Frank Ryan Soc Leaflet: ‘Bob Doyle Salud!’

The following is the text of a leaflet published by the Frank Ryan Society that was distributed in UCD this week.




Bob Doyle Salud!


The last remaining Irish member of the International Brigades which fought in the anti-fascist war in Spain died last week on the 23rd of January, 2009 in London. Bob was born in Dublin city centre on the 12th of February 1916. Brought up in poverty, he joined the ranks of the unemployed during the 1930’s. It was during this turbulent period in Irish history that he met republican and socialist Kit Conway. It’s through that Bob joined the IRA and later the Republican Congress.


During this time both were involved in anti-Blueshirt street demonstrations. Bob himself sustained permanent damage to his eye during a Blueshirt attack. During the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 anti-Fascists from Ireland organized by Frank Ryan, a graduate of UCD travelled to Spain in defense of the Spanish republic. (Another UCD student, Charlie Donnelly also went and died at the Battle of Jarama)


Bob Doyle reached Spain in December 1937 and reported to an International Brigade battalion at Figueras. Putting his arms training he received in the IRA to use, Bob trained foreign fighters  entering the war in the use of arms. Captured by the fascists along with Frank Ryan, he spent several months in the monastery of San Pedro which had been turned into a concentration camp. As part of a prisoner exchange in 1939 he was released. Up until his death Bob was involved in working class struggles in Britain and in Ireland.


Perhaps Bob’s philosophy is best summed up with a quote of his when he was interviewed by The Irish Times:


“I thought there was a danger that Ireland would go fascist and that was one of the motivating factors in making up my mind to go to Spain”


I didn’t know much about Spain, but I knew my thoughts were that every bullet I fired would be against the Dublin landlords and capitalists.”







“First they came for the Communists, but I was not a Communist so I said nothing. Then they came for the Social Democrats but I was not a Social Democrat -so I did nothing. Then they came for the trade unionists but I was not a trade unionist. And then they came for the Jews but I was not a Jew – so I did little. Then when they came for me there was no one who could stand up for me.” – Pastor Martin Niemoller


On the same week that Bob Doyle, the last remaining Irish International Brigade member pasted away the Literary and Debating Society of NUIG voted to invite the discredited ‘historian’ David Irving to speak at an L&H debate on the issue of free speech. (Galway Advertiser, January 15, 2009.) David Irving is known mostly as the holocaust denier and a ‘revisionist historian’. He was virtually unknown until the year 1996 where he failed in a libel case against American historian Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books. While falsifying history is not the sole preserve of Irving, it is no doubt an attempt to legitimize his own personal ideology, namely Nazism and anti-Semitism.


The jailing of Irving for three years in 2006 in an Austrian court for denying the Holocaust during a stopover there in 1989 however simply put Irving on a pedestal and propelled Irving as an even bigger hero or ‘martyr’ for the far-right across Europe. Instead of the far-right supporting Irving for his anti-Semitism and holocaust denying, he is now being supported by the far-right as a proponent of free speech! The lines have been blurred.


Irving also has an ability of enticing fascists and boneheads out of their bedrooms and from behind their PC’s. He provides a platform for them to legitimize their views and come out into public discourse. After his jailing he provided a pivot and figure on which the international far-right could also use to organize politically. It is no surprise that he has spoken at various far-right organized events across Europe.


While no one will doubt that the L&H in Galway are nothing other than just a bunch of nobody’s who like to get their kicks from a little bit of controversy (and possible media and national attention) the only way of beating someone like David Irving is to demolish his arguments politically and professionally (which has been done on numerous occasions) but also to physically smash him and any other fascist who decides to come out into the real world and put their ideas into practice.


David Irving is provisionally scheduled to talk in NUIG on the 19th of March.




Since this leaflet was published, we have learned that family members plan to come to Dublin where on Sat 14th February they will celebrate the lives of Bob and his comrades of the International Brigades, starting at 12 noon from the Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, proceeding down O’Connell Street, and turning left along the Liffey to Liberty Hall where a wreath will be laid at the plaque with the names of 60 Irish Brigaders who died in Spain.

Speech given by Bob Doyle, September 16th. 2006 at his Belfast book launch in the John Hewitt:


3 Responses to “Frank Ryan Soc Leaflet: ‘Bob Doyle Salud!’”

  1. Ciarán Says:

    Más suim libh, tá suirbhé ag dul ar aghaidh ar bhlag Gaeilge An Druma Mór lesi an cheist ar chóir cuireadh a thabhairt do Irving. Féach ar dheis an leathanaigh.

  2. P Says:

    Go raibh maith agat as sin, Ciaran. Deanfaidh muid e sin anois.

  3. aphexacid Says:

    Obituary on Bob here in the British Independent:

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