Music and tributes resound at funeral of Cathal Goulding


The funeral of Mr Cathal Goulding, who died on St Stephen's Day following a long illness, took place at Glasnevin on Thursday. Chief-of-staff of the IRA in the 1960s, he was a key figure in moving militant republicanism away from the gun to politics. He played a major role in the formation of the Workers' Party.

Those in attendance were his daughter, Banban, and sons, Cathal Og, Paudge and Aodhgan; his grandson, Cathal Beag, his former partner, Moira Woods, with whom he lived from 1971 to 1991, and her six older children, Penny, Dennis, Christopher, Timothy, Catherine and Benjamin, his sisters, Phyliss and Nuala, and brother Noel.

An overflow attendance included the Workers' Party president, Mr Tom French, its national treasurer, Mr Sean Garland, general secretary, Mr Pat Quearney, and the party's ardchomhairle, including Mr Tomas Mac Giolla and Mr Dessie O'Hagan.

Also at the funeral were the Democratic Left leader, Mr Proinsias De Rossa, Labour Party senator Mr Joe Costello, filmmakers Jim and Peter Sheridan, writer and broadcaster Proinsias Mac Aonghusa, scientist Dr Roy Johnston, and retired Judge Mary Kotsonouris.

The coffin, draped in a Tricolour and Starry Plough, was carried for a half-mile to Glasnevin, at first by family members and then in relays by groups of party members, many from Northern Ireland. They were halted at about every 20 paces and changed in groups of six. Mr Goulding's children and the older children of Dr Woods carried the coffin into the crematorium.

Mourners were ushered inside by stewards wearing red armbands who gave preference to party members. A large crowd remained outside during the 11/2-hour ceremony.

A lament was played on uileann pipes as the coffin was laid on a bier, beside a poster with a photograph of Mr Goulding and the words "Thinker", "Doer", "Revolutionary" and "1923-1998". The funeral oration was delivered by Mr Sean Garland, who said Mr Goulding's death was a shattering loss for his friends and comrades. "There will never be another of his calibre in the history of our movement, our party, and indeed I would not hesitate to say in the history of our country.

"He stands out first and foremost for his unique contribution in achieving the transformation of a narrow nationalist movement into a class-conscious party of the working class," he said.

He described Mr Goulding as an indomitable and cultured man who loved to be among the working class, "talking, drinking, swapping yarns". He saw this as a process of education, a way of reaching people and making them aware of the true nature of this society.

He knew the capitalist system could not survive if the people had knowledge and were questioning the immoral and unethical values of a corrupt system. "I don't need to spell out to this gathering how corrupt this country has now become," Mr Garland continued.

There was, he said, a conspiracy among the ruling class of this State to ensure none of those accused in connection with corruption would be punished, because they knew too much about the crimes of others. It was only the actions of whistle-blowers which had brought about most of the exposures, he said. "We certainly don't owe it to any courageous journalists," he said.

Mr Goulding spent his life fighting such corruption, he said, "and what sustained him was his ideology, which was Marxist". He was also a very tolerant man. Though a staunch atheist, he recognised and respected the beliefs of others.

Above all else he despised treachery from wherever it came, "whether from the sectarian nationalist bigots, ultra-leftists, or the opportunists of Democratic Left. He hated the hypocrisy under which these particular traitors, of the now dissolved Democratic Left, sought to hide their betrayal, and he was always to the forefront in exposing their treachery.

"That a corrupt, servile and venal public and private media in this country has over the years sought to destroy what he, along with many comrades, built is to their shame . . ."

He said he knew Mr Goulding "always remembered the media's despicable and odious conduct in late 1991 and early 1992 when day after day they carried attack after scurrilous attack on the party". Mr Garland finished with a quote from Walt Whitman's tribute to Abraham Lincoln, O Captain! My Captain!.

Mr Tomas Mac Giolla said Mr Goulding's spirit lived on. "Cathal never had much time for spirits, but in fact his spirit lives on in us all." He had left them a strong and vibrant republican party "ready to take up the republican space and the socialist space recently abandoned by traitors and slaves".

In his address Mr Pat Quearney said Mr Goulding's voice would be heard "every time we make a point on principle". He had a great ability to see through the mythic world of the market and though often betrayed he remained outwardly stoical, whether the cause was "De Rossa and his circus" or his "being banned from the media under the Prevention of Socialism Act".

The addresses were interspersed with music and song. Mr Brian Lynch played The Memory of the Dead on a tin whistle. Ms Nan McGlennan sang The Streets of Bunclody, Ms Marian Donnelly read the poem Standing, written by Noel MacFarlane, while Mr Joe McGowan sang The Red Flag and The Auld Triangle.

The ceremony ended with Mr O'Hagan saying "Cathal Goulding will always live in the hearts and minds of our class" and a rendition of Sliabh na mBan on the uileann pipes.