Irish leader dies

Workers World, Workers World Party, Published May 25, 2006

Michéal "Mick" O’Riordan funeral.

Michéal "Mick" O’Riordan, Spanish Civil War veteran and the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland, died in Dublin on May 18 at age 88.

Born in west Cork in 1917, O’Riordan was a member of the Fianna, the Irish Republican Army, and joined the Communist Party of Ireland in 1935. The CP of Ireland later on took an erroneous position against the Irish anti-colonial struggle against the British Empire.

In 1936, he went to Spain with the XVth International Brigade and was wounded in the fight against the fascist dictator Francisco Franco. During the 1940s, he was picked up and imprisoned for four years.

O’Riordan worked as a bus driver and was an active trade unionist. He was active in the Dublin Housing Action Committee in the 1960s, and later in the campaign to free the Irish political prisoners known as the Birmingham Six.

A statement from the Communist Party of Ireland said (in part): "Mick was a product of his time. Born in the year of the Russian revolution into a country controlled by the Catholic Church and ‘gombeen’ politicians, all rabidly anti-communist, he took the side of the downtrodden and chose to organize for a society that put people first. He organized the unemployed, solidarity with trade unionists particularly when they were on strike, was an internationalist in word and deed. He defended uncritically the attempts to develop communism in the USSR and other countries."

—Dustin Langley

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