History of Irish in Britain Representation Group, part twenty five, 2005


Patrick Reynolds was one of the founders of IBRG and played a key role in its history. He is now writing up that history and putting it into the context of radical history in Britain and Ireland in the C20th.


Christy McGrath’s story written in prison 2005




On 9th January Pat Reynolds and Andy Parr took British Times journalist Steve Baggins into Gartree Prison for a meeting with Christy McGrath. In the end the Times did not cover the story despite the journalist making the trip to see the prisoner.

On 11th January James Gillespie Secretary of Faraday Ward Labour Party in Camberwell South London, wrote to Sports England, having been referred to them by Harriet Harman MP and Tessa Jowell MP Minister for Sports, Culture and Media, to set up a meeting with the GAA in Britain, to develop a working relationship in terms of supporting the GAA, via funding coaching and training.

James copied Pat Reynolds IBRG, Noel O’Sullivan Vice Chair London GAA, and the two MPs into his letter. The IBRG had last year put in a submission to the Irish in Britain Parliamentary Group on this same issue about Irish games and culture.

The Irish community were unique in many ways in not adopting the colonial games apart from Soccer and rugby, but the Irish did not play these in large number nor did they play cricket much. Many of the colonial minorities in Britain played cricket the West Indies, Pakistani, Indians while many of the Africans had adopted to soccer. This left the Irish in Britain in an isolated position, in that they and their children could not take part in much of British sports, as their primary games were Gaelic football for both men women and children, hurling and camogie, while in culture it often followed the same lines with Irish dancing and Music, being outside the mainstream in Britain, unfunded and unpromoted.

In an earlier letter from Tessa Jowell to Harriet Harman on the same issue on 25th December 2004, Tessa stated ‘Sports England has the strategic lead for sports in England and is responsible for working with others to create opportunities to get involved in sport, to stay in sport, and to excel and succeed in sport at every level. This involved making focussed investments though partners, providing advice, support and knowledge to partners and customers and influencing the decision makers and public opinion on sport’.

The question is why did Sports England never reach out to the Irish community and to Gaelic Games. It was the same question Pat Reynolds had asked of the BBC and the Guardian over their row about Pat Canavan of Tyrone and Johnny Wilkinson, where clearly Gaelic games had far more support than rugby and more players.

On 12th January IBRG members attended a meeting at the House of Commons at which Pat Rabbitte TD spoke. He was challenged over the rights of the Irish abroad to vote in Ireland, but he flunked the question and did not answer it.

On 18th January IBRG attended the Christy McGrath meeting at Kings Cross London to plan for the year ahead at a pub owned by a Tipperary man.

Unlawful detention of nine prisoners in Belmarsh

On 20th January IBRG members supported the picket of Downing St over the unlawful detention of nine prisoners in Belmarsh under the PTA, the so called new Anti-Terrorism Crime and Security Act 2001, which the IBRG had warned about at the time.

The House of Lords had ruled on 16th December 2004, and granted the appeal of the men against detention, and quashed the derogation under Article  5 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and noted that their detention was incompatible with the ECHR.

Lord Hoffman put it well when he stated’ the real threat to the life of the nation…comes not from terrorism but from laws such as these. It calls into question the very existence of an ancient liberty of which this country has, until now, been very proud-freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention’.

The Law Lords ruled there was no state of emergency in Britain, and therefore no sufficiency rationale to justify the UK dropping out from Article 5, which guarantees the right of habeus corpus.

Charles Clark, the Home Secretary, was still refusing to release the men until Parliament had time to review the law. Here we get laws first used on the Irish now being extended to other emigrant communities.

Votes for Irish Emigrants

At the end of January, the IBRG drew attention to how Iraqis living abroad could still vote at home despite the war .  There were over 1M Iraqis living abroad and they had to register at their Embassies to be able to vote, some 237,704 did register to vote about 25% of the total.  In Britain of 150,000 Iraqi living here only 27,839 registered to vote, and they could register in London, Glasgow and Manchester.

There were lessons for the Irish government here to see how a war-torn country could still allow their citizens abroad in many countries of the world, the right to vote and they did in large numbers in Britain, USA, Germany, Iran, Jordan, Syria, and Turkey.

On 10th February An Phoblacht covered a letter from Pat Reynolds PRO IBRG on Votes for Emigrants around the elections in Iraq. The letter stated ‘No Dublin government has given any rational explanation argument, as to why they continue to deny the Irish abroad the vote. Yet, no country’s Diaspora has been more loyal to their homeland than the Irish, provided money during difficult times in Ireland, from the Great Starvation to the economic recession in the 1980s, they return yearly to Ireland for holidays and bring their children, they promote the Irish name abroad, and carry Irish culture abroad’.

If the Iraqi government in a war-torn country could organise a vote for its 1M citizens abroad why can’t the Irish government do so in peacetime. Why is there such a democratic deficit still in Ireland in the rights of their citizens abroad having the vote? The Irish government had failed its emigrant community time and again. By 1961 because of the failure of successive Irish government there were 780,000 Irish citizens living in Britain the largest emigrant and racial group in Britain.

In that year alone, 1961 the Irish in Britain, sent home £13.5M pounds to help their families at home, it was the equal that year to the amount that the Irish government spent on both its primary and secondary education in Ireland. In a way the Irish abroad were paying for the education of its people the whole nation at home. Yet they denied that community the vote. Even using the bogus taxation argument, the Irish abroad were entitled to the vote in Ireland and were earning it.

At the end of January, the IBRG criticised “ The Scattering” a history of the Irish centre in Camden for its very limited portrayal of the Irish in Camden.

Christy McGrath meeting at House of Commons

On 2nd February Pat Reynolds was speaking at a House of Commons meeting on Christy McGrath with John McDonnell MP and Leabras O Murchu Irish senator and Seamus Healy TD.

The meeting was well attended and reported in the Irish Post, Irish World, Racing Post, Morning Star, the Nationalist and other papers.  The meeting was to launch Christy’s own story about his arrest and his conviction. On 21st February the IBRG sent out 20 copies of Christy’s booklet to some 20 national dailies in Britain and Ireland, but with no response due to the racism of the British media towards the Irish.

Despite Christy having the support over 180 parliamentarians in Britain and Ireland, not one single British daily or Sunday paper would cover the case, yet the same papers regularly ran stories where only one MP was supporting a case.

It showed the uphill struggle for Irish people trying to get justice in Britain. Likewise, not a single Irish death in custody was ever covered by the British media. When it came to came to the Irish there was complete silence and censorship, to let Irish families and communities suffer on their own.

Even when the rabid anti Irish racist John Junor knighted by Thatcher stated ‘Wouldn’t you rather be a pig than be Irish’, not one single British journalist or media outlet from papers to radio covered it, or defended the Irish community, and all the churches stayed silent including the English Catholic Church to their great shame.

Bloody Sunday Rally

On 6th February IBRG Members attended the Bloody Sunday rally Time for Truth at Conway Hall with speakers Jeremy Corbyn MP, Raymond McCartney Sinn Fein and Jean Hegarty from the Bloody Sunday Relatives and an Iraqi speaker, but no speaker from the Irish community in Britain.

Murder of Irish people

On 9th February the Guardian covered the story of another 42-year-old Irishman kicked to death by two teenage girls He had over 50 injuries to his body and they left him to die, but came back to steal his wallet and mobile phone. The man’s father from Co Antrim had been murdered by Loyalist many years earlier. The 42-year-old was murdered in his own home.

Then on St Patrick day a 41-year-old Dublin man was kicked to death in Willesden in West London. The IBRG highlighted these cases as a regular occurrence where there was a high homicide rate against the Irish, because of racism and their position in poor communities often being the innocent victims of serious crimes.

Apology for Conlon and Maguire Families

On 9th February Kevin McNamara sponsored an Early Day Motion on the Government Apology to Conlon and the Maguire Families which stated ‘This House welcomes the statement of apology  made by the Prime Minister to the Conlon and Maguire families, ….greatly regrets the miscarriage of justice in the case of Gerald Conlon and all the Guildford Four, as well as Giuseppe Conlon and Annie Maguire and all of the Maguire Seven, recognises the trauma caused these families and the stigma attaches to them to this day, expressed sorrow that the families were subject to such an ordeal and such an injustice, wholeheartedly agrees with the remarks of the Prime Minister, and believes that the families deserve to be completely and publicly exonerated’.

He could also have mentioned that the Labour Party facilitated all of these wrong convictions, while in power and the taking of political hostages from the Irish community. He could also have mentioned how the Catholic Church covered up for over 14 years the fact that Gerry Conlon spent the night of the Guildford bombing, at one of their Catholic run hostels in Ques Road in Kilburn.

On 23rd February IBRG members attended a Christy McGrath meeting in London.

Also, on 23rd February IBRG members attended a meeting at the Camden Irish centre on Peace Process in Crisis chaired by Dodie McGuiness, Sinn Fein rep in Britain, with Jeremy Corbyn MP and Alex Maskey MLA Sinn Fein.

On 27th February the IBRG challenged the BBC programme Panorama over their presentation of Rangers v Celtic matches as being racist on both sides without looking at the colonial legacy behind the match, and the difference between a supremacist ideology and a culture of resistance. There was a complete failure to examine British racism and the racism shown in Scotland over many generations towards the Irish from the Church and the state.

On 13th March the IBRG helped run the stall at the St Patricks day Parade and celebrations in London for Christy McGrath.

On 21st May the IBRG put out a statement on the Home Office response to the Christy McGrath case which was covered in several Irish papers here and in Ireland. On 22nd March Pat Reynolds had an interview with Tipp FM on the Christy McGrath case

On 24th March Pat Reynolds was speaking at a public meeting at the Red Rose Club on Christy McGrath along with Jeremy Corbyn MP for North Islington.

On 31st March Pat Reynolds and Andy Parr took Eamon Wynne from the Nationalist newspaper in Tipperary in to see Christy McGrath in Gartree prison. This led to a huge write up in the Nationalist paper in Tipperary.

In March the IBRG drew attention to the position in Zimbabwe where Prime Minister Mugabe had banned their exiles from voting. It had parallels with Ireland in that there were nearly as many people living outside the country as inside it . There were five million living abroad and they were taking the government to the Supreme Court in Harare to challenge the Prime Minister.  Human Rights lawyers stated that the challenge would highlight constitutional abuse by Mugabe and the action taken by a London base group Diaspora Vote Action Group, seeking to overturn the ‘illegal and unconstitutional decision to bar citizens abroad form voting.

Where are the Human Rights lawyers challenging the Irish government over their illegal and unconditional actions against their emigrants abroad?

Call for end of ban on Gaelic sports

On 14th April the IBRG put out a statement Irish in Britain call for end of British ban on Gaelic sports. The statement followed an IBRG survey of coverage of sports within the UK of all sports ranging from TV Radio and newspapers, and based on the numbers playing, and the number supporters following the sport.

The IBRG discovered a total institutional ban on any mention of Gaelic sports by the British media, which could not be explained by the numbers playing or the number of followers. Thus, only British sports in Ireland were reported. Thus, rugby matches in Ireland even club matches were reported. The same with soccer. For example, the BBC sport results on Saturday evening would give results of games where only couple of hundred attended, while the Ulster Gaelic football final attracting thousands would not even be mentioned.  You can get the results of Longford Town playing a soccer match, but not the Longford Gaelic football playing an inter county match. Other sports like golf and horse racing follow similar lines.

The IBRG called for a level playing field and for equal coverage of Gaelic games. It would appear that the British media do actually apply Norman Tebbit’s cricket test to Irish games and culture.

On 26th April, the Chrity McGrath  campaign leaders Andy Parr and Pat Reynolds, asked the Irish Embassy to visit Christy in prison, and to take up his case with the Home office with their concerns, as over 180 parliamentarians were now supporting in case. The press release got covered in a number of papers on the visit to the Embassy.

On 5th May there was a British General Election where Tony Blair and Labour won a third term in office. It was his third and last term during which he would hand over to Gordon Brown just before the collapse of the economic markets worldwide in 2008.

On 19th May IBRG members attended a Christy McGrath meeting in London.

On 11th June IBRG members attended a benefit for Christy McGrath at the Black Horse pub in Camden.  Jeremy Corbyn MP and Pat Reynolds spoke at the benefit on the case which got a full house.

On 20th May Pat Reynolds Chair IBRG got a letter back from the Irish Labour Party Chief Whip on the issue of free travel for Irish pensioners form abroad while on holidays in Ireland. His reply stated ‘I am extremely frustrated with Government inaction on the issue, the Government has been examining the issue for long enough. If Minister Brenan were to start the process of free travel by granting it to Irish pension holders abroad, he will find that there are no legal constitutional or treaty provisions hindering its implementations. This simple matter is being kicked to touch by a Government that pays lip service to the diaspora but fails to implement the policies, it says it has to help them’.

With the letter the TD enclosed a Progress report on implementing the recommendation of the Task Force on policy regarding emigrants, of specific relevance to the Department of Social and Family affairs.

Much of the document was about many of the issues raised by Geaorid MacGearailt in his Emigration document back in the 1980’s, so 20 years later the Irish government are beginning to address these issues which IBRG raised with them 20 years ago.

Christy McGrath meeting in Ireland

On 26th June Pat Reynolds was speaking at the Carrick Hotel in Carrick on Suir in a public meeting on Christy McGrath in his home town. John McDonnell MP, Seamus Healy TD and Labras O’Murchu Irish Senator also spoke. The meeting drew a huge crowd. The meeting got an editorial and a huge write up in the Nationalist.

On 27th June Pat Reynolds was speaking with John McDonnell and the family at a packed Press Conference at Buswells Hotel in Dublin opposite Dail Eireann, A large number of TDs attended including Sinn Fein. Diarmuid Breatnach, now back in Dublin, turned up for the meeting as did Michael Holden. There were at least six IBRG members at the meeting in Dublin. The meeting got great publicity in Ireland in the press and radio. Christy’s parents were present on the platform and his mother spoke to the meeting.

On 3rd July the IBRG and Christy McGrath campaign had two stalls at the Southwark Irish festival and were supported by the Tipperary Association on the day.

On 7th July bombs on the London underground killed some 37 people including one Irish person. The bombs were relating to Tony Blair’s war in the Gulf. The government went on to use the bombing to bring in more draconian laws to police Britain.

On 16th July IBRG and Christy McGrath campaign shared a stall at the huge Rise festival in Victoria Park in East London part of the anti-racist festival supported by all the big Trade unions. About 80,000 attended the events put on by the TUC, GLA and the National Assembly against Racism. The Workers Beer Company organised the stalls, and the beer for the Festival.

On 22nd July a panicky police force shot dead an innocent Brazilian man, Jean Charles de Menezes  at Stockwell tube station and the lies started straight away. The Irish community was used to this from the Diarmuid O’Neill case in London.

On 28th August IBRG members attended an IBRG and Christy McGrath stall at Crawley Irish festival.

On 4th September IBRG member attended the St Bridget’s Irish Festival in Greenford along with the Christy McGrath campaign. John McDonnell attended for most of the day as it was his constituency.

On 24th September IBRG marched in the anti-war huge demonstration In London against the Iraq war.

Death of Seamus O’Coillean

In October the IBRG learned of the sad death of Seamus O’Coillean of Lambeth IBRG who was living in Cardiff. He was also a member of Conrad na Gaeilge and the Celtic league and used to teach the Irish language classes for Lambeth IBRG. He was a sad loss at such an early age.

On 21st October IBRG members attended a benefit at the Black Horse pub in Camden for Christy McGrath.

IBRG calls for inquiry into Southwark Council’s treatment of an  Irish tenant

On 6th November the IBRG put out a press statement IBRG calls for Inquiry into Southwark Council after the Ombudsman gave a judgement Maladministration causing injustice against an Irish tenant. Southwark Council had accused and targeted an Irish tenant of causing racial abuse without one shred of evidence. The Irishman himself was married to an Asian woman.

The Ombudsman in finding the Council guilty of discrimination causing injustice awarded the Irishman only £1k in compensation. The Irish community in Southwark were shocked and alarmed at the actions of Southwark Council, who lead the charge against the Irishman without one iota of evidence. The Council had given their staff a blank cheque to carry out acts of discrimination against the Irish community, and were out of control. The Irishman had been a lifelong anti-racist campaigner adding further insult to the Council’s false claims. The Council basically tried to frame up this Irishman with a malicious allegation which was clearly made up. It was blatant attempt to get the Irishman, but they picked the wrong man who exposed their corruption and anti-Irish discrimination.

Neither the Irish Post nor the Irish World would cover the case, despite been given the details which was shocking as it was in the South London press. Again, Jodie Clark and Pat Reynolds had supported this man in his case.

On 12th November the IBRG Ard Choiste met in Manchester with Bernadette Hyland and Pat Reynolds attending.

Pat Reynolds fed back on the Christy McGrath campaign which had had the written support of 50 British MPs and 134 Irish TDs and Senators.

Yet the British media which often ran campaigns where just one MP was supporting a case, were refusing across the board from the Guardian to the Daily Mail to cover Christy’s case. It showed the level of racism in the British media and the high bar to get any recognition in the British media for Irish case of injustice.

Basically, the British media will supress any case where there is an injustice against Irish people. It was only towards the end days that the British media covered the cases of the Birmingham Six Guildford Four or the Maguire seven.

Pat reported that the Barry George campaign was slow because the family were divided over any campaign, with his sister running the main campaign while the uncle was trying to run a campaign too. The case was getting lot of media coverage not because of Barry but because of Jill Dando, and her public profile while alive. Barry was innocent and the likely killer was probably a Serbian hitman after the British bombed the Serbia TV station.

The IBRG were considering a cross community campaign for the vote in Ireland next year as there was a general election due in Ireland in 2007. Bernadette reported that there were plans in Manchester to celebrate the 60 anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, which Manchester IBRG would support. Pat raised the case of an Irishman in Southwark who had won a case against Southwark Council. The case was shocking where officers of the council framed up an innocent Irishman in public housing over a case of racial harassment. The IBRG were supporting the man and his family an Irish Asian family with their case. There had been a number of Irish cases in Southwark over the years which had been referred to the Ombudsman and where Jodie Calk had helped the families get justice.

On 5th December the IBRG put out a press release on the Health of the Irish in Britain.

On 8th December Pat Reynolds was on a Christy McGrath delegation to Dublin where they met Bertie Ahern Taoiseach, and Enda Kenny Leader Fine Gael, and Tom Hayes Chair of Fine Gael in Dail Eireann along with other TD’s. Over 130 TD now supported the campaign after a letter lobbying campaign by Pat Reynolds. Given that Ministers could not sign petitions as in Britain nearly every TD in Dail Eireann supported Christy.

Pat Reynolds targeted by the Police

Pat and Kevin at Easter Rising commemoration Dublin 1991

On 12/13th December Pat Reynolds had his house raided and occupied by police for two days in a false arrest of his son Kevin. Kevin  was wrongfully arrested and held for 36 hours for no good reason other than he was Irish, and that his father was a political activist involved in miscarriages of justice campaigns.

This appeared to be a sting operation, a frolic of their own by the Met Police, to disrupt the work of the work of the IBRG and the justice campaigns for Christy McGrath, Barry George and others.  The arrest purported to be in relation to the murder and after death rape of teenager Sally Ann Bowman in South London.

There was no reason under the law as to why Kevin Reynolds was arrested as the Met Police knew from the Australian Police that the man, they were looking for was 15 years older than Kevin Reynolds. Furthermore, this was a DNA related murder inquiry and the Met Police already had Kevin’s DNA on their system from a previous incident, where he had been wrongfully arrested. Two police officers made false statements about him, which were shown to be complete lies, after the family got CCTV evidence to show both officers to be lying, yet neither the Courts or CPC did anything to deal with the corrupt behaviour of the two officers involved.

The issue related to a late night after club event where English supporters on a day that England had won were celebrating, but Kevin supports Ireland. He was accused of throwing a lighted cigarette at a police officer below in a tunnel. Kevin was a non-smoker and the video evidence showed the officers to be lying and that both officers had fabricated the story.

The incident raised concerns about how many other students like Kevin had been wrongly arrested and sometimes given a conviction. Lucky, he had an aware family, who sought the withheld video evidence on the police evidence list which showed him to be totally innocent.

In the Sally Anne Bowman case, Kevin Reynolds should never have been arrested as the Met Police had his finger prints and DNA already on their system, this was confirmed by the Forensics people, so the Met had no excuse. The Live scan also showed that his fingerprints were also already on their system.

In the early part of their investigation the Met police were given over 50 names by members of the public in relation to this murder, but yet the Met never arrested one of them, only requested them to provide DNA for elimination purposes.

So why was Kevin Reynolds arrested. Because of his job he has to have an enhanced CRB clean record as indeed has his father Patrick.   BBC Crimewatch on 13th December identified a further 30 names given to the police, with again not a single person arrested.

So why was Kevin Reynolds arrested. Out of 80 persons named they only one arrested just happened to be an Irish man already eliminated by his DNA, where the police already had his DNA and could eliminate him without arresting him. The police raided the home of his father but refused to say who was in charge of the operation, and never asked his father one single question.

You might think that a murder inquiry, might want to know where an alleged suspect was on the night of the murder, and ask the person he was living with. This shows this to be a bogus raid, a frolic of their own, to get back at a civil rights campaigner, and to disrupt his work.

For two days they tore his father’s house apart. Even when Dixie, the real murderer, was arrested the police released him after taking his DNA and only arrested him for the murder days later.

The arrest was unlawful and both father and son told the police this during their 36-hour ordeal, that the police had his fingerprints and DNA, and that there was diary evidence that Kevin was at home on the night of that incident, and you are looking for a man 15 years than Kevin Reynolds.

The Met police have yet to give any explanation for the arrest of Kevin Reynolds and why they detained him for 36 hours. There was clear evidence that the Met Police were tapping the house phone of the Reynolds family right up until 2007 and beyond for political purposes. The Met response to clear evidence of phone tapping revealed in data disclosed was. ‘we can neither confirm nor deny that your phone is being tapped’.

Three Special branch detectives attended the house for several hours during the prolonged search over two days with some 30 forensic officers involved at a cost of over £100,000 pounds. Patrick Reynolds found that many files had been tampered, with particularly the files around miscarriages of justice including Barry George and Christy McGrath.

The real reason as to why the Police raid and arrest was carried out was given later in the Independent Police Complaint Commission inquiry, where one of the officers involved in the raid stated in writing,  ‘His father (meaning Patrick Reynolds) was an old IRA man who was of interest to the Special Branch’.  This was totally untrue but clearly the officer had been told this in the briefing before the house raid and search. The raid was a political inspired raid on an Irish family for no good reason.

The story was covered in the Morning Star, Private Eye, the Irish Post and the Irish papers. Paul Donavan writing in the Irish Post stated that there would be disquiet in the Irish community until there was an inquiry into this arrest, the 36 hours detention, and the 2-day house search of the Reynolds household.

Years later the case came back to haunt the British police when they started their campaign to set up a National DNA base in Britain, and their argument that if you were innocent, you had nothing to fear. The case of Kevin Reynolds showed that a person had everything to fear, even when innocent and even if your DNA was on their system. Kevin’s case was raised at The Greater London Assembly and in the papers, to challenges the police campaign for a DNA data base.  The police had no answer to this day as to why Kevin Reynolds was arrested.

The Officer in charge who gave the order to arrest Kevin Reynolds and ordered the two-day search of the house was Stuart Cundy, despite there being clear forensic evidence available to him that Kevin Reynolds could not have been involved.

This was not the last Haringey case where Stuart Cundy was involved. Later on, 4th August 2011, he gave the order to hard stop a car where a Black Irishman Mark Duggan was shot and killed on the street, which gave rise to concerns in the Haringey Communities of a shoot to kill policy.

Mystery surrounds the killing of Mark Duggan and how an alleged gun ended up in a field well away from the Taxi. Some years earlier Harry Stanley was shot in Hackney when the police believed him to be an Irish man.

Stuart Cundy would later head the Met Police response to the Grenfell disaster in London.

During 2005 Maurice Moore returned to his native Kerry after many years working in the vineyards of the Irish and working-class communities in Britain and in Coventry. Maurice had put in some solid 20 years work for IBRG in Coventry.

He was for most of this time Cisteor/Treasurer of IBRG. He left behind him a great legacy of defending the rights of the Irish community, from Irish prisoners to Irish language rights, death in custody like Leo O’Reilly, campaigns like Kate Magee, the anti PTA campaign, to the rights of the local working-class community in Coventry. The IBRG loss is Kerry’s gain.

The IBRG had lost many of its leaders over recent years with most moving back to Ireland.  Virginia Moyles, Diarmuid Breathnach, Joe and Margaret Mullarkey, Maurice Moore, Majella Crehan, Siobhan O’Dwyer and Michael Kneafsey had all moved home.

80% of the IBRG branch leadership were now back in Ireland which left a branch-based structure in Britain very weak with only Manchester and North London operating and with many members across Britain. The IBRG would now become a membership-based organisation rather than having a branch structure, as the Internet was opening up a new world for organisations to adopt to.

During 2005 the IBRG had focussed on the campaign to get justice for Christy McGrath and to speed up his campaign to get him released. The IBRG had also supported the Barry George campaign as best it could.

Listen to my talk about the IBRG in the northwest in the Irish Collection at the WCML here

An excellent history of 200 years of Irish political activity in Manchester – including Manchester IBRG read “The Wearing of the Green” by Michael Herbert. Buy it here

Read previous posts on IBRG history here

More IBRG history on the website (now defunct) here

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About lipstick socialist

I am an activist and writer. My interests include women, class, culture and history. From an Irish in Britain background I am a republican and socialist. All my life I have been involved in community and trade union politics and I believe it is only through grass roots politics that we will get a better society. This is reflected in my writing, in my book Northern ReSisters Conversations with Radical Women and my involvement in the Mary Quaile Club. .If you want to contact me please use my gmail which is lipsticksocialist636
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