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Thread: TCD 'David Thornley branch' of the Labour Party?

  1. #1
    SeamusNapoleon
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    Default TCD 'David Thornley branch' of the Labour Party?

    The Trinity College branch of the Labour Party is named after Dr David Thornley, an English-born TD who sat in the Dáil for the Dublin north-west constituency from 1969-77, when he lost his seat.*

    Thornley was an outspoken deputy and was the subject of vast criticism in December 1972 when he visited Seán MacStiofáin, then Provisional IRA chief-of-staff, in the Mater hospital. Thornley stated that he knew such a visit would earn him the sneers of a ‘gentle, kindly, indolent Taoiseach’ and taunts of ‘Provo supporter’. Thornley stated that he was in support of the peaceful re-integration of the northern state.

    In 1976, the coalition government banned a planned Provisional Easter parade in Dublin city. Threats were made that any civil servant who attended the march would lose their jobs and any pension contributions. The parade went ahead anyway – the Irish Independent reported a turnout of 10,000 – and deputy Thornley sat on the principal viewing platform along with leading Provisionals.

    As a result of this, the deputy was deprived of the party whip. He was also subject to a £10 fine, which he declared he would not pay. Thornley’s basis for attending the parade so prominently was to challenge the government – his own party included – on their bullying policies.

    He died at the relatively young age of 42 in 1978. Dr Thornley had held senior positions within Trinity College prior to his political career, which might justify the Labour branch in the university naming itself after him. However, aside from his unorthodox attitudes towards the Provisional IRA, there is also this:

    Thornley was so committed to Browne throughout his life, going so far as to follow him into the Socialist Labour Party following his departure from the Labour Party, a point not mentioned in the book.

    A rebel without a political platform - Books, Entertainment - Independent.ie
    Any Trinity students/alumni able to shed light on this..?



    *page 5 ‘Labour Youth branch reports'

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    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    I don't know about that aspect of his career, but I lived near him when he was a TD and voted for him in my first GE as voter (1973). He was a very intelligent but somewhat dispirited figure by then and his personal life was a thing to behold. He drove a small sports car, a Jag or MG, can't remember, and you didn't want to be anywhere near it late at night.
    Last edited by statsman; 23rd November 2012 at 03:16 PM.
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    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by statsman View Post
    I don't know about that aspect of his career, but I lived near him when he was a TD and voted for him in my first GE as voter (1973). He was a very intelligent but somewhat dispirited figure by then and his personal live was a thing to behold. He drove a small sports car, a Jag or MG, can't remember, and you didn't want to be anywhere near it late at night.
    BTY, someone needs to write about the role of the Hole in the Wall on Blackhorse Avenue in 1970s Labout politics.
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeamusNapoleon View Post
    The Trinity College branch of the Labour Party is named after Dr David Thornley, an English-born TD who sat in the Dáil for the Dublin north-west constituency from 1969-77, when he lost his seat.*

    Thornley was an outspoken deputy and was the subject of vast criticism in December 1972 when he visited Seán MacStiofáin, then Provisional IRA chief-of-staff, in the Mater hospital. Thornley stated that he knew such a visit would earn him the sneers of a ‘gentle, kindly, indolent Taoiseach’ and taunts of ‘Provo supporter’. Thornley stated that he was in support of the peaceful re-integration of the northern state.

    In 1976, the coalition government banned a planned Provisional Easter parade in Dublin city. Threats were made that any civil servant who attended the march would lose their jobs and any pension contributions. The parade went ahead anyway – the Irish Independent reported a turnout of 10,000 – and deputy Thornley sat on the principal viewing platform along with leading Provisionals.

    As a result of this, the deputy was deprived of the party whip. He was also subject to a £10 fine, which he declared he would not pay. Thornley’s basis for attending the parade so prominently was to challenge the government – his own party included – on their bullying policies.

    He died at the relatively young age of 42 in 1978. Dr Thornley had held senior positions within Trinity College prior to his political career, which might justify the Labour branch in the university naming itself after him. However, aside from his unorthodox attitudes towards the Provisional IRA, there is also this:



    Any Trinity students/alumni able to shed light on this..?



    *page 5 ‘Labour Youth branch reports'
    From the above he seemed to be one of the few genuine Labour TDs of the 70s.

  5. #5
    Politics.ie Member statsman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by realistic1 View Post
    From the above he seemed to be one of the few genuine Labour TDs of the 70s.
    He was a toff; if he were around now he'd be castigated. But he was a genuinely left-wing TD.
    Last edited by statsman; 23rd November 2012 at 04:00 PM.
    Put a thief among honest men and they will eventually relieve him of his watch. Flann O'Brien

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    Politics.ie Member friendlyfire's Avatar
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    labour always had a few maverick radicals, but now they just are now very much a ruling class party that have been domesticated to such an extent they have sold their soul and principles......and good luck with that come the next election!

    Mr Thornley seemed like one of the good guys he had principles
    Stupidity is far more fascinating than intelligence, after all intelligence has it's limits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by friendlyfire View Post
    labour always had a few maverick radicals, but now they just are now very much a ruling class party that have been domesticated to such an extent they have sold their soul and principles......and good luck with that come the next election!

    Mr Thornley seemed like one of the good guys he had principles
    There is still a few good radicals in the Labour party but for some reason they are still hanging in with Labour.

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    Politics.ie Member Colin M's Avatar
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    He definitely seemed to have more of a political brain, than any of the current Labour crop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colin M View Post
    He definitely seemed to have more of a political brain, than any of the current Labour crop.
    Retropective comparisons are normally fraught with danger. I remember him well, warts and all.
    “Les cons, ça ose tout, c’est même à ça qu’on les reconnaît.”

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    Politics.ie Member Colin M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stakerwallace View Post
    Retropective comparisons are normally fraught with danger. I remember him well, warts and all.
    and vague responses normally confuse the recipient.

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