This book explores the life of Limerick native son Jim Kemmy, who was an icon of the labour movement in Ireland. Kemmy's life spans a period of immense transformation in Irish society with controversy and change in many aspects - Northern Ireland, family planning, industrial relations, religious beliefs, and heritage and the environment are just some of the many issues that engaged him.
The book is also significant in that it is a review of a local activist and, in his own language, a working class one. Kemmy's role as a stone-mason led to a strong political life, causing the collapse of the Fitzgerald coalition, later forming his own group, the Democratic Socialist Party, although subsequently merging with the Labour Party, and becoming national chairman. Throughout this, his writings flowered, from the early days of the Limerick Socialist, maturing to the historical Old Limerick Journal. He was also Mayor of Limerick on two occasions, and leader of the local trade union movement.
Most political biographies focus on the 'big players' with a substantial national or even international profile. But the local actors have their stories to tell too, often stories that illuminate magnificently the forces of change in their society, and stories of people who helped shape their country's future. Jim Kemmy's is such a story.
Jim Kemmy was . . . a big man, big in heart and big in frame, and a towering presence in Limerick for more than three decades, and to many others elsewhere in Ireland and beyond'. Gearoid O Tuathaigh, NUI Galway 'Kemmy's story illumines many important themes and episodes in the recent history of Ireland. It also recalls a man who was unstinting in his efforts to make that Ireland a better place for all its citizens, but especially for those whose honest labour creates its wealth and whose cause needs to be championed, in good times and bad, in order for them to claim their due.' Gearoid o Tuathaigh, NUI Galway, from the Foreword
- Additional Information
Author Callanan, Brian Editor No Print Format Paperback ISBN-10 1908308079 ISBN-13 978-1-908308-07-8 Illustrations No Date of Publication June 2012 Number of Pages 216