Extracts from the Memoirs of Eoin MacNamee

He was a republican activist, including a period in London during the 1930's. A copy of these memoirs is held in the NI Political Collection, Linen Hall Library, Belfast.


In London MacNamee joined the Republican Congress.

"Charlie Donnelly was a frail looking Dublin man with a Tyrone background. He lived with his brother in the same building as Sean Mulgrew. He was something of an intellectual and clearly the theorist of the Irish Republican Congress in London at that time. He was well versed in Marxism, wrote for the Congress and Communist press, and frequently appeared on left wing public platforms. He no doubt had the courage of his convictions, as after the outbreak of the Civil War in Spain he went out on behalf of the Spanish Republic and never returned.

"After the outbreak of the Spanish civil war Captain White, formerly of the Citizen Army lectured in Blackfriars at the invitation of the Roger Casement Sinn Fein Club. He was a strong advocate of the Spanish Republican Cause, and most of the Army men went to hear him, for the Volunteers themselves were almost to a man against the Fascists. Not so some members of the audience though, nor indeed some of the Sinn Feiners themselves, and they did not fail to avail of the opportunity to interrogate him after the lecture, but no question was put that he could not answer with comparative facility, and at the conclusion of the meeting he had on sale a copy of the lecture entitled Where Casement would have stood today at one shilling per copy.

"I was in a fix however, and had to make a decision. I had just about committed myself with one of the Scotsman in digs with me to join the Spanish republican forces and I informed Jack Lynch of that fact. He was sympathetic to republican Spain, as practically all of us were, but he told me to hold back as I was needed in London and anyway he wanted a ruling from GHQ on the whole issue of Volunteers enlisting for service in the Spanish Civil War.

"..[Willie Walsh] transmitted an order around this period, direct from the Chief of Staff, Tom Barry, forbidding Volunteers to enlist for service in the Spanish Civil War. Thus was my mind made up for me, and I determined to put everything into the IRA.

".Apart from our Irish Republican convictions there was another important issue on which we were all in unison; namely the Spanish Civil War. We could not take part, but our sympathy and support such as it could be, was for the Republican Government of that unhappy country."