Shankill commemorates International Brigade volunteers from Northern Ireland


The Shankill library in Belfast hosted a successful meeting as part of the West Belfast Feile on the lives and contributions of working class people from the Falls and Shankill who fought against Fascism 75 years ago in the Spanish Civil War.

It is a living testimony to common class conflict coming to the fore, an often ignored part of our history which does not fit in with the narrative of a divided and segregated sectarian carve up which is the new era in the North.

The talk organised by the Belfast branch of the International Brigade Commemoration Committee included an illustrated talk from Richard Baxell on the contribution of the Irish and British battalions to major battles. He also pointed out the squalid and harsh fighting conditions including the internal infighting and division within the camp.

Ciaran Crossey briefly outlined the background and motivations of local volunteers who went to Spain rejecting the notion that it was mainly poets and professionals who fought in the Spanish civil war. Pointing out that it was mainly labourers, dockers and other skilled tradesmen who believed that fascism has to fought on the streets. He also raised the idea of a monument being erected on the Shankill to commemorate volunteers from the area who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their ideals and beliefs.

A brief question and answer session followed including a contribution from a local relative of a volunteer from the Shankill who thanked the IBCC for their work and finished by saying that fascism is alive and well has not gone away.

While it is important to remember the 80 plus volunteers from the wee north who went to fight fascism in Spain, it equally important that we do not lose site of the larger picture that this is the 75 anniversary of the Spanish Revolution when a new world was being built in the shell of the old. A struggle which continues….

It is our common humanity and class which unites us more than any fostering division based on race, border or creed.


More info on local participants-

In 2009 Belfast WSM held a talk on the rise of racism in the North and fight against the far-right-