Forgotten revolution: the Limerick Soviet 1919

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2020), Letters, Volume 28

Sir,—Liam Cahill’s points (HI 28.2, March/April 2020), correcting this writer’s review of his book on the Limerick Soviet, need a clear reply themselves.

Firstly, as to the criticism of the Irish Times’ coverage of the centenary, this applied to Ronan McGreevy’s January survey of the year 1919, which emphasised the relatively sparse military actions of that period but made no mention of the mobilisation of the citizens of Limerick. How far Patrick Smyth’s and McGreevy’s compensation for the omission in the paper’s supplements filled the initial gap can be argued. 

Secondly, Cahill misses the point about the review’s criticism of his handling of the republican attitude to the soviet. He implies that Mulcahy’s visit to Limerick was aimed at giving the strikers maximum support. From everything known about the IRB and Sinn Féin at the time, the motive was as much about controlling the struggle, to end it without too obvious a defeat. Certainly, the republican rank and file wanted victory; almost as certainly the Dáil cabinet, the IRB Supreme Council and the IRA Army Council feared that the soviet might get its national general strike that the new republican regime could not control. For the republican leadership the soviet had to remain a symbolic gesture. Happily for it, Labour’s national leadership had its own reasons for agreeing with this.—Yours etc.,



Copyright © 2024 History Publications Ltd, Unit 9, 78 Furze Road, Sandyford, Dublin 18, Ireland | Tel. +353-1-293 3568