8 January 1998 Edition

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Fógraí bháis: Charlie Casey

DUBLIN mourned the loss of one of its leading stalwarts over Christmas with the passing away of Charlie Casey.

Charlie was born in Keady in 1915, and his family moved to Belfast nine years later after his father's death, and it was there during the Hungry Thirties that he developed an interest in republicanism and socialism.

A great reader, he practically lived in the Falls Library, his favourite authors being Dostoevsky and Shakespeare.

In the late Thirites, Charlie moved to London in search of work. There he joined the Gaelic League and became a member of the New Left Book Club. He considered joining the International Brigade to fight in Spainish Civil War, but his involvement in the Republican movement took precedence.

Charlie was arrested in 1939, and sentenced to 14 years penal servitude. He used his time in prison positively. Prison was his university - there he further developed his love for literature and his father's trade, tailoring. It was from prison that he first corresponded with his future wife, Margaret O Brien.

Upon his release in 1948, he settled in Dublin and married Margaret in August 1950. He worked as a builder's labourer with the South of Ireland Asphalt Company until his retirement in 1980. Throughout this time he was an active member of the IT&GWU.

Charlie had a tremendous influence on his five children, giving them a sense that right should always triumph over might. He raised his family in the words of Connolly, Pearse and Mandela. An internationalist, he followed closely the struggles of Llumumba in the Congo, Castro and Guevara in Cuba and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.

Charlie had a wide range of interests; literature, music, chess, information technology. He loved traditional and classical music, O Riada, the Bothy Band, Cooney and Begley, Woody Guthrie, Beethoven and Mozart. Among the last books he read were Gerry Adams' autobiography and Seamus Deane's `Reading in the Dark.'

Until his recent illness he made the trip to O Connell Street every week to pick up the latest copy of An Phoblacht.

A life-long socialist he believed, like Connolly, that ``our demands most moderate are, we only want the earth.'' Charlie passed away on 28 December.

Adding to the family's sorrow, Christmas also witnessed the loss of Charlie's sister-in-law Lettie O Brien, who passed away on 30 December.

Lettie's late husband Liam was a trustee of 44 Parnell Square, Sinn Féin's Head Office.

An Phoblacht
44 Parnell Sq.
Dublin 1

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