Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Jack Bennett's introductory essay to the book "Freedom The Wolfe Tone Way", written in 1972 by Seán Cronin and Richard Roche, is generally regarded as a classic example of republican literature. In it, in forceful style, he applies the basic principles of Wolfe Tone and the United Irishmen to modern Ireland and convincingly tackles a number of issues such as the "two nations" concept, the "principle of consent", protestant identity, sectarianism and the root causes of Ireland's problems. (See the contents page reproduced below for a better overview of topics discussed).

Bennett was writing from a very interesting perspective; a protestant from Belfast and the son of a senior RUC officer. A journalist by profession he was also involved in the Wolfe Tone Societies and in setting up the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association. He had a long association with left wing politics and was very critical of much of the Irish left who often sought to hide from the national question or support the status quo by scorning the national issue as being "sectarian" and something below them. Correctly, he viewed this position as adopting - unconsciously or otherwise - a pro-imperialist stance, one incompatible with the fundamentals of socialism. Although written in 1972 his essay is just as relevant today, perhaps even more so given the political developments and the amount of traction many of the concepts he criticizes have gained. 
Jack Bennett passed away in 2000. 
"Freedom The Wolfe Tone Way" is itself an excellent read with an extensive selection of Wolfe Tone's own writings as well as contemporary analysis. It certainly lives up to the claim on it's rear cover; 
"The complete book about Wolfe Tone for the times, This is a book FOR these turbulent times. It brings slap-up-to-date the enduring message of brotherhood which Tone bequeathed us, and relates that message to the problems of Ireland in the seventies.
And it lets Wolfe Tone himself do most of the talking"
Unfortunately the book is long out of print and is hard to come by. However I feel that Bennett's essay is very incisive, thought provoking and worth reading, especially in today's context, so I have scanned it and embedded it below. You can download a searchable PDF file of Bennett's essay from the Scribd website at this link. If anyone would like it in a different format (EPUB, text etc) just leave a comment below. 

Posted by Saoirse Go Deo On Tuesday, December 31, 2013 7 comments


  1. thanks for putting this up - certainly made for interesting reading. Happy New Year

    1. Glad you liked it - happy new year to you too

    2. Thanks for sharing this. Great essay and a very interesting character.
      The book can be found used for a few quid on abebooks- haven't read it yet but anything by Cronin usually hits the nail on the head.

  2. Thanks for the info and link and I hope a lot of people can and will read it

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  4. Every students asks himself/herself: How to write a essay introduction. It is a very essential part of any essay because it demonstrates the goal of an essay, it shows author’s opinion.

  5. Thank you for this essay. It's very helpful for those who have essay on a similar topic:D By the way, if you don't know how to write an essay, just check this link


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    This is my personal blog and all herein is merely personal opinion expressed solely on my own behalf from my viewpoint as an Irish Socialist Republican.

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