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