Lalor's vision today

James Fintan Lalor, patriot, revolutionary, inspired essayist and visionary, is being remembered in his own county again this year with an Autumn school.

Lalor's vision of Ireland and his analysis of how to radically change it for the better was revolutionary in the 1840s and still deserves close attention today.

His powerful intellect, his radical solutions to challenges and his explosive writings laid a path that led to Irish independence.

In an Ireland stricken with famine he called for the people of Ireland to assert their rights to the land of Ireland.

In a country where he regarded eight thousand landlords as holding eight million people to ransom, he called for the land of Ireland for the people of Ireland.

Lalor famously said "Ireland her own, and all therein, from the sod to the sky.

“The soil of Ireland for the people of Ireland, to have and to hold from God alone who gave it – to have and to hold to them and their heirs for ever, without suit or service, faith or fealty, rent or render, to any power under Heaven.”

James Fintan Lalor was a visionary with revolutionary and progressive ideas.

As well as being a patriot he was a social thinker and reformer.

Most of his life was spent in relative obscurity and seclusion.

He only came to widespread public attention when he was forty years of age with a series of letters between 1847 and 1849 to firstly The Nation, a weekly nationalist newspaper, and later when The Nation was suppressed by the authorities he wrote for and was joint editor of The Irish Felon.

Lalor yoked together the demand for Irish freedom with that of land reform to give Irish people a decent existence.

In the Ireland of the 1840's under English rule the vast majority of people suffered under a tyrannical landlord system.

Lalor stressed three basic views, his opposition to Repeal in itself, the importance of the Land Question, and his rejection of exclusive reliance on moral force.

He rejected Daniel O'Connell's Repeal of the Union movement because he sought something more radical - the repeal of the conquest of Ireland.

Lalor always sought to seek answers by going to the root of problems.

He was a tireless opponent of tyranny.

What would his approach be today to the power of multinationals who sometimes appear answerable to nobody in their pursuit of profits?

What would Lalor think of homelessness today?

Would Lalor feel there is equity and justice for all in society today?

Would he seek to modify the power of the international financial system?

Lalor inspired Pearse and Connolly, Griffith and DeValera.

Has his vision of a free Ireland and a free Irish people been fully realised?

Come to the Autumn School and join the debate

Michael Parsons