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Cheers to Spanish civil war heroes

Sunday World by Steven Moore | Tuesday, 19 April 2016

A NEW beer to be launched dedicated to the memory of those who fought against fascism in the Spanish Civil War is hoping to be sold in Ulster pubs.

Brigadista Ale is currently being brewed and is launching across the UK over the next couple of months.

Profits from the beer will go into keeping the memory alive of those who fought and died in what many believe has become a forgotten war.

Working-class people from both communities in Northern Ireland travelled to Spain to join what became known as the International Brigade to fight rightwing dictator General Francisco Franco between 1936-39.

The beer is the brainchild of Hope Not Hate’s Matthew Collins, a former National Front member who now campaigns against the far-right in the UK.
“People from both the Shankill and the Falls went to Spain to take on the forces of fascism,” says Collins.

“A lot of people think it was just those from the nationalist community who fought and died but there were many Protestant working-class men and women who made the sacrifice. The Spanish Civil War has been largely forgotten about because of the Second World War which followed straight after it but it was a hugely significant event.”


“I knew the 80th anniversary was coming up and I thought with the boom of cask ales this would be a great opportunity to create something lasting.”
Last November Belfast Lord Mayor Arder Carson unveiled a commemorative stained glass window at City Hall to remember those who went to Spain.

And the proof that both sides of the political divide here fought in Spain was shown when the motion received cross-party support.

About 320 Irish volunteers fought against Franco’s forces as members of the XV International Brigade.

Of these, 48 were born in Belfast.

Twelve died in Spain. Jim Jump, Secretary of the International Brigade Memorial Trust, told the Sunday World the beer is a brilliant way to keep the memory alive.

“We like to stress just how the people of the Shankill and the Falls fought and died side-by-side in Spain,” said Mr Jump.

“We are delighted that people will have something to drink to celebrate their memory.”

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