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Family unveils plaque to anti-fascist father in Dublin

He originally joined the IRA when their original object was for a socialist Ireland

15 July, 2019 — By Emily Finch

Bob Doyle at the anti-Iraq War march – he continued to be an activist late into his life

A “WORKING-class hero” and a veteran of the Spanish Civil War who lived in Tufnell Park was commemorated with a plaque in his hometown of Dublin on Saturday.

Activist Bob Doyle, who died in 2009 aged 92, joined the anti-treaty IRA in the 1930s and fought against the fascist Franco. His relatives unveiled the plaque in North King Street in Smithfield, Dublin, near where Mr Doyle was born.

Eira, Ceres Doyle, and a supporter from the history project outside The Cobblestone in Dublin, at the unveiling of the plaque to Bob Doyle

His son, also called Robert Doyle, who lives in Tufnell Park, said it was “astonishing” how cherished his father was to the people of Dublin.

“He was an anti-fascist activist throughout his whole life. A working-class hero who spent his whole life from his teenage years on working-class issues,” he said.

He added that his father was an “internationalist” and a communist who was drawn to fighting in Spain for the International Brigades.

Mr Doyle said of his father: “He originally joined the IRA when their original object was for a socialist Ireland.

“At one point it became nationalist and dropped its political side and he left the IRA on that issue. He was much more anti-fascist than pro-Irish nationality.”

He added: “The younger generation in Ireland now appreciate people like my father. You have much more liberal people who look back at the past through that lens and people like my father become a hero.”

Mr Doyle Senior was captured at Gandesa by Italian fascist troops and imprisoned as a PoW for almost a year, but

was eventually released after a prisoner exchange.

He moved to England, where he worked in the Merchant Navy and later for the print union Sogat.

Stewart Reddin, from the Stoneybatter and Smithfield People’s History Project, who organised the plaque, said: “Our project believes it is important that the heroism and sacrifices made by ordinary working-class men and women, who are often written out of the pages of history, are documented and celebrated.

“So we erected a plaque in honour of Bob at The Cobblestone pub, which is the centre of the neighbourhood and where we hold all of our public talks and events. As part of the event we also published a magazine about Bob’s life and produced a commemorative badge.”

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