From Lucifer to Lazarus

A Life on the Left

By: Mick O’Reilly

Publication Date: 19 September 2019


In From Lucifer to Lazarus: A Life on the Left, Mick O’Reilly shares his experiences as a politician and Irish trade unionist and his unwavering thoughts and insights on controversial, complex issues. O’Reilly discovered socialism and militant trade unionism in the early 1960s when he joined the National Union of Vehicle Builders. He went on to join the committee of the Irish Communist Party in 1967 and the Dublin Housing Action Committee. He helped establish Connolly Youth. O’Reilly took part in strikes against the European Economic Community and negotiated for protection for car workers.

This book explores the power struggles and negotiations that Mick O’Reilly has faced throughout his career, without generalities or truisms. After a party dispute in 1977, O’Reilly was employed by the Transport and General Workers’ Union. In 1979 negotiated a huge equal pay claim. Later, O’Reilly’s Labour Left group sparked reform within the Labour Party, establishing that its leader must be elected by its members. O’Reilly was even suspended from the Party for a time before the charges against him were proven to be untrue. He was reinstated in 2004.

Despite navigating a career filled with adversity, O’Reilly remains decent, honest and humble. The authenticity of From Lucifer to Lazarus: A Life on the Left emphasises these often overlooked values, setting itself apart as a unique, intimate read. It is an essential record of the history of trade unions in Ireland.

The foreword is written by Gene Kerrigan of The Irish Independent.


Mick O’Reilly was born in the Coombe in October 1946 and raised in Ballyfermot. He left primary school early, following an altercation with a Christian Brother. He worked at Sherling’s, May Robert’s, and Lincoln & Nolan’s car factory from a young age before pursuing trade unionism.

O’Reilly first joined the Communist Party in Britain, where he lived for two years before joining the Irish Party in 1967. He joined the Labour Party in 1989. In 1992, O’Reilly became District Secretary and sat on the committee for the Irish Congress of Trade Unions. Four years later, he relocated to Belfast as the first ever nationalist Regional Secretary.

Also available as an ebook
Weight 0.485 kg
Dimensions 156 × 234 mm
Publication Date

19 September 2019



Page Count


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