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Up to 600 take to the streets of Dublin to say farewell to Bob Doyle

category international | rights, freedoms and repression | feature author Monday February 16, 2009 18:11author by anarchaeologist Report this post to the editors

featured image
The crowd outside Liberty Hall

Up to 600 people yesterday marched behind the ashes of Bob Doyle from the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square to a celebration of his life held in Liberty Hall.

A lone piper led a colour party from the Republican Movement and the Communist Party, followed by three generations of the Doyle family who had come over from London to attend the event.

Behind them marched several hundred people in a display of left unity and solidarity we will doubtless see more of on the streets of Dublin over the coming months. Groups attending the celebration included the main unions, Eirigí, the WSM, the IRSP and Dublin Sinn Féin. Banners were also carried by the International Brigades Memorial Trust and the Inistiogue George Brown Memorial Committee. Supporters of the Dublin branch of the Irish Basque Solidarity Campaign demonstrating outside the GPO dipped their flags as a mark of respect as the crowd passed by.

Two wreaths were laid at the plaque to the Irish volunteers of the International Brigades outside Liberty Hall and after a few brief speeches the assembled went inside where a large photograph of Bob sat over the book of condolences.

Harry Owens, Bob's great friend and comrade introduced Manus O'Riordan, son of the runner up in the competition to be the last surviving Irish Brigadista! Manus read from a letter the Irish Independent had refused to publish countering Kevin Myers' recent attack on Bob and his comrades. His sister Brenda played a slow air on the harp and Manus himself gave us a few bars of a song reflecting Bob's fight against fascism on land and on the sea.

Bob's son Robert quoted from his dad's great speech at Jarama in 2007, which posed the question as to whether his fallen comrades had died in vain. Here Bob had reiterated the fact that the forces that supported fascism in the '30s are still extant today and he stressed the importance of education, unity and civil disobedience. The struggle continued with Bob right until his death and will continue until we achieve peace, freedom and justice.

Other speakers included Ana Perez of the Asosiacion de Amigos de las Brigadas Internacionales, historian Seve Montero a friend of Bob's who leads civil war commemorations in Spain, Francie Molloy MLA representing the Charlie Donnelly Writers' Group from Dungannon and Tom Redmond of the Communist Party.

Eric Fleming, veteran trade unionist and possessor of a fine voice rounded off the afternoon with a rendition of the Internationale. Eric had been instrumental in the erection of the plaque back in 1991 and later on in the afternoon was to regale us with a few more songs of struggle and resistance.

Bob's family asked that a hat be put around for the Life and Hope Association of Gaza, a non-political grassroots aid organisation and at least €1000 was raised at the event.

Why is it necessary to commemorate people like Bob? Such commemorations do not glorify war or militarism; they serve rather to give us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the destruction brought on by war and those who profit from it. Bob and his comrades identified the danger posed by the combination of fascism and capital; they realised the necessity of meeting force with force. He was the last link to that radical generation of the '30s, the last time this country has faced an economic crisis of this magnitude. As capitalism lurches through this crisis we see those who have profited for so long continuing to prop it up, passing the buck to those who can least afford it.

Bob reminds us that things won't change until we achieve unity and a level of organisation which won't necessarily come from the unions or the political parties of the left. Bob was ultimately a believer in the power of mass civil disobedience and perhaps it is down this road we must now travel, for we are strong and we are everywhere.

¡La Lucha Continua!

The Doyle family
The Doyle family

author by Ciarán Ó Brolcháinpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:25author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Some video footage from Saturday's event. Here is Bob's procession making its way down O'Connell Street, and Ana Pérez and Marlene Sidaway addressing the crowd outside Liberty Hal.

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by Ciarán Ó Brolcháinpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 10:31author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Here is video of Bob Doyle's son, also Bob, reading the famous speech by his father, and Michael O'Riordan's daughter Brenda performing Carolan's Farewell to Music. Also, Manus O'Riordan addresses the crowd and responds to the vitriol of Kevin Myers.

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 17:25author email libertypics at yahoo dot ieauthor address author phone 00353 (0) 86 4048249Report this post to the editors

All pics copyright of Michael Gallagher except the portrait of Bob Doyle.

Nine images.






author by .publication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 17:27author address author phone Report this post to the editors






author by Ciarán Ó Brolcháinpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 17:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tom Redmond, then Francie Molloy and Seve Montero.

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by Ciarán Ó Brolcháinpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 17:51author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Harry Owens gives the final address and the event is wrapped up with a rendition of the Internationale.

Caption: Embedded video Youtube Video

author by anarchaeologistpublication date Mon Feb 16, 2009 19:21author address author phone Report this post to the editors

A few more shots of Saturday's celebrations.

anarchaeologist's photographs are generally copyleft. Please mention if you wish to reproduce them.

Harry Owens
Harry Owens

Ana Perez and Seve Montero
Ana Perez and Seve Montero

Tom Redmond
Tom Redmond

Basque solidarity demonstrators
Basque solidarity demonstrators

No pasarán
No pasarán

author by Michael Gallagher - Photographerpublication date Tue Feb 17, 2009 14:10author address author phone Report this post to the editors

All photos copyright to Michael Gallagher except those of Bob.

Another great man who left his mark for humanity.

My condolences to his family.






author by .publication date Tue Feb 17, 2009 14:13author address author phone Report this post to the editors





author by Diarmuid Breatnach - Irish Basque Solidarity Committeespublication date Wed Feb 18, 2009 18:18author email basquedublin at gmail dot comauthor address author phone Report this post to the editors

It was great to see the turnout in Dublin on February 14th in memory of the last remaining Irish fighter of the 15th International Brigade, who survived the fight, defeat and capture in Spain for the Republic and against Franco. It was also a good riposte and rebuke to the disgraceful attack in the Independent by Myers.

The Dublin branch of the Irish Basque Solidarity Campaign had planned a protest for that day against the repression and torture of Basque pro-independence Left activists some time before Bob died and before his commemoration was planned (similar protests were planned for the same day in various other Irish cities and further abroad -- e.g. in Milan). However, when we heard of the Bob Doyle event, we moved ours to an earlier time (11am). We carried our banner and placards that showed a big heart with the text "No Time for Love in the Basque Country" cutting across it and calling to "End Repression in the Basque Country." A fuller report with photos will be posted soon.

Some people supporting our protest left us around 12noon to attend the start of the Bob Doyle event up at the Garden of Rememberance but our core supporters remained where we were in the middle of O'Connell Street, visible to all pedestrians and passing traffic.

As the Bob Doyle parade made its way down O'Connell Street and approached our protest, we folded our banner and put away our placards, We kept only the Basque flags out -- the Ikurrinas -- and held them high while the piper and the flags of the Spanish Republic and the 15th Brigade passed. But when the wreaths, the container with the ashes and the family and friends approached, one by one our flags dipped and remained so until the last of the marchers passed us. Then we lifted our flags again, unfurled our banner and joined the procession down to Liberty Hall, remaining there throughout the ceremonies outside and some within.

It would be wrong to categorise the IBSC simply as "Basque Nationalists" -- our members and supporters come from a wide spectrum of opinion but what unites us above all is a desire to see the Basque people permitted to determine their future themselves. Most of us, it is true, do favour independence as the solution but most of the Basque pro-independence Left (as they translate the Abertzale movement) do so also and are attempting to build a socialist democracy on many fronts while they face organisational bannings, electoral disqualification, virulent propaganda, police riots, police raids, mass arrests and jailings (over 765 political prisoners at present).

Even if we had not met Bob a couple of times and even if he had not been supportive of the Basque struggle, as Irish, Basques and others with internationalism deep in our hearts, we would have been glad to honour him. As the Basques say on such occasions: Agur eta ahore! Goodbye and (in) Honour!

author by iosafpublication date Fri Feb 20, 2009 23:17author address barcelona - catalunyaauthor phone Report this post to the editors

I was so surprised how the mainstream Spanish state media and chattering classes joined with the left of of the republican tradition on the peninsula and that of the Basque and Catalans in marking the passing of Bob Doyle. I was equally encouraged in my belief that the 2nd republic really does mean something very special across languages and cultures reading the tributes which have followed his passing. The march behind his ashes in Dublin last weekend brought together so many strands of belief, passion and continuity that there can be no doubt of not only his historical importance but of the legacy of the struggle he joined. It really was a republic worth defending.

I can find nothing to argue with in that last comment from Diarmuid either & feel moved to express respect for his position. I look forward to reading what his bunch have to say. Finally what it is worth the exceptional show of respect across the board and borders, states and nations which Bob Doyle had, only goes to prove what a miserable oik and hack Myers is.

volunteer Bob -
you passed your torch!

author by Robert Doylepublication date Wed Mar 11, 2009 08:26author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On behalf of the Doyle family I would like to thank the many people and organisations that offered their sympathy and condolences on the death of my father, BOB DOYLE. I would especially thank those that made contributions to the International Brigades Memorial Trust and to the appeal for the people of Gaza made in his name in Dublin.

The strength of feeling was demonstrated by the attendances at the funeral in London and the ceremony in Dublin. The family takes the tremendous reaction to my father’s death as a tribute to him and the ideas that drove his lifelong struggle for peace and social justice.

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