Video review of our first four years

The following video is a brief review of the first four years of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival which has now become part of Cork’s cultural and heritage fabric.  From our initial plan in 2012 to commemorate the 175th anniversary of the birth of Mary Harris / Mother Jones the festival has burgeoned into a very popular and well loved festival.  The 16 minute film can only hope to show a small sample of the many speakers and performers we have had over the years.  It includes two of our contributors who recently passed away, Professor James Green from the United States and Dave Hopper of the Durham Miners’ Association.  We are glad to have recorded their presence and longer excerpts have been recorded by Frameworks Films to whom we are so grateful for staying with us and recording those four years. We hope you enjoy it.

 

Jimmy Crowley returns to The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival.

Jimmy Crowley at Cork City Library

Jimmy Crowley at Cork City Library

Jimmy Crowley was born in Douglas in Cork. He began writing songs in the early 1970s and he has encouraged, sang and promoted older working class ballads and long lost songs from all over Cork. He ran the folk club at Douglas GAA club for many years. His band Stokers Lodge was known throughout Ireland.

Jimmy likes to talk and sing songs of Cork characters such as hunters and drag hunting, of harriers and the Shandon foot beagles and sportsmen such as bowler Mick Barry, and hurler Christy Ring, of stupendous deeds of valour, local rivalries and personalities, great and little events, and the real topics of conversation of the people.

 

His first album “The Boys of Fairhill” released in 1997, contained such classics as The Pool Song, Johnny Jump Up, Salonika, the Armoured Car and of course The Boys of Fairhill. This was followed by a second album “Camphouse Ballads” and “Some Things Never Change”. Later still “Uncorked” was released in 1998, while “The Coast of Malabar” appeared in 2000.

Jimmy Crowley book / album

“Songs from the Beautiful City”

 

Jimmy Crowley recently issued what many consider to be his finest work, with his book and songs “Songs from the Beautiful City… The Cork Urban Ballads”. Described by Jimmy himself as proclaiming “the true history of the people of Cork City through their only resource of expression: the humble ballad.”

 

Containing such classics as Marilyn Munroe (words by Paddy O’Driscoll), Cheer, Boys, Cheer (words by Helen O’Donovan) and The Old Skellig Lists (words by Teresa Mac Carthaigh), it should ensure the continuation of the humble ballad in Cork for a long time to come.

 

Visit www.jimmycrowley.com for details.

 

Jimmy has honoured the Cork Spirit of Mother Jones Festival each year to huge acclaim and we are delighted that he will do so again in 2016. Not to be missed!

 

Jimmy appears at the Maldron Hotel, Cork on Friday July 29th from 1pm to 2pm.

 

 

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.

Opening Concert of 2016 Festival

Richard T. Cooke

The inimitable Richard Cooke. Picture: Andy Jay

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival 2016 

Opening event.

 

 Lunchtime Song & Music Concert 

 

Maldron Hotel, Shandon.

Thursday, July 28th, 1-2pm

 Concert with the best of Cork talent

 

 Richard T. Cooke MC

Muddy Lee & Shandon Street Shawlies Choir.

 

Clann Chorcai members: 

Aoife Delaney (Young Mother Jones, Singer, Actor)

Joan Goggin (Singer, Poet, Actor)

Eadaoin Delaney (Singer, Musician, Poet, Actor)

 

NICHE: Sing Your Heart Out Group members:

 (singers) Rose Broderick, Eileen White, Nuala Panek, David McGrath,

John Lane,Michael Dineen 

Frances O’ Sullivan (Traditional Singer, Cork Rokk Choir)

See you there

Admission Free

 

 

Organising in the Shadow of the Law

Tish Gibbons

Tish Gibbons

Tish Gibbons works as a researcher with SIPTU’s Strategic Organising Department and leads up its innovative Educate to Organise programme.

She was a union organiser with SIPTU from 1997 to 2008 and will address the above topic at this year’s summer school.

Tish has worked in the Irish trade union movement for 30 years starting in a clerical capacity with the FWUI before becoming a union organiser with SIPTU in 1997.  A constant part-time student, She holds a Diploma in Industrial Relations and a BA in English & Politics from UCG; a Post-graduate Diploma in Social Research Methods (OU) and MA Industrial Relations (Keele).  After studying for four years at the Working Lives Research Institute in the London Metropolitan University, she was awarded a professional doctorate for her thesis on union recognition and organising.

She is a board member of the Irish Centre for the Histories of Labour and Class and has published in labour law, industrial relations and labour history journals. Earlier this year she addressed the annual Jim Connell commemoration weekend at Crossakiel, Co Meath.

Tish has spent many years as a union organiser on the ground, as did Mother Jones in the USA. The Cork Mother Jones Committee is delighted that she has agreed to bring her experiences and her views on organising workers to the 2016 Spirit of Mother Jones Summer School.

Ms. Gibbons will speak on Organising in the Shadow of the Law at 4.30 on Friday 30th July at the summer school. All welcome.

Jack O’Connor to deliver the 2016 Cork Mother Jones Lecture.

The Cork Mother Jones Committee is pleased to announce that the Cork Mother Jones Lecture 2016 will be delivered by Mr Jack O’Connor, General President of SIPTU.

Jack O'Connor

Jack O’Connor

The 5th annual lecture will take place at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Thursday 28th July at 8pm, following the 2016 festival and Summer School  opening ceremony at the Mother Jones plaque in Shandon.

Jack O’Connor is probably the most recognised and best known trade union leader in Ireland. A Dubliner, Jack was originally a trade union activist before working for the Federated Workers’ Union of Ireland. When the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union and the Federated Workers’ Union of Ireland (both founded by “Big” Jim Larkin) merged in 1990 to form SIPTU, he became regional organiser for SIPTU.

He was appointed General President of SIPTU in 2003. Jack was also President of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) from July 2009 to July 2011.  His declared priorities are combating worker exploitation, promoting people’s rights to participate in collective bargaining. He promotes the principle of “Fairness at Work and Justice in Society. He refuses to serve on any State Board while in his present role in SIPTU. Jack is a member of the Labour Party.

The future of the organised labour and the trade union movement in Ireland and indeed across Europe is being faced with a concerted move by governments in the public sector and multinationals in the private sector to enforce changes in work patterns, forced self-employment, zero hours contracts, reduced pay and conditions and more productivity. Hostile opposition by employers to trade union organising in workplaces has grown. Many young people joining the workforces of multinationals and other enterprises are not allowed the opportunity to become union members.  The huge achievements of the trade union movement over the past century, achievements, which many people today take for granted, are under sustained threat.

Jack O'Connor

Jack O’Connor, General President of SIPTU

These issues require a serious and well thought out response from the organised labour movement. Jack O’Connor has a contribution to make.

He will discuss his views for the future responses of the labour movement to the changing organised labour environment at the Firkin Crane Theatre on Thursday evening 28th July at 8pm in a talk entitled “Organising to win – what is to be done!”