Trade unionists threaten to picket auction of historic note

Trade union members are threatening to picket a Limerick auction house today where a five-shilling note printed by workers who set up a soviet in the city in 1919 is due to be sold.

The note, owned by an unnamed women, has a reserve of €1,000.

Members of the Limerick Trades Council fear the note may be sold to an outside bidder and end up abroad.

The vice president of Ictu, John Douglas, said the note should be kept in Limerick, and any sale to an outside bidder would be seen as disrespectful to the workers who ran the Limerick Soviet for two weeks in 1919.

There are a number of Limerick Soviet currency notes in the Limerick City Museum and at the University of Limerick.

The Limerick Trades Council said it plans to protest at Limerick Auction Rooms during the sale today.

“We feel this historic note should be kept in the city,” said a spokesperson.

The council has raised €500 towards purchasing the note.

Darren Parish of Limerick Auction Rooms said the auctioneers are prepared to donate €100 if the trade unions wish to put in a bid.

“The vendor wants to put it up for public auction,” said Mr Parish. “We don’t want to see it leave the city, but hopefully those in the trade unions who want to keep it here, will be able to come up with the money which is not an awful lot.

“The note is not in great condition and it is signed by a Mr Cronin and a Mr Carey of the Limerick Soviet. If the union members could get five or six people to put up a €100 each, I feel they would have enough to purchase it with the €100 we will give towards them purchasing it.”

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