Trades Council set to pay tribute to men who fought in civil war

Ger McCloskey will give a talk at the Mechanic's Institute this Friday night
THE Limerick people who fought in the Spanish civil war will be recognised on Friday at a special event at the Mechanic’s Institute.

THE Limerick people who fought in the Spanish civil war will be recognised on Friday at a special event at the Mechanic’s Institute.

The Limerick Trades Council is hosting a talk by Harry Owens, who co-wrote Brigadista, an account of Bob Doyle’s time captured in the prisoners of war camp in civil war era Spain.

Then Ger McCloskey, the PRO of the Limerick International Brigades Memorial Trust will give a talk on the local men who went to war.

It is hoped this will form the first part of a festival celebrating the often overlooked achievements and links between Limerick and Spain.

Over the last few months, both Ger and Mike McNamara of the Limerick Trades Council have been tracing the families of men who fought in the Spanish civil war.

Thanks to the newly digitised Mount St Lawrence archive, and the City Archives, they have tracked down people in Oxford, England, and Catherine Street locally.

“We initially started off with four men. But with the help of Mike’s research, we have found the families of these men 75 years later. They probably do not even know about their own relatives,” Ger said. “The important thing I want to get across is who these men were, why they went to Spain, and left their families and jobs behind, and the ultimate sacrifice they made.”

Mike added: “Through our research, we have located one particular family, the Bradys, who emigrated to Australia. Patrick Joseph was killed aged just 55. But we found his grave in Mount St Lawrence.”

He said the trades council does not want to “politicise” this, rather point out the sacrifice the Limerick men made in going to Spain, at a time when it was controversial.

“We want to point out it was down to individual families and workers,” he explained.

Admission to the event, starting at 7.30om in the Mechanic’s Institute, Hartstonge Street is free, and all are welcome. For more information, call 087-4129789.