Timothy Quill

Early Dáil member, cooperative organiser, agriculturalist

Timothy Quill (9 May 1901 – 10 June 1960) was an Irish Labour Party politician, farmer and a figure in the history of the cooperative movement in Ireland. A regional trade union secretary, he was a founder of the City of Cork Co-operative Society (also serving as the society's secretary), manager of the Cork Co-operative Bakery and was the editor of The Cork Co-Operator publication. Quill was an early Labour Dáil member to espouse Christian Socialism. He was also secretary of the Irish Friesian Society.

We seek a decent, contented and independent working class in the country - not a state of affairs that made despised and degraded paupers of the people.

QuotesEdit

By Quill:Edit

1920sEdit

 
Quill in the 1920s
 
We will not discuss the question as to whether the measure of freedom we have obtained is sufficient or otherwise. That is a question on which many people differ. Our complaint in the Labour Movement is that the liberty obtained is not being utilised for the development of the country as it should be, for even at tonight, to a considerable extent, 50,000 to 60,000 people in the Free State are unemployed and many hungry.
  • Labour has many critics and the workers are too much given to the catch cries of different political parties, and by doing so weakens the power of the Labour Party, whose policy is that every man is entitled to a living wage in his own country.
    • The Southern Star (1924)
  • The Irish Labour Party differs fundamentally from all other parties in the country. The others parties accept the present order of society as being the best that can be got. If they were dissatisfied with some of the things that existed, a little pull here and there would suffice, whereas Labour believes that drastic changes must be made. As members of society, we have social obligations and that the first duty of organised society, the Government or the State, is to try to provide work and a living wage for all. All the powers of the State should be used in the interests of the people, particularly those who are now unemployed.
    • The Evening Echo (1926)
  • The attitude of the Farmers’ Party does not always stand for the views or opinions of the average farmer in the country. They elected representatives on the (Cork) County Council whose election cry was “economy and efficiency”. What is their first experience in economy? They cut down the wages of the workers and the amount of money allocated for the roads in such a manner that the men were left idle for a considerable period. That is a species of economy that anybody could carry out, but the Labour representatives do not regard it as an economy and we look upon it as an extravagance, because apart from the human aspect of the thing, the deterioration in which the roads are bound to suffer in the meantime could not be made good except at a cost out of all proportion to the money alleged to have been economised.
    • The Southern Star (1926)
  • We will not discuss the question as to whether the measure of freedom we have obtained is sufficient or otherwise. That is a question on which many people differ. Our complaint in the Labour Movement is that the liberty obtained is not being utilised for the development of the country as it should be, for even at tonight, to a considerable extent, 50,000 to 60,000 people in the Free State are unemployed and many hungry. The one democratic bank we had, the National Land Bank, has been handed over to the Bank of Ireland. We stand for decent wages and conditions. If the workers of the country have decent wages, business in the country will improve, as the shopkeepers and the farmers who want a market for their products will benefit. They will not eliminate unemployment by exporting the best workers of the country to America and by compelling those who have to remain at home to live on out-door relief. We seek a decent, contented and independent working class in the country - not a state of affairs that made despised and degraded paupers of the people.
    • The Evening Echo (1927)

1930sEdit

 
The real trouble is that money and money power has gone beyond its rightful use, to serve as a medium of exchange
 
The Pope (Pius XI) was a man before his time, because today, unfortunately, very few of the leaders of the world seemed disposed to accept the advice as fully as the world might accept it.
 
It is now becoming recognised in all parts of the world that there can be no healthy Christian State, in any country, where poverty exists amongst the masses of the people.
 
The working men of Ireland had always stood by their priests when there was a price on their heads. They have neither room nor scope for Fascism or Communism.
  • The Labour Party stands for really Christian principles, and to decide how the country should be worked to afford a decent opportunity to everyone to lead their own lives. We have seen the result of Fascism in Italy, where marriage was encouraged, not with the Christian idea of benefitting the State, but so that the children could be reared and trained to be good soldiers and be able to fight their neighbour across the border. This is anti-Christian and it will be a bad job for Ireland if it is introduced.
    • The Southern Star (1935)
  • The County Council has been described as a council of tinkers, but I wish to turn it into a council of thinkers.
    • The Southern Star (1935)
  • The Irish Labour Movement has no place for the cries of Fascism or Communism that plagues the world today.
    • The Cork Examiner (1936)
  • The working men of Ireland had always stood by their priests when there was a price on their heads. They have neither room nor scope for Fascism or Communism.
    • The Kerryman (1937)
  • It is now becoming recognised in all parts of the world that there can be no healthy Christian State, in any country, where poverty exists amongst the masses of the people.
    • The Kerryman (1937)
  • W.T Cosgrave claims that emigrants are only going to America to see their friends, but it seems to be a long trip. Likewise, there is not much of the appearance of adventure in the boys and girls who are going across to England, which brings with it the usual breaking of family ties and the same scenes at the stations as of old. Very little reference appears to the dangers of the Faith and morals of these boys and girls, alone in an English city, where they have to work with people with a completely different outlook.
    • The Kerryman (1937)
  • The Pope (Pius XI) was a man before his time, because today, unfortunately, very few of the leaders of the world seemed disposed to accept the advice as fully as the world might accept it.
    • The Cork Examiner (1939)
  • Many people fail to realise that with the enormous productive capacity of our industrial system today, it is no longer necessary to work so hard or so long as in former times. In fact, most of the goods required, particularly food and clothing, can now be produced in abundance with less personal toil. Yet there exists poverty in most countries. The real trouble is that money and money power now exceed their rightful use, to serve as a medium of exchange. In reality, money which should simply act like a river to carry the ships containing food from one town down to the next is now more important than the goods it carries. The river refuses to carry the goods down to the next town and the people are poverty stricken. The boots and shoes are in the warehouse in the principal streets. Money prevents them being taken down the side streets or out the country to the shabby and bootless children. The river called 'money,' does not flow sufficiently strong, or enough of it to those places, to help them get the goods. Naturally, one might say, why then does not the Government go in for a proper drainage system to enable the goods to be taken where wanted: It is mainly due to the fact that the people and even the Government have not in the first place got away from the false notion that money is a commodity of intrinsic value. This view continues from the time when it was so and the false notion is fostered by the suggestion that money is inseparable from gold. In the second place, there still exists the false notion that banks do not create money, but only safeguard the deposits of their clients. There also exists a failure to realise the growing rate at which machinery, electricity and steam are replacing man-power and making so much of this physical work superfluous, and the possibility of providing sufficient for all, as a result of the immense possibilities in modern production. To meet the ever present problems of unemployment and poverty, which are causing physical and moral crimes, it is clear that the Government must govern its people and take on its rightful function of supreme control of the issue of credit and control of the money system, seeing that the real security for credit is the goods produced and services rendered by the people themselves.
    • Extract from 'The Money Problem - Some Facts,' The Cork Co-Operator (1939)
She Left The StoreEdit
I called around in duty bound
To talk with Mrs. Penn,
And find out why she'd left the stores,
and coax her back again.
The woman frowned, compressed
lips, and this is what she said;
"The butter that they sell is far too hard to spread."
And then I went to Mrs. Gent,
Whose absence had been marked;
Said I: "Pray, why have you grown shy?
Or can it be you're narked?"
"I am," she answered with hauteur.
"My reason's good enough;
I bought some steak some weeks ago
that turned out awful tough."
I sighed to think what little minds
Some people seemed to show,
And moved along with sense of wrong
To call on Mrs Snow.
"We've missed you at the store," said I.
"Pray what's the cause of that?"
She tossed her head and made reply;
"Your bacon is too fat."
The down the street, with tired feet,
I went to Mrs. Bell.
She'd umpteen children in her home,
And lodgers three as well.
She used to get a lot of stuff each week
at central store,
Her grocery bill alone would reach some two-pound tea or more.
"Ah! Mrs. Bell, you're still alive;
I couldn't help but come;
I feared you'd met some mishap,
Or sickness in the home."
"Oh, no," said she; "twixt you and me,
we're feeling quite tip-top;
I just dropped dealing at the store when dividend went flop."
And last I called on Mrs. White;
She, too, had gone astray;
Although when unemployment came
We'd helped them on their way.
She stood ashamed a little while, and then at last she said;
"Cannot show my face in there until my debts are paid."
At home, sipping Russet Tea,
I marvelled more and more
That pretty pretexts such as these
Should make folks leave the store.
I comforted myself to think I'd told 'em
pretty plain;
You've cut your nose to spite your face;
you'll soon come back again."
Of course I always took good care
In telling simple fact.
To sugar-coat my little pill
With sympathy and tact.
And as for Mrs. White, poor lass! I set
her at her ease.
And said; "Don't stop away for that;
pay debts off by degrees."
    • The Cork Co-Operator (1939)

1940sEdit

 
While people are allowed to elect a Government or Corporation, they are deprived of any real power, as there exists a financial dictatorship that causes high rents, excessive prices and profits.
  • Mr. de Valera has stated that there would be a big change in this country before the war is over. The sooner that change comes, the better, and when it comes it would be for the better of the workers.
    • Irish Independent (1940)
  • While people are allowed to elect a Government or Corporation, they are deprived of any real power, as there exists a financial dictatorship that causes high rents, excessive prices and profits.
    • Irish Press (1940)
  • The rising prices and scarcity of some articles of food shows that there is no control of profits.
    • Irish Press (1941)
  • Why should films not be used for Irish-Ireland purposes and for the proper appreciation of scenery and beauty?
    • Irish Independent (1943)

1950sEdit

 
Work, but use your head as well as your hands, trust in God and He will never let you down
  • Work, but use your head as well as your hands, trust in God and He will never let you down.
    • The Cork Examiner (1955)

About Quill:Edit

1920sEdit

 
Summing up, I found in Mr. Quill and family an outlook towards rural life that could make this country a rich and happy land, if there was a more general acceptance and application of his ideas.
  • I noticed that Mr. Quill, T.D, stated the people who advocated the abolition of the bonus were the people who were getting 200 p.c. more for their produce than they were before the war. I presume he was referring to the farmers' produce. I wonder why the Farmers' Deputies let such a misleading statement pass unchallenged. I do not know Mr. Quill, but I gather from his statement that he must be a person who knows nothing about farmers' markets or fairs, or that he wants to create a wrong impression in the minds of the public who are not interested in farming or know nothing, or very little about their present impoverished means... I wonder has Mr. Quill read the report from last week's Dublin beef and mutton market, published in the 'Irish Independent' of Friday; if not, I would advise him to buy that back number, for I consider it would be a penny well spent. It would teach him the truth of how fast the prices of our produce are coming back to pre-war level.
    • 'Fair Play', Irish Independent (1927)
  • He is 26 years of age, and appears a boy amongst the general body of deputies, the vast majority of whom are well past the meridian of life. Mr. Quill is a young man of great promise and I shall not be surprised if in years to come he distinguishes himself in the sphere of public duty to which the electors have promoted him.
    • The Southern Star (1927)
  • I regret very much the reverse that has been sustained, where we have lost men like Mr. (Tom) Johnson, who, because of his industry and ability, would receive a place of honour in any Parliament in the world, and young men of the ability and honesty of Mr. Quill, who had been defeated in North Cork by a mere handful of votes, after making a marvellous fight against a combination of influences.
    • T.J Murphy, Evening Echo (1927)

1930sEdit

  • But it is not the Governor General alone (or is it Governor's General?) that Clondrohid can boast of. There is a little plough land up that way which produced three Deputies. Dan Corkery of Macroom is a popular member of the Government Party, T.J. Murphy of West Cork, is one of Labour's most active deputies; and Tim Quill, who, I think, was a member of the Dail some years ago, is going forward again at the coming General Election in the interests of Labour. But then Clondrohid always had bright boys.
    • The Southern Star (1937)

1950sEdit

  • Summing up, I found in Mr. Quill and family an outlook towards rural life that could make this country a rich and happy land, if there was a more general acceptance and application of his ideas.
    • 'D.J.M' from 'Views and Interviews', The Cork Examiner (1955)

1960sEdit

  • Mr. Quill was also a facile and authoritative writer on agricultural matters.
    • Evening Echo (1960)
  • Tim Quill had a host of friends. Kindly and unassuming in nature, he had a realistic approach to life which inspired him to give of his best on behalf of the under-privileged sections of the community.
    • Evening Echo (1960)

2000sEdit

  • I came back to four years of internment. Following my release from the Curragh Camp and my return to Cork in 1943, I was among those who founded the Liam Mellows Branch of the Labour Party in the hope that it might become the political voice of Irish anti-fascism in this city. I was named secretary of that branch but unfortunately the chairman we were given by the Party leadership was a Cork City Councillor who would debase the name of Labour in 1944 by a vitriolic attack on what he called "the Jew boys" of Cork. It was in opposition to such anti-Semitism that I insisted on giving a public lecture under the auspices of the Liam Mellows Branch on the subject of the Jewish question. A number of prominent members of Cork's Jewish community attended that public meeting and the future Lord Mayor of Cork, Gerald Goldberg, said from the floor: "I came here to defend my people, but when I heard the lecturer I saw there was no need". But the anti-Semitic Labour Councillor did not give up. When Gerald Goldberg subsequently made a donation to branch funds I was accused of attempting to 'subvert the Party with Jewish money'. An investigating committee was established, presided over by a Labour TD. The complaint against me was sustained and I was expelled from a Party that was not prepared to support my continuing anti-fascist stand in 1944.
    • Michael O'Riordan (2001)
  • Quill was the anti-Semitic red-baiting villain of the piece who had both Nagle and O'Riordan expelled.
    • Manus O'Riordan (2003)

Attributed to QuillEdit

2020sEdit

  • The Corporation is going to spend a fortune on putting people safely underground, but no money could be found to give them proper housing overground.
    • 'When Cork City had 100 Air Raid Shelters... And Just One of Them Is Still Left Standing', Pat Poland, The Holly Bough (2020)

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