TWO Northside councillors have expressed conflicting views on Dublin City Council’s decision to allocate €30,000 to the commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution.
Building on the 1916 commemorations in Ireland last year, the funding is part of Dublin City Council’s programme to keep Dubliners “connected to their own stories and their role in shaping the Ireland of 2017”.
The Commemorations Programme 2017 was announced at the city council’s latest Arts, Culture and Recreation committee meeting, along with the total funding allocation of €480,000.
The programme includes the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik revolution - research into and promotion of the records of the Communist Party of Ireland, held by Dublin City Archives.
Along with the commemorative programmes, the council’s fifth annual Dublin Festival of History will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Bolshevik Russian revolution, along with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
However, the decision to spend €30,000 on commemorations centred around the Russian revolution has received mixed views from local councillors.
Tom Brabazon, a Fianna Fáil councillor for the Beaumont-Donaghmede Local Electoral Area (LEA), believes the Bolshevik commemorations are “a ridiculous waste of money”.
“Bolshevism represents tyranny and for many who lived in Russia over the Soviet years, they had no human rights whatever,” said Cllr Brabazon.
“I think that Ireland’s links with Russian Bolshevism are quite tenuous.”
Cllr Brabazon said that after watching the RTE Investigates programme on waiting lists in hospitals and having regard to the the ongoing housing crisis, “we could get far better use of €30,000”.
“I think commemorations have their place,” he added. “For example, the 1916 Rising celebrations last year were inclusive and relevant to mainstream Ireland as most political parties had their roots in that period.
“On the other hand, the proposed commemoration of the Bolshevik Revolution does not. It is a party political frolic and the part of the hard left who are hankering after the discredited communist past.”
But People Before Profit councillor, John Lyons, who represents the same area as Cllr Brabazon, welcomed the series of talks to be delivered on the Bolshevik Revolution.
“The momentous events that occurred in Ireland between 1912 and 1922, from the signing of Home Rule in 1912, the Dublin Lockout of 1913, the 1916 Easter Rising and the revolutionary War for Independence that followed it, all were inextricably linked to the international political situation of the time, most obviously the great slaughter of the First World War,” said Cllr Lyons.
“The Russian Revolution was a key event in that decade, a revolution of world historic importance, one deserving of much research, discussion and debate as possible.”
A spokesperson for Dublin City Council said that while they may mark or commemorate historical anniversaries, they never celebrate the events being marked.
“Rather, we seek to present them as the historical events that they are, providing library patrons with free and easy access to primary documents and the best academic presentation and analysis,” the spokesperson told Northside People.
“The amount of €30,000 is not to mark the anniversary: it is to carry out work on the Communist Party Archive.
“It should be noted that, as with all similar archives, the collection includes lots of material relating to the wider political, economic, social, and cultural life of Ireland (and Europe).”
REPORT: Hayley Halpin