themselves; they are the only people who could really stamp it out, and they are still trying to do so and as far as one can tell they seem to be having a fair amount of success.”-Letter to Colonel Arthur Ernest Percival of the Essex Regiment 1923

BL Montgomery(MONTY) was appointed brigade major in the 17th Infantry Brigade of the British Army in January 1921. The brigade was stationed in County Cork, carrying out counter-insurgency operations during the final stages of the Irish War of Independence

—————————————————————Lest We Forget!

Prior to the Launch of The IRA Border Campaign 1956/7-
From Wikipedia: By 1955, splits were occurring in the IRA, as several small groups, impatient for action, launched their own attacks in Northern Ireland. Liam Kelly(Pomeroy, Tyrone) founded a breakaway group Saor Uladh  and in November 1955, attacked a Royal Ulster Constabulary barracks at Roslea in County Fermanagh… In August of the following year, Kelly and another IRA dissident, (“Gelignite”)Joe Christle(and his Dublin-based Group) , burned down some customs posts on the border. -Wikipedia 

Liam Daltún and Gerry Lawless were members of the Christle Group. These two were later founders of the Irish Workers Group in London which I(Paddy Healy) joined in the early sixties. Initially the Irish Militant published by IWG was sold only in London and Clonmel!!

We campaigned in Support of the Strike Movement, unofficial and official, in Ireland, supported Civil Rights Demonstrations North And South and the Black Liberation Movement in the USA and South Africa.

Very importantly, we campaigned against the winding down of the IRA by Cathal Goulding and Roy Johnson. These were influenced by “The Peaceful Road to Socialism” promoted by the Stalinist Bureaucracy in the Soviet Union and “The British Road to Socialism” promoted by the British Communist Party and The Connolly Association (Britain). Surely, Lenin was turning in his grave! The Bolsheviks had  declared in March 1917 in favour of a British withdrawal from Ireland!

Unfortunately, we were vindicated when Nationalist Communities, including the Bogside in Derry and The Falls Road in Belfast and other areas, were left vulnerable to murderous pogroms by the B-Specials and Loyalist Mobs in August 1969.


Early Political Involvements

As a member of the London-based Irish Workers Group in the nineteen sixties, campaigned against the winding down of the IRA by Cathal Goulding and Roy Johnson. These were influenced by “The Peaceful Road to Socialism” promoted by the Stalinist Bureaucracy in the Soviet Union and “The British Road to Socialism” promoted by the British Communist Party and The Connolly Association (Britain)

Unfortunately, we were vindicated when Nationalist Communities, including the Bogside in Derry and The Falls Road in Belfast and other areas, were left vulnerable to murderous pogroms by the b-Specials and Loyalist Mobs in August 1969.


In the face of British Cuts in Belfast, EU cuts in Dublin. Absence of any significant Sovereignty of the Irish People north or south

Paddy advocates a 32-County Campaign against Austerity, the Establishment of Irish Sovereignty on a 32-County Basis and a Workers’Republic!

Iar-Uachtarán, Aontas Múinteoirí Éireann, Former President, Teachers Union of Ireland Former Member of the Executive of Dublin Council of Trade Unions https://wp.me/PKzXa-2

Lifelong  Trade Union and Political Activist. Currently a member of the National Management Committee, Retired Members Association, Teachers Union of Ireland

H-Block Candidate in 1981 General Election

From Wikipedia: “Paddy Healy served as Secretary of the National H-Block Trade Union Committee; he resigned in protest at the winding-down of the campaign in the Republic of Ireland following the death of Bobby Sands, despite several remaining on hunger strike and subsequently dying.”

Currently Member of the National Executive Committee of the Peace and Neutrality Alliance

Favourite Quotes

Ní Neart go Cur le Chéile      Sean Fhocal sa Ghaelinn

James Connolly:

Some men, faint-hearted, ever seek
Our programme to retouch,
And will insist, whene’er they speak
That we demand too much.
’Tis passing strange, yet I declare
Such statements give me mirth,
For our demands most modest are,
We only want the earth.

James Connolly on Proposed Partition of Ireland after 1914:

“Such a scheme .. the betrayal of the national democracy of Industrial Ulster, would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the Irish labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements while it lasted.”

Family Political and Trade Union History

Great Grandfather  Michael Healy  Knockaun, Upperchurch, Tipperary N.R. https://wp.me/PKzXa-2

Fenian Rebellion 1867: Michael Healy and two neigbours -Thomas Whelan and Laurence Butler were convicted of giving rifle cover to those who burned down Ruskeen RIC Barracks. They were jailed in Nenagh. (See Nenagh Guardian, 3 August, 1867)

Great Grandmother: Margaret Healy (Nee Whelan-Shefferoy)) Walked 30 miles to Nenagh Every Week to Bring Michael Provisions while in Jail

Grandfather James Healy :(Note 4)

Grandmother  Anne Murphy:(note 1)

Grandfather Patsy Meany: (Note 3)

Grandmother    Ellie Noonan:( note 2)

Father: James(Jim) Healy: Mental Hospital Attendant (1926) became Psychiatric Nurse and Eventually Deputy Head Nurse at St Lukes Mental Hospital Clonmel. Jim hailed from Knockaun, Upperchurch, North Tipperary. As there was only one mental hospital for Co Tipperary, it was the custom that 50% of appointments would be from Tipperary South Riding and 50% from Co Tipperary North Riding, then two separate county administrations.

Lifelong campaigner for more humane and enlightened regime for patients in mental hospitals. At his interview for the job(1926), the doctor chairing the interview board told him “All we want to know Jim, is if you can physically restrain patients and whitewash cells” At the interview, Jim had been attempting to show how much he had learned about nursing and mental health from books and magazines in Thurles Library!!!

Founder with Mick Ryan of Clonmel Mental Hospital Branch Of ITGWU 1930-in doing so they revived the Clonmel Branch of ITGWU (Now called SIPTU)

Campaigned for the (successful) Elections of Paddy Kinnane Clan Na Poblachta in Tipperary in 1947,1948 . Left Clann na Poblachta after it entered Coalition Government with Fine Gael.    (Kinnane Family were the leading Republican Family in Jim’s home village of Upperchurch)

Jim supported Sean Treacy TD As Labour and Independent Deputy

Mother Josie Healy(nee Meany): Female Attendant at Clonmel Mental Hospital became first Person (of either gender) to qualify as Psychiatric Nurse  in Co Tipperary. She had to retire when she married Jim. She played centre field for Clonmel St Marys , Co Tipperary and Munster at camogie and had boxes of medals for step dancing. She strongly supported Jim’s work for mental hospital reform.

Josie’s Step-brother Jackie Coughlan(Clonmel) and her cousins (Meanys of Fethard Tipperary S. R. )   Fought in the War of Independence. Some were imprisoned by the Free State during the Civil WAR. Josie was a great Inspiration to myself and my Brother Seamus Healy TD before she died.

A Memory!

Dec 2020: 100 years since the Birth of Christy Ring!

As an 8year old Tipp supporter, I first saw “Ringey” in the Munster final of 1953. He was being marked by the great Tipp defender, Tommy Doyle.
Christy had wonderful skills and the capacity for continuous innovation. He could score points from far out by merely flexing his wrist.! He was almost impossible to “hook”. He was a natural hurling genius.
My father and his brother Bill took turns carrying me on their shoulders as we viewed the match from the bank in the field on the Ennis Rd in Limerick. I had a great view of the match!
The hurling in my family came from my mother Josie Meany. She played centre field for Clonmel St Marys, County Tipperary and Munster.

Political and Personal History

Born in Clonmel Co Tipperary  1945, attended St Peter and Paul’s Primary School and Clonmel CBS HIgh  School

Graduated From UCD 1966 , Lectured in DIT until retirement in 2010

Lives at Griffith Court, Fairview, Dublin 3

Married to Dr Anne O’Donnell (Teacher and Lecturer in Mathematics and Computing), ; Originally from Clogher, Barnesmore, Donegal Town, Anne is Member of Retired Members Association (Teachers Union of Ireland)

Tá suim mhór ag Paddy i dteanga agus i litríocht na Gaeilge- morán ama caite aige sa Rinn, i  gChúl Aodha, agus lena bhean Áine i nGleann Cholm Chille is ar Oileán Thoraí i gCondae Dún na NGall

Fighting Coalition with Capitalist Parties in Government for  50 years

As a young man, he was a founder of the Young Socialists and a member of the Labour Party in its anti-coalition period 1966-1970    https://wp.me/PKzXa-2

He was elected to the National Executive (Administrative Council) of the Labour Party but was expelled at its first meeting having opposed the return to a policy of coalition with Fine Gael at the 1970 annual conference of the Labour Party

He had been a leading member of the Labour Party Young Socialists , The Universities(UCD and Trinity) Branch of the Labour Party and the Fintan Lalor Branch of The Labour Party (North Strand Dublin)

He has campaigned against participation by all parties based on the workers movement in such coalitions ever since. The disastrous participation of the Labour Party in the recent coalition in Dublin is full vindication of this long held position.

He is deeply opposed to the recent decision of Sinn Féin to seek to enter coalition government with Fianna Fáil and/or Fine Gael


He has consistently campaigned against all restrictions on workers right to trade union recognition by all employers, against all restrictions on workers rights to free collective bargaining including social partnership schemes, restrictive anti-trade union legislation and recent capitulations by the trade union leaderships encapsulated in the Croke Park, Haddington Rd, Lansdowne RD Agreements and the accompanying FEMPI anti-trade union and wage and pension cutting legislation. He organised rank and file  Dublin Shop-Stewards Committees to Oppose National Wage Agreements in the nineteen seventies

See also elsewhere on this Blog ; How ICTU Failed US; For Election and re-election of General Secretaries-END THE CONFLICT Of INTEREST!


Activist with Dublin Housing Action Committee in 1960s
The DHAC was a 1960s protest group in response to housing shortages in Ireland’s capital city. The group arose in response to a serious shortage of affordable housing, combined with a large number of properties standing empty. It also functioned as a way for a broad range of left-wing actors in the Republic of Ireland to address themselves to a wider audience. THE WHEELHAS COME FULL CIRCLE!!!


He belives that the teachings of James Connolly are the firm basis for advance to  Irish Independence and Sovereignty on a 32-county Basis, a Socialist United Ireland, and Internationional Socialism

He is a member of Workers and Unemployed Action, a left wing political party led by his brother Seamus Healy former TD (Tipperary)

He is now advocating an organised mass 32-county campaign of agitation against austerity north and south as part of a drive to end all cuts and establish the All-Ireland sovereignty of the Irish People in opposition to the EU Fiscal Treaty and British rule in the north.

He has campaigned for the right to divorce and against the 8th amendment to the constitution and for democratic rights generally.

Currently Chair of Dublin Branch Retired Members Association Teachers Union of Ireland

Member National Management Committee  TUI RMA

Chair of the Campaign to Fully Restore Public Service Pensions Through Legal Action

Former President Teachers Union of Ireland(TUI)-Iar-Uachtarán Aontas Múinteoirí Éireann, (2005-2007)


Lecturer And Researcher in Physics (Acoustics) (1966-2010) at DIT Kevin St (Now Retired)

Academic Research Interest: Musical Instrument Acoustics

Author “Resonant Vibrations of The Irish Folk Harp”-MSc Major Thesis (Dublin University-Trinity College)



Recommended Citation

Healy, P. (1993). Resonant vibrations of the Irish Folk Harp. Masters Thesis. University of Dublin.

doi :10.21427/7w5y-hq38



Joint Research Supervisor with Prof Ita Hogan-Beausang, Conservatory of Music and Drama, DIT, of

“Microtonal Systems and Guitar Composition”  M Phil Research Thesis of Mike Neilsen, Professional Guitarist, DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama




Dr Mike Neilsen continued the study above to PHD level and now lectures in guitar at Conservatory of Music and Drama, Tecnological University of Dublin (formerly DIT)

Paddy Healy is Former member of Governing Body and of Academic Council DIT (Now Technological University of Dublin).

He has been a member of the Council of Convocation of the National University of Ireland.

He has served for a number of years on The Higher Education and Research Sub-Committee of Education International, the international representative body for teachers and lecturers.

He has represented  TUI on the European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE).

Paddy Healy was a member of the international Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC) on education matters for 6 years.

He is  Convenor of The Campaign for Academic Freedom which is defending academic freedom  in Universities and Institutes of Technology against attempts to restrict or control free expression of opinion and free choice of scholarship, including research area, by academics. Rampant managerialism and commodification of learning have posed a threat to this crucial democratic principle. He organised and chaired the Gathering for Academic Freedom which took place in the Gresham Hotel on January 22, 2010. The Gathering was attended by 200 academics from virtually all third level institutions in the state.


Chair National Public Service Trade Union Alliance (Informal campaign against attacks on pay,pensions, conditions of service)

Convenor of the Campaign for Academic Freedom.

Global Solidarity Champion award from ICTU

Former Executive Member Dublin Trades Council-among the leadership which organised the first PAYE strike seeking Tax Equity ( 1979)

Secretary National H-Bock Trade Union Committee (1981) which organised work stoppages throughout the 26-counties in support of H-Block Prisoners

He stood as an officially endorsed H-Block candidate in Dublin North East in the H-Block Election (June 1981) receiving in excess of 1000 votes

He resigned his position as Secretary of The National H-Block Trade Union Committee in protest at the winding down of the campaign in the 26-counties following death of Bobby Sands despite several remaining on hunger-strike and subsequently dying. These included Kieran Doherty TD. While on hunger strike,Kieran was elected as an Anti H-Block TD for the Cavan–Monaghan constituency at the 1981 general election, which was held in the Republic of Ireland on 11 June.[2] He received 9,121 (15.1%) first preference votes and was elected on the fourth count.[4] Doherty is the shortest-serving Dáil deputy ever, having served as a TD for two months until his death

A number of republicans had begun solidarity hunger strikes in the 26 counties after the death of Bobby Sands.  The hunger strike of Billy Hutchinson (Tralee) came to public attention in the media. These solidarity hunger strikers were told to call off the strikes by the Republican Leadership.

Paddy is currently Chair Dublin Branch Retired Members Association TUI, Member of National Management Committee  TUI RMA

Chair of Campaign for the Reversal of Public Service Pension  Cuts Through Legal Action

Chair National Public Service Alliance (Informal campaign against attacks on pay, pensions, conditions of service)

Former Treasurer Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed(INOU),

Community Activist

Was a Member of National Steering Committee of Right2Water Campaign

Paddy has campaigned against water and bin charges for decades

Was Voluntary Researcher for , his brother, Seamus Healy TD, Workers and Unemployed Action, https://wuag.wordpress.com/


Paddy Healy lectured in Physics at Dublin Institute of Technology, specializing in musical instrument acoustics and is now retired.
As a TUI representative at all levels, he has a strong record of fighting for the rights of temporary teachers, professional research staff (“post-docs”) , postgraduate students and teachers and lecturers generally.
He is  Convenor of The Campaign for Academic Freedom which is defending academic freedom against the Implementation of The Croke Park Deal in Universities and Institutes of Technology. He organised and chaired the Gathering for Academic Freedom which took place in the Gresham Hotel on January 22 and was attended by 200 academics from virtually all third level institutions in the state

He has vigorously campaigned for resources for schools to enable discipline and good order to be maintained so that learning can take place
He is currently chair of the National Public Services Alliance, an informal campaigning group set up initially to oppose the discriminatory tax on public servants called the “pension levy”. The group is now also campaigning for restoration of pay cuts, defence of conditions of service and an end to the staffing moratorium which is devastating public service provision.
He is currently campaigning against cuts in Public Service Pensions and the vicious reduction in low incomes including private sector occupational pensions caused by the imposition of the Universal Social Charge and the levy on private sector pension funds.

Paddy was also a member of the Public Services Committee of the ICTU and of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions. As a member of the executive of Dublin Council of trade Unions he was one of the leaders of the very first march for tax equity for PAYE taxpayers.

He led a large TUI contingent on the demonstration in support of the employees of Irish Ferries and joined the Europe wide demonstration and lobby of the European Parliament in Strasbourg against the general threat of low pay and displacement of workers and the particular threat of marketisation of education from the proposed EU Services Directive.

He has vast experience in representing teachers and lecturers in national and international negotiations.


General Strikes :Involvement in Strikes

General strikes, partial and full, have occurred in many different ways in history both at home and abroad. They can be spontaneous. They can be called by an entire trade union leadership. They can be called by a small group of unions and then spread to others. The only essential requirement is that the masses must be so angry that they are prepared to sacrifice pay for the objective of the strike. I have been involved in every kind over 50 years.

For example I was on the executive of Dublin Trades Council which called the first PAYE STRIKE (confined to Dublin) 1978?. The ICTU were so frightened that a national general strike would develop outside their control that they called a one day national general strike themselves!

The biggest economic strike since 1913 was the maintenance Tradesmens Strike of 1969 which was called by the craft unions. It became very general in the private sector when the general workers refused to pass the pickets. The strikers set up a national strike committee and refused to allow officials have any say.

The Iris Congress of Trade Unions opposed the strike. The President of ICTU at the Time Was Jimmy Browne, General Secretary of the Dockers union, The Marine Port and General workers Union. His union placed protest pickets on the strikers, alleging that they were “using” general workers.

18 of the 19 craft union executives had withdrawn official support for the strike when the employer side collapsed and the strikers were completely victorious. Employers made individual settlements in each employment. The strikers had inflicted the biggest defeat on Irish employers in Irish History.

There was then a huge wave of strikes, both official and unofficial by general workers.  The general workers were so successful that it was necessary for the craftsmen to threaten a new wave of strikes to have relativities restored.

The gains entered the public service through the craft grades whose pay was related to “downtown rates” which had greatly increased.

When the relativities worked through the Public Service Conciliation and Arbitration System, 9 months later, I a young teacher with 2 years permanent service, got a 50% salary increase!!

All modern wages in the 26-counties are based on the victory of the maintenance craft workers in 1969. When they won, only the leadership of one small craft union was supporting them!

H-Block Strikes

Many strikes in support of H-Block hunger strikers were fairly spontaneous and no union leaderships were involved. I was secretary of the National H-Block trade union committee, and Margaret McKearney (sister of hunger striker Tommy) was A very effective ACTIVIST AND SPEAKER.. We started by addressing building workers on site at morning break time all over Dublin and held stoppages and a meeting at the GPO every Thursday. We also organised stoppages in other towns and cities on “National Days Of Action”. The stoppages on the day of Bobby SANDS FUNERAL WERE LARGELY SPONTANEOUS AND OCCURRED IN MANY TOWNS WHERE WE NEVER HAD A STOPPAGE PREVIOUSLY.

If Government had not backed down on water charges after the big marches, I would have advocated that the National Executive of the Water Charges Campaign, of which I was a member, itself call a General Strike


Coming from a strong republican and trade union family on both sides, it was inevitable that I would get involved in socialist and republican politics at both national and international level and study much of the relevant history and literature while studying physics at UCD.

I concluded that allegations of severe repression of workers in the Soviet Union were not just western cold war propaganda. In addition, I noted that there were two Communist parties in Ireland-CP(NI) and IWP, mimicking partition. Both were reformist at best. It became clear to me that following the post second world war treaties, the soviet leadership was committed to preventing  fundamental social and political change in the West, including the perpetuation of existing state borders including the Irish border.

I campaigned for many years in support of socialist dissidents in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It was clear that the growing corruption and greed of the privileged soviet ruling elite would result in a restoration of capitalism unless replaced by real and accountable workers power. I regard the restoration of capitalism in eastern Europe as a serious set-back for workers everywhere leading to Thatcher/Reaganism and the  extreme right wing capitalism (neo-liberalism) of to-day. I regard the failure to replace Stalinism with accountable direct workers power as a historic failure of the international tendencies which emanated from the break-up (during the second world war) of the Fourth International founded by Trotsky in 1938.

In the mid-sixties it became clear that forces connected to the soviet elite bureaucracy were attempting to change the Irish republican movement from a revolutionary nationalist movement into a reformist nationalist movement working through partition institutions. This was part of the general world-wide policy of the Russian leadership sometimes summarised as “The Peaceful Road To Socialism” and expressed in the UK as “the British Road to Socialism ” by the British Communist Party.

Together with allies in the London based Irish Workers Group in the sixties, I constantly warned of the dangers of this approach.  Unfortunately these dangers were not averted. The Goulding leadership wound down the IRA. This culminated in a situation in which nationalist areas of the 6-counties were left defenseless in the face of pogroms led by loyalists and British state forces including B-Specials in August 1969.

Unfortunately nationalist areas of Northern Ireland are now again defenseless following the disbandment of the IRA and the decommissioning of weapons. While Britain retains sovereignty in any part of Ireland, it can withdraw from any treaty or agreement such as the Good Friday Agreement if this is in the interest of the British state. This is being made clear again in the current “Brexit” process.

The Republican principle that , even when hostilities are no longer possible or advisable,  arms should be preserved and hidden (dumped) and recruitment and training of IRA members should continue is a very practical and wise principal which should never be contravened while Britain retains control of any part of Ireland.


My introduction to Marxism came originally through former schoolmates of mine from Clonmel who had joined the Irish Communist Group/Irish Workers Group in London. By the time I had reached second year in University College Dublin , through reading classics such as Labour in Irish History by James Connolly, The Communist Manifesto by Marx, Socialism Utopian and Scientific by Engels and the State and Revolution by Lenin, I had become a convinced socialist.  (to be continued) 


Note 1:Grandmother Anne Murphy, former housekeeper to parish priest of Upperchurch and Drombane Parish, married James Healy and they had 6 sons together.  All benefitted from her excellent reading and writing and good judgement. She also combined kindness to neighbours with a practice of confidentiality.

Note 2 Grand mother Ellie Noonan from near Ballymcarberry, Co Waterford was my grandmother on my mother’s side. She had originally married John Coughlan with whom she had 3 children. Widowed at  25 years of age, she worked very hard for farmers, “thinning turnips and picking stones” among other things, to maintain the household. She also worked as a servant in households of the many gentry around Clonmel. She became a good “plain cook”. At 32 she married Patsy Meany from the Fethard area who was employed in the gasworks in Clonmel as a driver of hose and car. My mother was their only child together .The older children being “grown up”, Ellie was able to return to outside employment and worked in the laundry operated by the Sisters of Charity for several years.  Unusually for the time and for a girl of her social background, my mother Josie was kept on at secondary school with the Sisters of Charity. She completed the intermediate certificate  and received an honours award. I went to my granny Meany for lunch each day when I was at primary school. I benefitted, not only from her cooking , but also from high level of literacy. She also had Irish language from her Co Waterford home(canúint na Déise).


Note 3 Grandfather James Healy : Driver of Horse and Dray for Murphys Brewery Clonmel, Member of  Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union(now UNITE THE UNION)  1905 .  (Before Larkin)

Note 4 Grandfather Patsy Meany: Driver of Horse and Dray for Clonmel Gasworks, Member of  Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union(now UNITE THE UNION)  1910 (Before Larkin)

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