The Shankill versus Franco: Working-class Protestants’ fight against Spanish fascism

Northern Ireland Foundation

DOWNES StevieThe Shankill versus Franco: Working-class Protestants’ fight against Spanish fascism
by Stevie Downes for Northern Ireland Foundation
1 February 2014

On Saturday 1st February, a plaque was unveiled in the Shankill Library to seven men from the area who went to fight against Franco in the 1936 Spanish Civil War. Of the seven, four died out there, yet it has taken 75 years for any formal recognition. This is a testament to how long it can take to come to terms with history. And we still haven’t, which is why history is still politics here.

It is politics that raises an eyebrow when it hears that working-class Protestants would have been so motivated by socialism that they would have been prepared to give their lives for it.

Of the seven who fought in Spain — William Beattie, William Henry, William Laughran, Harry McGrath, James Hillen, Joseph Lowry and Andrew…

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