The Irish Times, July 1, 1996,
Letters to the Editor
TO SPEAK OF 98
[About Peter Daly]
From MICHEAL O'RIORDAN
Having heard that able historian, Brian Cleary, speak about the Wexford Republic of 1798, at the Linen Hall library in Belfast, it was a great pleasure to listen to him again tell at Dublin's Tailors Hall of the equal representation of four Catholics and four Protestants on the eight strong Council for Directing the Affairs of the People of the Co Wexford: an example for today!
James Connolly described the United Irishmen as democrats and internationalists, and it is in that context I found it somewhat incongruous that a proposition to elect a reconstructed Wexford Senate of 500 women and men would be limited to those who subscribe Pounds 2,000.
I fully understand that money is needed to finance a worthy programme to honour the men and women of 98, but as a member of the constituency of what Tone described as that large and respectable class of the community - the men of no property I think there should be exceptions to the financial qualifications.
For instance, I would nominate the Wexford man, Peter Daly, born on Vinegar Hill whose father was founder of the Tom Clarke Society in Liverpool. Peter died 59 years ago, killed in action in, defence of the Spanish Republic on the Aragon Front in August 1937.
As a youth he joined Fianna Eireann was wounded and captured Free State troops in the Civil War. He was a prisoner for 18 months and secured his release after an 18 day hunger strike. Afterwards he emigrated to England where he worked as a navvy for Wimpys of Hammersmith.
When the Spanish Republic was attacked he was among the first group of Irishmen to join the International Brigade. He took part in many fierce battles and was wounded three times, always returning to the fray. He rose to be a battalion commander, having under his leadership many volunteers from England, Scotland, Wales, Cyprus, US and Canada, people of various religions and none.
I don't think it is either out of order or improper to make such a nomination as a precedent was established by Tone of "foreign" intervention of French Republicanism, which I, would call international solidarity.
Sixty years ago this would have been a cause of horror, but this year the Spanish Parliament uanimously granted honorary citizenship of Spain to all the survivors from 53 countries who fought as Volunteers in the International Brigades. Peter Daly certainly merits a posthumous honorary membership of the Wexford Senate to be reconvened in 1998. He was in Connolly's words a true democrat and internationalist.
James Connolly House,
43 East Essex Street,
More on Peter Daly
- An excellent article detailing his history
- Sinn Fein launched, Sept. 7th 2007, the inaugural P Daly Commemoration.
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