18 August 2012     

Féile an Phobail

By Geraldine Kelly

As another Féile an Phoblail comes to an end, just a few words on two of the many events that took place.
     First is the discussion and exhibition that took place on Friday 3 August in the Shankill Library, named “From Guernika to the Belfast Blitz,” organised by Féile an Phobail, the International Brigade Commemoration Committee, Shankill Women’s Centre, and Pieces of the Past Oral History.
     Two speakers gave a very interesting talk on the subject. Ernest Walker gave a great insight into the bombing of the Basque town of Guernika in 1937 and the terrible effect the fascist onslaught had on the Basque people. Dr Brian Barton spoke about the attack on Belfast during the Second World War, and this was accompanied by photos from the time.
     There was a good attendance and people seemed to enjoy both talks. Question and answers followed with plenty of interest shown.
     The Belfast City Council exhibition on the Belfast Blitz was shown in the Shankill Library all week.
     The second discussion took place last Saturday in St Mary’s College on the Falls Road and was organised by the Communist Party of Ireland. The Madge Davison Memorial lecture was again a great success. The speaker was Declan Bree, a political activist from Sligo, who gave a great insight in the life of Jimmy Gralton, the “Undesirable Alien,” who was a socialist from Co. Leitrim.
     From a young age, Jimmy Gralton was involved in the labour movement, both here in Ireland and in America. He was deported by De Valera in 1933 to America, where he carried on the fight as a political activist. He was a candidate for the Communist Party in borough elections in New York.
     Sadly, in 1945 Jimmy died at the relatively young age of 59.
     Declan spoke with great ease about Jimmy Gralton and the area he was brought up in. It was a very enjoyable lecture. Declan also said how proud and privileged he was to be speaking at the Memorial Lecture of Madge, who was a great friend of his and a great communist.
     There was great attendance at both events.

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