Liam O’Flaherty’s 1922 manifesto

Published in Issue 3 (May/June 2014), Letters, Volume 22

Sir,—The Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society is searching for the manifesto issued by a 120-strong group of unemployed who seized the concert hall at the Rotunda (today’s Gate Theatre) in an effort to highlight the apathy of the authorities towards unemployment in the newly founded Irish Free State, 19–22 January 1922. This manifesto was drawn up by the writer Liam O’Flaherty, who was chairman of the Council of the Unemployed at that time and leader of this action. This ‘Manifesto to the Citizens of Dublin’, printed as a poster and pasted up around Dublin, called on all citizens to contribute to the maintenance fund for the unemployed, and demanded in particular that ‘the business men and manufacturers contribute to the fullest limit of their means’. Despite the many copies of this manifesto that circulated in Dublin at the time, we have so far been unable to locate one, which, if found, would be Liam O’Flaherty’s first published written work. We are convinced that copies of the manifesto must still survive in people’s homes and as family heirlooms. We appeal to you to take a look and help us in our quest to rescue one of these for posterity. O’Flaherty never abandoned his interest in the situation of the unemployed. In 1931 he published a Swiftian satire, A Cure for Unemployment, which has just been reprinted, over 80 years later, and was launched at Connolly Books on St Patrick’s Day 2014.—Yours etc.,

JENNY FARRELL
Liam and Tom O’Flaherty Society
Ballynacloghy
Maree
Oranmore
Co. Galway

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