Saturday, 4 June 2011

George Brown Commemoration Weekend

 From the George Brown Memorial Committee:

George Brown Memorial Committee, Inistioge

Inistioge is a small, rural village in the Republic of Ireland. The picturesque village sits in a valley on the River Nore, County Kilkenny. It was here, in 2007, that the George BrownMemorial Committee was founded in order to honour a local man who gave his life as a member of the International Brigades, in the defence of democratic principles and workers' rights.

George Brown, was born in Inistioge in 1906. Having emigrated to the UK as a child, he spent much of his life in Manchester. Like most working-class children George had an ordinary elementary school education and from the age of fourteen had a variety of jobs with spells of work in factories, with Manchester Corporation and as a labourer on a number of building sites, along with intermittent bouts of unemployment characteristic of the period. It was the General Strike of 1926 that consolidated his interest in politics and led to his joining the British Communist Party. He became a very active trade union organizer and a prominent member of the labour movement in Manchester.

In January 1937, George Brown was one of more than five hundred Volunteers from Britain who went to Spain. He was posted to the front line as a soldier in the Fifteenth International Brigade.
On 7th July 1937, aged just 30, he died in the Battle of Brunette during the defence of Madrid.

Since it was established in 2007, The George Brown Memorial Committee has held an annual commemoration to acknowledge the sacrifice made by George Brown, and in recognition of the bravery and integrity of all the men and women who were members of the International Brigades. This commemoration is held in Inistioge over two days in June each year and features lectures, speakers, memorial events and music, in what has proved to be an informative and enjoyable event.

In December 2007, our locally-based committee was instrumental in the establishment of an olive grove at Woodstock Gardens and provided a plaque commemorating four Kilkenny men who served in the International Brigade and then in June a plaque was unveiled in St. Colmcille graveyard, Inistioge, to the memory of George Brown. The initial event was attended by attended by Spanish Civil War veterans Bob Doyle and Jack Jones (RIP). Speakers have included Harry Owens, Spanish Civil War historian, Dr Emmet O'Connor, Senator David Norris, along with the Cuban and Palestinian Ambassadors.

The George Brown Memorial Committee is local committee, representing a small village community in Ireland and we are proud of what we have achieved in commemorating the sacrifice of those who fought and died in the International Brigades and in encouraging ongoing political discussion. In 2011, and with Ireland facing an economic crisis, we are intending to hold the George Brown Memorial Event once again, with the theme “Successes in Socialism”.

The event will be held over the evening of Friday 24th and Saturday 25th June. For further information please visit the website or contact us at


Welcome and Wreath Laying by Pádraig Ó Murchú (Chairperson
Meet at George Brown Memorial Plaque in St Colmcille’s Cemetery

St Mary’s Church, Inistioge
Proceedings chaired by Jimmy Kelly, Irish Secretary UNITE
Topic – Socialism in the Modern World

Michael D. Higgins will speak on the subject of
The Left in a Changing World
Jose Antonio Gutierrez will speak on the subject of
Socialism in Latin America

Lehehan’s pub
Light Refreshment and Music

11.00am – St Mary’s Church, Inistioge
Proceedings chaired by Jack O’Connor, President SIPTU

Harry Owens, Spanish Civil War Historian, will speak on the subject of The Catholic Church and the Spanish Civil War.
Ciarán Crossey will speak on the subject of The Republican Congress.

1.00pm The Olive Grove – Woodstock Gardens
Tree Planting Ceremony
Music performed by The Hatchery Folk
Address by Manus O’Riordan, Irish Secretary ~ International
Brigade Memorial Trust: In Defence of Two Republics – Kilkenny’s International Brigaders

4.00pm Return to Inistioge
Refreshments at Lenehan’s Pub
Recital by Graiguenamanagh Brass Band

Evening Close
Traditional Music and Song, O’Donnell’s Lounge

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