Gralton lecture planned for Belfast Festival

Sligo councillor Declan Bree will deliver the annual Madge Davison Memorial Lecture at this year’s Feile an Phobail – Northern Ireland’s largest community festival which takes place in Belfast this week.

Sligo councillor Declan Bree will deliver the annual Madge Davison Memorial Lecture at this year’s Feile an Phobail – Northern Ireland’s largest community festival which takes place in Belfast this week.

Cllr Bree will speak about the life and times of the Leitrim Socialist, Jimmy Gralton, the only Irishman every deported by a native government.

“Jimmy Gralton – An undesirable Alien” will take place in St Mary’s University College, Belfast, on Saturday 11th of August at 2pm.

Jimmy Gralton was a native of Effernagh, Co. Leitrim. As a young man he immigrated to the United States where he became involved in the American labour movement.

When he returned to Leitrim in 1932 to help his aged parents, he became immersed in left-wing political activity and re-opened the Pearse-Connolly Hall in Gowel, Co Leitrim.

When a massive Communist scare enveloped the country in 1933, Gralton was deported from Ireland by the De Valera government as “an undesirable alien”. He spent the remaining days of his life in the American Labour movement. He died in New York on December 29th, 1945.

Feile an Phobail which includes street theatre, music, drama, discussions, debates, exhibitions, community events and literary readings has been central in attracting tourists from around the world to Ireland. Last year the Féile had 200,000 participants.