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Radical politics generally, in a visual form, have been sadly neglected. History Online, by announcing three videos and more to follow, is hoping to make a modest contribution towards redressing this imbalance. These videos will explore radical aspects of recent Irish History in both Ireland and Britain.

The first video is a profile of political activist Anthony Coughlan covering his participation in public affairs from the early 1950s to the present, his activity in relation to civil rights in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and in opposition to European integration in the Republic from the 1970s to the 2000s.

The second video traces the evolution of the Connolly Association in Britain under the leadership of the late C. Desmond Greaves (1913-1988) into an organisation which exerted significant political influence in both Ireland and Britain in relation to civil rights in Northern Ireland in the 1960s and 1970s and the contemporary movement against EU integration.

A profile of Anthony Coughlan

Duration 31:15

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Based on an interview with Irish journalist Owen Bennett, this profile covers Coughlan’s involvement in student politics at University College Cork in the 1950s. This was followed by his emigration to Britain in 1958 and his participation in the Connolly Association there.

During the early 1960’s he returned to Ireland to work as a lecturer at Trinity College Dublin. From then on he concentrated on pressure group politics through participation in the Dublin Wolfe Tone Society in the 1960s and subsequently in various organisations which were opposed to European integration and favoured a No vote in successive Irish referendums on the EU from the 1970s until 2009. He was also involved in the Crotty, McKenna and Coughlan court actions relating to fair referendum practice.

C. Desmond Greaves and the Connolly Association

Duration 55:53

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Anthony Coughlan is again interviewed by journalist Owen Bennett discussing the work of the Connolly Association, Britain, from its foundation in 1938 until the 1970s. The personalities who were active in the Association are considered – in particular the labour historian and left-wing activist C. Desmond Greaves (1913-1988).

The Connolly Association’s work initiated the drive for civil rights in Northern Ireland, culminating in Greaves’s formulation of the demand for a Bill of Rights as the way to prevent discrimination there and open a peaceful way to Irish national reunification. This prefigured some features of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement.

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