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At the very beginning of the twentieth century, Britain was gripped by panic: it seemed to almost everyone that Ireland would now secede and become a new communist state - in addition to being the only one that had recently appeared on the map. And all because the city of Limerick declared itself "Soviet" and called on the rest of Ireland to join.
Not the best releaseThe history of Irish separatism is directly related to the colonial policy of England in relation to the neighboring island. The Irish were taken into slavery to the New World; their "special race" was declared inferior; because of the predatory policy of the English landowners, the Irish became beggars and starved. Is it any wonder that an independence movement has emerged in Ireland? This story begins with him.
In January 1919, British authorities arrested a telephone operator named Robert Byrne. He was accused of possession of weapons (and during a search of the house, these weapons were found), but in fact Byrne suffered for two sins: he was one of the trade union leaders of Limerick, representing the union of postal workers, and openly attended the funeral of an Irish republican, that is, a supporter of independence. For the second, he paid even before his arrest, by dismissal. There is a version that a weapon was planted on him during a search - just so that he could legally be punished for sympathizing with the Republicans.
The trial passed quickly, decisively: Byrne was sentenced to a year in prison. But the man did not agree with the verdict. In prison, he became the prisoner's informal leader and organized a semblance of resistance. As luck would have it, an international event was planned in the city in April: a pilot who was flying across the ocean from the island of Newfoundland was to land there. Many journalists flocked to Limerick, and Byrne took advantage of the situation: he went on a hunger strike, attracting the attention of the press.
As if it were a sin, still hoping for the attention of the press (at least there is such a version), the Irish Republican Army (extremist separatists) decided to exemplarily release Byrne. The IRA fighters broke into the prison and opened fire on the police. More precisely, one policeman and one Robert Byrne: someone did not cope with the trajectory of shots from their barrel. The freed Byrne did not live for several hours, dying of severe wounds. The IRA immediately declared the British authorities responsible for Byrne's death, and riots broke out in the city.
Soviet LimerickThen events went very tightly. On April 9, the British declared Limerick a closed zone. No one was admitted or let out without documents. The blockade of the city was provided by British troops.
It must be said that Limerick is an industrial city and most of the workers lived in the suburbs. In addition, the city received almost all its food from the surrounding villages. The blockade meant starvation for the poor townspeople (who had no opportunity to stock up) and the ruin of factories for the rich owners (since every working day without work was ultimately calculated in losses in pounds sterling).
On April 13, Limerick's trade unions declared a general strike, and on April 14, the city was completely independent from Britain. The workers' union became the only legal authority in the city. The carpenter John Cronin was elected its chairman. The tiny republic itself, less than forty thousand people, was declared "Soviet Limerick" or "Limerick Councils" (Sóivéid Luimnigh), and all industrialists of the city fully supported this news. On the flag of the republic, a sickle, a hammer and a cross stood nearby: almost all the inhabitants of Limerick were Catholics. The flag itself was scarlet, but with a national green and white stripe at the flagpole.
Money and a number of special measures were urgently introduced in the city. To begin with, they decided to continue the strike, and the Irish outside Limerick were encouraged to join it. Fortunately, the city was still full of reporters and the telegraph was working properly. Only butchers and bakers were prohibited from striking - perishable meat and eggs should be converted into a more durable form as soon as possible. But law firms and brothels were closed with the wording "forever".
How Priests Make PoliticsThe first priority was the need to avoid hunger and looting. The streets were patrolled by police. Products were given out on record, fixed prices were set for them - posters with these prices were posted in prominent places.
The residents of Limerick received unexpected help from the parish priests of the area. Those agitated the peasants to collect food to help the inhabitants of Limerick and take for them how much they will pay (and they paid with freshly invented Limerick shillings). These collected products were ferried along the Shannon River at night, in small boats that were difficult for the military to spot.
But the problem was to provide the population with coal. All coal miners lost the keys to their warehouses at once (and they themselves also tried to get lost). Housewives were indignant and demanded to expropriate the coal, but the authorities feared that the wave of looting would begin with one small incident, and restrained those who wanted to survive difficult times with maximum comfort.
To distract residents from unpleasant thoughts (spring and summer will not last forever), the authorities opened an art gallery, making tickets almost free, and launched the Rabochy Bulletin newspaper. The townspeople liked the gallery. Especially for those for whom visiting her was the only chance to feel on a par with the rich. The paintings were examined respectfully.
Reporters, meanwhile, tried to get the most out of their forced imprisonment in the blockaded city. They promised their readers general Irish unrest and frightened that the Soviet Union was about to rush to the aid of Limerick. In the USSR at that time, the theme of the world revolution was really pedalized, and it seemed to many that the political image of northern Europe was about to change - changes would come from Limerick, like prices from the epicenter of an earthquake.
On April 24, after discussing the situation, the trade union leaders came to the conclusion that God bless her, with Soviet Russia, but alas, no all-Irish strike is foreseen, and announced a partial end to the strike in Limerick. Meanwhile, the British authorities were in secret negotiations with the bishop of the city. On April 26, the bishop called for an end to the strikes completely, and made it clear that it was time to end the show. On April 27, the leaders of Soviet Limerick resigned.
Soviet Limerick lasted less than two weeks. They remember him, however, to this day, and everyone who has visited Limerick can visit historical sites and put flowers at the monument to Robert Byrne.
The history of Ireland is full of unexpected twists and turns. Related to this is why in Europe they caught white slaves for America to replace black ones, and which peoples were unlucky.