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Tom Maidhc O'Flaherty
|1936 (aged 46–47)
Tom Maidhc O'Flaherty (Irish: Tomás Ó Flaithearta, 1889-1936) was an Irish Communist politician in the early 20th century, a supporter of the Trotskyist James P. Cannon, and writer in English and Irish. In 1919, he, along with John Reed, Jim Larkin and others, helped to create the Communist Labor Party, a precursor to the Communist Party USA.
Tom Maidhc O'Flaherty was born at Gort na gCapall in 1889, Inishmore, an island off the west coast of Ireland. His parents were Maidhc Ó Flaithearta, a well-known Irish nationalist, and Maggie Ganley. His brother was Liam O'Flaherty. His family, descendants of the Ó Flaithbertaigh family of Connemara, were not well off. The Irish language was widely spoken in the area, and the O'Flahertys spoke both English and Irish from the Gaeltacht.His sister was Bríd Ní Fhlatharta.
O’Flatherty was a founder member of the Irish Volunteers, a militia formed to further Ireland's independence, and later migrated to the United States, where he became a member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). He was among those who first joined the American Communist Party, where he was an associate of John Reed, James P. Cannon, and William F. Dunne.
He was a columnist for the Daily Worker and was the first editor of the Labour Defender. O'Flaherty was active in the defence of imprisoned Irish labour leader James Larkin and was editor of the left-wing Irish American paper The Irish People. He left the Communist Party and returned to Ireland in 1934 because of ill-health. There he became editor of the Irish-language left-wing paper An tÉireannach.
O'Flaherty's brother, Liam (1896–1984), was an Irish novelist and short-story writer who played an important role in the Irish literary renaissance as well as helping to found the Communist Party of Ireland. His nephew (by his sister, Bríd's Ní Fhlatharta) was Gaelic Athletic Association commentator and writer, Breandán Ó hEithir.
Tom Maidhc O'Flaherty died of heart failure on the Aran Islands in December 1936, aged 47.[ citation needed ]
Like his brother Liam, O'Flaherty retained a deep interest in the Irish language. Like Liam, he wrote fiction in English and in Irish. His works include two books of short stories: Aranmen All and Cliffmen of the West, and a collection of his short stories in Irish under the title An Bhrachlainn Mhór, published posthumously.
O’Flaherty figures in the memoir of Whittaker Chambers, who worked with him at the Daily Worker in New York City.
Although Irish has been used as a literary language for more than 1,500 years, and modern literature in Irish dates – as in most European languages – to the 16th century, modern Irish literature owes much of its popularity to the 19th century Gaelic Revival cultural movement. Writers in Irish have since produced some of the most interesting literature to come out of Ireland, supplemented by work produced in the language abroad.
Liam O'Flaherty was an Irish novelist and short-story writer, and one of the foremost socialist writers in the first part of the 20th century, writing about the common people's experience and from their perspective.
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O'Flaherty is an Irish Gaelic clan based most prominently in what is today County Galway. The clan name originated in the 10th century as a derivative of its founder Flaithbheartach mac Eimhin. They descend in the paternal line from the Connachta's Uí Briúin Seóla. They were originally kings of Maigh Seóla and Muintir Murchada and as members of the Uí Briúin were kinsmen of the Ó Conchubhair and Mac Diarmada amongst others. After their king Cathal mac Tigernán lost out to Áed in Gai Bernaig in the 11th century, the family were pushed further west to Iar Connacht, a territory associated with Connemara today. They continued to rule this land until the 16th century. The name has been alternatively rendered into English in various forms, such as Flaherty, Fluharty, Faherty, Laverty, Flaverty, Lahiff, and Flahive.
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