Pádraic Mac Coitir ✒ I can't remember exactly when I became aware of the Spanish Civil War but it was years ago. I'd read bits and pieces about IRA volunteers who became very disillusioned with the conservatives in the movement and many of them left.


In 1986 whilst on remand in Crumlin Road gaol I was lucky enough to get a copy of a book on Charlie Donnelly sent in to me - lucky because the screws were so petty and censored books, newspapers and our letters.

I got to read more about Charlie Donnelly and others when more books became available to us in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

When I was released in 1996 I'd go to talks and lectures and was lucky to have met Michael O'Riordan and Bob Doyle, two men who fought against the fascists and although old they encouraged me and others to keep up the struggle against fascists and counter-revolutionaries here in Ireland and other countries.


About ten years ago I went to Madrid with other Irish Republicans where a cairn was built on the site of one of the most famous battles, Jarama. The cairn was made of stone from each of the 32 counties and one from Jarama. A great crowd made up of Irish people and Spaniards attended and amongst them were men and women imprisoned by the fascists during the Civil War.

Eddie O'Neill and a number of Irish people founded the Friends of Charlie Donnelly which later became The Friends of the International Brigades of Ireland(FIBI).

On Sunday they organised a walk from Omeath To Sliabh Fea which was attended by a very good crowd of people from political groups and none. I met some I hadn't seen in years and the atmosphere was great as we walked the four mile along the banks of Carlingford Lough and up a very steep path to the cairn which was built six years ago in memory of the men who fought and died in Spain.

We were treated to great food such as paella, ham, chorizo, peppers olives and fresh cream buns. As we stood about eating and talking a woman played lovely tunes on the bagpipes.

Proceedings then finished with a lovely tribute to Eddie O'Neill who died a few months ago.

The Spanish Civil War was a defining moment and although it took place in the 1930s it's important we don't just talk about those who fought against fascism. The struggle goes on to make Ireland, and indeed the rest of the world, a better place. Join that struggle and keep alive the memory of all those who died to make the world a better place.

Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

Spanish Civil War ➖ Omeath To Sliabh Fea

Pádraic Mac Coitir ✒ I can't remember exactly when I became aware of the Spanish Civil War but it was years ago. I'd read bits and pieces about IRA volunteers who became very disillusioned with the conservatives in the movement and many of them left.


In 1986 whilst on remand in Crumlin Road gaol I was lucky enough to get a copy of a book on Charlie Donnelly sent in to me - lucky because the screws were so petty and censored books, newspapers and our letters.

I got to read more about Charlie Donnelly and others when more books became available to us in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

When I was released in 1996 I'd go to talks and lectures and was lucky to have met Michael O'Riordan and Bob Doyle, two men who fought against the fascists and although old they encouraged me and others to keep up the struggle against fascists and counter-revolutionaries here in Ireland and other countries.


About ten years ago I went to Madrid with other Irish Republicans where a cairn was built on the site of one of the most famous battles, Jarama. The cairn was made of stone from each of the 32 counties and one from Jarama. A great crowd made up of Irish people and Spaniards attended and amongst them were men and women imprisoned by the fascists during the Civil War.

Eddie O'Neill and a number of Irish people founded the Friends of Charlie Donnelly which later became The Friends of the International Brigades of Ireland(FIBI).

On Sunday they organised a walk from Omeath To Sliabh Fea which was attended by a very good crowd of people from political groups and none. I met some I hadn't seen in years and the atmosphere was great as we walked the four mile along the banks of Carlingford Lough and up a very steep path to the cairn which was built six years ago in memory of the men who fought and died in Spain.

We were treated to great food such as paella, ham, chorizo, peppers olives and fresh cream buns. As we stood about eating and talking a woman played lovely tunes on the bagpipes.

Proceedings then finished with a lovely tribute to Eddie O'Neill who died a few months ago.

The Spanish Civil War was a defining moment and although it took place in the 1930s it's important we don't just talk about those who fought against fascism. The struggle goes on to make Ireland, and indeed the rest of the world, a better place. Join that struggle and keep alive the memory of all those who died to make the world a better place.

Padraic Mac Coitir is a former republican
prisoner and current political activist.

6 comments:

  1. Matt Treacy Comments

    Ireland must be one of the few countries left where there is unthinking adoration of the International Brigades.

    They were established by Comintern to promote Soviet interests in Spain. Russians stole the fkn national reserve!

    Apart from that much of the activity behind the lines was the NKVD murdering other leftists. Including the leader of Trotskyist POUM Nin who was apparently flayed alive.

    None of this ought to be news since Felix Morrow, Orwell and others including evidence from archives. You will also find no reference among the devotees of Stalin about Goold-Verschoyle who was abducted from Barcelona and murdered by NKVD. Nor of the other Irish men, murdered by the Stalinists.

    The IRA leadership by the way was not "conservative". Read the Governmental Programme of the 1930s. They were opposed to Communist Party infiltration as they also were in 1960s. Nothing to do with ideology.

    Ryan was a witting or unwitting agent in that infiltration and a split that led to the Congress sect. His popularity and that of far left is indicated by fact that he got something like 850 votes in an election while he was a prisoner in Spain.

    The wallowing in these myths is really not healthy you know!

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  2. It's no myth that over 35,000 volunteers from 61 countries fought fascim in Spain.
    I'd say remembering them is healthier than donning a blue shirt.

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  3. Unknown - if your comment is for publication please sign off on it. TPQ does not carry comments by "Unknown"

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  4. Many from the PUL community also went to fight with the IB.

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    Replies
    1. Those men that you speak of Peter to their credit did go too.
      I hold them also in the same esteem as I hold all the 'Internationalist Brigadiers'

      Previously ...
      "In June 1934, for the first time, a contingent of workers numbering about 500 travelled from the Shankill and Ballymacarret areas of Belfast in a fleet of coaches to take part in the annual Wolfe Tine commemoration in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare. On arrival in Dublin they went to Arbour hill to lay wreaths on Connolly's grave, and then travelled to Bodenstown to take part in the parade, behind their banners reading 'Wolfe Tone Commemoration 1934 - Shankill Road branch - Break the Connection with Capitalism' and 'James Connolly Club, Belfast - United Irishmen of 1934.' One of the men who carried the latter banner, Jim Straney, died crossing the Ebro, the last major offensive of the Republican forces in Spain in 1939 [1938].

      The Congress branches left the assembly field at Sallins as part of the huge parade, but when our Belfast friends tried to follow us, their path was barred by a cordon of the IRA with orders to prevent them from leaving unless they agreed to keep their banners furled. This the Belfast men refused to do, but charged the cordon and fought their way through to join the Republican Congress contingent numbering several thousand and march with them through Sallins village behind the Workers Union of Ireland band playing 'The Red Flag.'

      The cemetery, however, was well guarded by the Tipperary Brigade. To avoid an unseemly outcome, the wreaths were laid on the roadside, and we withdrew to Sallins. The Irish Times commented next day on the irony of Ulster Protestants being prevented by Tipperary Catholics from honouring Wolfe Tone."

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    2. Matt Treacy reclaims his Tipperary roots!

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