“The conquest of Ireland had meant the social and political servitude of the Irish masses, and therefore the re-conquest of Ireland must mean the social as well as the political independence from servitude of every man, woman and child in Ireland.”
The underlying idea of this work is that the Labour Movement of Ireland must set itself the Re-Conquest of Ireland as its final aim, that that re-conquest involves taking possession of the entire country, all its power of wealth-production and all its natural resources, and organising these on a co-operative basis for the good of all. To demonstrate that this and this alone would be a re-conquest, the attempt is made to explain what the Conquest of Ireland was, how it affected the Catholic natives and the Protestant settlers, how the former were subjected and despoiled by open force, and how the latter were despoiled by fraud, and when they protested were also subjected by force, and how out of this common spoliation and subjection there arises to-day the necessity of common action to reverse the Conquest, in order that the present population, descendants alike of the plebeian Conquerors and the Conquered plebeians, may enjoy in common fraternity and good-will that economic security and liberty for which their ancestors fought, or thought they fought.
The United Irishmen at the end of the Eighteenth Century in an address to the conflicting religious sects of Ireland declared:–
We wish that our animosities were buried with the bones of our ancestors, and that we could unite as Citizens and claim the Rights of Man.
We echo that wish to-day, and add that the first social right of man is to live, and that he cannot enjoy that right whilst the means of life for all are the private property of a class. This little book, as a picture of the past and present social conditions of the Irish masses, seeks to drive that lesson home, and to present to the reader some of the results which have followed in Ireland the capitalistic denial of that human social right.