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Spanish Civil War Heroes Remembered

08/12/09

Commemoration PosterAround 100 people participated in two events in Belfast on Saturday [December 5] commemorating two recently-deceased veterans of the International Brigades who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Dublin-born Bob Doyle passed away in February, aged 92, followed shortly by his comrade James Larkin (Jack) Jones, named after the Irish trade union leader, who died in April, aged 96.

Both men brought their staunch anti-fascist principles back with them from Spain and were active in the trade union movement in Britain over the course of their lives, Doyle in the printers’ union SOGAT and Jones in the Transport & General Workers’ Union.

The first commemorative event took place in the offices of the Unite trade union in Belfast, where a talk was given by Daniel Gray on the Scottish International Brigaders, a number of whom had been born in Ireland or had Irish parents. This was followed by the unveiling of a memorial to the Brigadistas in the Unite office and a short music session.

Later, there was a memorial event for Bob Doyle and Jack Jones at the International Brigade monument in Writers’ Square. There, Marlene Sidaway of the International Brigade Memorial Trust and Kevin Doherty of Belfast Trades Council addressed the crowd.

Both speakers paid tribute to the dedication and the sacrifices of the two men and their comrades in Spain. They also stated clearly, as Doyle and Jones did throughout their lives, that the fight against fascism goes on today.

Sidaway said: “They knew why they went, and because of their example we all know that the fight for equality must continue. It’s in our hands now. They have shown us the way, it’s up to us to fight against fascism, against injustice and prejudice, against poverty, against exploitation, wherever in the world we find them.”

This is the fight that faces us. We must be ready for the task.

 

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