Forgotten revolution: the Limerick Soviet 1919

Published in Issue 2 (March/April 2020), Letters, Volume 28

Sir,—I was pleased to see a review of the centenary edition of my book in the last issue (HI 28.1, Jan./Feb. 2020). However, my pleasure was diminished by two errors of fact that may have influenced the reviewer’s approach.

Referring to the role of the IRB, the reviewer states: ‘The only definite evidence that its leadership intervened (unmentioned by Cahill) is Richard Mulcahy’s, that he inspired Johnson with the idea of evacuating Limerick city …’. On p. 86 I specifically mention the Dáil cabinet’s despatch of Mulcahy to Limerick ‘to supervise the situation on its behalf’, and I reference his clandestine visit to the city and his meetings with Commandant Michael Brennan, O/C East Clare Brigade, IRA, a leading IRB member. I further refer to Mulcahy’s proposal to end the Soviet by a protest evacuation of women and children from Limerick, along similar lines to one made by the Irish Labour Party and Trade Union Congress. Later in the book, I discuss in detail the efforts by the IRA/IRB in County Limerick to prepare for such an evacuation.

While I hold no brief for the Irish Times, it is incorrect to state that in the centenary year it ‘ignored it [the Limerick Soviet] totally’. In its supplement 1919 War and Peace (21 Jan. 2019), there is an extensive illustrated article by Patrick Smyth (pp 26–7). On 15 October 2019, in another supplement, The Revolution Files, there is an article on p. 20 by Ronan McGreevy.—Yours etc.,

LIAM CAHILL

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