Letter: The Life and Times of James Connolly

On Monday 11 March at 3 p.m. in the Luke Wadding Library in Waterford Institute of Technology, Prof. Anthony Coughlan will relaunch the classic biography of James Connolly by Desmond Greaves.

Prof. Coughlan is editor of the newly republished Connolly biography and is Greaves’s literary executor. He wrote the introduction to the new edition. The original edition was first published in 1961. His talk is entitled: “James Connolly and his Relevance Today.”

Greaves’s biography of Connolly is still the definitive account of his life, his work, and the evolution of his political thought. It was the last biography to be written by someone who could consult people who knew Connolly in his lifetime and had the co-operation of the Connolly family. Greaves established that Connolly had been born in Edinburgh, when it was generally thought he was from Co. Monaghan. Greaves also established that Connolly served in the British army as a young man.

Anthony Coughlan is associate professor emeritus in social policy at Trinity College, Dublin. He was involved in the 1960s civil rights movement and was an observer at the first civil rights marches in Northern Ireland. He took part in the Coalisland–Dungannon and Derry civil rights marches, which brought the situation of anti-Catholic discrimination under the old Stormont regime to world attention for the first time.

C. Desmond Greaves was one of the world’s leading labour historians. He was the author of Liam Mellows and the Irish Revolution, Seán O’Casey: Politics and Art, Wolfe Tone and the Irish Nation, and History of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union: The Formative Years, as well as books of verse.

Prof. Coughlan has opposed EU integration on democratic and internationalist grounds. He was involved in successive EU referendums over the years. He was also involved in the Crotty, McKenna and Coughlan cases before the Supreme Court on fair referendum procedures. He has acted and written widely on the euro currency and EU matters. He has added the word “Irexit” to the English language.

The lecture will be in the Luke Wadding Library. It will be about thirty minutes in length and will be followed by a general discussion and Q&A session. Admission is free of charge and is open to all.

Dan Taraghan