Saturday, 13 February 2010

MacGiolla’s Guerrillas

I read with interest Johnny Guitar’s post last week on the death of Tomás MacGiolla, of the Workers’ Party, formerly known as Sinn Fein The Workers’ Party, and before that, Official Sinn Fein, &c. His headline was “A greatly underestimated figure”, though there are reservations, particularly in the comments.

My own view of the Workers’ Party was no doubt coloured by having their man in Galway as my science teacher. I can attest that the candidate had a strong belief in independent study, and took a keen interest in current affairs, reading The Irish Times from cover to cover in class while telling us to get on with our work and leave him in peace.

A couple of years after completing this uneducation, I did a drawing of my science teacher’s party leader as part of a batch of 1987 election campaign caricatures for the Irish Independent. Due to events described earlier, it wasn’t published by them, and instead appeared later that year in In Dublin magazine, illustrating a detailed article by Derek Dunne on MacGiolla, the Workers’ Party, and the Official IRA. Click away:

The grand design work on these pages was of course by the one and only Syd Bluett.


Aongus Collins said...

Great drawing of a rather unpleasant man! You really captured his apparatchik essence.

It brings back happy memories of In Dublin, and less happy memories of the Stickies, who I recall as apologists for the Brezhnev regime from the invasion of Czechoslovakia to the arrival of glasnost. It's no surprise that MacGiolla was eulogised by certain sections of the Irish media. Workers Party members successfully infiltrated RTE and The Irish Times in the 1970s/1980s, as two books published last year document:

The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and the Workers' Party by Brian Hanley and Scott Millar

In My Own Time by James Downey

One of their lesser offences.

I continue to be awed by your work: thanks for sharing it!

kellie said...

Thanks for that, Aongus! I had been thinking for a while of posting a few of your In Dublin drawings, that is if you wouldn't mind? There are some really excellent ones in the back issues that I still have.

Unknown said...

Kellie, I'd be hugely flattered if you posted some of my efforts. Please proceed!