Foreign Agent Episode 2: The New World and the Old Country


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In 1927, the Irish republican Michael Flannery emigrated from the quiet backroads of Tipperary to the crowded streets of New York City, swapping a life of rebellion for a humdrum career in life insurance. But the Irish American community hadn’t forgotten about the old country, and as the Troubles began in Northern Ireland, Flannery found himself at the heart of the campaign to end British rule.

In episode two of Foreign Agent, Flannery’s life story unlocks the roots of anti-colonial struggle in Ireland and how the Irish became white in America. We trace the history of Noraid, the organisation he helped to found, and the political tensions threatening to rupture the republican movement.

Further reading:
Irish America and the Ulster Conflict by Andrew Wilson
Noraid and the Northern Ireland Troubles, 1970-1994 by Robert Collins
The Provisional IRA by Tommy McKearney
Ireland, Colonialism, and the Unfinished Revolution by Robbie McVeigh and Bill Rolston
How the Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev
Black and Green by Brian Dooley
Enemies and Passing Friends by Pamela Clayton
“Irish Republicans in Inter-war New York” and “The Politics of Noraid” by Brian Hanley

The interviews recorded with Michael Flannery and Martin Lyons are courtesy of the Tamiment Library at New York University.

Hosted by Nate Lavey
Produced by Nate Lavey and Michael McCanne
Original music by Matt Huxley

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