Move to have Jimmy Gralton deportation order rescinded

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The Mayor of Sligo is campaigning to have the 82 years-old deportation order against the man whose life was featured in the film “Jimmy’s Hall” formally rescinded.

DANCE: A scene from Ken Loach's 2014 film 'Jimmy's Hall'.
DANCE: A scene from Ken Loach’s 2014 film ‘Jimmy’s Hall’.

The 2014 film, which was partly filmed in Sligo, was based on the life of Jimmy Gralton, who was the only Irishman ever to be deported from Ireland.

Now Councillor Thomas Healy, who had a small part in Ken Loach’s film, is asking the Minister for Justice, Frances Fitzgerald, to formally rescind the deportation order on Jimmy Gralton and “acknowledge the injustice done to Jimmy and his family by the enactment of this order”.

Gralton, who was born near Carrick-on-Shannon, was deported in 1933 following protests over his political activities, principally centred around the hall he built on his family farm in 1932.

The Sinn Fein councillor has a motion calling for the deportastion order to be rescinded down for Monday’s meeting of Sligo County Council.

He told the Sligo Weekender that what had prompted his move at this time was that December 29 would be the 70th anniversary of Jimmy Gralton’s death.

“Also we are going into the 1916 commemoration next year. His deportation was just 17 years after the proclamation was read at the GPO with the promise of civil rights and liberties but his civil liberties were not respected. He was deported because he did not fit into society at that time.”

Cllr Healy said he had written to the Minister for Justice last week but he had not got any reply yet.

He said he had also met with Jimmy Gralton’s grandnieces and other other relations and some of them were going to be at the launch of a petition calling for the deportation order to be rescinded.

He hopes this would be held at City Hall on December 29.

Cllr Healy is hoping that among the signatories will be “Jimmy’s Hall” director Ken Loach.

“A lot of people did not know about Jimmy Gralton until the film was made and his story was told”, he said.

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