Forgotten Revolution, The Limerick Soviet 1919
by Liam Cahill
’Forgotten Revolution’ is a great achievement and an important book.
– Professor Diarmaid Ferriter, UCD.
This is Irish history told in a way you have never encountered before.
Written with the all pace and drama of a novel, it features a diverse cast of interesting and engaging people, caught up in the evolving drama of the War of Independence in 1919.
Characters like Robert Byrne, the IRA hunger striker whose violent death sparked an angry response; John Cronin who led 14,000 Limerick workers in a General Strike against the imposition of British military law; John Dowling, the radical trade union leader who turned Munster into a cauldron of red flags and soviets; the militant women workers in creameries, bakeries and mills; the Military Commandant, General Griffin, who tried to forestall the revolution; the Catholic Bishop and the Sinn Féin Mayor who manoeuvred to end the strike; national figures like Éamon de Valera, Michael Collins and Richard Mulcahy.
For two weeks, the workers’ committee – The Soviet – ruled Limerick. They controlled foodstuffs, prices, transport, printed their own newspaper and even their own currency. For a time, in April 1919, they posed a major threat to British power in Ireland.
Liam Cahill is the author of ‘From Suir to Jarama, Mossie Quinlan's Life and Legacy' (Orla Kelly Publishing, 2021) as well as ‘Forgotten Revolution, The Limerick Soviet 1919’ (O’Brien Press, 1990) and ‘Forgotten Revolution, The Limerick Soviet 1919 [Centenary Edition] (Orla Kelly Publishing, 2019). He is a lifelong trade unionist and has held many representative positions in the Labour movement from branch to national level. A former Industrial Reporter, Economics Correspondent and Political Correspondent with RTÉ, Ireland’s public broadcaster, he has worked as a public servant and as adviser in government, politics, the private sector and with campaign groups. He founded and, for many years, edited a popular web site ‘An Fear Rua – The GAA Unplugged!’ and is currently an active and influential presence for progressive values on social media. In 2017, he completed the Certificate in Creative Writing from Maynooth University.
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