Johnson works on the docks for an Irish fish merchant, spending much of his time in Dunmore East and Kinsale. It is this way that he picks up ideas about socialism and Irish nationalism, joining a Liverpool branch of the Independent Labour Party in 1893. In 1900 he starts work as a commercial traveller, then moves in 1903 with his family to Belfast where he becomes involved in trade union and labour politics.
In 1907 Johnson helps James Larkin organise a strike in the port, but has to watch in dismay as the strike, which begins with remarkable solidarity between labour, Orange, and nationalist supporters, collapses in sectarian rioting. At various times he is the president, treasurer and secretary of the Irish Trades Union Congress (ITUC) which is, at the time, also the Labour Party in Ireland, until officially founded in 1912 by James Connolly and James Larkin. Johnson becomes Vice-president of the ITUC in 1913, and President in 1915.
Johnson is the only Leader of the Labour Party who serves as Leader of the Opposition in the Dáil. He loses his Dáil seat at the September 1927 Irish general election, and the following year he is elected to Seanad Éireann, where he serves until the Seanad’s abolition in 1936.
In 1896 he meets Marie Tregay, then a teacher in St. Multose’s National school, outside Kinsale. A native of Cornwall, she has advanced political views. They marry in 1898 in Liverpool. Their only son, Frederick Johnson, is born in 1899, and becomes a well-known actor. Johnson dies on January 17, 1963, at 49 Mount Prospect Avenue, Clontarf, Dublin.
Each summer, Labour Youth holds the “Tom Johnson Summer School” to host panel discussions, debates and workshops.
O’Donnell is born on February 22, 1893, in Meenmore, near Dungloe, County Donegal, youngest among six sons and three daughters of Biddy and James O’Donnell. He is greatly influenced by his upbringing in the Rosses, in northwest Donegal, one of the poorest and most remote parts of Ireland. His father, a popular local fiddler, earns a living through his smallholding, seasonal labouring in Scotland, and winter work in a local corn mill. His mother, who comes from a radical labour and nationalist political background, works in a local cooperative store. He attends Rampart national school and Roshine national school, near Burtonport, where he is a monitor for four years. In 1911 he wins a scholarship to attend St. Patrick’s College in Drumcondra, Dublin, and returns in 1913 to the Rosses, where he spends two years teaching on the islands of Inishfree. In 1915 he is appointed head of Derryhenny national school, near Dungloe, and the following year becomes principal of a national school on the island of Arranmore, where he begins to write.
O’Donnell had long been concerned by the poor conditions of the local ‘tatie-hokers’ (potato pickers) who migrate annually to Scotland. In the summer of 1918, he travels there to help organise the Scottish Farm Servants’ Union. While there he is influenced by left-wing radicals such as Willie Gallacher, later a communistMember of Parliament (MP), and Emanuel ‘Manny’ Shinwell, later Baron Shinwell. In September 1918, against a background of rising labour militancy, he leaves teaching to become a full-time organiser for the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) in the west Ulster area. The following year he organises one of Ireland’s first “soviets” when the attendants and nurses of the Monaghan District Lunatic Asylum occupy the grounds and appoint O’Donnell as governor until their demands are met.
In early 1919 O’Donnell joins the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Monaghan, resigning from the ITGWU for full-time IRA service in late 1920. He leads the 2nd Battalion, Donegal IRA, from the summer of 1920. In December 1920 he goes “on the run” and leads a flying column in west Donegal until May 1921, when he is wounded. Regarded as insubordinate and militarily inexperienced, he is unpopular among the other senior officers of the 1st Northern Division. He, in turn, is disappointed by the lack of social radicalism among the nationalist leadership. He opposes the Anglo-Irish Treaty, is placed in command of the minority anti-treaty 1st Northern Division, and is a member of the IRA executive that occupies the Four Courts in Dublin in defiance of the provisional government.
Arrested in June 1922, O’Donnell shares a prison cell with Liam Mellows and influences his radical “Notes from Mountjoy,” an important document for subsequent left-wing republicans. He spends the next two years in various prisons and internment camps. His execution is widely expected to follow those of December 8, 1922. In August 1923, he is elected as a Sinn FéinTeachta Dála (TD) for Donegal in the general election called after the end of the Irish Civil War. He goes on hunger strike for forty-one days in late 1923 and succeeds in escaping from the Curragh in March 1924. In June 1924, while on the run, he marries Lile O’Donel, a wealthy Cumann na mBan activist who had smuggled communications for republican prisoners. O’Donel, a radical and member of the Communist Party, is the daughter of Ignatius O’Donel, a prominent landowner from Mayo. They have no children but raise their nephew, Peadar Joe, as their own son after the death in New York of O’Donnell’s brother Joe.
O’Donnell begins writing seriously while in jail and remains a prolific writer, journalist, and editor until the 1960s. His first novel, Storm, set in the Irish War of Independence, is published in 1925. One of his most highly regarded books, Islanders, is published in 1928. Adrigoole, like Islanders a story of poverty and starvation in rural Ireland, is published the following year. The Knife (1930) and On the Edge of the Stream (1934) soon follow. The most significant of his later novels is probably The Big Windows (1954). Foremost among his qualities as a writer is his empathy for the people, life, and landscape of rural Ireland. But his novels have been criticised for their slow pace, excessive detail, and didactic nature. He claims his writing is incidental to his political activism. His trilogy of autobiographical non-fiction, The Gates flew Open (1932), Salud! An Irishman in Spain (1936), and There Will Be Another Day (1963), which respectively concern the Irish Civil War, his activism during the Spanish Civil War, and his role in the land annuities agitation, remain highly regarded. His other important literary achievement is with The Bell, an innovative literary and political magazine which plays a useful dissenting role in an insular and conservative period. He founds The Bell with the writer Seán Ó Faoláin in 1940 and edits it from 1946 until it ceases publication in 1954.
O’Donnell exercises an influential role in the interwar IRA, particularly through his editorship of An Phoblacht (1926–29), which he attempts to divert from militarism to socialist agitation. His ultimate aim is for a thirty-two-county socialist republic. His most successful campaign is organising small farmers against the payment of land annuities to the government in the late 1920s and early 1930s. This campaign is later adopted by Fianna Fáil and contributes to their electoral success in 1932. He is less successful in radicalising the IRA. After the failure of Saor Éire, a left-wing IRA front which provokes clerical and popular hostility against the IRA, increasing tensions between the IRA’s left-wing and the leadership lead O’Donnell, along with Frank Ryan and George Gilmore, to split from the IRA to establish the short-lived Republican Congress in 1934.
Although O’Donnell claims he was never a Communist Party member, he plays a central role in forging links between republicans and the revolutionary left both in Ireland and internationally, and invariably supports the communist party line at critical junctures. After the failure of Republican Congress, he takes up the cause of the Spanish republic. His championing of unpopular causes such as communism and Spain entail a good deal of frustration. He is physically attacked at political meetings and in 1932, despite having never visited the Soviet Union, loses a high-profile libel action against the Dominican Irish Rosary, which claim he had studied in Moscow‘s Lenin College. He is banned from entering the United States for several decades, although he maintains: “My relations with all the great powers continue to be friendly.”
O’Donnell continues to support radical campaigns until his death. He is an outspoken advocate of Irish emigrants. He is prominent in the Irish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and serves as its president in the early 1960s. He is a leading protester against the Vietnam War and a supporter of African anti-colonial movements such as that against apartheid. In later years he is involved in the “Save the west” campaign, highlighting the problems of the west of Ireland.
After several months of ill-health following a heart attack, O’Donnell dies in Dublin, aged 93, on May 13, 1986. He leaves instructions that there are to be “no priests, no politicians and no pomp” at his funeral, and those wishes are granted. He is cremated in Glasnevin Cemetery and his ashes are buried at his wife’s home in Swinford, County Mayo. Although he once remarked that every cause he fought for was a failure, he is now regarded as one of the most influential socialist republican theorists and an important voice of dissent in twentieth-century Ireland.
(From: “O’Donnell, Peadar” by Fearghal McGarry, Dictionary of Irish Biography, http://www.dib.ie)
As a solicitor, Lehane takes to defending members of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the Irish Courts. In 1927 he obtains permission for IRA prisoners to speak privately to their solicitors from the Irish High Court. He is active in other republican and nationalist circles. He is a member of the Moibhí Branch of Conradh na Gaeilge, and by the 1930s appears to become active in the IRA itself. In 1931 he is involved in Saor Éire, an attempt by the Irish left-wing to create a communist political party that would be linked to the IRA.
Lehane is a member of the IRA’s arms committee and in 1935 he is sentenced to 18-months’ imprisonment by the Military Tribunal for his membership of the IRA.
Lehane is an actor and has a keen interest in Irish language theatre. A committed Irish speaker, Lehane is at home in it, whether on radio, stage or in street conversation. He is one of the leading actors of the Irish Language Theatre Company between 1943 and 1958. He is a member of Dublin City Council and of the Citizens for Civil Liberties committee.
Boland is the son of Irish Republican Brotherhood member James Boland and Kate Woods. He was active in GAA circles in early life, and referees the 1914 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final. He joins the IRB at the same time as his older brother Gerald in 1904, following in the footsteps of his father, uncle and probably grandfather. He is educated at the Synge Street CBS, but hads a personality clash with one of the brothers so he refuses to carry on his attendance at the school. He then goes to De la Salle College, County Laois, as a novice.
In the 1922 Irish general election, Boland is re-elected to the Dáil representing Mayo South–Roscommon South. Six weeks later, on July 31, he is shot by soldiers of the National Army when they attempt to arrest him at the Skerries Grand Hotel. Two officers enter his room and, although unarmed, he is shot and mortally wounded during a struggle.
Boland’s death affects Collins and possibly spurs him toward peace negotiations with Éamon de Valera.
Boland’s brother, Gerald Boland, is a prominent member of Fianna Fáil and later serves as Minister for Justice. His nephew, Kevin Boland, serves as a Minister until he resigns in solidarity with the two ministers, Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney, who are sacked from the government in May 1970 during the Arms Crisis. Kevin Boland’s resignation from Fianna Fáil and the subsequent loss of his seat marks the end of an era for the Boland political dynasty.
In the 1991 TV movie The Treaty, Boland is portrayed by Malcolm Douglas. In the 1996 film Michael Collins, he is portrayed by American actor Aidan Quinn. The film is criticised for fictionalising both Boland’s death and Collins’ life.
Since 2012, Daly has formed a close political association with Mick Wallace. After Wallace is condemned by left-wing TDs following the revelation his building company had avoided €2.1 million in taxes, she resigns from the Socialist Party in August 2012 in protest and redesignates herself as a United Left Alliance TD, before switching party again in 2015 to her current party, Independents 4 Change.
At the 2019 European Parliament elections, Daly is elected for the Dublin constituency. Since becoming an MEP, she has gained international attention for her foreign policy views, particularly regarding Russia and China, which have been the subject of controversy and criticism.
A report by The Irish Times in April 2022 describes Daly and Wallace’s media profile in China, and discusses how since January 2021, Daly has been featured in more Chinese-language news articles than any other Irish person, while Wallace has the second most Chinese-language news articles. In April 2022, Daly and Wallace initiate defamation proceedings against RTÉ.
Hales is born John Hales, eldest child of five sons and four daughters of Robert Hales, a farmer, and Margaret (née Fitzgerald) Hales. He is educated at Ballinadee national school and Warner’s Lane school, Bandon. After leaving school he goes to work on his father’s farm. He plays hurling with Valley Rovers GAA club and is the Munster champion in the 56-lb. weight-throwing competition. From an early age he follows in his father’s footsteps and becomes involved in the republican movement.
Hales joins the Irish Volunteers in 1915 and becomes captain of the Ballinadee company in 1916. Arrested under the Defence of the Realm Act after the 1916 Easter Rising, he is imprisoned in Frongoch internment camp in Wales. After his release, in April 1917 he becomes executive of the short-lived Liberty League promoted by Count George Plunkett. When the League merges with Sinn Féin, he helps reorganise the Volunteers. With his brothers, Tom, William, and Donal, he continues his father’s fight on behalf of evicted tenants and becomes involved with the anti-British Bandon People’s Food Committee and the anti-landlord Unpurchased Tenants’ Association. He helps in the Sinn Féin takeover of The Southern Star newspaper and is a member of the new board of directors. In 1919 he becomes battalion commander of the first (Bandon) battalion 3rd Cork Brigade of the Irish Republican Army, the name by which the Irish Volunteers increasingly became known. He leads the attack on TimoleagueRoyal Irish Constabulary (RIC) barracks in February 1920, and the ambush of an Essex Regiment patrol at Brinny in August 1920. The military patrol at Brinny manages to surprise the ambushers and Lieutenant Tim Fitzgerald of Bandon is the first Volunteer to be killed in action in west Cork. Hales then commands the assault on two truckloads of British troops at Newcestown Cross in which a British officer is killed and several soldiers are wounded.
Hales is appointed section commander of the west Cork flying column in 1920 and takes part in the major action at Crossbarry on March 19, 1921. In retaliation for the burning of the Hales home in March 1921, he leads a contingent of Volunteers and burns Castle Bernard, the residence of the Earl of Bandon. The occupant, Lord Bandon, is held hostage until General Strickland, the British OC in Cork, guarantees he will not execute Volunteers in Cork prison. The British authorities yield and there is an end to the policy of executing prisoners of war in the Cork area.
On December 7, 1922, Hales is killed by anti-Treaty IRA men as he leaves the Dáil. Another TD, Pádraic Ó Máille, is also shot and badly wounded in the incident. His killing is in reprisal for the Free State’s execution of anti-treaty prisoners. In revenge for Hales’ killing, four republican leaders, Joe McKelvey, Rory O’Connor, Liam Mellows and Richard Barrett, are executed the following day, December 8, 1922.
Hales is given a military funeral to the family burial place at St. Patrick’s cemetery, Bandon.
According to information passed on to playwrightUlick O’Connor, an anti-Treaty IRA volunteer named Owen Donnelly of Glasnevin is responsible for the killing of Hales. Seán Caffrey, an anti-treaty intelligence officer told O’Connor that Donnelly had not been ordered to kill Hales specifically but was following the general order issued by Liam Lynch to shoot all deputies and senators they could who had voted for the Public Safety Act (September 28, 1922) which established military courts with the power to impose the death penalty.
A commemorative statue of Hayes is unveiled at Bank Place in Bandon in 1930.
Byrne is born on March 17, 1882, the second of seven children born to Thomas Byrne, an engineer, and Fanny Dowman. His childhood home is at 36 Seville Place, a terraced house with five rooms just off the North Strand in Dublin. He drops out of school at the age of thirteen and is soon juggling jobs as a grocer’s assistant and a bicycle mechanic. Eventually he uses his savings to buy a pub on Talbot Street. He marries Elizabeth Heagney in 1910.
Byrne is elected as an Independent TD supporting the Anglo-Irish Treaty for the Dublin Mid constituency at the general election to the Third Dáil in 1922. From 1923 to 1928 he represents Dublin City North. In 1928 he is elected for a six-year term as a member of Seanad Éireann. He vacates his Dáil seat on December 4, 1928. He resigns from the Seanad on December 10, 1931, and returns to the Dáil in 1932. He remains a TD until his death in 1956, representing Dublin City North (1932–37) and Dublin North-East (1937–56). In several elections he secures more votes than any other politician in the country.
Byrne is elected as Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1930, serving in the post for nine consecutive years. When cycling or walking around the city he dispenses lollipops to children, who are often seen chasing him down the street. With a handshake and a few words for all, his eternal canvassing soon earns him the first of his nicknames: the Shaking Hand of Dublin. Married with eight children, he treats the people of Dublin as his second family. Every morning he finds up to fifty people waiting for him in the Mansion House. None have appointments. All are met. He answers 15,000 letters in his first year as Lord Mayor. Many are from Dubliners looking for a job, a house, some advice or a reference. One morning in 1931 a journalist watches the Lord Mayor attend to his correspondence. Within an hour he accepts “seventeen invitations to public dinners, one invitation to a public entertainment and eight invitations to public functions.” Then he dictates forty-three sympathetic letters to men and women looking for employment.
In 1937, children between the ages of eight and eleven years old are being sentenced to spend up to five years in Industrial Schools. Their crime is stealing a few apples from an orchard. When Byrne says such sentences are “savage,” a judge responds with a defence of the Industrial School system, urging an end to “ridiculous Mansion House mummery.” He stands firm: “For the punishment of trifling offences the home of the children is better than any institution.” In 1938, he is favoured by the press for the presidency of Ireland, a ceremonial role created in the new Constitution, but he is outgunned by the political establishment.
When, in 1935, Byrne becomes the first Lord Mayor of Dublin to visit North America in 40 years, he is granted the freedom of Toronto, and The New York Times hails the arrival of a “champion showman.” He often extends a hand of friendship to Britain. He also improves relations between Dublin, until recently the centre of British authority, and the rest of the country. One night Dublin Fire Brigade gets an urgent call for assistance from Clones, County Monaghan. As Lord Mayor, he feels obliged to join the men on top of the fire engine as they set off on the 85-mile journey in the middle of the night.
In August 1936, Byrne addresses the inaugural meeting of the anti-communistIrish Christian Front, some of whose members later express anti-Semitic views. In 1938, as Lord Mayor, he presents a gift of a replica of the Ardagh Chalice to Italian naval cadets visiting Dublin on board two warships, who had been welcomed by the Irish government despite the protests of Dubliners. A photograph exists of Byrne giving a fascist salute along with Eoin O’Duffy, commander of the Blueshirts, around 1933.
In 1954, Byrne is elected as Lord Mayor for a record tenth time. This time he does not live in the Mansion House, but stays in Rathmines with his family, taking the bus to work each morning. He is just as devoted to the job. When flooding damages 20,000 houses in Fairview and North Strand, he rises from his sick bed to organise a relief fund. His final term as Lord Mayor comes to an end in 1955. Shortly afterwards, Trinity College Dublin awards him an honorary Doctorate of Law, describing him as a “champion of the poor and needy, and a friend of all men.”
Byrne dies on March 13, 1956. His funeral is the largest seen in Dublin for many years. The Evening Herald reports that “Traffic in O’Connell Street was held up for almost 20 minutes to allow the cortege of over 150 motor cars to pass, and at all the junctions along the route to Glasnevin people silently gathered to pay tribute to one of Dublin’s most famous sons.” The members of the Dáil stand and observe a short silence as a mark of respect. A telegram is sent to his widow from the Mayor of New York City, Robert F. Wagner Jr., expressing deepest sympathy, and stating “that Ald. Byrne had attained high office of Lord Mayor many times, but he never lost contact with the poor and the underprivileged, whose champion he was.”
At the 1992 Irish general election Briscoe is involved in a marathon recount battle with Democratic Left‘s Eric Byrne to decide the fate of the final seat in Dublin South-Central. He is declared the victor after ten days of re-counting and re-checking ballot papers, leading to him describing the long count as being like “the agony and the ex-TD.”
Briscoe is sometimes critical of the leader of Fianna Fáil in the 1980s, once describing Charles Haughey‘s leadership as a “Fascist Dictatorship.” He fronts a quietly discontented anti-Haughey faction within the Parliamentary Party, which includes Charlie McCreevy, during Haughey’s time as Taoiseach.
In 1988–1989 Briscoe is Lord Mayor of Dublin, a post previously held by his father. His term covers the second half of Dublin’s Millennium Year 1988. After the Dublin City Council makes him Lord Mayor, he describes his selection for the honour as “one of the proudest moments of my life.”
The Molly Malone statue, previously at the bottom end of Grafton Street and now outside the Dublin Tourist Information Office around the corner, is unveiled by Briscoe during the Dublin Millennium celebrations in 1988, and he declares June 13 as Molly Malone Day in Dublin.
Briscoe is one of Ireland’s most famous Jewish politicians. The small Irish Jewish community have been enthusiastic and active participants in the country’s political and legal world. His father is one of several Jews involved in the Irish War of Independence and Sinn Féin movements. In his time, each of the three main political parties have a Jewish member in Ireland’s 166-member Dáil.
Bowman works mostly as a freelance journalist. He co-presents a radio show, The Rude Awakening, on Dublin’s FM104 with Scott Williams, George Hellis and Margaret Callanan for two years between 1993 and 1994 before joining the Sunday Independent newspaper as a columnist. He later presents television programmes on RTÉ, such as the quiz show Dodge the Question.
Bowman dies in a fall at his home on Fitzgerald Street in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, on March 6, 2000. He is found lying in the kitchen near the foot of the stairs. His death is believed to be the result of a fall down the stairs or from a stool, which is found nearby.
TaoiseachBertie Ahern says that he is deeply saddened on learning the news of Bowman’s death. His thoughts and prayers he says are with his family at this very sad time.
The leader of the Labour Party, Ruairí QuinnTD, expresses his shock and sadness on hearing of the death. He says that Bowman was without doubt one of the bright lights of Irish journalism. He extends his deepest sympathies to Bowman’s son, Saul, and to his parents John and Eimer.
The Fine Gael leader, John Bruton, says that few people he knew brought a smile to the face of anyone they met more readily. He says that his infectious good humour and iconoclastic attitude to life conveyed itself to all with whom he came into contact. He adds that Bowman will be missed for many years to come.
The editor of the Sunday Independent, Aengus Fanning, says that Bowman was one of the most brilliant journalists of his generation.
Bowman is survived by his parents, his sister Emma, his brothers Abie and Daniel and his only son Saul Philbin Bowman.
The Solomons come to Ireland from England in 1824. Solomons is the son of Maurice Solomons (1832–1922), an optician whose practice is mentioned in James Joyce‘s Ulysses. His grandmother, Rosa Jacobs Solomons (1833–1926), is born in Hull in England. His elder brother Edwin (1879–1964) is a stockbroker and prominent member of the Dublin Jewish community. His sister Estella Solomons (1882–1968) is a leading artist, and a member of Cumann na mBan during the 1916 Easter Rising. She marries poet and publisher Seumas O’Sullivan. His younger sister Sophie is a trained opera singer.
Solomons attends St. Andrew’s College, Dublin, where he is very interested in rugby. He earns ten international rugby caps for Ireland between 1908 and 1910. He studies medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, becomes a medical doctor, and is Master of the Rotunda Hospital in Dublin from 1926 to 1933, surprising those who felt that a Jew would never hold the post. When his term ends in 1933, his name is intimately linked with that of the hospital when James Joyce writes in Finnegans Wake, “in my bethel of Solyman’s I accouched my rotundaties.” He serves as president of the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland (RCPI) in the late 1940s and practices from No. 30 Lower Baggot Street.
In a biography of Solomons he is described as “World famous obstetrician & gynaecologist, Rugby international, horseman, leader of Liberal Jewry & of Irish literary & artistic renaissance.”
Solomons is a friend of the founder of Sinn Féin and TD, Arthur Griffith. He contributes to the purchase of a house for Griffith. He is a founding member and the first president of the Liberal Synagogue in Dublin. He establishes a dispensary for Jewish women with Ada Shillman. In retirement he is inspector of qualifying examinations and visitor of medical schools in midwifery for the general medical council. A volume of memoirs is published in 1956. He is an art collector, including the works of Jean Cooke.
Solomons dies on September 11, 1965, at his home, Laughton Beg, Rochestown Avenue, Dún Laoghaire. The Bethel Solomons medal is awarded annually to an outstanding student in midwifery at the hospital.