Irish anarchist interviewed about the 1970s and 80s (part 1)

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Belfast Anarchist banner at a Peoples Democracy march (1969?)

Belfast Anarchist banner at a Peoples Democracy march (1969?)

As a teenager Alan MacSimoin joined the Official Republican Movement but soon moved towards anarchism, later being a founder member of the Workers Solidarity Movement.

In this interview filmed in October 2014 he talks about republican debates about militarism and mass politics, the Northern Ireland civil rights movement, the Peoples Democracy march from Belfast to Dublin, the successful anti-nuclear campaign of the late 1970s and the Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strike of the mid-1980s.

The man beside Alan on the picket at Dunnes Stores in Dublin's Henry Street is fellow WSM member Eddie Conlon,  later Honorary Secretary of the Teachers Union of Ireland.

The man beside Alan is fellow WSM member Eddie Conlon, later Honorary Secretary of the Teachers Union of Ireland.

The interview was conducted by the Irish Republican and Marxist History Project, and is at


Spanish anarchists, burning churches & George Orwell (1986)

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New Hibernia 1986click here to download

In October 1986, the above appeared in New Hibernia magazine.  Written by well known Cork anarchist Kevin Doyle, it was in reply to a letter from another Corkman, Matt J Doolan.

Doolan was a Blueshirt who had fought for Franco, with O’Duffy’s Irish Brigade, in the Spanish Civil War.  His letter can be read here.

Anarchist v. Blueshirt in Cork Examiner (1985)


In the summer of 1985 readers of the daily Cork Examiner saw a debate between Kevin Doyle of the Workers Solidarity Movement and Matt Doolan, a regular guest on RTE’s The Late Late Show.  (Unknown to most RTE viewers, Doolan had been a prominent member of the Blueshirt fascist movement in the 1930s.)

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The reference to Ballinspittle in Doyle’s second letter refers to the hysteria which swept through the little rural Cork village that year when dozens of Catholics claimed to have seen a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary moving spontaneously (though never in front of a camera!)

Cork Anarchist Workers Group (1984)

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Cork Anarchist Workers Group on a 10,000+ protest march in Dublin when US President Ronald Reagan visited in the summer of 1984.

Letters from An Phoblacht/Republican News (1980 & 1996)

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An Phoblacht/Republican News, the weekly paper of Sinn Féin, was Ireland’s biggest selling radical publication throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Twice it published letters about the misuse of the word ‘anarchist’. The first cutting, from May 31st 1980, has two letters taking them to task for talking of “terrorist anarchists”. One of the writers, Cathal McLoughlin, had been a member of the Belfast Anarchist Collective. We have no information about the other writer, Neill Roberts.

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The second cutting, from October 31st 1996, sees the Workers Solidarity Movement complain about AP/RN “turning the word ‘anarchy’ on its head to denote chaos and disorder”.

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This is followed a couple of weeks later by a letter from an anonymous member of Red Action accusing anarchists of being “due to their anti-patriotic nature, reactionary in character” and “counter-revolutionary”.

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Anarchist Workers Alliance expose fascist meeting (April 1981)

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A 1981 press statement from the Anarchist Workers Alliance about a fascist meeting in Dublin’s Gresham Hotel. This small meeting was attended by a few AWA members, who kept asking embarrassing questions about the fascist connections of the invited speakers. The result was that the audience scurried off and the organisers gained nothing, not even a few addresses to add to their contact list.

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The hosts were the Christian Community Centre, a group of about 50 mainly elderly fundamentalist Catholics led by TCG O’Mahony, a solicitor whose offices at 22 Merrion Square also served as the CC Centre. This group appeared in the early 1970s and was last seen during the 1997 Presidential election when the Irish Independent reported (17/08/1997)

“Among Dana’s backers is the curious figure of TCG O’Mahony, an elderly Dublin solicitor, who has urged a “national prayer crusade” to get her elected.  He is targeting 37 Fianna Fail and 23 Fine Gael parliamentarians, hoping optimistically that they might nominate her.

Mr O’Mahony is best known for a bizarre row in Dublin courts over his attempts to erect a basilica for rosary prayers to the Virgin Mary in the middle of O’Connell St.  When he lost he carried on the worship over a loudspeaker while driving up and down O’Connell St with the Virgin Mary statue strapped to the roof of his pink Mercedes.”

In the 1982 general election O’Mahony stood in Dublin North Central, getting a mere 214 votes (0.5%).

On another occasion they tried to take over the assembly point for the Dublin Council of Trade Unions May Day march, parking a van at the Garden of Remembrance and blaring out very loud hymns on a PA system. After about 10 minutes some anarchists and Trotskyists disconnected their PA and sent them on their way.

O’Mahony also operated a pirate radio station, CC Radio, from his offices. This was on air for a year or two in the early 1980s and it’s output consisted of religious music, tapes from American extreme conservatives and monologues from O’Mahony himself railing against abortion, divorce, contraception, Vatican II, socialism, liberalism and secularism. It was finally closed down by the Department of Posts & Telegraphs after repeated complaints of interference.

They were a bit like Youth Defence, but without the violence or the youth.