Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Memory Politics – 6 Belgrave Square, Rathmines, Dublin – Property was once owned by sinister reactionary Edward Carson – Decades later Brian Judge used the house to raise funds for the Birmingham Six – victims of a British Miscarriage of Justice

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Properties can be used for many different purposes. Brian Judge reported on his Facebook page :

I owned Number 6 Belgrave Square for several years. When researching the title I found out Edward Carson was the first owner of the property. He lived in it for 3 years. For obvious reasons I did not put a plaque on the wall.
It was a large house with a large rear garden which I used regularly to raise funds for Irish miscarriage of justice cases in Great Britain and Ireland.
During a fundraiser for the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas the police turned up and entered the house.They were confronted by Joe Costello TD (Teachta Dála, MP in Ireland). Joe asked by what authority they had entered the house, they claimed they were invited – something I disputed.They prosecuted me for having a bar at the function. I was represented by Michael Farrell a founder of People’s Democracy and a fellow member of the Commission. The case was thrown out on a technicality. Apparently in Irish law you can sell drink to your friends for the purchase price.
Post Script : Michael Farrell was interned in 1971. He was released after a 34 day hunger strike. One of Ireland’s foremost human rights activists down to the present day.

6 Belgrave Square, Rathmines, Dublin

This prompted some correspondents to ask why Brian was opposed to the erection of a plaque honouring Lord Edward Carson.

In my opinion, Brian was right, and I posted the response below.

John Meehan February 12 2023

A great Brian Judge Story

I attended parties at this venue which raised valuable funds assisting political campaigns supporting Irish political prisoners such as the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four and the Winchester Three. If a plaque noting Edward Carson’s connection with the property was erected, it must state the political truth about this sinister figure : Racist, War-Monger, British Imperialist, Homophobe, Persecutor of Irish Heroes Oscar Wilde and Roger Casement, Enemy of the Workers. Let’s resist the sick forelock-tugging and West-Brit State-promoted culture which covers up the horrendous crimes of British Imperialism and its Irish agents.

“The Ulster Unionist Labour Association was an association of trade unionists founded by Edward Carson in June 1918, aligned with the Ulster Unionists in Ireland. Members were known as Labour Unionists. In Britain, 1918 and 1919 were marked by intense class conflict. This phenomena spread to Ireland, which was under British rule at the time. This period also saw a large increase in trade union membership and a series of strikes. These union activities raised fears in a section of the Ulster Unionist leadership, principally Edward Carson and R. Dawson Bates. Carson at this time was president of the British Empire Union, and had been predisposed to amplify the danger of a Bolshevik outbreak in Britain.

The Ulster Unionist Labour Association was made up of trade unionists and Ulster Unionists and was founded by Carson along with John Miller Andrews as a means of instigating a purge from the local trade union movement of ‘Bolsheviks’ and republicans. Both Carson and Bates feared this class conflict and the development of a militant Sinn Féin would threaten the class alliance with dissolution which had been embodied in the old Ulster Volunteers. By sounding the counter-revolutionary alarm, it would be a call to “loyal workers” against the twin threats of socialism and republicanism.

The grouping adopted as formal policy an opposition to socialism, but was seen by many as an attempt to show that the Unionist Party had the interests of the working class at heart. Members included Tommy Henderson, later an independent Unionist MP.”

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