This obituary for Joe Monks was published in Irish Workers Voice, issue 1606, 18th January 1988.
An anti-fascist dies
The chapel of London's Putney Vale Crematorium on January 18 was filled with Irish people, English Trade Unionists and British international Brigadiers mourning the death of Joe Monks who was one of the first group from Ireland who fought in the defence of the Spanish republic against domestic and international fascist aggression.
Aged 73, his decision to go to Spain along with Frank Edwards and others was a logical one for him, born as he was into a Dublin working class family which was committed to the cause of Irish national independence and Connolly's concept that a free and independent Ireland could only find its fullest expression in a united Socialist Ireland. Joe believed that the "cause of Labour was the cause of Ireland: the cause of Ireland was the cause of Labour" and that the cause of Labour was an international one.
There can be no doubt that his Aunt Mary Donnelly, well known radical republican historic writer of the late twenties helped to shape the mind, outlook and political ideology of her nephew who late went to Spain in December 1936. He was a defender of Connolly House, headquarters of the Irish Revolutionary workers and Small Farmers Groups (the founders of the Communist Party of Ireland) when it was attacked in March 1933 by an incited hymn-singing mob.
Joe Monks was born and reared in Inchicore in Dublin City West, a district centred around the railway engineering workshops. It was remarkable that from two adjoining streets in that area came six of the 145 Irish volunteers against fascism in Spain. Two of that group, Tony Fox and Mick May, fell at the Cordova front on December 1936 and a third, Liam McGregor, was killed on the last day of the last battle of the 15th International Brigade on the river Ebro.
The funeral service took the form of the playing by violinist, Philip Robinson, of Boulavogue, the melody of the struggle of the United Irishmen in the 1798 Rebellion and the haunting lament of the Coolin. Paul Sheenan and Jimmy Jump, one Irish and the other a British ex-International Brigadier recited their poems. The ere was the record by Christy Moore singing his "Viva La Quince Brigada", the combined mourners sang "There is a valley in Spain called Jarama". Orations were delivered by Michael O'Riordan and Bill Alexander, Secretary of the International brigade Association.