Human Rights in a Divided World.

Fergal Keane

Fergal Keane (Photo: Limerick Leader)

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is pleased to announce that Fergal Keane has agreed to speak to the topic “Human Rights in a Divided World”.

He will appear on Sunday evening 31st July at the Maldron Hotel at 7.30pm.

Born in London, his mother Maura Hassett wasfrom Cork city and father Eamonn Keane from Listowel, both actors, who had met in Cork and were married in Ballyphehane church. The family also lived in Dublin for some before he moved to Cork to live with May Hassett, his grandmother.  Fergal Keane spent much of his youth in Cork, attending St Joseph’s National School on the Mardyke and then the Presentation College nearby where he came under the influence of Brother Jerome Kelly, “a man who would change my life”. In 1972, Brother Kelly, founded SHARE – Schoolboys Harness Aid for Relief of the Elderly which was set up to assist the elderly in Cork to obtain a home.

He says of Cork “More than any other place I have lived, it is Cork I regard as my home.”

He became a reporter with the Limerick Leader and later went to Dublin where he worked in The Irish Press. Moving to RTE he gained experience as a foreign correspondent especially in Africa, before joining the BBC.

In his memoir All of these People published in 2005, Fergal describes, while reporting on the Eritrean war, seeing a badly wounded boy Ande Mikail lying in a tent covered in a foil blanket after being wounded from an Ethiopian MiG fighter…

“That moment on the Eritrean hillside was a point of departure for me. I had seen news photographs of war victims and I’d watched documentaries. But they didn’t smell the way that tent did, and the eyes of the dying on the screenhad never caught me the way Ande Mikail’s had. Having looked into the eyes of this child of war I could not look away again.”

He is one of the BBC’s most distinguished foreign correspondents and is a multi-award winning journalist and author. He has reported and borne witness from many of the world’s trouble spots such South Africa, Rwanda, Iraq, the Balkans and Northern Ireland. He describes the conflicts around him from the perspectives of the ordinary people and children who are suffering and dying in circumstances over which they have no control or say.  The recipient of a BAFTA, he has won the George Orwell prize for literature. He was named Amnesty International’s Human Rights reporter of the Year in 1993.

Fergal has made several documentaries such as Forgotten Britain for the BBC and The Story of Ireland (RTE and BBC Northern Ireland)

He is the author of many books including The Bondage of Fear, Road of Bones,and Season of Blood Rwandan Journey, Letter to Daniel and All of These People…a memoir.

Fergal loves to potter by the sea shore at Ardmore in West Waterford.

Greenshine to play at The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2016.

Greenshine to play at The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2016.

Maldron Hotel on Friday 29th July, Tickets €5

Greenshine

Greenshine in concert

GREENSHINE is a family trio comprising Noel ShineMary Greene and their daughter Ellie. Their material straddles the boundaries of contemporary, folk and roots and includes many self-penned songs. Their fast picking and close harmonies are a treat to the ear.

Noel is a multi-instrumentalist, turning his hand to guitar, bass, mandolin, bouzouki and traditional whistle and this musical dexterity had seen him much in demand as a session and band player by artists as diverse as The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem and funk and soul legends The Republic of Loose amongst many others.

Mary brings rhythm guitar to the mix and her voice is a wonderfully versatile instrument. She is much in demand for her recording session work and has added her talents to the albums of Christy Moore, John Spillane, Mick Hanly and Frances Black as well as cult psychedelic outfit Dr. Strangely Strange.

Greenshine poster

As a duo, Noel and Mary have released 3 critically acclaimed albums to date ~ The Land You Love the Best (placed no. 3 in The Irish Times Folk albums of the year of its release), Unspoken Lines (described as ‘The heart and soul of folk music, coming from a deeper well…,’ by John Spillane) while Mary’s solo, Sea of Hearts, earned an impressive 8 out of 10 in Hot Press.

 

Ellie Shine has grown up surrounded by music and has been performing in concerts and festivals since the age of 13 including an appearance with GREENSHINE for President Michael D. Higgins and his wife Sabina at The Abbey Theatre. Despite her tender years, Ellie has featured on 4 recordings to date. She has a huge interest in the songs of the Muskerry Gaeltacht and reached the All-Ireland final of Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann’s under 15 Sean-Nós Singing competition in her debut try-out. She enjoys singing songs of all genres and has a special place in her heart reserved for classic Beatles and country as well as good contemporary songwriting. She accompanies herself on the ukulele.

The music of Greenshine has been covered by several Irish music artists and has been used commercially by Follain Preserves in their ad campaigns, Carrie Crowley in her film Waterway and as signature tunes by several national radio station programmes.

Luke Dineen to tell little-known story of one Ireland’s 1922 post office strike

Luke Dineen has been a regular contributor to the Mother Jones summer school and we are delighted to welcome him back in 2016. He will address the significance of the Postal Strike of 1922 at the Maldron Hotel on Saturday 30th July at 11.30.

JJ Walsh Countess Markievicz

J.J. Walsh with Countess Markievicz

 

”The Postal Strike of 1922 was the first major industrial dispute the new government of the Irish Free State faced and it occurred right in the middle of the Civil War.

When the dispute began, the government refused to concede the right of public servants to strike. The postal workers were condemned for taking industrial action against wage reductions because, as members of the public service, they enjoyed permanent, pensionable positions.

The government’s handling of the postal strike challenges the narrative that the establishment of the Free State represented the triumph of democracy. Rather, it shows an authoritarian government that was intolerant of dissent and willing to use harsh measures to suppress it.”

(Extract from Cathal Brennan in online article in The Irish Story).

The Cork postal workers had earlier voted to strike in February 1922 due to threatened pay cuts, but action was postponed as a result of union intervention whereby an independent commission was established to examine the issues in relation to pay.

Luke Dineen

Cork historian Luke Dineen

The Postmaster General during the strike was James Joseph Walsh, known as J.J., a TD from Cork. Born near Bandon, Walsh was a former postal worker himself, an active trade unionist and member of Sinn Féin. He had taken part in the 1916 Rising in the GPO and received a ten year sentence.Described by Marcus De Burca author of The GAA…a History as “a dominating Cork personality”, he had also been Chairman (President) of the Cork County Board of the Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA). His Departmental Secretary in 1922 was P. S. O’Hegarty, another Corkman and a former post office worker in London who was friendly with Michael Collins.

The events during this strike in September 1922 and the government’s brutal reaction form a surprising if largely forgotten portrait of the new Irish State at the time and raise a fundamental question….…was the labour movement the biggest casualty of the Irish Civil War and its aftermath?

Luke Dineen will tell the story of the events surrounding this strike on Saturday morning 30th July at 11.30 am. Luke is currently writing his PhD Thesis at University College Cork.

Press launch for the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2016

The formal press launch of this year’s Spirit of Mother Jones Festival was held last week at Cork’s Maldron Hotel.  The festival begins on Thursday, 28th July and runs until Monday, 1st August 2016.

Here are some photos from last week’s very successful launch.  Our sincere thanks to Martin Duggan, photographer for these images and for his ongoing support:

Committee

Some of the Committee Members

Joan Goggin

Joan Goggin aka “Mother Jones”

Cork Shawlies

Launch

Cork’s Lord Mayor Des Cahill launches the festival, with Maldron Hotel Manager Joe Kennedy and Richard T. Cooke, committee member, musician and historian

Aoife Delaney

Aoife Delaney plays “Young Mary Harris”

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Spirit of Mother Jones Festival & Summer School 2016 Launch

Joan Goggin

Joan Goggin as “Mother Jones” Picture: Andy Jay

The press launch of the Spirit of Mother Jones festival and summer school takes place at the Maldron Hotel on Wednesday 29th June at 1pm and will be performed by the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Des Cahill.  The festival itself will take place from 28th July to 1st August.

The speakers at the 2016 summer school include Catherine McGuinness, Jack O’ Connor, Justine McCarthy, Dr Sean Pettit, Laurence Fenton, Fergal Keane, Luke Dineen, Dave Hopper, Anne Twomey and Pat Egan.

The festival will see Jimmy Crowley will perform some of his songs. The Cork Singers’ Club, Richard T Cooke, the Mother Jones Ceili Band and the Butter Exchange Band along with Greenshine are participating. John Nyhan and Mick Treacy are appearing on Saturday night 30th July. Several films will be shown throughout the five days of the festival. Only the Greenshine concert requires tickets. All other events are free and open to the public, however as some events fill up quickly, please be on time! All are welcome. Most events are at the Maldron Hotel except where stated on the programme.

See Programme 2016 for full details.

Members of Cobh Animation Team. Picture: Andy Jay

Members of Cobh Animation Team at the Maldron Hotel with hotel manager Joe Kennedy. Picture: Andy Jay

Songs of the Mining Tradition with John Nyhan, Mick Treacy and friends.

This event takes place at the Maldron Hotel on Saturday night 30th July at 9pm. All are welcome.

To Mother Jones the miners were “My Boys” and her activist life was spent in organising miners of all nationalities across America. She “could arouse more fight in men than any speaker I have ever seen behind a rostrum” declared Fred Mooney, a union organiser in West Virginia.  The United Mineworkers and its offshoots were among the most famous and radical of organised groups of workers in the world. Mining itself has involved going to the bowels of the earth for the rocks and minerals which have created the modern industrial world.

Yet those brave men and women who then worked in the pits and still work deep in the ground have been amongst the most exploited and expendable in human history. During the 18thcentury in Britain mine fatalities averaged a thousand a year. Safety, health and the welfare of miners and their families was not considered as important.

Yet from this mining tradition across all countries has sprung some of the most progressive movements in politics and some of the greatest living folk songs, colliery music, musicians and community solidarity. Names such as Bob Davenport, Tommy Armstrong, Anne Briggs, and A. L. Lloyd sang the songs created by working people in Britain. Sarah Gunning, Nimrod Workman and Hazel Dickens and many others sang mining songs in America. Their legacy remains and inspires new generations.

John Nyhan and Mick Treacy continue this tradition and on Saturday 30th July, beginning at 9pm they will present the songs, stories and lore of the mining tradition.

Mick Treacy.

Mick Treacy

Mick Treacy

Mick came to folk music through listening to The Weavers , Delia Murphy, Joe Lynch, Connie Foley and the one and only Margaret Barry in the fifties and then the Skiffle movement in Britain which was spearheaded by Ken Colyer one of the leading exponents of the Classic New Orleans Jazz style in Britain. The revival of interest in Folk song and music happened to coincide with this outbreak of people’s music making and before long there was a natural fusion which led to Skiffle groups becoming Folk Groups like The Ian Campbell group in Birmingham or The Quarrymen from Liverpool becoming the Beatles.

Mick went to England in late 1960 became part of the whole folk revival first listening and learning from Ewan McColl, Bob Davenport, Alex Campbell, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and many more.   By 1964 he was singing in Birmingham Town Hall in a fund raising concert for West Midlands Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and later joined an Irish Group called ‘The Munstermen’. This lead in turn to the founding of ‘The Holyground Folk Club’ which had three glorious years and hosted many of the world’s great folk artistes.

In 1967 he came to Dublin and sang in most of the venues of the day The Embankment, The Castle Inn, The Old Sheiling and many of the local Folk Clubs before returning to his native Mitchelstown where he settled down, got married and raised a family.  He has always had an interest in the songs of the working people collecting many down through the years.  He feels privileged to have shared the platform and stage with many pacifist and socialist poets, writers, singers and performers who shared his dreams.

 

 

John Nyhan.

John Nyhan

John Nyhan

John was born in Cork City and now lives in North Cork. He was heavily influenced by the Folk revival and has been playing and promoting music for over 40 years.

During the 70s he was a founding member of The Shandon Folk Club in Eason’s Hill,within an earshot of the Shandon Bells.Today he continues his voluntary involvementas a promoter of concerts and festivals.  He is especially well known for the Bluegrass and Folk concerts he runs at The Village Arts Centre,Kilworth Co Cork. He is an avid collector of folk, bluegrass and songs of the people and has an encyclopaedic recall of singers and songs.

 

In the 1970″S John worked as a peace campaigner in the North of Ireland as a member of Voluntary Service International.He was also a worker with the Simon Community.

In the past decade he moved to Lombardstown in North Cork, as part of a Sustainable Housing Project,where he maintains an active role in his local community. In 2015 John organised the already legendary session “The songs of Joe Hill” at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.

 

“Where it’s dark as a dungeon and damp as the dew,

Where the dangers are double and the pleasures are few.

 

Where the rain never falss and the sun never shines,

It’s dark as a dungeon way down in the mines”

 

From “Dark as a Dungeon” by Merle Travis of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.

 

 

This event will be preceded by two films about the struggles of miners for justice.

West_Midlands_Police_Handsworth_riots_1985

4.30. The Battle for Orgreave, a film by Yvette Vanson (www.yvettevanson.com). The events of 18th June 1984 during The Miners’ Strike are disturbing and have shocked the world. This film by Journeyman Pictures is required viewing for an understanding of the Miners Strike. As calls for a full public enquiry into the events of that day and afterwards mount, this film is a must see.

 

 

Press Cutting from "Mine Wars" era

Press Cutting from “Mine Wars” era

7.00. The Mining Wars, a film produced and directed by Randall MacLowry, the film is a production of the Film Posse for American Experience (WGBH – Boston). It features the mining union battles in the USA and the activities of the tough union organisers including Mother Jones.

These epic struggles in the first two decades of the 20th Century culminated in the largest civil insurrection since the American Civil War.  www.thefilmposse.com