Sean McLoughlin was only 21 when he became Commandant-General of the army of the Irish Republic in the 1916 Easter Rebellion. Most of its leaders were executed by the British Army, but he survived, perhaps because he was so young.
McLoughlin looked towards a social as well as a political revolution. He wished the labour movement to lead the struggle for Irish independence, he became an active trade union leader and joined the Communist Party. But in reactionary times there was little support for one who in his life combined the vision of a social and national revolution. His family was harassed and he was forced to emigrate. Comrades on the left in Ireland and in the Britain neglected him and he slipped into poverty.
This biography rescues from obscurity those in the Irish revolutionary movement, who, like him, not only envisaged, but fought for, an Ireland very different to the impoverished capitalist neo-colony that would come into being after 1922. It provides new and critical insights on the history of the republican and labour movements, on the communist left in Ireland and Britain and on the role of James Larkin.
This is an extraordinary story. The most senior military survivor of 1916, a young man whose best years were spent fighting for socialism, an inspirational orator, dies in obscurity in Sheffield. Charlie McGuire has not only written a fine account of Sean McLoughlin's life, but he draws out its political significance, as important now as ever as the pattern of history is repeated time after time. Compulsive reading.
'This book is absolutely essential for anyone interested in the struggles for Irish freedom and for socialism in Britain and goes a long way towards ensuring that McLoughlin is no longer Ireland's forgotten revolutionary.' Morning Star
This book not only restores to history Sean McLoughlin, a remarkable activist and radical, but also raises important questions about the relationship between Irish republicanism, labour agitation and class in the revolutionary period, challenging many established accounts as it does so.
Dr Brian Hanley, Queens University Belfast
Contents: The making of a revolutionary; Sean McLoughlin and the Easter Rising; The Emergence of a Socialist Republican; The Triumph of Reaction; One Last Push for an Irish Workers' Republic; Conclusion. With a selection of articles by Sean McLoughlin.
Dr. Charlie McGuire is a secondary school history teacher in Lincolnshire. He is the author of Roddy Connolly and the Struggle for Socialism in Ireland and has contributed articles to several journals, including History Ireland, Saothar, Eire-Ireland and Irish Studies Review.