Pat Deery is to star in a new play about the amazing events of January 1919 when workers in Monaghan Lunatic Asylum ( now St Davnet’s Hospital) took it over and declared a worker’s Soviet. The drama will be brought to life in a theatre production from The Black Pig’s Dyke theatre company, and it will premiere in the Garage Theatre on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th January. “And a red flag flying” written by Brian Kenny and Aidan McQuillan tells the story of the dispute that arose one hundred years ago in the asylum between the attendants and the asylum management lead by the formidable Bishop of Clogher, Dr McKenna, who was then Chairman of the Board of the Monaghan and Cavan District Lunatic Asylum.

The workers, who had been in dispute with their employers for some time, pressed their case for a shorter working week, equal pay for women and the right of married men to return home after their day’s work. These requests were rebuffed, with the Bishop reminding  the attendants it was their duty “to look after the poor, helpless people committed to their charge”.

For his part, the Resident Medical Superintendent (RMS) Dr Conlon pointed out that the staff, while “they work 12 hours every day for seven days a week, they get every 13th day off and every 4th Sunday from 10am.

Into this unsympathetic environment came 25 year old Peadar O’Donnell, then a trade union official with the Irish Transport and General Workers Union. In desperation the attendants had turned to O’Donnell and he readily agreed to help, even though the workers were not members of his union.

It’s a fantastic play, and not to be missed! Book now on the Garage Theatre website…