The IRISH PEOPLE was a weekly newspaper which served as the “Voice of Irish Republicanism in America.” Published by volunteers who supported an Irish Republican political analysis, the paper provided weekly reports and analysis of events in Ireland related to the struggle against British rule. It also served as a contemporary weekly record and organizer of Irish-American political activity in the United States during a crucial epoch (1972-2004). Those who wish to study historic events in Ireland and how such events were seen and influenced by Americans will find it an indispensable resource.
In addition to issues of THE IRISH PEOPLE, the collection includes photographs, newspaper clippings, pamphlets, post cards, letters, and other materials related to the paper’s production and events associated with Irish America (see also the links below).
We thank Joe Flaherty, Marion Reynolds, The Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Archives of New York University, Tom Delaney, and Peter Hegarty for providing access to their collections of the Irish People. We also greatly appreciate the support of Irish Northern Aid. And we want to offer a special thanks to Jack O’Brien for his support, encouragement, and newspapers.
If you have questions or comments about this collection, visit the Irish Republican Movement Collection on Facebook.
Attempted Arrest of Martin Galvin
12 August 1984 Incident: Attempt to Arrest Martin Galvin
An important event in the history of Irish Northern Aid occurred in Belfast in August 1984, when the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) tried arrest Martin Galvin, the organization’s Director of Publicity and the editor of The Irish People. A few weeks prior to the event, Galvin was excluded from Northern Ireland. When he appeared at a rally in in Belfast the RUC tried to arrest him.
The formal exclusion order was issued by the British Home Secretary, Leon Brittan, in July 1984. Approximately 130 Irish Americans, including Galvin, arrived in Dublin in early August as part of an Irish Northern Aid tour. However, on August 5th, when they left Dublin to tour republican areas in the North, Galvin was not with them. Among the stops on the tour was a meeting with armed Provisional IRA volunteers in Derry.
The tour culminated with participation in the annual anti-internment march in Belfast, on August 12th, 1984. Following the march, a crowd of people gathered in the street in front of Sinn Féin Headquarters at Connolly House, in West Belfast. The assembled crowd, and the media present, wondered if Galvin would be among the speakers. After brief remarks, Gerry Adams, the President of Sinn Féin, confirmed that Galvin would indeed speak. But when Galvin appeared on the platform, the crowd cheered and the RUC moved in to try and arrest him. The RUC failed to arrest Galvin but during the attempt a plastic bullet killed one person, John Downes, and several other people were injured.
Documents from a public inquiry into the events of August 12, 1984, directed by Fr. Des Wilson and published by Springhill Community House Belfast:
Official Documents: Documents released under the 30 year rule are now available from the Public Record Office Northern Ireland (PRONI), as presented by the CAIN Archive, see:
Series of Briefing for 'Secretary of State's Meeting with Mr Barry in Dublin: 31 August Documents including, 'The Attempted Arrest of Martin Galvin on 12 August', 'Border Incursions', 'Border Footbridges', Anglo-Irish Relations', [n.d.], [PRONI Public Records CENT/1/13/33A; 18 pages] (direct link to PDF)
Video: The event was captured on film and influenced subsequent events and coverage of Irish Northern Aid.
- RUC Reservist Acquitted
- "Riots In Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1984"
- “RUC kill civilian & IRA kill RUC officer in Tyrone, funerals of both 15 August 1984”
- “Funeral of IRA Volunteer Charles English & riots in the Bogside in Derry 8 August 1985”
Irish Northern Aid: Videos and Documents
- “Irish Fáilte to Brit Royalty visit to New York, 1981” During the 1981 hunger strike by Irish republican prisoners, members of the British royal family visited New York, the site of Irish Northern Aid headquarters. Irish Americans organized a protest against the visit.
- “Mike Flannery leads the 1983 St Patrick's Day Parade in NYC” Michael Flannery, a veteran of the Irish Republican Army, immigrated to the United States in 1927. He settled in New York, married, and pursued a career with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. In 1970, Flannery was among the founding members of Irish Northern Aid. He was arrested in 1982 and with five others was charged with gun-running. Following their acquittal, Flannery was chosen to lead the 1983 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in New York City.
- "Ancient Order of Hibernians in America, INC. with Belfast National Graves Association” In this “Freedom for Ireland Video Chat” (produced by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, 2020), Martin Galvin, Joe Austin, and Brendan McFarlane discuss events associated with the republican movement in the 1970s and 1980s and the contribution of Irish Northern Aid.
- "The Year of the Irish Hunger Strike: An American Tribute" (circa 1982) In 1981, ten Irish Republican prisoners died on hunger strike. The hunger strike was a seminal event in the history of the Irish Republican Movement and garnered world-wide attention. This book, which offers an Irish-American perspective on the hunger strike, includes essays and photographs of events in Ireland and the United States.