Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School events on Friday 2nd August.
Friday 2nd August
11:00 a.m. L Luke Dineen
“Craftsmen and the Irish revolution, 1920-23” .
Cathedral Visitor Centre
1:00 p.m. M Music at the Maldron.
2:30 p.m. L Dr. John Barimo.
“Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change”. Cathedral Visitor Centre
3:30 p.m F Remembering the Cork Climate Change March 2019
L Micah Neilson. Fridays for Future Cork.
L Alicia O’Sullivan. Irish Ambassador for the Worlds Oceans.
5:00 p.m F Fords – Memories of the Line.
A film documentary produced by the Ford Ex-workers Group and Frameworks Films.
7:30 p.m. L Michael Kingston, Tom McSweeney.
“The Whiddy disaster
Statement by Madame Ginette Ravaleu, President of the
French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse
Firkin Crane Theatre.
9:30 p.m M John Nyhan and Mick Treacy present the songs of Pete Seeger (1919- 2014)
Huge congratulations to the worthy winners of the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Song Contest.
“Mine Workers’ Angel” by John Murphy with backing by Martin Somers (Jean O’Murchu agus Mortin)
The winners may sing their song at the plaque on Saturday evening, along with songs from Rory McCarthy.
Our thanks to all those who entered the contest.
Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School on Thursday 1st August.
The Radical Irish Diaspora
11:00 a.m. Lorraine Starsky
“In the Footsteps of Mother Jones – The Life and Legacy of Elizabeth Gurley Flynn 1890- 1964”
Cathedral Visitor Centre
1.00 p.m. Music at the Maldron.
2.30 p.m. Dr Kieran Groeger.
“The Extraordinary Life of John Swiney, the United Irishman from Shandon.”
Cathedral Visitor Centre
5.00 p.m The Limerick Soviet
A collaborative documentary between the Limerick Council of Trade Unions and Frameworks Films. We celebrate the 100th Anniversary of The Limerick Soviet. Author Liam Cahill will introduce the documentary. An exhibition on the Limerick Soviet courtesy of Cork City Library will be on site.
Maldron Hotel, Shandon
7.30 p.m. Anne Twomey Shandon Area History Group.
“Mary Elmes …………An Irish Heroine”
Firkin Crane Theatre
8:00 p m Fili Na Reabhloide (Poets of the Revolution)
Myo Café, Popes Quay.
Readings from your favourite poets of revolution and social change.
(Tel. 083 0425942)
9.30 p.m Club Ceoil Ballyphehane Ballad Group.
Evening includes the Song for Mother Jones.
First Cork Person to receive the Spirit of Mother Jones Award.
The Cork Mother Jones Committee is proud to announce that the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Award will be presented to Louise O’Keeffe.
Louise is the first Cork recipient of this International Award which is named after Cork born Mary Harris who became known around the world as Mother Jones.
Louise O’Keeffe describes herself as an ordinary West Cork woman and mother of two children. Yet this extraordinary woman fought a 15 year long battle to get civil redress for the sexual abuse she suffered at Dunderrow Primary School in Co Cork. Having failed to find justice in the Irish Courts she proceeded to take the Irish government to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
In 2014 the ECHR found in her favour.
According to James Nolan, spokesperson for the Cork Mother Jones Committee,
which presents this annual award
“Louise O’Keeffe is indeed an extraordinary woman, a fighter for justice who was determined to ensure justice for herself and the hundreds of people who suffered similar injustice in the schools of Ireland. In doing this she exposed the failure of the Irish authorities in spite of the Irish courts to ensure Irish children were protected from sexual abuse in Irish schools.
Louise spoke at the 2018 Spirit of Mother Jones summer school, her contribution was regarded by many of those attending as an inspirational talk in which she described in vivid detail her personal journey through the obstacles and the difficulties she faced in her long quest for justice.
Louise O’Keeffe is a worthy recipient of the 2019 Spirit of Mother Jones Award and the Cork Mother Jones Committee is extremely proud and happy that Louise is the first Cork person to receive this unique honour.
Mother Jones herself would have been proud of her fighting spirit.”
James Nolan stated,
In spite of the 2014 European Court Judgement, the Irish government moved to prevent victims from receiving compensation. After introducing a compensation scheme, they included a further obstacle which ensured victims could only receive compensation if they could prove their abuse occurred in the aftermath of a prior complaint made against their abuser.
This was virtually an impossible condition for young children to have acted on and every single applicant for the compensation scheme was rejected.
Earlier this July, more than 5 years after the European Court decision the independent assessor to review the scheme, retired High Court Judge Iarfhlaith O’Neill that this ridiculous obstacle imposed by the State represented “an inherent inversion of logic and was a fundamental unfairness to the applicants….it was inconsistent with the core reasoning of the judgement of the ECHR in the Louise O’Keeffe case.”
As a direct response to a public call from Louise O’Keeffe, the Taoiseach, Mr. Leo Varadkar apologised to victims in the Dail on Tuesday 9th July. Yet some 400 applicants continue to wait for justice.
The award is presented annually to people who act and work in the spirit of Mother Jones and Louise O’Keeffe now joins a worthy list of past recipients.
The 2019 Award will be presented to Ms O’Keeffe by James Nolan and the Cork Mother Jones Committee on Wednesday 31st July at 2pm approx following the official opening of the 2019 festival at the Maldron Hotel, in the Shandon Historic Quarter in Cork.
The Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Awards to date have been to;
2013, Margaret Aspinall and Sue Roberts. (Hillsborough Family Support Group)
2014, Gareth Peirce. Solicitor.
2015 Fr Peter McVerry. Campaigner for the homeless.
2016 Dave Hopper (RIP) General Secretary, Durham Miners’ Association.
2017 Ken Fleming. (International Transport Workers Federation.)
The 8th Annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School opens in the Shandon area on the northside of Cork city today.
Events at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival on Wednesday 31st July 2019.
10:30 a.m. F A film by Rosemary Feurer.
Mother Jones: America’s Most Dangerous Woman
Cathedral Visitor Centre
11:00 a.m. F Frameworks Films
Mother Jones and Her Children. Cathedral Visitor Centre
12: 30 a.m. The March of the Mill Children pageant at Shandon Plaza.
(With the assistance of Cork Community Art Link.)
1:30 p.m. Official festival opening by the Lord Mayor of Cork at Maldron Hotel, Shandon
3:00 p.m. L Séan Ó Tuathaigh
“Outlanders – Stories of the Displaced”. Cathedral Visitor Centre
7: 00 p.m. L Joe Creedon
“Ellen Cotter, the mother of Mary Harris, and Inchigeelagh in the early 1800s”
Firkin Crane Theatre
8:00 p.m L Professor Elliott Gorn. (Author of Mother Jones…..the Most Dangerous Woman in America)
“The story of Mother Jones”
Firkin Crane Theatre
9:30 p.m. M The Cork Singers’ Club
Maldron Hotel, Shandon.
Mother Jones………her background, her life and her legacy.
Firkin Crane Theatre, Shandon.
Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 7pm.
On Wednesday 31st July, Elliott J Gorn, US historian and author and Joe Creedon, historian from Inchigeelagh, will discuss the background, life and times of Mother Jones and what is known of her mother’s life in Inchigeelagh. This will represent the most comprehensive account of Mary Harris/Mother Jones yet seen in Cork.
In her autobiography published in 1925, Mother Jones writes just a few lines on her Cork roots.
“I was born in the City of Cork, Ireland in 1830. My people were poor. For generations they had fought for Ireland’s freedom. Many of my folks died in that struggle. My father Richard Harris came to America in 1835 and as soon as he became an American citizen he sent for his family.”
Mother Jones was 88 years old when this autobiography was published. Her dates above are incorrect in that she was actually born around 31st July 1837 (baptised by Fr John O’Mahony on 1st August 1837 at the Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne). Also her father and brother left for Canada in 1847, not 1835.
However her failure in this autobiography to mention her mother Ellen Cotter is strange but then she spends just a few pages on her early life as Mary Harris, the remaining 200 pages concentrate on Mother Jones.
On February 9th 1834, Richard Harris and Ellen Cotter were married in the old church in Inchigeelagh, this was then located in the centre of Inchigeelagh Village towards the rear of the present day Creedons Hotel. The village was quite small at the time comprising about a dozen buildings in all.
Their first son Richard was born in 1835 and was baptised also in Inchigeelagh, however the family had moved to live in Cork City as Mary and her later siblings Catherine 1840, Ellen in 1845 and William in 1846 were all baptised in the Cathedral.
Rural Ireland was then a place of agrarian conflict and poverty in the early 1800s as the growing population was very dependent on tiny holdings and the potato as a food source. Throughout Munster, the Whiteboys led by Captain Rock were in constant conflict with the authorities and outrages, reprisals and retaliation were common.
In 1822, the Battle of Keimaneigh took place near Inchigeelagh and involved hundreds of Whiteboys. The subsequent fall out from this would have reverberated around the local rural area as State repression forced people into insurrection. Thousands crowded into the towns and cities adding to the widespread destitution.
Once the potato blight was found in potatoes in rural Cork in the summer of 1845, it signalled the beginning of the Great Famine, which devastated Ireland and impacted on millions of Irish lives and left a mark on the emotional psyche of the Irish people ever since. The Harris family were just one of hundreds of thousands of families who fled Ireland seeking a better life.
Young Mary Harris left Cork, and her subsequent story and how she overcame personal tragedy has become an inspiration to millions of immigrants. Yet she found the will and determination to fight the economic and political injustice which she had first experienced in Ireland and later in the USA.
Joe Creedon lives in Inchigeelagh in Uibh Laoire. He is deeply immersed in the history, heritage and folk memory of this beautiful part of Muskerry. His vivid accounts of the people of his village are told with a vibrancy and passion. Listening to Joe takes one directly to the ancient world of his ancestors and the countryside of his native place. His story becomes a living portrait of the era described. Joe will tell of Ellen Cotter and early 19th Century Inchigeelagh.
Elliott Gorn attended the very first Mother Jones Festival in Shandon in 2012 and described the life and impact of Mother Jones. Elliott made the original discovery in relation to the baptism of Mary Harris at the North Cathedral in 1837, which was published in his classic account of Mother Jones (Mother Jones – The Most Dangerous Woman in America, published 2001, Hill and Wang). This book remains a very comprehensive account of the life of Mary Harris and the union/labour activities of Mother Jones.
In his conclusion Elliott stated,
“She was expected to go silently through life, for she was a mere worker in a country that worshipped success, an immigrant in a nativist land, a woman in a male-dominated society, and an elderly person in a nation that cherished youth. Hers was a voice that American’s were not supposed to hear. That was her final legacy – out of nothing but courage, passion, and commitment, she created a unique voice, a prophetic voice, and raised it in the cause of renewing America’s democratic promise.”
Elliott has just completed The Story of Emmett Till – Let the People See, published by Oxford University Press. He will speak about Emmett Till on Saturday 3rd August next at 3pm at the Firkin Crane Theatre.