The Cork Mother Jones Committee has announced that the late Dave Hopper and the Durham Miners’ Association are the recipients of the 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones Award.
Mr Hopper was General Secretary of the Durham Miners Association. Tragically, Dave, who was due to arrive in Cork to introduce a film on Orgreave at the 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones Festival passed away on Saturday 16th July last and his funeral was held yesterday (Friday).
The Cork Mother Jones Committee have extended our sympathy and solidarity to his family and friends everywhere.
“Dave Hopper attended the past two Mother Jones festivals in Cork and was looking forward to coming again this year. He was a legend in the trade union movement and was instrumental in organising the largest union gathering in Europe at what is known as the Durham Miners’ Gala this year. It was held on Saturday July 9th and was attended by over 150,000 people, making it one of the largest crowds to attend there in living memory.”
Stated Jim Nolan of the Cork Mother Jones Committee:
“Mr Hopper loved coming to Shandon, he loved the people of Shandon and made a great contribution to the festivals. In 2015 he delivered (along with Kaiulani Lee) the annual Cork Mother Jones Lecture. He will be sadly missed by the many friends he made in Shandon and is a huge loss to the labour movement. We intend to honour his memory at this year’s festival by an appropriate tribute and we know the Durham Miners Association will carry on his work”
In his recent message at the 2016 Durham Gala, Dave Hopper in his honest and forthright manner stated:
“Britain has voted to leave the European Union and we face uncertain times. After much soul-searching I had decided to vote to remain as I thought that the rights of working people would be better safeguarded within the EU. However, of one thing we can be sure whether in or out the powers that be will try to make the working class pay for the continuing economic crisis.”
Dave Hopper, a fourth generation miner, had been the General Secretary of the Durham Miners’ Association since 1985. In spite of the closure of the pits and collieries, not alone had he continued to fight for justice for miners and continued to seek compensation benefits for work related sickness and injuries endured by his colleagues but had led the transformation of the Durham Miners’ Association into a community based organisation. This Association had the organisational resources to showcase working people’s solidarity through the growth of the inspirational Durham Miners’ Gala each July.
Dave Hopper and the Durham Miners’ Association are worthy recipients of the 2016 Award. The award has been made each year to those who we feel act in the Spirit of Mother Jones and we are satisfied that our selection for 2016 is very true to this spirit.
The Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Award recipients to date have been,
2013, Margaret Aspinall and Sue Roberts. (Hillsborough Family Support Group,)
2014 Gareth Peirce, solicitor.
2015 Fr. Peter McVerry.
Today is the 3rd day of the 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones festival in Cork. The first two days have been most interesting and have attracted large crowds including a number of international guests.
Today’s events begin at 11.30am with local historian Luke Dineen who will talk about the 1922 Post Office strike which was the first major industrial dispute in the history of the state.
At 2.30pm we have Anne Twomey of Blackpool Historical Society who will tell the story of the Wallace Sisters.
At 4.00pm we will show Yvette Vanson’s documentary The Battle for Orgreave which deals with the disturbing events at Orgreave during the UK Miner’s Strike. Pat Egan of Unite, the Union, himself a former miner will talk about the events. We will include here a tribute to Dave Hopper, General Secretary of the Durham Miner’s Association who was due to speak again at this year’s festival but died suddenly earlier this month.
At 7.00pm Randall MacLowry’s film The Mine Wars will be shown. This tells the story of the West Virginia mine wars of the early years of the 20th century in which Mother Jones herself championed the rights of the miners and their.
To finish off the day, at 9.00pm a musical treat is in store with John Nyhan, Mick Treacy and Friends who will perform and sing “Songs of the Mining Tradition.
The festival continues until Monday evening, 1st August – Mother Jones Day.
Professor James Green was a guest at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival in Cork two years ago and impressed everyone with his knowledge of the history of the North American labour movement, of Mother Jones and of the mining wars that took place in Virginia a century ago. Sadly Jim passed away in June but he will not be forgotten. Our thanks to Jim Monaghan for forwarding on the following excellent obituary of Jim Green from Jim O’Brien of the US based but international Labor and Working Class History Association.
Click on link to read article: http://lawcha.org/wordpress/2016/07/25/memories-jim-green/
Mrs. Catherine McGuinness is indisposed and unable to travel to Cork on Friday 29th July. All at the Cork Mother Jones Committee send our best wishes to Catherine for a speedy return to good health. Once recovered, she has promised to come to Cork to address this issue.
About Fiona Finn
Fiona holds a Bachelor of Law degree (BCL) and a Master of Law (LLM) from University College Cork. She has a particular interest in International Human Rights Law and Public International Law.
Fiona has over eighteen years of experience in the fields of social justice, human rights, asylum and immigration. Fiona joined Nasc in 2008 and became CEO in 2010. Prior to that she worked for fifteen years in London, initially with a homeless charity and latterly as a senior officer with in the London Borough of Camden. During her time with the Borough, Fiona worked at a senior level across a number of departments including the Welfare Rights Section and at an Independent Law Centre, dealing with access to social protection for asylum-seekers and refugees. She also headed up a policy unit working to promote social inclusion policies for Irish emigrants in the Borough. Fiona also holds a Diploma in Business Studies and Marketing and is a graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland.
Mother Jones has arrived back in the window of Cork’s main tourist office to highlight the fact that the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival starts this Thursday (28th July). The display, put together by Cork Mother Jones committee member Ann Piggott, is both eye-catching and excellently laid out. Our thanks to Ann for a job well done and to the staff and management of Cork Tourist Office and Fáilte Ireland. The display will remain all this week.
The following video is a brief review of the first four years of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival which has now become part of Cork’s cultural and heritage fabric. From our initial plan in 2012 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the birth of Mary Harris / Mother Jones the festival has burgeoned into a very popular and well loved festival. The 16 minute film can only hope to show a small sample of the many speakers and performers we have had over the years. It includes two of our contributors who recently passed away, Professor James Green from the United States and Dave Hopper of the Durham Miners’ Association. We are glad to have recorded their presence and longer excerpts have been recorded by Frameworks Films to whom we are so grateful for staying with us and recording those four years. We hope you enjoy it.