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.)
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.
9:00 p.m M Vocalic (Dance and celebrate the end of the 2019 festival.)
Sunday 4th August.
In the round with Stan Notte. Music and Spoken Word.
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 investigative journalist, Frank Connolly will appear at the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival and summer school on Saturday morning the 4th August at 11am at the Firkin Theatre.
Mr Connolly will discuss his latest book NAMA-Land: The Inside Story Of Ireland’s PropertySell-Off And The Creation Of A New Elite. (Published by Gill Books 2018).
Following the crash of the Celtic Tiger in 2008, the Government established the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA) in 2009. It was designed to manage the disastrous position of Ireland’s the “bad” banks which had huge loans outstanding from builders, developers and property speculators resulting from the dramatic fall in value in property prices and their own reckless lending practices.
What followed was the largest transfer of €31.8 billion in loans which had a book value of €74 billion in property assets from public ownership to private interests. This mechanism was designed to save banks, which had huge distressed debts on their books from the collapse by effectively providing them with liquid funds using Government borrowed money following the transfer of their bad assets to NAMA.
Frank Connolly questions why these assets were subsequently disposed of in large bundles to global hedge funds and to vulture funds which “sweat out” their acquisitions in order to maximise their returns on the assets which they have obtained from NAMA at a fraction of their true worth.
One of the result is that many thousands of Irish people have lost homes and properties as these funds “collect” on their investments which they obtained at a substantial discount. Increasingly long established tenants are being evicted as the vulture funds claim they wish to upgrade these apartments which they acquired as “job-lots” in order to increase substantially the subsequent rents. The State is often left with the rehousing costs of the former tenants.
Nama-Land “will hopefully provide an insight into one of the most significant and far-reaching political and financial experiments in the history of the state, one which will have a profound impact on Irish society and its people for many years to come”.
“Frank Connolly’s careful and penetrating investigative research has exposed critical truths about malfeasance in high places and the often ugly workings of political power generally, actions that have caused great harm to the general population” Noam Chomsky.
Frank Connolly will speak at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Saturday morning 4th August 2018 at 11am. All are welcome.
On Friday 22nd November 2013, Tom Gilmartin passed away at the Cork University Hospital. He was 78 years old and died of kidney failure due to heart complications. Following his removal from the Wilton funeral home, his body was taken on its last journey, initially to his own place at Grange, Co Sligo and finally to Urris on the Inishowen Peninsula, where his wife Vera is from and where he was laid to rest. Trevor McBride’s classic photo of Tom’s funeral in the cemetery at Urris, with the bleak November landscape as its backdrop remains an enduring image.
No political figures attended his funeral, Official Ireland was absent. Yet the story of Tom Gilmartin and his treatment by a corrupt planning and political system is literally a parable for modern Ireland. His experiences at the hands of some planners and some politicians is told with great humanity and forensic skill by investigative journalist Frank Connolly in his classic bestselling book “Tom Gilmartin – The Man who brought down a Taoiseach and exposed the greed and corruption at the heart of Irish politics” (Gill and Macmillan 2014).
While he co-operated with the author and read the final manuscript, Tom Gilmartin, the man who did the State some service, did not live to see this book published but he would surely have been proud of the telling of the story which lies within.
Fintan O’Toole has commented that “Tom Gilmartin did all Irish people an immense service by telling the truth about the corruption and cynicism he encountered at the very top of the political system”.
From the car crash Late Late Show of Friday night 15th January 1999 where E.U. Commissioner Padraig Flynn made derogatory comments about him and Vera… to his straightforward, candid and forthright honesty at the Mahon Tribunal, Tom Gilmartin told a story of a hidden Ireland and made a memorable mark on Irish politics. His revelations revealed a corrupt system of planning in Dublin and in the politics of planning which was at the very root of the property and banking crash of 2008 and which ruined the lives of hundreds of thousands of people.
The emigrant, the family man, the businessman, the patriot, he was many things and he told the truth. Tom Gilmartin deserved better from Ireland!
Frank Connolly first met Tom Gilmartin in 1998, began work on the book in 2004 and over almost the next decade talked to him and his family and then awaited the Mahon Tribunal findings which largely vindicated many of Gilmartin’s allegations.
In a lecture entitled “Political and corporate corruption – have we learned the lessons from past?” Frank Connolly will discuss the Tom Gilmartin story, the Mahon tribunal findings and the subsequent Irish financial and banking collapse. He will go on to examine what has happened since in the light of the recent sell-off of Irish property assets to global vulture funds.
Frank Connolly will present his lecture at the Spirit of Mother Jones summer school at the Maldron Hotel, Shandon, Cork, on Saturday 5th August at 11am. All are welcome.