Monthly Archives: September 2012

Support prisoner solidarity protest, Cork, this Saturday (Sept 29)

The No Wash/Dirty Protest inside Maghaberry against beatings, strip searching, torture and now the chemical spraying of cells,  continues.  On the streets, solidarity also continues. The Cork-based Prisoner Solidarity Group will hold a picket at Daunt Square at 3pm, Saturday, September 29.

The PSG is calling on those that have supported the pickets in the past to come and join the protest this Saturday and show a united front both in support of the prisoners and against the recent political policing by the Special Branch.  Please let others know about this protest and encourage as many people to come along as you can.

Special Branch harassment of prisoner protests in Cork has led to court summonses for obstructing traffic and breaching public order

PSG activists and supporters have received summons and fines for white line pickets and postering, all very basic activities that all groups should defend.

The Special Branch hasn’t even bothered with the usual practice of stopping people and getting their names and addresses – they clearly have all these and just pass them on for the gardai to move on prosecutions for trumped-up accusations of blocking traffic and disturbing public order, even though the pickets are peaceful, legal and informational.

Defend Cork’s right to peaceful protest!

Victory to the Prisoners!

Beir bua.

éirígí supports protesting workers in Ballyfermot

éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan has expressed the socialist republican party’s support and solidarity with the protesting workers at Tipperary Water’s distribution plant in Cherry Orchard.

Workers at the plant, who began a protest their at 9am on Monday, 24 September say they have been forced into redundancy for joining a trade union and organising against attacks on their pay and conditions.

Despite recording profits of 4.7 million euro in 2011 and 4.5 million euro in 2010, the company has imposed pay cuts of 8% over the last three years. The company has also been attacking working conditions at the plant by forcing staff into redundancy only to replace them with temporary workers.

SIPTU member Dave Whelan, a former shop steward at the plant, said “Over the last few years the management had been making deductions and cuts to our wages, saying the company was losing money.”

He explained that a group of workers got organised and joined SIPTU in an effort to begin negotiations with management in relation to wages and conditions.  As a result, he said, “About four weeks ago, of 17 members of SIPTU 13 were made redundant.”

Three of these redundancies were voluntary, while the remaining ten were forced by the company which stated that the workers were not suitably skilled. The company then took on ten temporary workers within days of the redundancies.

Mr Whelan has also exposed the company’s refusal to Read the rest of this entry

Michael Collins and Irish Freedom

I wrote this back in early 1997, when Neil Jordan’s movie about Collins was attracting large audiences here (and elsewhere); it appeared at the time in the first issue of revolution, a NZ-based marxist journal

Director Neil Jordan waited ten years to make his movie about the legendary republican leader.  It was only when the IRA leadership declared a ceasefire, as of September 1994, that Jordan felt comfortable about beginning it.  Needless to say, the end of the ceasefire, just as production was drawing to a close, made Jordan uneasy about the possible effects of the film.  Like the rest of the comfortable southern Irish middle class, one of Jordan’s chief preoccupations is the way in which raking over the past may end up legitimising the struggle for Irish freedom today.

Response to Michael Collins in Ireland and Britain

The southern Irish establishment has moved over the past 20 years to ban republicanism and root it out of society, through a combination of repression, censorship and rewriting of history.  In this situation, the movie came as a breath of fresh air for a public deprived of knowledge of their own recent past and daily subjected to a barrage of anti-republicanism from the Irish and British media.

Debate raged in the Irish papers and on radio and TV about the film and the effect it might have in winning sympathy for the anti-imperialist cause today.  Indeed, in Ireland virtually all representations of the past – whether in history books, films, plays or any other medium – are written with the present in mind.  The southern Irish establishment has been particularly keen to expunge the long history of British injustice in Ireland and to legitimise the neo-colonial set-up over which it presides as Britain’s partner in maintaining exploitation and oppression in the country.  In the end Jordan and the southern establishment’s fears are somewhat overdetemined.

The resumption of armed activities by the Irish Republican Army does not represent any threat to the established order in Ireland; as the Belfast Irish language paper La noted on January 6 this year (ie 1997 – PF), the ceasefire ended in order to prevent a split in the IRA ranks.  Another aim is to provide the British government with a little armed lobbying, the highest aim of which is, as veteran Irish revolutionary leader Read the rest of this entry

Free Marian Price Dublin march report

There’s a report on the Saturday, September 15 march on the éirígí site, here.

Liquid Assets – new Shell to Sea report

Shell to Sea have launched a new report on the give away of oil and gas in Ireland by the Dublin government.  The report is called Liquid Assets.  Trade Union TV’s video of the campaign press conference releasing the report can be viewed here.

The natural gas and oil assets are valued at up to €1.6 trillion.

At a time of massive cutbacks, these resources essentially are being handed over to private companies.  The cuts to workers and the handouts to big business unite Fianna Fail, Fine Gael and Labour.

Seamus Costello 35th anniversary event

The Seamus Costello Memorial Committee will also be erecting memorials across the County to remember Seamus’s life; please keep in contact with the committee for further details.


Occupy the ghost estates

Ghost estate in Dundalk, where 1,600 households are waiting for housing

by Shan Van Vocht

While thousands of families languish on housing waiting lists in the south of Ireland large chunks of new housing estates lay unoccupied because ‘developers’ can’t sell them at a big profit or because the developers have gone bust in the financial meltdown.  This is a classic example of how capitalism doesn’t work.  Despite all the propaganda about how well the market works, the reality is that the market is just a thing – it cannot consciously match up needs and resources in order to maximise positive outcomes for the majority of the population.

The Republican Network for Unity has drawn attention to the situation in Dundalk, where 1,600 households are on the housing waiting list.  RNU activists in the town have pasted up posters on a local ghost estate.  The posters ask why there are so many people on the housing waiting list, while the short article on their site notes: “Republican Network for Unity states clearly that housing is a universal right, governments Read the rest of this entry

éirígí branch founded in County Wexford

A new branch/ciorcal of éirígí has been established in Loch Garman (Wexford), following the decision of a number of activists in the county to join the socialist-republican party.  Among the activists is John Dwyer, a former long-time Sinn Fein activist and, since he left SF in 2009, an independent councillor in New Ross.

“My reasons for leaving Sinn Féin in 2009 are already on the public record,” said Councillor Dwyer.  “Sinn Féin’s performance in government in Stormont, and in opposition in Leinster House, has confirmed to me that I made the right decision when I left that party. Like the hundreds of others who have left Sinn Féin over the last few years I found the experience a bruising one. Joining a new party is not something that I have done lightly or without a lot of consideration, but in the end I knew that working people everywhere are going to have to stand together if we are to win.”

He also pointed out, “Ireland, north and south, is in Read the rest of this entry

Newbridge anti-household tax protest against Joan Burton

Anti-household tax campaigners from Newbridge and Kildare town protested against Joan Burton outside Hotel Keadeen in Newbridge on Monday.  Burton is the minister of social protection, a ministry which sounds like something out of Orwell’s 1984, as the function of it and her is to keep people down and in poverty.  Burton is a longtime fake-left Labour Party hack.  Now she’s got the baubles of office, the fake-left facade has tended to give way to more blatantly right-wing outbursts on her part.

Some bones to pick

by Eoghan O’Suilleabhain  (8 September 2012)

In their article “The Bell and the Blanket: Journals of Irish Republican Dissent”, authors Niall Carson of the University of Liverpool and Paddy Hoey of Liverpool Hope University write:

“There is, of course, a paradox inherent in the Blanket’s stance of being, on the one hand, supportive of peace, but simultaneously critical of the abandonment of core ideological tenets that had sustained the republican armed struggle. The dissidents pointed out that republicanism aimed to coerce the British from Ireland forciby and to discredit the notion that Unionist consent was needed for the British to leave. But the Blanket contributors never made clear how it could do so peacefully.”45 (Emphasis added – EOS).

45. See “Radio Free Eireann Interview With Brendan Hughes,” Blanket (March, 2000). Hughes said, “I don’t have an alternative, people keep saying to me if your (sic) going to criticize put up an alternative. I don’t have an alternative, the alternative is within the republican movement. (Emphasis added – EOS).

And how right Mr. Hughes was!  Besides the obvious difference between the writers’ use of the plural words “The dissidents…” and “…the Blanket contributors” versus the singular “Interview with Brendan Hughes” there is the matter of their completely overlooking my dissident contribution to The Blanket which makes clear how it can be done.  In “Can You Hear Ho Chi Minh Laughing?” (The Blanket, 1 July 2004), I wrote:

“If no one voted for the Belfast Agreement of 1998 how does that necessarily mean more violence? By 1998 most Republicans were happy to be on a cease-fire Read the rest of this entry