Author Chris Mullin to speak on Birmingham Six in Cork

Social campaigner Fr Peter McVerry will also appear at Spirit of Mother Jones Festival

Former British Labour Party MP and author Chris Mullin will speak about the lessons that can be learned from the case of the Birmingham Six at a summer school in Cork later this month.

Mr Mullin will deliver a lecture entitled "Miscarriages of Justice - the Birmingham Six" as part of this year's Spirit of Mother Jones Festival at the Firkin Crane in Shandon.

The Spirit of Mother Jones Festival was founded in 2012 to celebrate the legacy of Cork-born US trade unionist Mary Harris, once described as "the most dangerous woman in America".

Mother Jones

Born in Cork city in 1837, Mother Jones became a leading figure in the US labour movement, campaigning for union rights and an end to child labour.


Mr Mullin is the author of Errors of Judgement, about the Birmingham Six.

A close personal friend of late left-wing politician Tony Benn, Mr Mullin will also explain his affection for the widely respected figure in a lecture, "Tony Benn - an Appreciation".

Ger O’Mahony of the Spirit of Mother Jones Festival said the committee was delighted to have such a respected politician and campaigner as Mr Mullin attend this year’s festival.

“Chris Mullin highlighted the miscarriage of justice suffered by the Birmingham Six and he focused the spotlight on the failure of the British legal system regarding their convictions.

“His lecture on the Birmingham Six promises to be very interesting, while his talk on Tony Benn should offer an interesting insight into one of the leading figures in British politics,” Mr O’Mahony said.

Peter McVerry

Other highlights of this year’s festival includes an address by social campaigner Fr Peter McVerry on homelessness and the failure of Irish social policy to address the problem.

"Fr McVerry will again warn about the impending dangers of a 'tsunami of homelessness' which will sweep Ireland in the absence of political solutions," Mr O'Mahony added.

Author Alannah Hopkin will also deliver a lecture on the extraordinary story of Ethel Boole, daughter of mathematician George Boole, who achieved fame as writer EL Voynich.

"EL Voynich is a fascinating woman - she wrote a novel The Gadfly in 1897 and it became a bestseller in Russia, selling over five million copies," Mr O'Mahony said.

Radical causes

Ethel Boole and her husband, Polish revolutionary Wilfred Voynich, were very involved in supporting radical causes in pre-revolutionary Russia, he went on.

"Ethel Boole, who was born in Ballintemple in Cork, led an extraordinary life, mixing with the likes of Friedrich Engels, Eleanor Marx, William Morris and Peter Kropotkin, " he said.

This year's festival also includes a lecture on James Connolly's friend John Dowling, as well as a new documentary on the Limerick Soviet, established in April 1919.

For further information on this year’s Spirit of Mother Jones Festival, which runs from July 29th to August 1st, please visit

Barry Roche

Barry Roche

Barry Roche is Southern Correspondent of The Irish Times