Monument to Tom Patton

Irish Democrat, September 1984

[CC – his name was Tom PattEN]

We extract the following from the Irish Workers’ Voice, published at 43 East Essex Street, Dublin. The Pattons were a Protestant family who lived right on the tip of Achill Island where Dooega Head drops nearly a thousand feet into the Atlantic:

“Forty-eight years ago a 25 year old Irish emigrant in London set out from there to make his way to Madrid to defend the Spanish Republic from the revolt of the Fascist Generals. He died in the battle in Madrid 1936, this becoming the first Irishman to die in Spain’s war and as well strangely enough the first English speaking volunteer to fall in the defence of the capital in Republican Spain. Strangely enough because Tommy Patton was a native Irish speaker from Achill in Co. Mayo and now there are plans to erect a memorial inscribed in Gaelic and Spanish, a few hundred yards from his family home near the cove of Dooega.”

Tommy was one of a family of 14 and like many such Irishmen and women had to emigrate to Britain seeking work. He and his brother worked on the building sites in Blackpool and later Tommy worked at the building of the Guinness brewery in Park Royal, London. He became an active member of the London branch of the Republican Congress, the Irish united front, anti-fascist and national independence movement which later developed, and still exists as the Connolly Association.

Reports have now reached Ireland of a moving memorial fund raising meeting in New York’s Washington Square’s Methodist Church which was once a refuge for slaves who escaped north, a fitting place indeed for the international gathering which came together to honour the memory of the anti-fascist fighter from Achill. Gerard O’Reilly, one of the founders of the American Transport Workers’ Union and a close friend and confidant of Frank Ryan was one of the many speakers. The press release of the memorial meeting said he ‘embodied in his presence the Irish Republican and American labour movement’. The continuity of these ideals in both the Irish and International context were carried though the second part of the programme with messages of solidarity from the international community, Puerto Rico, Central America, and the African National Congress.

In the interim the Rev. Paul Abels of the Methodist Church joined with Fr Pat Moloney in a short invocation. The pastors touched the hearts of many gathered to whom prayers may have been a distant memory. We will inform our readers of fuller information of the progress of the memorial erection, date of unveiling, etc as soon as such comes to hand.

Other Reports about Patten

Irish Democrat, [Nov] 1984 Vindication!

Irish Post 6th Sept. 1986 - Brigade Salute