Roddy Connolly

Roderick James Connolly (11 February 1901 – 16 December 1980) was a socialist politician in Ireland. He was also known as 'Rory Connolly'.[1]

Roddy Connolly
Connolly during an interview on RTÉ Television in 1966
Teachta Dála
In office
February 1948  May 1951
In office
June 1943  May 1944
Personal details
Born(1901-02-11)11 February 1901
Dublin, Ireland
Died16 December 1980(1980-12-16) (aged 79)
Bray, County Wicklow, Ireland
Political partyLabour Party


The son of Irish socialist James Connolly and Lillie Connolly, he was involved in the Easter Rising in 1916, at the age of 15,[1] where he served in the GPO under his father. He joined the Socialist Party of Ireland in 1917.

Connolly traveled to Russia on several occasions in 1920–21 and formed a close association with Vladimir Lenin and was hugely influenced by the Soviet leader. He was a delegate to the Second Congress of the Communist International as a delegate of the Industrial Workers of the World.[2]

He helped form and became President of the first Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) in October 1921. He was editor of CPI newspaper, The Workers' Republic. He opposed the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty between the Irish Republican Army (IRA) and the British state and fought in the Civil War on the anti-treaty side. The CPI was the first Irish political party to oppose the Treaty and urged the IRA to adopt socialist policies to defeat the new Free State government. The CPI was dissolved in 1924 by the Comintern but in 1926, Connolly helped set up a second Marxist party, the Workers Party of Ireland. Connolly was the party leader and editor of its journal, The Hammer and Plough. This party too was dissolved in 1927.

Connolly joined the Irish Labour Party in 1928 and in 1934 participated in the last socialist initiative of Inter-War Ireland, the Irish Republican Congress. He was imprisoned twice in 1935. At the 1943 general election, Connolly was elected to the Dáil as a Labour Party Teachta Dála (TD) for Louth. He lost his seat at the 1944 general election, but was re-elected at the 1948 general election, before losing once more at the 1951 general election.[3] Connolly was also financial secretary of the party from 1941–49.

Connolly entered something of a semi-retirement between the mid-1950s to mid-1960s, but in the late 1960s, he began a comeback. He was elected as party chairman in 1971 and held this position until 1978. Connolly also sat in the Irish Senate from 1975–77 on the Cultural and Educational Panel.[4] He was a supporter of the Labour Party–Fine Gael coalition government that was in power from 1973–77.[5]

Connolly died in St Michael's hospital, Dún Laoghaire, in December 1980. He had both pneumonia and stomach cancer. Connolly is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.[6]

Party political offices
New office General Secretary of the Communist Party of Ireland
Succeeded by
Office abolished
New office Leader of the Irish Workers' Party
Succeeded by
Office abolished
Preceded by
Chairman of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Michael D. Higgins


  1. Tim Pat Coogan (2005). 1916: The Easter Rising. Phoenix. p. 97.
  2. John Riddell (ed.), Workers of the World and Oppressed Peoples, Unite! Proceedings and Documents of the Second Congress, 1920: Volume 2. New York: Pathfinder Press, 1991; pg. 841.
  3. "Roderick Connolly". Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  4. "Roderick Connolly". Oireachtas Members Database. Retrieved 15 December 2008.
  5. Morgan, Austen (1988). "Connolly and Connollyism: The Making of a Myth". The Irish Review (1986-) (5): 44. doi:10.2307/29735380. JSTOR 29735380.
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