President Michael D Higgins led the tributes to veteran trade unionist and Irish secretary of the International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT), Manus O’Riordan, who died at the age of 72.
âIt is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Manus O’Riordan. It is a sadness that will be shared by so many who have worked for a more equal and inclusive society, and trade unionists in particular, âsaid Mr. Higgins.
“It was a privilege to have known him and his father, Mick O’Riordan, as friends and activists for so many causes, and especially for their testament to the bravery of those who served in the Brigade. international during the Spanish Civil War. “
The President said that Mr O’Riordan had recently done an invaluable service in providing an accurate account of Ireland in the 1930s, chronicling the violent campaigns against trade unionists and highlighting the institutions and individuals who supported fascism.
He also recalled Mr. O’Riordan’s many years of service to the labor movement, working as a researcher with Siptu before saying how honored he was to meet Mr. O’Riordan at the official opening of the AGM. 2016 IBMT in Dublin. .
“It was a privilege to be received by Manus at the opening of the Spanish Civil War Memorial at Liberty Hall in 2016, in honor of the 2,500 volunteers from Ireland and Great Britain who fought against fascism during the Spanish Civil War, “he said.
âAnd I fondly remember our many conversations over the years, including recently, and his contagious enthusiasm, energy and commitment. Sabina and I extend our deepest condolences to her family, friends and colleagues, âhe added.
Meanwhile, London-based IBMT paid tribute to Mr O’Riordan by recalling how he honored his late father, Michael O’Riordan, and the many other Irish International Brigade volunteers who fought and died in Spain.
“We mourn the loss of IBMT Ireland Secretary Manus O’Riordan at the age of 72, a proud Dubliner, trade unionist, son of International Brigadier Michael O’Riordan and prolific writer and speaker on the International Brigade – Salud Comrade – non passaran, âIBMT said in a post.
A regular contributor to the Irish Political Review where he wrote on Irish republicanism, Mr. O’Riordan has also delivered speeches on Irish involvement in the Spanish Civil War at various commemorations across the country to honor Irish men who fought fascism.
Speaking in Cork in 2017 at a conference marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of his father, who visited Spain at the age of 20, M. said the Spanish Republic was likely to fall in the hands of the fascists.
“He was supposed to go in 1937, but he had appendicitis, so he went the next year, but before he left he actually said, ‘I already knew the war was lost’ – because of the amount of help that Hitler and Mussolini were giving Franco and the lack of support for the republic from Britain and France.
“But he still felt bound to the honor of having volunteered to go there, so he went out without expecting the war to be won by any action he took – he thought the republic maybe could hold a little longer and that there could be a change if something drastic happened elsewhere in Europe. “
A former head of the research department at Siptu, Mr. O’Riordan, who lived in Glasnevin north of Dublin, is survived by his daughter, Jess; his sons, Neil and Luke; his grandchildren, Amaia, Rory, Caleb and Eli; his sister Brenda; and his partner, Nancy Wallach. He was predeceased by his wife, Annette.