Lessons for all on the battle for workers rights

02 May 2019

Sheila Nunan launches Dr Liam Cahill’s book Forgotten Revolution.
Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Ireland South European election candidate Sheila Nunan, was in Limerick City Library last night to launch Dr Liam Cahill’s book Forgotten Revolution. Speaking at the event Ms Nunan said:

“I am honoured to be here in Limerick to launch Dr Liam Cahill’s book Forgotten Revolution, an updated version of his fascinating book relaunched to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Limerick Soviet of 1919 when the might of the British Empire was challenged by a 14,000 strong worker-led protest.”

Sheila is the current president of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, representing over 800,000 union members islandwide. She has been a trade union activist throughout her career, serving as general secretary of the Irish National Teachers’ Organisation for the past decade. Speaking at the event Ms Nunan continued:

“I wish to congratulate Liam on his account of this hugely significant event which took place in Limerick 100 years ago. During this decade of commemorations we have traced the significant role of the trade union movement, from the lock out of 1913, to the the role of James Connelly in the 1916 Rising, onto the 1918 general strike against conscription; all leading to the 1919 Limerick Soviet.”

“This decade of commemorations has given us a much more in-depth and nuanced account of the tapestry of events leading up-to the foundation of the state. There are many particular factors to which we can point that might explain why the Labour Party and social democracy more generally did not gain politically from this commitment to communitarianism. The decision by the party to opt out of the 1918 general election is often seen as a pivotal moment in the development of what is referred to as the two-and-a-half-party system. There is an important legacy to tease out in terms of the Irish political system and our social perspective. In the context of our EU membership, we see that Irish governments, comprising a range of political parties and even where the Labour Party is not involved, have adhered very strongly to the social market model.”

“The relaunch of this book could not be more timely, in an increasingly unpredictable Europe we need strong Labour values at the centre of policy making. The legacy of the Limerick Soviet continued through the decades. Trade unions continue to play a pivotal role in campaigning and improving the lives of workers.

“In post-recession Ireland the struggle for workers continues, we must ensure proper collective bargaining takes place. I believe very strongly that the EU can do better. It is clear that we need a better balance between workers and the needs of the market. If elected at the end of May I will continue this great tradition, I will stand up for the ordinary people of Limerick.”



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