Michael Davitt - ‘unselfish idealist’. By Gerry Adams
Gerry Adams has just launched Michael Davitt - ‘unselfish idealist’ - his latest Léargas book.
Gerry Adams said: “Much has been written of Davitt. But what is indisputable is that he was an idealist, a nationalist, a fenian, a republican, a revolutionary, a labour activist, a writer and journalist, a historian and an internationalist.
James Connolly who lived on the Falls Road and organised the Belfast mill and dock workers described him as ‘honest’ and an ‘unselfish idealist’.
In his 60 years of life Michael Davitt helped formulate and promote new and effective methods of struggle, and changed for the better the lives of countless millions of Irish people.”
The Davitt family were evicted from their home in County Mayo and travelled to England where at the age of 9 Michael worked a 60 hour week in a cotton mill. Aged 11 he lost his right arm when it was mangled in a machine.
He joined the Irish Republican Brotherhood and spent seven and a half years in prison under the most horrendous conditions. After his release he returned to Ireland where he helped establish the land league, became an MP and campaigned relentlessly on behalf of the disadvantaged.
Gerry Adams added: “At the heart of Davitt’s activism was a belief in the Irish people, a belief in our right to be free, and a determination that we could construct a better future, a more equitable future than that which existed then. These ideals are as much a part of our future now as they were when Davitt campaigned for land rights.”
If you want to read more about Michael Davitt this Léargas and the others in the series are available from
Sinn Féin Bookshop 58 Parnell Square Dublin 1 & An Fhuiseog 55 Falls Road Belfast
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