Thursday, 5 March 2015


The leader of the Irish,
 who fought against the fascist General Franco in the Spanish Civil War was Frank Ryan,
P.16 LEAD Irish - FrankDocuments just released by the Moscow based organisation, Comintern, give a summary of the 230 Irish who fought with the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War, almost a third of whom died.

Researcher Emmet O’Connor, from the University of Ulster, says
Frank Ryan played a vital role within the International Brigades, after travelling to Spain in 1936, despite his crippling deafness.

“He had two important tasks: first, to help rebuild the battalions decimated after the Battle of Brunete in July 1937, and second, on his own initiative, to get as many Irishmen as possible repatriated if he felt that they had done enough.”

The Comintern library contains about 60 million pages of documents, the global scope of which creates a unique opportunity to study previously undiscovered details of the war.

They were very brave men and not a few women who served in nursing roles in the I/Bs. I remember hitching a lift one day in the late 60s’ from an ex I/B man... amazing tales told by a front line soldier. These I/B men knew how important it was to defeat the fascists, especially as it was not well known at the time that the elites in France and Britain were doing everything they could to ensure the Republic was destroyed and when this happened WW11 was the outcome....anon

One of the best books I’ve read on the subject is “Unlikely Warriors” by Richard Baxell. The Republic lacked arms because of the actions of the governments of France and the UK....anon

C(o)ill Cais

This is one of my favourite Irish songs and I feel it gives a good insight into the sense of loss, that many Irish people feel in their hearts, for the land that they love. The British knocked down all of the woods in ireland, to build ships for their piracy around the world. Ireland is beautiful but is barren in many respects and I often try to visualize it, covered in its native woodlands, rather than the coniferous plantings imported. The sense of loss is accentuated by the loss of its population in it's holocaust and endemic emigration, thereafter. It will take time to recover but I believe with patience, we will do it eventually.


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