Michael Farrell (born 1944) is an Irish civil rights activist, writer and former leader of People's Democracy, from its inception through to the 1969 Burntollet Bridge incident and into the 1970s.
Farrell was educated at Queen's University, Belfast and the University of Strathclyde. He was a Labour Trotskyist, becoming involved in the Northern Ireland civil rights movement in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s, and was a founding member of the university-based People’s Democracy, which was established on 9 October 1968, after Royal Ulster Constabulary police had broken up a civil rights march in Derry on 5 October. He stood as their candidate for Bannside in the Northern Ireland general election of 1969 where he finished third behind Terence O'Neill (the Northern Ireland Prime Minister) and Ian Paisley.He was on the executive of the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association and was interned without trial for six weeks from 9 August 1971. Imprisoned for breach of the peace in 1973, Farrell and another PD member, Tony Canavan, went on hunger strike in demand of political status. The strike lasted for thirty-four days before they were released.
In the 1980s he campaigned for the release of victims of miscarriage of justice cases in England and in the Republic of Ireland, including the Birmingham Six. He also campaigned against political censorship under Section 31 of the Broadcasting Act in Ireland.
After moving to Dublin and becoming a solicitor, Farrell was co-chairperson of the Irish Council for Civil Liberties from 1995 to 2001. He was appointed a member of the Irish Human Rights Commission in 2001 and reappointed in October 2006, serving until 2011. In 2005 he was appointed to the Steering Committee of the National Action Plan Against Racism. He is currently working for Free Legal Advice Centres, Dublin, and has brought cases to the European Court of Human Rights and the UN Human Rights Committee. In 2011 he was appointed to the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance, and in 2012 he was appointed to the Irish Council of State by President Michael D. Higgins.
He has two children: Sean and Emer.
Mary Therese Winifred Robinson is an Irish independent politician who served as the seventh president of Ireland from December 1990 to September 1997, becoming the first woman to hold this office. She also served as United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 1997 to 2002, seven terms as a senator for Dublin University from 1969 to 1989, and as a local councillor on Dublin Corporation from 1979 to 1983. She first rose to prominence as an academic, barrister and campaigner. She defeated the Fianna Fáil party's Brian Lenihan and the Fine Gael party's Austin Currie in the 1990 presidential election, becoming the first Independent candidate nominated by the Labour Party, the Workers' Party and Independent Senators. She was the first elected president in the office's history not to have had the support of Fianna Fáil.
The Troubles were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "irregular war" or "low-level war". The conflict began in the late 1960s and is usually deemed to have ended with the Good Friday Agreement of 1998. Although the Troubles mostly took place in Northern Ireland, at times violence spilled over into parts of the Republic of Ireland, England and mainland Europe.
Tom Maguire was an Irish republican who held the rank of commandant-general in the Western Command of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and led the South Mayo flying column.
Charles James Haughey was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served as Taoiseach on three occasions – 1979 to 1981, March to December 1982 and 1987 to 1992. He was also Minister for the Gaeltacht from 1987 to 1992, Leader of the Opposition from 1981 to 1982 and 1982 to 1987, Leader of Fianna Fáil from 1979 to 1992, Minister for Social Welfare and for Health from 1977 to 1979, Minister for Finance from 1966 to 1970, Minister for Agriculture from 1964 to 1966, Minister for Justice from 1961 to 1964 and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Justice from 1959 to 1961. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1957 to 1992.
Seán MacBride was an Irish Clann na Poblachta politician who served as Minister for External Affairs from 1948 to 1951, Leader of Clann na Poblachta from 1946 to 1965 and Chief of Staff of the IRA from 1936 to 1937. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1947 to 1957.
Seán Francis MacEntee was an Irish Fianna Fáil politician who served as Tánaiste from 1959 to 1969, Minister for Social Welfare from 1957 to 1961, Minister for Health from 1957 to 1965, Minister for Local Government and Public Health from 1941 to 1948, Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1939 to 1941, Minister for Finance from 1932 to 1939 and 1951 to 1954. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) from 1918 to 1969. At the time of his death, he was the last surviving member of the First Dáil.
Joseph Austin Currie was an Irish politician who served as a Minister of State for Justice with responsibility for Children's Rights from 1994 to 1997. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin West constituency from 1989 to 2002, representing Fine Gael, and as a Member of the Parliament of Northern Ireland (MP) for East Tyrone from 1964 to 1972, representing the Nationalist Party and later the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP).
The Army Comrades Association (ACA), later the National Guard, then Young Ireland and finally League of Youth, but best known by the nickname the Blueshirts, was a paramilitary organisation in the Irish Free State, founded as the Army Comrades Association in Dublin on 11 August 1932. The group provided physical protection for political groups such as Cumann na nGaedheal from intimidation and attacks by the IRA. Some former members went on to fight for the Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War after the group had been dissolved.
The Socialist Party is a political party in Ireland, active in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Internationally, it is affiliated to the Trotskyist International Socialist Alternative. The party has been involved in various populist campaigns including the Anti-Bin Tax Campaign and the Campaign Against Home and Water Taxes. Members of the party were jailed for their part in the former, while members have been arrested for their role in the latter. It had a seat in the European Parliament from 2009 to 2014. In 2015, the party received state funding of €132,000.
Michael Daniel Higgins is an Irish politician, poet, sociologist, and broadcaster, who has served as the ninth president of Ireland since November 2011. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Galway West constituency from 1981 to 1982 and 1987 to 2011. He served as Minister for Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht from 1993 to 1997 and mayor of Galway from 1981 to 1982 and 1990 to 1991. He was a senator from 1973 to 1977, after being nominated by the taoiseach and from 1983 to 1987 for the National University of Ireland. He was the President of the Labour Party from 2003 to 2011, until he resigned following his election as president of Ireland.
The Irish Republican Army of 1922–1969, an anti-Treaty sub-group of the original Irish Republican Army, fought against the Irish Free State in the Irish Civil War, and its successors up to 1969, when the IRA split again into the Provisional IRA and Official IRA. The original Irish Republican Army fought a guerrilla war against British rule in Ireland in the Irish War of Independence between 1919 and 1921. Following the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty on 6 December 1921, the IRA in the 26 counties that were to become the Irish Free State split between supporters and opponents of the Treaty. The anti-Treatyites, sometimes referred to by Free State forces as Irregulars, continued to use the name Irish Republican Army (IRA) or in Irish Óglaigh na hÉireann, as did the organisation in Northern Ireland which originally supported the pro-Treaty side. Óglaigh na hÉireann was also adopted as the name of the pro-Treaty National Army, and remains the official legal title of the Irish Defence Forces.
The Connolly Association is an organisation based among Irish emigrants in Britain which supports the aims of Irish republicanism. It takes its name from James Connolly, a socialist republican, born in Edinburgh, Scotland and executed by the British Army for his part in the 1916 Easter Rising.
The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NICRA) was an organisation that campaigned for civil rights in Northern Ireland during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Formed in Belfast on 9 April 1967, the civil rights campaign attempted to achieve reform by publicising, documenting, and lobbying for an end to discrimination in areas such as elections, discrimination in employment, in public housing and alleged abuses of the Special Powers Act. The genesis of the organisation lay in a meeting in Maghera in August 1966 between the Wolfe Tone Societies which was attended by Cathal Goulding, then chief of staff of the Irish Republican Army (IRA).
People's Democracy (PD) was a political organisation that arose from the Northern Ireland civil rights movement. It held that civil rights could be achieved only by the establishment of a socialist republic for all of Ireland. It demanded more radical reforms of the government of Northern Ireland than the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association.
Sinn Féin is the name of an Irish political party founded in 1905 by Arthur Griffith. It subsequently became a focus for various forms of Irish nationalism, especially Irish republicanism. After the Easter Rising in 1916, it grew in membership, with a reorganisation at its Ard Fheis in 1917. Its split in 1922 in response to the Anglo-Irish Treaty which led to the Irish Civil War and saw the origins of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, the two parties which have since dominated Irish politics. Another split in the remaining Sinn Féin organisation in the early years of the Troubles in 1970 led to the Sinn Féin of today, which is a republican, left-wing nationalist and secular party.
Mairéad Farrell was a member of the Provisional Irish Republican Army (IRA). She was shot dead by the British Army in Gibraltar on 6 March 1988.
Cyril Toman was a political activist in Northern Ireland.
Fergus O'Hare was involved in the civil rights movement in Northern Ireland as a member of People's Democracy in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Later he became a founding member and executive member of the Northern Resistance Movement, which continued to campaign for civil rights in Northern Ireland.
The Socialist Workers Network (SWN) is an Irish Trotskyist organisation.
Denis Liddell Ireland was an Irish essayist and political activist. A northern Protestant, after service in the First World War he embraced the cause of Irish independence. He also advanced the social credit ideas of C. H. Douglas. In Belfast, his efforts to encourage Protestants in the exploration of Irish identity and interest were set back when in 1942 his Ulster Union Club was found to have been infiltrated by a successful recruiter for the Irish Republican Army. In Dublin, where he argued economic policy had failed to "see independence through," he entered the Seanad Eireann, the Irish Senate, in 1948 for the republican and social-democratic Clann na Poblachta. He was the first member of the Oireachtas, the Irish Parliament, to be resident in Northern Ireland.