Day 2 in pictures

Sunny weather greeted those arriving for Day 2 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork’s Shandon area yesterday morning.  After breakfast and some tea or coffee on the plaza everyone proceeded to the Firkin Crane Centre for the opening session.   A fascinating talk was given by local Cork historian Luke Dineen on the Cork Harbour Soviet of 1921.

 

Luke Dineen

Luke Dineen

This was followed on by a thought-provoking lecture by David Joyce, Development Officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on the situation in Qatar where thousands of migrant workers are engaged in building stadiums for the 2022 football World Cup in appalling conditions, with over 1,000 deaths of construction workers.  ICTU and international labour organisations are currently campaigning for a rerun of the FIFA vote which awarded the 2022 competition to Qatar.  For more information visit rerunthevote.org

 

David Joyce

David Joyce

Slide showing the stark situation of migrant workers in Qatar building stadiums for World Cup 2022.

Slide showing the stark situation of migrant workers in Qatar building stadiums for World Cup 2022.

 

At lunchtime we had music at the Maldron Hotel with an excellent performance from James P. McCarthy and friends.

James P. McCarthy (left) with his wife Anne and Richard T. Cooke at the Maldron Hotel yesterday

James P. McCarthy (left) with his wife Anne and Richard T. Cooke at the Maldron Hotel yesterday

The afternoon session began, back at the Firkin Crane, with a powerful lecture by Claire McGettrick on the story of the women who were detained in and worked in the Magdalene institutions.  This was followed by a frank discussion on the topic and the ongoing fight for justice of the survivors and their families.

Claire McGettrick speaking at the Firkin Crane yesterday

Claire McGettrick speaking at the Firkin Crane yesterday

The highlight of the event was the thoughtful lecture delivered by solicitor Gareth Peirce on the way in which laws designed to protect citizens and uphold their civil and human rights have often been ignored or nullified by governments and state agencies for political considerations.   The large audience was attentive and engaged with her comments and Ms. Peirce answered a number of questions at the end.   As the session closed, Ger O’Mahony of the Spirit of Mother Jones Committee announced that the 2014 Spirit of Mother Jones Award had been awarded to Gareth Peirce and he presented her with a sculpture depicting the Children of Lír.   Members of the Cork Mother Jones Committee joined Gareth Peirce on stage for photos while the audience gave her a standing ovation.

 

Gareth Peirce arriing at the Firkin Crane theatre, Cork yesterday

Gareth Peirce arriing at the Firkin Crane theatre, Cork yesterday

To end the evening the Mother Jones Gala Concert was held in the Firkin Crane with a host of musicians and performers including Richard T. Cooke and friends, the Cork Rokk Choir, Cork Shakespearean Company, Aoife Delaney, Kieran McCarthy and William Hammond.   This was followed by the Mother Jones Céilí Band at the Maldron Hotel, led by William Hammond who encouraged audience members onto the dance floor for a variety of dance styles including Irish dancing, old time waltz and even line dancing.

Anne Scargill of Women Against Pit Closures (left) with Ailbhe Mahony of the Cork Mother Jones festival and Betty Cook, Women Against Pit Closures.

Anne Scargill of Women Against Pit Closures (left) with Ailbhe Mahony of the Cork Mother Jones festival and Betty Cook, Women Against Pit Closures.

Above are a sample of the many hundreds of photos taken so far at the festival.  We will be adding more in the coming days, especially when the festival is over and we will have time to sort out the photos.

 

 

Gareth Peirce – a lifetime defending the underdog

 

Gareth Peirce

Gareth Peirce

Gareth Peirce is well known and respected for her legal defence work in cases involving miscarriages of justice in the British legal system. She is best known in Ireland for her indefatigable work in the 70s and 80s in securing the release of Judith Ward, the Guildford Four and the Birmingham Six. The dramatic television pictures of whose releases have become defining images of a broken and perverted justice system. She also campaigned against the detention of striking miners during the 1984 Miners Strike.

In more recent times she has defended the British Muslim community who have been at the receiving end of State injustice.

Gareth is known to many British Muslims simply as “al-Umm” or “Mother”.

Ms Peirce initially worked as a journalist before taking a law degree and joining the legal firm of Benedict Birnberg. She is today the senior partner of Birnberg Peirce & Partners in London.

The legendary commitment to her clients is very evident, her meticulous pursuit of the inconvenient truth and her razor sharp legal analysis has ensured freedom and justice for many people who placed their faith in Gareth Peirce. She has displayed a deep respect for the experiences of ordinary people or people who may be vulnerable and will relentlessly expose a situation where she believes a blind eye has been turned to suspect methods used to obtain unsafe convictions.

The publication “Dispatches from the Dark Side – On Torture and the Death of Justice” is the definitive work on the abuse of power by some State institutions. Utterly fearless and relentless in pursuit of truth and justice and in the defence of civil rights, Gareth continues to detail the experiences of a new suspect community of young British Muslims and point to the similarities of their experiences to those of the Irish community in Britain a few decades ago.

In a series of cogent and perceptive essays from 2008 to 2010 for the London Review of Books she examined the threats to the justice system, which arise from within. Ms Peirce is adamant that where the law is used for political ends, it will lead also to the subversion of justice itself. Arguing that to protect ourselves for the future, we need to know and examine what has occurred in the past resonates with many people who recognise how true that is in the Irish context.

Her good friend Gerry Conlon passed away recently and at his funeral in Belfast on Saturday 28th June last, Gareth Peirce in her funeral oration described him as a “victorious human being who had stated the truth and finally many people woke up to the injustice”. Gareth Peirce’s words about Gerry could be equally applied to her own huge impact on people and why everyone should question legal injustice.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is honoured that Gareth Peirce will speak at the Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School on Wednesday evening 30th July at 7.15pm at the Firkin Crane Centre.

 

 

 

Day 2 of Festival – “The Legacy”

Today (Wednesday, 30th) is Day 2 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork city.   Proceedings begin at 11.00am at the Firkin Crane theatre, Shandon when lecturer Luke Dineen will tell the story of the Cork Harbour Soviet which occurred during the Irish independence struggle in 1921 when militant striking workers flew the red flag over the city’s harbour authority offices and took control of the port for a period.

At 12.0 Noon, David Joyce, development officer of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions will give a lecture on “Qatar… a World Cup graveyard?” in which he will outline the appalling level of well over 1,000 workers to-date, the use of virtual slave labour and other ill-treatment of workers in the building of stadiums for the 2022 World Cup which is due to be held in Qatar.

That will be followed by lunchtime music at the Maldron Hotel by Cork’s own James P. McCarthy.

In the afternoon at 3.00pm back at the Firkin Crane, Claire McGettrick will speak about the Magdalene laundries and the ongoing campaign for justice for women who lived and worked there under conditions of detention and slave labour.

The major event of the evening, also at the Firkin Crane,  will be solicitor Gareth Peirce‘s speech under the title “Defending the Underdog” (see adjacent article for more details).

At 9.00pm at the Firkin Crane the 2014 Mother Jones Gala Concert will take place with Richard T. Cooke and Friends, featuring the Cork Rokk Choir, Cork Shakespearean Company, Aoife Delaney, Kieran McCarthy, William Hammond and many others.

At 10.30pm, to wrap up a very full day, the Mother Jones Céilí Band will perform at the Maldron Hotel.

 

Mother Jones festival begins today!

Members of the committee of Cork Mother Jones Festival and guests with Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr. Mary Shields

Some of the guests at this year’s Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, along with committee members, being received at Cork City Hall today, by the Lord Mayor Mary Shields.

Cork's Lord Mayor, Cllr. Mary Shields with some  members of the Cork Mother Jones Commitee at City Hall this morning (L-R): James Nolan, Cllr. Ted Tynan, the Lord Mayor, Michael Lally.

Cork’s Lord Mayor, Cllr. Mary Shields with some members of the Cork Mother Jones Commitee at City Hall this morning (L-R): James Nolan, Cllr. Ted Tynan, Lord Mayor Shields, and  Michael Lally.

mj_fanfare

The third annual Spirit of Mother Jones opens tonight, heralding the start of a four-day festival of film, debate, music and more in the historic Shandon area on Cork City’s Northside. The festival is the culmination of months of preparation and effort and puts in place an event which has now become established as one of Cork’s most unique festivals, recalling the life and legacy of Mary Harris / Mother Jones, Cork’s rebel daugthter, America’s venerable campaigner.

Today’s events, under the heading “The Gathering”, are as follows:-

Tuesday, 29th July 2014

5.00pm – Official Festival opening at the Maldron Hotel

6.00pm – “Mother Jones, America’s Most Dangerous Woman” – a film by Rosemary Feurer (at the Firkin Crane).

7.30pm – The Cork Mother Jones 2014 Lecture with Professor James Greene of the University of Massachusetts, Boston and author of Death in the Haymarket and the West Virginia Mine Wars.

9.30pm – Cork Singer’s Club perform at the Maldron Hotel.

Beautiful Cork ready to welcome Mother Jones home

Mother Jones display in window of Nolan's butcher shop, Shandon Street.

Mother Jones display, Nolan’s butcher shop, Shandon St. Pic: Martin Duggan.

 

A few days ago we reported that volunteers were busy preparing the Shandon area of Cork for the Spirit of Mother Jones festival which starts next Tuesday, 29th July.   Today we have some photos to show the results of that work.    Our sincere thanks once again to Shandon Area Resident’s association, local business premises, Cork City Council and local volunteers.

Si Kahn at Shandon

Si Kahn visits historic Shandon. (L-R): Jim Nolan, Si Kahn, Ger O’Mahony and Elizabeth Minnich (more details click pic). Photo: Martin Duggan

 

Flowers around the Mother Jones plaque, John Redmond Street, Shandon, Cork City.

Flowers around the Mother Jones plaque, John Redmond Street, Shandon, Cork City.

 

Flowers in an old milk churn at Cork's historic Butter Market, Shandon.

Flowers in an old milk churn at Cork’s historic Butter Market, Shandon.

Flower baskets at Shandon

Flower baskets at Shandon

Mother Jones in the minefields of West Virginia

“Mother Jones in the Minefields of West Virginia: An American Adventure Story”

 

Prof. Jim Green

Prof. Jim Green

The 2014 Cork Mother Jones Lecture will be presented by Professor James Green of the University of Massachussets, Boston. The lecture will take place at 7.30 at the Firkin Crane Centre in Shandon on Tuesday 29th July.

James Green was inspired by John F Kennedy’s speech calling racial inequality a “moral issue”, he was stunned by the assassination of Mississippi civil rights leader Medgar Evers that same night. Moved by Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” in August 1963 and devastated by Kennedy’s assassination in November.

 

He worked as an intern in the office of Illinois Senator Paul H Douglas for two summers in 1965 and 1966 and met Senator Eugene McCarthy, whose Presidential primary campaign he joined in 1968. Later he met Senator George McGovern, who had earned a PhD in labour history from Northwestern University.

“All three men played roles in public life I admired”

Jim studied for his own PhD in history with C. Vann Woodward at Yale and became fascinated with the history of radicalism and political protest in the United States.

“My purpose was to study the past to understand injustice in our society-and then to explain how men and women who suffered from injustice gained the will to struggle against it and to strive for a better society”

Jim has worked to fight against injustice and worked for a better society for almost half a century!

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is very honoured to have Professor James Green deliver the third annual Cork Mother Jones Lecture at the Firkin Crane on Tuesday 29th July at 7.30pm.

 

 

 

Cork prepares for Spirit of Mother Jones festival

Cork Tourist office

Cork Tourist Office on Grand Parade with Mother Jones window display (Pic: A. Mahony)

A “Spirit of Mother Jones” window display is the highlight of Cork’s main tourist office on the city’s Grand parade this week.   The display highlights the life and work of Mother Jones, her Cork birthplace and promotes the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival which begins in the historic Shandon district next week on Tuesday, 29th July.    In addition to the Tourist Office display in the city centre, the Shandon area is en fete currently with colourful bunting and is awash with flowers with hanging baskets and floral displays while a number of local business premises also feature Mother Jones posters.  Our sincere thanks to the Shandon Area Resident’s Assocation, Fáilte Ireland, the staff of the Cork Tourist office and especially to Mother Jones committee members James Nolan for his work with the Shandon displays and Ailbhe Mahony who put together the tourist office display.    The festival also features prominently on Cork City Council’s website and in local media.

Cork, and Shandon in particular,  can take a bow.  Mother Jones would be impressed.

 

 

Durham Miners’ Gala

The 130th Durham Miners Gala was held on Saturday 12th July 2014. It was one of the largest ever gatherings and took place in glorious sunshine. Known as the Big Meeting, it was a spectacular and colourful success. It celebrates the history, the heritage and the human struggle of the mining communities of the North East of England.

Durham crowds

Procession of bands and banners and some of the 100,000 who attended the Durham Miners’ Gala 2014

General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association, Dave Hopper who presided, extended a warm welcome to the massive attendance at the Racecourse, on the banks of the River Wear. Earlier he had reviewed the massive parade from the balcony of the County Hotel at the Old Elvet for over 5 hours. Thoughts of the 30th Anniversary of the British Miners Strike were never far from proceedings, especially since the release of Thatcher Government’s Cabinet papers which exposed both the true extent of the planned pit closures and how far Mrs Thatcher was prepared to go to break the National Union of Mineworkers.

The Durham Miners Gala is an extraordinary manifestation of union, worker, community solidarity, something which Mother Jones advocated. The Gala’s historical legacy goes back to 1871, over 140 years yet it does not forget its history of struggle or its heroes such as Tony Benn, Bob Crow and Stan Pearce all of whom passed away in the last few months. A key speaker, Denis Skinner MP advocated a “new Durham Manifesto” to safeguard decent working conditions, decent pay and fair play.

Irish socialist leader and trade union giant James Connolly featured on banner with other icons of the movement

Irish socialist leader and trade union giant James Connolly (top left) featured on banner with other icons of the movement

Yet as one listens to the Bishop of Jarrow, the Right Reverend Mark Bryant at the wondrous Durham Cathedral, during the blessing of new miners banner produce a moving sermon based on “people being at their best when pulling together” and one witnesses the pride of a packed Cathedral as five Miners Brass Bands parade up the central aisle with their new banners, the centrality of miners suffering and experience and their bonds of solidarity to the wider community and society is never in doubt.

new banner celebrating inaugural meeting of Durham Miners' of 1871 unveiled at the County Hotel

new banner celebrating inaugural meeting of Durham Miners’ of 1871 unveiled at the County Hotel

The challenge will be to ensure the Gala’s future, however it was very evident from the number of school and community banners appearing behind the main lodge banners on the Parade and the huge numbers of young people attending that that process is well under way.

Another one of the hundreds of banners carried in Durham on July 12th

Another one of the hundreds of banners carried in Durham on July 12th

Dave Hopper will speak at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on Thursday afternoon at 3.15 at the Firkin Crane as part of the Festival’s “Miners day”. Betty Cook and Anne Scargill of Woman Against Pit Closures (WAPC) along with Paul Winter of the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaign are also speakers in a series of presentations which begin at 11am and continue throughout the day and evening.

 

Spirit of Mother Jones Concert 2014

The Mother Jones Gala Concert will once again be one of the highlights of the music programme of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and will take place at the Firkin Crane theatre in Cork’s historic Shandon area on Wednesday, 30th July 2014, beginning at 9.00pm after a full day of film, lectures and debate. Once again the inimitable Richard T.Cooke will be the MC for the concert and we can expect a few songs and plenty of banter from Richard who is one of the “unsung” heroes of the festival.     The full line-out for the gala concert is as follows:

Richard T. Cooke, singer, song-writer, historian and raconteur

Richard T. Cooke, singer, song-writer, historian and raconteur

Richard T. Cooke, troubadour, radio pressenter, etc, etc. The Cork Rokk Choir will serenade us with songs from the Mother Jones era. Kieran McCarthy, Tenor, will perform contemporary songs accompanied by the Cork Rokk Choir. The Cork Shakespearing Company, who are currently celebrating 90 years of Hollywood stage productions, will perform a Mother Jones monologue. Aoife Delaney, Actor / Singer – will perform a young Mary Harris (Mother Jones). Muddy Lee and the Cork Shawlies – will perform their No.1 Cork song entitled “Up the Coal Quay”. To finish off an exciting evening of music and performance the Mother Jones Ceili Band will give a concert at the nearby Maldron Hotel, commencing at 10.30pm. Our thanks to Richard T. Cooke, William Hammond and all concerned.