Wolfe Tone Societies

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The Wolfe Tone Societies
(Irish: Muintir Wolfe Tone)
Theobald Wolfe Tone - Project Gutenberg 13112.png
Wolfe Tone, 20 June 1763 – 19 November 1798
Abbreviation WTS
Formation 1964
Type Irish political organisation
Purpose Creation of an all Ireland republic
Headquarters Dublin
Region served Ireland
Membership By invitation
Official language English and Irish

The Wolfe Tone Societies (Irish: Muintir Wolfe Tone[1]) evolved from the commemorative Directories which the IRA helped set up in 1963 to mark the bicentenary of the 1763 birth of Wolfe Tone.[1][2] In 1964 the Directories were dissolved and replaced with the Wolfe Tone Society. Its chief objective is the establishment of an 'united Irish Republic.'[1][3]

History[edit]

In 1963 to celebrate the bi-centenary of Wolfe Tone's birth, Irish republicans formed the Wolfe Tone Bi-centenary Directories.[1] Due to the support shown at the commemoration, it was decided at a meeting of the Directories in Dublin, July 1964, to disband the Directories and replace it with the "Muintir Wolfe Tone", or Wolfe Tone Society.[1][4]

One of the key intellectuals who joined the societies was Roy Johnston, of Protestant background. He sought to encourage Protestants in Northern Ireland to support the nationalist cause.[5]

This organisation decided that it should focus on trying to "influence cultural and political trends in the country" and using democratic means to weaken the Unionist government of Northern Ireland.[citation needed] Its main bases of strength were in Belfast and Dublin.[6]

In 1984, a Wolfe Tone Society was founded in London from the amalgamation of several London based Irish republican groups. It supports Sinn Fein,[7] and holds major meetings and republican commemorations at the Camden Irish Centre in London, which are attended by Sinn Féin members.[citation needed]

Objectives[edit]

Upon its creation, the Wolfe Tone Society declared that its aim was to further the creation of a united, independent, democratic Irish Republic as declared in the 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic. To achieve this it would focus on trying to convince the people of Ireland to support its creation, via meetings, publications and other means.[1] To help promote its message, the organisation published a newsletter called Tuairisc.[1]

Involvement with NICRA[edit]

At a joint meeting of all the Wolfe Tone Societies which took place in the home of Kevin Agnew (republican solicitor) at Maghera, County Londonderry, August 1966,[8] it was proposed that a civil rights campaign be started. The IRA's Chief of Staff Cathal Goulding was present and pledged support from his organisation. From this meeting another was arranged in Belfast on 29 January 1967 and the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was formed.[9] The thirteen man committee which was formed included Fred Heatley and Jack Bennett from the Wolfe Tone Societies and Liam McMillan of the IRA.[9]

Bibliography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g National Archives Ireland – Tuairisc: The news-letter of the Wolfe Tone Society, Number One
  2. ^ English p85
  3. ^ http://www.iol.ie/~rjtechne/century130703/1960s/wtsconst.htm
  4. ^ CAIN – Century of Endeavour
  5. ^ English pp85-86
  6. ^ CAIN – "We Shall Overcome" .... The History of the Struggle for Civil Rights in Northern Ireland 1968 – 1978 by NICRA (1978)
  7. ^ An Phoblacht – Wolfe Tone AGM rejects criminalisation
  8. ^ Coogan p66
  9. ^ a b English p91