2006 Gralton School maintains progressive tradition

by Democrat reporter

THIS YEAR'S annual Jim Gralton commemorative weekend and school will take place in the new Dock Arts Centre in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim, on the weekend of April 22nd-23rd. To mark the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, the school will take as its theme the significance of the 1916 Proclamation to contemporary Ireland.

As at previous Gralton Schools, speakers come from the more radical section of Irish society. They include Patrica McKenna, the former Green Party MEP, Dr. Ann Matthews, author of The Rise and Demise of Women in Irish Politics, trade union economist Tony Moriarty, writer and journalist Eamonn McCann, and Mayo woman Maura Harrington, a founder member of the Davitt League.

Among those who will preside at the various sessions of the school are the Leitrim Sinn Fein councillor Martin Kenny, Paul Dillon of Labour Youth, Communist Party of Ireland general secretary Eugene McCartan and North Leitrim political activist Gabriel McSharry.

In keeping with tradition the annual commemorative ceremony to Jim Gralton will take place at the site of Gralton's Pearse-Connolly Hall at Effernagh on the Sunday afternoon.

Stressing the individuality of the Gralton School, chairman of Gralton Labour History Committee, local councillor Declan Bree, said:

"There are now an abundance of Irish summer schools. They are indeed one of Ireland's flourishing industries. The problem is, the vast majority of them tend to support the status quo in Irish society," he said

"In contrast, the Jim Gralton commemorative weekend school has consistently projected a radical view of modern Ireland. Both in the list of speakers invited to participate and in the choice of topics, it has challenged the revisionist analysis of Irish history. It has also offered an alternative to a society where the gap between rich and poor widens on an annual basis.

"Indeed just like Jim Gralton, the school has successfully combined the two great radical traditions in Ireland, Republicanism and Socialism. Proof of this can be seen in past contributors such as C.Desmond Greaves, Fr Des Wilson, Proinsias MacAonghusa, Martin McGuinness, Sean Cronin, Ken Livingstone, Michael O'Riordan, Joe Costello and Mick O'Reilly. This years list of speakers complements the progressive thrust of the schools," said councillor Bree.

The annual school is held to honour the memory of the Leitrim radical Jim Gralton, who because of his political beliefs was deported from Ireland. Gralton, an Irish-born citizen, was the victim of a red scare that enveloped Ireland and Leitrim and resulted in his deportation in August 1933.

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This document was last modified by David Granville on 2006-04-20 09:26:03.
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