Rayner O’Connor Lysaght, who regularly attended events organised in Connolly Books, passed away on July 2nd, 2021 in Beaumont hospital, Dublin, after a prolonged illness. His funeral took place at Glasnevin crematorium, the coffin draped with the Starry Plough flag. Because of illness, Áine his wife of fourty-years years could not attend the funeral.
Rayner was born into an affluent family in Cardiff on January 30th, 1941. He was the eldest son of Arthur Lysaght, a surgeon and Jacqueline, leader of The Conservative Party in South Wales. While a student in Trinity College, Dublin, along with Sean Edwards (CPI) Rayner became interested in left- wing politics. He graduated from Trinity College 1964 with Honours in Modern History and Political Science.
Rayner became a member of the left-wing National Progressive Democrats and worked in Noel Browne’s re- election campaign in 1961, then joining the Labour Party in 1965 after Noel Browne had done so. He left Dublin for London where in May 1967, he became involved with the Irish Workers Group, a decision that would change his life forever. The membership of the IWG included such figures as Eamonn McCann, Phil Flynn and Máirin Keegan who introduced Rayner to her sister Áine whom he married in 1973.
It is worth noting that as IWG secretary he played a major role in dissolving the group. Subsequently, In 1972 he founded the Revolutionary Marxist Group, the Irish section of the Fourth International. In 1996 he be involved with Socialist Democracy Ireland.
However it’s not for his sixty years of political activism that O’Conner Lysaght will forever be remembered but as the author of The Irish Republic, published in 1970 and regarded as an important Marxist work, and The Story of the Limerick Soviet.
Like the late Tom Redmond, Rayner enjoyed the company of younger activists and, in the same way as Tom, inspiring them in demanding equity for the working class.