by Democrat reporter
TWO US labour groups, the Irish-American Labor Coalition (IALC) and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, have each made a $10,000 investment in the forthcoming film about the life of James Connolly.
Visiting trade unionists from Ireland and Britain present at the two US events also pledged to redouble their efforts to build support for the Connolly film. Ireland's largest union, SIPTU, British and Irish union Amicus, which has recently voted to merge with the Transport and General to form Britain's second largest union, the Irish public service's union Impact, the British transport union RMT, and Irish teacher unions, were all represented at the St Patrick's day events.
Announcing the donation at a St Patrick's reception, Dan Kane Sr., recently elected to the national executive of the Teamsters union, said:
"We want to do all we can to help bring this film to the screen. For example, the success of The Wind That Shakes the Barley shows that the film-going public is hungry for passionate, truthful films about the Irish struggle. James Connolly belongs to the world labor movement. He organized workers in the US, in Scotland, and in Ireland -- among both traditions. In America he organized transport workers. He was a working-class hero, a larger-than-life figure. His life can inspire young people. It's time the wider world, not just union people and not just Irish people, knew about him."
The IALC also announced that it was backing the film on St Patrick's day. Speaking at the IALC's annual St Patrick's Day breakfast, IALC president Joe Jamison declared:
"This sum is only a drop in the bucket compared to actual funding needs. We are following the lead of Irish trade unions. In Ireland, SIPTU, the CWU and others have already pledged large amounts. We hope out modest gesture can encourage, first, more trade union subscriptions; second, the support of the Irish Film Board; and third, independent film private investors."
The IALC's donation is the organisation's latest initiative to promote the legacy of James Connolly among the Irish-American community and the US public. The IALC marches behind the Connolly banner each year in the country's largest St Patrick's Day Parade in New York. The group has also organized Connolly commemorations and helped to build two monuments to Connolly, one outside Liberty Hall in Dublin and one in Troy, New York, where Connolly lived and worked early in the last century.
The screenplay, the casting, and much of the other planning for the Connolly film have already been completed. Financing is now the last hurdle. More information about the film project and how unions can support it can be found at www.rascal-films.com
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