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Sean McLoughlin


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I am trying to trace details on the life of a man called Sean McLoughlin. He was from Dublin and moved to Sheffield sometime in the 1920s. His last known address was 77 Lees Hall rd in the late 1940s-early 1950s. Has anyone ever heard of him/

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Thanks Conor, Yes Sean McLoughlin was involved in the socialist movement in Sheffield in the early 1920s. Before that he was also involved in the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916. He would have been around 20 then. In Sheffield he was active with Jack Murphy, who was a well known leader of the Socialist Labour Party. That party was very strong in Glasgow and he spoke at a lot of meetings in that city also. I know very little about McLoughlin from the mid 20s onwards, other than that he was living in Sheffield and probably died there. It is in relation to his life from the mid 20s onwards that I am looking for information about

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  • 1 year later...

Yes, I'm looking for info on Sean too, and so I thought I'd bump this to the top...All i can add to what's already been said is that I'd read he was 15 or 16, not 20, (but i probly am wrong no offense or anything) at the time of the Rising, and, in fact, Pearse and Connolly gave up their ranks and promoted him to Commander right before the surrender; as Peter deRosa's book 'Rebels' says "Thus the rising ended with a fifteen-year-old as Commandant of the Dublin Division..."


Anyone else who can contribute any information would be *greatly* appreciated...

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  • 2 years later...

I came across this on an Scottish Socialist Party site. It's from the party's journal Scottish Socialist Voice and was posted in April 2006. I'd be interested in any further information you may have unearthed.





Sean McLoughlin


Going from the green to the red


by Charlie McGuire


Sean McLoughlin was an important, if largely unremembered, figure during the Irish Revolution, 1916-1923. He began these years as a republican activist and ended it as a leading figure within the first Communist Party of Ireland. In between, he was also Commandant General of the army of the Irish Republic, as the events of Easter Week 1916 reached a climax, an IRA Commandant during the Civil War, and a mass orator of exceptional ability within the socialist movement in Britain.

McLoughlin was born in Dublin in June 1895. He became involved in republican politics at the age of 15, and five years later, shortly before his twenty-first birthday, took part in the Easter Rising. McLoughlin was initially part of a unit which took over the Mendicity Institute, and whose role was to prevent the movement of British troops from the adjacent Royal Barracks into the city centre.

After the fall of the Mendicity, he escaped to the GPO. There, his leadership qualities and ability to think and act decisively under heavy fire were so outstanding, that James Connolly had him promoted to the top of military command, after he himself sustained severe injuries on the previous day. McLoughlin organised the republican evacuation from the bombed-out GPO, and also devised a plan for continuing the fight. He was overruled, however, by Padraig Pearse, who decided upon surrender.

After release from prison in December 1916, McLoughlin became an organiser of the Irish Volunteers in Tipperary. He was also increasingly influenced by socialist politics, joining the Socialist Party of Ireland, and embarking upon two long speaking tours in Scotland and Northern England, organised by the Socialist Labour Party (SLP) during 1920-21. McLoughlin’s meetings were often attended by thousands of workers and were usually described by local SLP branches as the best they had ever organised. Such was his impact that one ex-SLP member, interviewed in 1975, described him as the greatest public speaker he had witnessed.

McLoughlin was also an innovative theoretician. He argued that the Irish revolutionary struggle was linked to that of the struggle for socialism in Britain, through being directed against the same ruling class.

Unlike most socialists of that era, McLoughlin felt that socialism would be established in Ireland before Britain. He believed that this would detonate uprisings throughout the British Empire, which would in turn precipitate the destruction of capitalism in Britain itself.

Taking an internationalist position, McLoughlin felt that the triumph of socialism in Britain would be the only way that an Irish socialist republic could survive in the long term. As a result of this analysis, he urged Irish and British workers to support both Irish independence, and the socialist movements in both countries.

McLoughlin returned to Ireland in July 1922, following the outbreak of Civil War. He considered the Treaty as an obnoxious collaboration between British imperialism and Irish capitalism. McLoughlin joined the Communist Party of Ireland, (CPI), which was led by 21-year old Roddy Connolly, the son of James.

The CPI strategy was to fight alongside the IRA, against the neo-colonialist Free State administration, whilst encouraging the republicans to adopt a socialist programme that would win the support of workers and small farmers. In pursuit of this strategy, McLoughlin joined the IRA and commanded a flying column in Limerick, spreading socialist ideas within the local republican movement in the process. In December 1922, however, McLoughlin was captured and sentenced to death by the Free Staters. The sentence was not executed and he was eventually released in October 1923, after the IRA had been crushed.

With the CPI being disbanded by Moscow in January 1924, McLoughlin decided to work with Jim Larkin, who had returned to Ireland some months previously. An acrimonious split between the two, following Larkin’s disastrous handling of a rail workers strike, however, precipitated his final departure from Irish socialist politics nine months later.

Harassed constantly by the reactionary Free State regime, McLoughlin moved to England and, although jailed yet again around the time of the General Strike, slowly faded from revolutionary activity. He struggled badly with ill-health in his later years and died a wholly forgotten figure in Sheffield, aged just 64, in February 1960.

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