The Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted to welcome historian Luke Dineen to the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School.
Luke will address the topic of “Craftsmen and the Irish Revolution 1920 – 23. The outline of the talk follows.
“Connect Trade Union – An Early History, 1919-23”
“Organised labour was a vital component of the independence struggle from 1918-20. During those year labour was an open, though unofficial, ally of the republican movement. Many trade unionists were active members of Sinn Féin and/or the IRA. Although craftsmen were at the heart of the Irish revolution, their role in it has received little attention from historians. With the aid of the republicans, craftsmen launched breakaway Irish trade unions tasked with playing their part in destroying British rule in Ireland. Despite a tumultuous birth, one such union survives to this day: Connect Trade Union, until recently called the Technical, Electrical and Engineering Union. It was, and remains, an exclusively Irish union for the trades, catering exclusively for Irish needs.
This talk will chart the early history of Connect, covering its launch in May 1920 and the first few years of its existence. It will explore the factors that birthed the union and the extensive links it had to senior figures in the republican movement in its early years, including Michael Collins and Countess Markiewicz. In so doing, this talk will examine how the Irish working class perceived and participated in the Irish revolution, and what they got out of it. “
Luke has now participated in seven festivals and his contributions explore the hidden and often ignored contribution of the Irish trade union movement and working class people to the Irish revolutionary period in the early 20th Century. Among the areas which he has explored are the 1909 Cork Lockout, the Cork Harbour Soviet, the Post Office Strike of 1922, the labour movement and the republican struggle in Cork 1919-1923 and the life of Thomas “Corkie” Walsh.
Luke will speak on Friday morning 2nd August beginning at 11am at the Cathedral Visitor Centre.