Roddy Connolly served as Aide de Camp to his father James Connolly and Pádraig Pearse in the General Post Office during the Easter Rising. He was only fifteen years old at the time. Fearing for his son’s safety James Connolly made Roddy leave the GPO on Wednesday.
‘I remember my father was extremely upset. He was actually crying when he bid me what was actually our last goodbye.’
Roddy Connolly was later arrested and was held in Richmond Barracks. To keep the fact that he was the son of James Connolly from the British authorities he went under the alias of Alfred Carney. James Connolly was executed on 12 May 1916. He was forty-seven years old.
Roddy Connolly was a member of Na Fianna Éireann and during the Rising he was transferred to the Irish Citizen Army.
He joined the Socialist Party of Ireland in 1917. He helped form and became President of the first Communist Party of Ireland (CPI) in October 1921. He was editor of CPI newspaper, ‘The Workers’ Republic’. He opposed the Treaty of December 1921 and fought in the Civil War on the side of the republican forces. The CPI was the first Irish political party to oppose the Treaty and urged the IRA to adopt socialist policies to defeat the new Free State government. The CPI was dissolved in 1924 by the Comintern but in 1926, Connolly helped set up a second Marxist party, the Workers Party of Ireland. Connolly was the party leader and editor of its journal, ‘The Hammer and Plough’. This party too was dissolved by Moscow, in 1927.
Connolly joined the Irish Labour Party in 1928 and in 1934 participated in the last socialist initiative of Inter-War Ireland, the Irish Republican Congress. He was imprisoned twice in 1935. In 1943, Connolly was elected to the Dáil as a Labour Party TD for Louth. He lost his seat in 1944, but was re-elected in 1948, before losing once more in 1951. Connolly was also Financial Secretary of the party between 1941-49.
Connolly was a strong supporter of the Labour/Fine Gael coalition government that was in power between 1973-77. Connolly died in St Michael’s hospital, Dún Laoghaire, in December 1980. He had both pneumonia and stomach cancer. Connolly is buried in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.