You are welcome to our
website. Here you will find information on a workers' event that put
Limerick in world headlines almost one hundred years ago. You will also
see reports on commemorations of the Limerick Soviet and notices of future commerations, meetings or workshops on this famous general, city wide,
At a time when the
political, business and financial gurus of our nation are proving, in the
most spectacular fashion, their inability to provide us with a
stable, sane and rational society, it is interesting to recall the time
when the workers of Limerick took control of the city and ran it so
effectively. Peoples' needs were put before profit and real democracy
flourished if only for a short while.
strike which precipitated the 'Soviet' was called in response to the
imposition of military rule by the British following the attempted rescue
at St. Camillus' Hospital and subsequent shooting of the IRA prisoner and
post office worker, Robert Byrne.
The funeral was attended by
tens of thousands of enraged mourners. In its aftermath, the British
forces attempted to prevent any movement in or out of the city and
military barricades were placed on Thomond and what is now named Sarsfield
Bridge. The city was under siege and food had to be smuggled across the
Shannon from County Clare. Hearses coming from the 'City Home' did not
always contain corpses! For two weeks Limerick became 'self ruled' like
Derry in the late sixties. The workers, through its organisations, ran
the city, printing its own money in the process. They sought support from
the national Labour and Republican Movements. As this did not
materialise, so an opportunity to change the course of Western European
history was lost!
For workers today the
Limerick Soviet of 1919 can be a cautionary tale and a rallying cry. Pass
on the word to all your friends, neighbours and fellow workers about this
website and give them the privilege and the right to be inspired by the
fighting spirit of the workers' movement in Limerick all those years ago.
A Strike Committee Proclamation
This and the following three images were
Mike McNamara, Limerick Council of Trade Unions
Funeral of Robert Byrne
T McDonnell, J Carr, J Coffey, M Ryan, M Bennis, D O'Reilly, M Gabbett.
Fourth row: F Whelan, M Daly, T Bourke, J Roberts, J McQuaine. Third row:
P O'Sullivan, W O'Brien, G Dunne, P Hehir, J Flynn, B Rea, L Kelliher, D
O'Loughlin, J Hogan, C Johnson, M Reddan, J O'Keeffe. Seated: D Griffin, R
P O'Connor, J Casey, J Cronin, A Walsh, J O'Connor, P Dowling. Front: J
Buckner, C Carey, Harold Brown, J Leahy.
About the Soviet
For a short video history of the
Limerick Soviet Click Here
Read The Story of the Limerick
by D.R. O'Connor Lysaght Click Here
Read Liam Cahill's account
of the Soviet Click Here