56 episodes

A podcast looking at Left politics in Ireland from the Irish Left Archive.

We talk to activists, writers, historians, politicians and others involved in Left organisations and movements about their experiences of participating in Left parties and campaigns; Left publications and political documents they’ve been involved in; and the history and development of progressive politics in Ireland. We also look at the role of the Irish Left Archive and similar informal projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ciarán Swan and Aonghus Storey.

Irish Left Archive Podcast Irish Left Archive

    • History
    • 4.5 • 2 Ratings

A podcast looking at Left politics in Ireland from the Irish Left Archive.

We talk to activists, writers, historians, politicians and others involved in Left organisations and movements about their experiences of participating in Left parties and campaigns; Left publications and political documents they’ve been involved in; and the history and development of progressive politics in Ireland. We also look at the role of the Irish Left Archive and similar informal projects.

The podcast is hosted by Ciarán Swan and Aonghus Storey.

    Camilla Fitzsimons: Spectacle of Defiance & Hope, Repeal, and Academics for Palestine

    Camilla Fitzsimons: Spectacle of Defiance & Hope, Repeal, and Academics for Palestine

    In this episode we speak to activist and academic Camilla Fitzsimons. Camilla’s academic work focuses in particular on education and social movements, and she is an Associate Professor in Maynooth University School of Education. Her publications include two books – Community education and neoliberalism: Philosophies, practices and policies in Ireland (2017) and Repealed: Ireland’s Unfinished Fight for Reproductive Rights (2021).

    We discuss Camilla’s early political experience; her involvement in forming the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope in response to service cuts and austerity, which organised marches and workshops with a central focus on political education; her work on abortion rights and the Repeal referendum, and her book Repealed; feminism, and differentiating Left feminism from the right and liberalism; and Palestine solidarity activism in light of Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza, and Camilla’s work with Academics for Palestine, which seeks to build the campaign for an academic boycott of Israel and help create awareness in the higher education sector.

    Camilla’s website is at camillafitzsimons.com.

    You’ll find a video of the Spectacle of Defiance and Hope in 2011 on Youtube, and it also continues to have an active Facebook group. Other material mentioned in the discussion is linked below:



    The Irish Debt Crisis Community Workshop (2015)
    Camilla’s research on safe access zones, which generated complaints to her university: Irish healthcare workers experiences of anti-abortion protesters and the case for safe access zones


    Research included in the Digital Repository of Ireland (DRI), including a chapter of Repealed.

    • 1 hr 19 min
    Jim Monaghan: LWR, Workers' League, Official Sinn Féin, People's Democracy, & the H-Block Armagh Committee

    Jim Monaghan: LWR, Workers' League, Official Sinn Féin, People's Democracy, & the H-Block Armagh Committee

    In this episode we talk to Jim Monaghan. Jim first became politically active as a student in the late 1960s in Dublin. We discuss the increasing politicisation in Ireland at that time, and Jim’s political activity, initially with Labour and Students for Democratic Action, the League for A Workers’ Republic, and briefly the LWR-breakaway, the League for a Workers Vanguard.

    Jim then describes his move to Official Sinn Féin, the contrast of moving from a small left group to a larger party, and the direction of Republican politics at that time; his later involvement with the Movement for a Socialist Republic and People’s Democracy, after they merged; his involvement as Chair of the Dublin H-Block/Armagh Committee during the Hunger Strikes; and the contemporary political landscape, and the extent of the social and political change that has occurred since his early political involvement.

    • 1 hr 3 min
    Politics & Cultural Influence

    Politics & Cultural Influence

    Throughout 2023 we have asked podcast guests if there are any cultural artefacts or events that they consider particularly influential on their politics.

    This episode brings together responses from historian Mary Muldowney, anarchist activist Gregor Kerr, Republican activist Des Dalton, author Michael Flavin, historian Brian Hanley, and Irish Anarchist Network activists Nestor and Saornil. Below, in the order they are mentioned, are our guest’s choices for politically influential books, films, music, events and media.

    (Where possible, we’ve linked to publicly accessible versions. Others are linked to further information.)



    Ermanno Olmi – The Tree of Wooden Clogs


    Frank Capra – It’s A Wonderful Life


    Robert Tressell – The Ragged-Trousered Philanthropists


    Dunnes Stores Anti-Apartheid strike


    1913 Lockout 100th Anniversary Plaque in Dun Laoghaire

    Ernie O’Malley - On Another Man’s Wound and The Singing Flame


    J. Bowyer Bell - The Secret Army


    Caught in A Free State


    George Orwell - Homage to Catalonia


    Geoffrey Robertson - Reluctant Judas: Life and Death of the Special Branch Informer Kenneth Lennon


    The Jam – The Gift


    The Style Council – Our Favourite Shop


    Eamonn McCann – War and an Irish Town


    V for Vendetta


    Margaret Killjoy


    Robert Evans & Jake Hanrahan – The Women’s War

    • 22 min
    David Costelloe: Military History and The Troubles

    David Costelloe: Military History and The Troubles

    In this episode we’re joined by David Costelloe. Dave writes on history and politics on his website Never Felt Better, and in particular has written an extensive series of articles on Irish military history from the earliest records almost to the contemporary, Ireland’s Wars. We spoke to Dave previously in 2021, on episode 20 of the podcast, about his background and work on earlier military history, and he joins us again to discuss the period of the Troubles in particular and the comprehensive series of articles on the topic he has written since last speaking to us.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    A New Series and Project Update

    A New Series and Project Update

    An introduction to our next series of episodes and discussion of the Irish Left Archive project and changes we’ve made in the past year.

    The discussion includes mention of trying to keep all aspects of the project open. As such, we’ve made the website and podcast statistics publicly accessible, as well as any source code used in the project.


    Website statistics: https://u.leftarchive.ie/share/6wv4MBNDrbJW52uY/Irish%20Left%20Archive

    Podcast statistics: https://op3.dev/show/8e88bb97-6c47-518a-8260-1cbedbd4b095

    Source code repositories: https://git.aonghus.org/Irish-Left-Archive


    You can follow us on the Fediverse (Mastodon, Pixelfed, Peertube etc.) at @ila@leftarchive.ie.

    • 28 min
    Des Dalton: Republican Sinn Féin and Independent Republicanism

    Des Dalton: Republican Sinn Féin and Independent Republicanism

    In this episode we talk to Des Dalton. Des is a long-term Republican activist who joined Republican Sinn Féin in the late 1980s and has served on the party’s Ard Comhairle and as party President from 2009 to 2018. Since leaving the party in 2021, Des has been an independent Republican activist.

    We discuss Des’s political background and his Republicanism, which led him to joining Republican Sinn Féin from Ógra Fianna Fáil in his teens; the politics of Republican Sinn Féin, its position in Left politics and the role of Internationalism in Republicanism; his experience in the party as a member and later as President, and the party’s publications and newspaper, Saoirse; and finally his departure from the party and his perspective on contemporary Republicanism and its future direction.

    Two articles written by Des, which are mentioned in the discussion, are linked below:



    The 1962 IRA Ceasefire: Lessons for Today. By Des Dalton.


    All Republican Groups Should Call A Ceasefire

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
2 Ratings

2 Ratings

yourcousin89 ,

Second best podcast to come out in 2020

The only reason it’s in second place is that “The Others” by Alan Kinsella got out first. Great interviews and great guests.

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