New book looks at the rise and fallout of the Limerick Soviet

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A NEW book, which explores the extraordinary events which saw Limerick city become the Limerick Soviet, will be launched this week.

For ten days in April 1919 the workers of Limerick staged a general strike and ran the city as the Limerick Soviet. The Strike Committee organised food distribution, communications, transport, energy supplies and public order.

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Red Guards ensured that local businesses complied with the decisions of the Soviet.

‘Limerick Soviet 1919: The Revolt of the Bottom Dog’ will be launched in the Mechanics Institute on Hartstongue Street at 7pm on this Thursday, April 11.

The book is the culmination of several years’ work by Shannon-based labour historian Dominic Haugh and guest speaker at the launch will be Solidarity – People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger.

It is a critical analysis of the events of the period drawing on several years of research and using a wide variety of primary and secondary sources.

The book looks at the history of class struggle between the different social classes in Limerick city and county during the nineteenth century. It also focuses on the establishment of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union in Limerick in 1917 and the impact the ITGWU had on radicalising the working class.

It addresses the events of the Soviet, how it emerged and the role of the national trade union leaders, Sinn Fein and the Catholic hierarchy in their response to the Soviet.

It also deals with the fallout from the Soviet, the development of the labour movement in Limerick over the following years and its impact of the wider national trade union movement during the revolutionary period in Ireland.

In his foreword to the book, former Socialist TD and MEP Joe Higgins commented that this work “will stand out for the meticulous research that informs it.”