Day 4 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School 2019

The 8th annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School continues today (Saturday, 3rd August) and the main events finish tonight, However there will also be an evening with the talented Stan Notte on Sunday night at Maureen’s Bar, John Redmond Street.

Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school events for Saturday 3rd August.

 

10:30 a.m.   L       Briege Voyle

Ballymurphy August 1971” 

F        Includes a screening of the Channel 4 documentary “The Ballymurphy Precedent”

Directed by Callum Macrae

Firkin Crane Theatre.

2:00 p m.             A Conspiracy of Lies

Author and journalist Frank Connolly launches his novel (Mercier Press.)

Maldron Hotel.

3:00 p.m      L       Prof. Elliott Gorn

The Lynching of Emmet Till. ……………A Civil Rights Movement is born!”

Firkin Crane Theatre.

5:30 p m               Conal Creedon reads from his new novel Begotten Not Made

7:30 p.m    M       Annual toast and songs to Mother Jones at the plaque on John Redmond Street.

Maureen’s

9:00 p.m    M      Vocalic   (Dance and celebrate the end of the 2019 festival.)

Maldron Hotel.

 

Sunday 4th August. 

In the round with Stan Notte. Music and Spoken Word.

Maureen’s, John Redmond Street at 8.30pm,

All welcome.

 

 

 

Day 3 of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School, Cork

The 8th annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School continues today (Friday, 2nd August) and until tomorrow night.  Below you will find today’s programme.

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.

                            Jimmy Crowley.

  

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.

Maldron Hotel.

 

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)

Maldron Hotel.

 

 

 

Day 2 of Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School

The 8th annual Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and Summer School continues today and until next Saturday night.  Below you will find today’s programme.

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.

William Hammond

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.    

Maldron Hotel

 

Mother Jones: her background, life and legacy

Mother Jones………her background, her life and her legacy.

Firkin Crane Theatre, Shandon.

Wednesday 31st July 2019 at 7pm.

Mary “Mother” Jones

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.”

Elliott J. Gorn

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

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.”

Elliot Gorn’s book on Mother Jones

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.

 

 

The Ballymurphy Massacre

The Ballymurphy Massacre.

Saturday morning 3rd August at 10.30am

Firkin Crane Theatre.

Briege Voyle

On Saturday morning 3rd August , Briege Voyle will speak about what has become known as The Ballymurphy Massacre. Briege is the daughter of Joan Connolly. Joan, a mother of eight was shot dead by the British Army’s Parachute Regiment on Monday August 9th 1971, the day Internment without Trial was introduced in Northern Ireland.

Eleven people including Fr. Hugh Mullan, the parish priest in Ballymurphy in West Belfast were killed as a result of the actions by the British Army over the three days.  Fifty children endured the loss of a parent. The killings left the entire community traumatised yet no action was taken against those responsible and no one has been held responsible to date. This Parachute Regiment was later transferred to Derry. It went on to be responsible for Bloody Sunday on 31st January 1971.

Briege who has been prominent in the campaign for decades along with other relatives seeking the truth will tell her story of the human consequences for herself, her family and friends as a result of the actions of the British Army in her community during those three days in 1971. Other children of those who died will also attend and tell their personal stories.

The morning will also feature the showing of The Ballymurphy Precedent directed by Callum Macrae made in association with Channel 4. This was first released in August 2018 and featured in a cinema launch including a discussion with John Snow in the chair. The documentary was later broadcast as Massacre at Ballymurphy by Channel 4 on September 8th last.

The documentary provides a reconstruction of the shootings, with the survivors and families giving an account what took place in this small community in Belfast over three harrowing days. Their grief is palpable, and the huge sense of burning injustice at the loss of loved ones permeates the production.

After decades of campaigning, an inquest into the deaths began its oral hearings in Belfast on 12th November 2018 and these hearings continue under Presiding Coroner, Mrs Justice (Siobhan) Keegan.

It is long past time for the full truth about the events in Ballymurphy over the three days to be recognised and acted on by the British government

Briege Voyle will speak at the Firkin Crane Theatre, on Saturday morning 3rd August at 10.30 am.

All are welcome to come along.

Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change.

Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change.

By Dr. John Barimo.

Cathedral Visitor Centre, Friday afternoon, 2nd August at 2.30.

Fridays for Future Cork

This lecture will explore issues of environmental and climate justice from local and regional levels to the planetary scale.  The conversation will be grounded in ecological and environmental sciences with pertinent background information provided with the intention of moving the discourse beyond established dogmas.

John Barimo

Dr. John Barimo

The talk will include experiential insights into traditional Native American cultures with regards to land use practices and ecological awareness.  Representative historical events will be explored to gain insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the environmental movement.

The concept of NIMBY will be considered with local and regional environmental issues with attention focused on case studies where inequalities can be generally detected along socio-economic lines. Finally, concepts will be scaled up to planetary level to consider the linked issues of carbon emissions, ocean acidification and climate change, and their disproportionate impacts on developing countries and small island nations.

 

This lecture will be immediately followed by a short film Remembering the Cork Climate Change March 2019. (Frameworks Films). This impressive, colourful and vocal march of students protesting about the failure to tackle Climate Change took place on 15th March 2019 beginning at Emmet Place in Cork and finishing at City Hall Cork. Over 5000 students participated. 

 

Micah Nelson

Micah Neilson is a member of Fridays For Future Cork which helped to organise the Cork Climate Change march. She will then discuss the role of the grassroots movement Fridays For Future Cork has played in the recent student strikes in Ireland and how they have propelled the impact of Climate Change to the very top of the political and social agenda.

 

 

 

Alicia O’Sullivan

Alicia O’Sullivan is from Skibbereen in West Cork and is Ireland’s Youth Ambassador for the Oceans. She admitted recently that the impact of Climate Charge has made her afraid of the future. An activist on social issues she will also discuss the role of the youth of the world in saving the planet from extinction. She has recently campaigned against the planning permission for a plastics factory in her native town.

 

The meeting will conclude with a full panel Questions and Answers.

All are welcome to attend.

 

 

The Whiddy Island Disaster

Betelguese 1979 (Photo via the Southern Star)

The 8th January 2019 marked the 40th anniversary of the worst industrial accident to occur in the Republic of Ireland during peacetime when the French oil tanker, MV Betelgeuse, exploded at Gulf Oil’s Whiddy Island Oil Terminal in Bantry Bay. Fifty lives were lost in the explosion, forty two French, seven Irish and one Englishman. A Dutch diver died later during the salvage operation.

The anniversary was marked in the nearby town of Bantry by the families and friends of those who died as they gathered to remember their loved ones and to pay respect to the rescue services. It was attended by approximately 2,000 people with representation from all over Ireland and the maritime world. Additionally, 47 wreaths were sent in memory of those who died and as an acknowledgement of the importance of implementing international maritime regulation, to protect life and so as our rescue services do not have to be called out unnecessarily. In 1979, the International Maritime Organisation’s SOLAS 1974 had still not been implemented by Ireland and other nations and it provided for simple inert gas systems on tankers which would have prevented the disaster.

Betelgeuse memorial

Betelgeuse memorial, Bantry

This was a frightening disaster, and there were real fears for the safety of the town of Bantry itself as large oil holding tanks were located near the tanker explosion and had they exploded the results could have been even more catastrophic.

The subsequent Costello Tribunal, held in Bantry, concluded that the Betelgeuse was defective, and that Gulf Oil had deliberately downgraded safety systems. Some evidence provided to the Tribunal by Gulf Oil management and personnel about the timing of events on that night was not accepted as true by Justice Costello in his report, concluding that Gulf Oil embarked on a collusion in an attempt to absolve themselves from liability for their inadequate safety systems.

The escape opportunities for the workers and seafarers from the ship docking jetty back to Whiddy Island itself were not available and certainly resulted in the high death toll. Gulf Oil had removed the bridge between the jetty and Whiddy Island some years earlier to allow two tankers to berth simultaneously, fire-fighting equipment was ill-maintained and downgraded from automatic to manual, and the safety boats were removed from the vicinity of the jetty and moored at the other side of the Island where they were of little practical use in an emergency. There was no escape from the jetty to the Island on that awful night, where they waited for at least 20 minutes to be saved before the tanker exploded.

For the families in France, Ireland, the UK and Holland, this disaster was a horrific personal tragedy. Their loved ones had perished in an appalling event which many argue could and should have been foreseen and prevented. The arguments and unanswered questions continue but the sadness, grief, anger at the sense of injustice, of many of those bereaved remains raw and real.

Michael Kingston (photo via Southern Star)

International Lawyer, Michael Kingston, from Goleen in West Cork who lost his Dad Tim in the explosion, has campaigned for many years on behalf of the families to ensure that the recommendations of the Whiddy Island Tribunal report are recognised in legislation and appropriate penalties are in place to ensure that nothing like this can occur again in Ireland.

He is deeply unhappy at the response and lack of respect of successive Irish Governments to date, and the fact that Ireland continues to fail to implement International Maritime Organisation conventions leaving Ireland’s workers and rescue services at unnecessary risk.

At the 40th Anniversary Michael asked the Government to rectify these failings and he indicated that if they did not the families would bring a High Court action on the basis of the Right to Life under Article 2 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which he indicates to us is imminent.

He indicates that the victims Death Certificates, by analogy with the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster in the United Kingdom in 1989, are incorrect and must be changed to ‘unlawful death’ as the surrounding circumstances of death (the findings of Mr Justice Costello in relation to Gulf Oil’s collusion and Gulf’s breach of Irish safety legislation at the time) have not been taken into account by the Coroner, as was the case initially with the victims of the Hillsborough Disaster. The Hillsborough Stadium Safety Officer has recently been convicted since Michael raised these issues in January.

Michael is Vice-President of the French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse.

Michael Kingston will speak at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Friday 2nd August at 7.30 pm.

Tom MacSweeney

He will be accompanied by Tom MacSweeney who was the first RTE broadcaster on the scene in Bantry on 08th January 1979. Tom has had a lifelong interest in maritime affairs and he has been critical of the State’s attitudes to the maritime sector.

In addition, a Statement will be made on behalf of Madame Ginette Ravaleu, President of the French-Irish Association of Relatives and Friends of the Betelgeuse.

 

Note.

The script of Michael Kingston’s Speech on 08th January 2019 at St Finbarr’s Church, Bantry, can be seen at

https://www.southernstar.ie/news/roundup/articles/2019/01/09/4167513-whiddy-commemoration-michael-kingstons-speech-in-full/

For further info see recent article in Inshore Ireland Summer 2019: https://inshore-ireland.com/whiddy-island-disaster-40-years-on/