June­–July 2015        

James Connolly Festival

The first annual James Connolly Festival took place in Dublin from the 9th to the 14th of May. It was a huge success, with some of Ireland’s leading actors, musicians and poets giving their services to make the festival the success it was.
     A number of seminars discussed trade unions and women’s rights, and there were also film shows, plays, public meetings, and other events.
     There was a great blend of politics and culture, which sat easily with each other, as many of the artists are politically engaged and concerned about the future of our country, the environment, the debt, water charges, and the effect of the savage austerity on the people as well as the effect of mass emigration on families and communities.
     The highlight of the week was the James Connolly Memorial Lecture, which this year was given by Sister Teresa Forcades from Catalunya, who delivered a tour de force on Saturday 9 May to a packed New Theatre. She stripped back all the rhetoric that surrounds the nature of capitalist exploitation and the limited nature of democracy that capitalism allows. (The talk can be seen on the Connolly Media Group site at vimeo.com/connollymediagroup.)
     The final event of the week was the CPI and CYM James Connolly Commemoration, which takes place every year in Arbour Hill to honour James Connolly and the other executed leaders of the 1916 Rising and all those who died in the struggle for national freedom and social justice. This year’s speaker was Clare Daly TD, who gave a militant speech worthy of the event.
     Planning is now under way for next year’s festival. Musicians, artists, poets or others who wish to take part in the festival should contact the festival organiser at connollyfestival@gmail.com.

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