A new 2019 Mother Jones Festival badge will be available each day during the summer school. A limited supply of badges for each year since 2015 will also be available until supplies run out. Each badge costs 2 euro.
The Ballymurphy Massacre.
Saturday morning 3rd August at 10.30am
Firkin Crane Theatre.
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.
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.)
2018 Mary Manning (on behalf of the Dunnes Stores workers)
2019 Louise O’Keeffe.
Social Justice, Inequality and Climate Change.
By Dr. John Barimo.
Cathedral Visitor Centre, Friday afternoon, 2nd August at 2.30.
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.
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 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 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.
A Conspiracy of Lies
By Frank Connolly
Published by Mercier Press.
Cork Book Launch at the Maldron Hotel at 2pm on Saturday 3rd August 2019.
Frank Connolly’s latest book is political thriller and love story and has as its dark background the horrific car bombings in Dublin on the evening 17th May 1974. Over forty five years have passed since 27 civilians were killed in a series of three bombs which exploded within five minutes of each other during evening rush hour at Talbot Street, Parnell Street and South Leinster Street in Dublin. A further seven people were killed in Monaghan later that same day. The Ulster Volunteer Force eventually claimed responsibility. No one has been charged with the murders.
The efforts of Angie Whelan and Joe Heney, the latter just released from Mountjoy Jail and thrown together by their traumatic experiences of the events of that day form the story of this taunt fast paced thriller to find those responsible for the explosions and the real truth behind these bombs.
The unlikely couple follow the evidence as to who and what was behind this mass murder on the streets of Dublin and Monaghan. Joe and Angie uncover and explore the layers of a frightening conspiracy which goes to the heart of the Irish and British States and may ensure silence forever. Meanwhile the victims and their relatives wait for justice.
What transpires is stranger than fiction…………. but is it fiction or the real truth?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The script of Michael Kingston’s Speech on 08th January 2019 at St Finbarr’s Church, Bantry, can be seen at
For further info see recent article in Inshore Ireland Summer 2019: https://inshore-ireland.com/whiddy-island-disaster-40-years-on/
Professor Elliott J. Gorn will tell the story of Emmett Till at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Saturday afternoon 3rd August at 3pm.
Let the People See.
14 year old Emmett Till from Chicago visited some of his family in Mississippi in August 1955.
He allegedly whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant who was working behind the counter of a country store in Money, Mississippi on 24th August. Emmett was kidnapped by Mrs Bryant’s husband Roy and half brother J.W. “Big” Milam a few days later. They beat him and then shot him.
Emmett’s tortured body was found in the Taallahatchie River on Wednesday August 31st, with a cotton gin fan tied around his neck with barbed wire.
Instead of quietly burying the remains, Emmett’s mother Mamie Till-Mobley decided to have an open casket at the funeral in Chicago.
She proclaimed “Let the people see what they did to my boy.”
A hundred thousand people did see his face as they filed past the casket and millions saw the photos in the African-American press.
The burial aroused a storm of wider media interest and the story was featured extensively all over America. Yet just a month later the all-white jury found the killers of Emmett Till not guilty of murder in spite of strong evidence presented.
African Americans were shocked and horrified while many white Americans were forced to question the systematic racism which infected American society. The lynching of Emmett Till became a defining moment for many African Americans from Muhammad Ali to Rosa Parks. On 1st December 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat at the front of the bus in Montgomery. A few days earlier she had attended a meeting where the Emmett Till case was discussed.
The Till murder sparked a generation to create the greatest mass mobilisation of the twentieth- century in the American civil rights movement.
The lynching of young Emmet Till forces everyone to look hard at the realities of racism today as racially motivated violence continues despite the haunting image of young Till and the determination of his brave mother Mamie to let the people see!
Author Elliott J. Gorn will talk of the short life and death of Emmett Till at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Saturday 3rd August at 3pm.
Elliott’s book, The Story of Emmett Till……Let the People See is published by Oxford University Press 2018. He is also the author of Mother Jones – The Most Dangerous Woman in America and will speak about Mother Jones on Wednesday evening at 8pm at the Firkin Crane Theatre. All welcome.