Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Workers' Republic (Author: James Connolly)

Chapter 34


Under the conditions at present ruling in Ireland many of us would have preferred to let pass unnoticed the election of a member to represent College Green in the British Parliament. We would have preferred that course: First, because we deprecate any action turning the eyes of Irishmen towards England in the present International crisis. Ireland as a Nation has her own destiny to achieve, and there is no law of nature which makes it necessary that that destiny must forever be worked out in terms of British Acts of Parliament; Second, we would have preferred to let it pass unnoticed and unheeded because we believe that this Parliament cannot last very long.

But the selection of John Dillon Nugent as the candidate of the United Irish League, makes that silence impossible. This selection is a studied insult to every progressive movement in the country. John Dillon Nugent is the active figure behind all that is foulest and most loathsome in Irish Life.

He it is who has stood out as the malevolent enemy of trade unionism on every occasion, small and great, where he could exercise his influence. He has attempted to organise in Ireland, as in the case of the Railwaymen, sectarian trade unions to divide and disrupt the people of the South as Carson and his gang have done in the North. He has worked to aid the enemies of organised labour, and to defeat every effort of the Irish Workers to win for themselves a decent standard of life, and recognition of their rights as a class.

He has poisoned the political life of the Nation, and struck in the dark at every influence and every man making for a self-respecting people or a progressive community.


He has been instrumental in making the Home Rule Party cringe and surrender before every assault of the enemies of Ireland, and has stood behind every attack upon those whom the British Government could neither bribe nor terrorise. From Cork to Enniscorthy, from Dublin to Kerry his sinister figure lurked in the background, ‘setting’ and directing wherever Irish patriots were struck at.

He has worked to make it impossible to serve an Irish Public Board or Corporation in even the humblest capacity, if the public servant was not ready to be at his beck and call, socially and politically.

An enemy of Labour, a fomenter of sectarian strife, a betrayer of all National causes, a source of weakness and paralysis in all National Movements. This is the man you are asked to elect as your representative. Will you do it? We ask you to rise and resent the insult. Let it not be said in this great crisis, when all that is best and noblest in your natures should be rallying in response to the call of your country, that you consented to dishonour all Irishmen have ever held dear, by electing as your representative anywhere, the only man who most successfully embodies and typifies in his person all that is most despicable, hateful and corrupting in Irish public life—John Dillon Nugent.

(Signed on behalf of the Dublin Trades Council and Labour League):

JOHN LAWLOR, Vice-President.
WILLIAM O'BRIEN, Acting Secretary.
JOHN FARREN, Treasurer.