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Death of Peggy O’Hara

In 2007 Northern Assembly elections Peggy ran as a principled republican, winning just under 2,000 votes

In 2007 Northern Assembly elections Peggy ran as a principled republican, winning just under 2,000 votes

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Irish National Liberation Army guard of honour at Peggy’s funeral

Peggy's coffin draped by the Starry Plough, the flag of the revolutionary working class in Ireland

Peggy’s coffin draped by the Starry Plough, the flag of the revolutionary working class in Ireland

It’s with great sadness we learned of the death of Peggy O’Hara.  Peggy was a principled republican to the end.  She saw no reason to bend to the wind – let alone hot air – of Provisional nonsense which pretended they hadn’t been beaten and co-opted.  She saw no reason to sell out her principles for some crumbs from the table of British imperialism.

We’ll write a proper obit to her in due course.

Kevin Bean on The ESRC Irish Republican ‘Dissident’ Project: Setting the Record Straight

I have been asked by Kevin Bean if I’d put up the following statement by him in relation to the Economic and Social Research Council taking a research project he was involved in and making material from it available to the repressive forces of the British, six-county and twenty-six county states:

The ESRC Irish Republican ‘Dissident’ Project: Setting the Record Straight

This statement is a summary of a conference paper that was presented at an academic conference at the University of Bath in June 2015: it also draws on papers and contributions to conferences in Galway, Maynooth, Liverpool and Dublin in 2014-2015.

In 2012-2015 I was a co- investigator, along with a number of other academics, on an ESRC-funded project into the politics of so-called ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism. The aims of the project were clear: to investigate the ideologies and strategies of those republicans opposed to the post-1998 status-quo, and to contribute to public understanding of the significance of these strands in political life throughout Ireland.

As an academic project supported by four British universities and a reputable independent research council, the project was subject to various ethical and peer-review procedures to ensure it met the highest standards of academic integrity. Furthermore, given the controversy surrounding the Boston College oral history project, the researchers were determined to ensure the confidentiality and security of any republicans who were interviewed and recorded as part of the ESRC project. Thus, strict security precautions were taken with these recordings. In particular, researchers were interested only in political and ideological positions: participants were particularly not asked questions about organizational matters and were advised not to talk about

Read the rest of this entry

Celebrating Fenian hero O’Donovan Rossa on 100th anniversary of his death


Irish solidarity with Greece

mqdefaultA great march of several thousand people in Dublin on Saturday in solidarity with the Greek people resisting austerity.

I’m involved in another blog, Redline, which is based in New Zealand.  That blog has a few new pieces on Greece, including several items from friends within Syriza.

Greece votes No to austerity, what now?

A great NO from the Greek people (from our friends in Syriza)

We need a NO vote (from our friends in Syriza)

We have a lot of other material on Greece, but see in particular our pieces on the factory occupation in Thessaloniki, including our interview with an occupation spokesperson.

Fighting for marriage equality in the north


éirígí party banner, with the Starry Plough, the symbol of the revolutionary working class, in rainbow colours: Belfast equal marriage rights demo, June 13.

It used to be that the south was seen as a conservative backwater and the north as more socially progressive, part of ‘modern Britain’.  This was never really true as progressive legislation passed in the British parliament was not extended to the six counties if it offended reactionary Unionism.  Attempts to extend the 1967 British reforms on abortion and homosexuality to the six counties were met with virulent opposition by Unionists, most famously Ian Paisley’s ‘Save Ulster from Sodomy’ campaign of 1977.

Today, of course, the twenty-six county state, despite its neo-colonial structure, has moved ahead of the north.  Instead of allowing a public referendum on gay marriage rights, at Stormont the conservatives have managed to keep then issue tied up in a parliamentary vote.  Shortly before the 26-county electorate voted decisively for equal marriage rights for gay couples, Stormont saw the narrow defeat of  a Sinn Fein bill for the same rights in the north.

One of the most interesting things about the gay marriage issue is that public support for the right of gay couples to equal access to marriage is pretty much the same on both sides of the border.  Another indication of how, in many ways, the populations of ‘north’ and ‘south’ are becoming more and more alike, while the British-imposed border tries to force them to be separate and different – and antagonistic.

Dublin South-Central 1916 Centenary Committee being formed; bigi linn

Dublin South Central has a rich wealth of history connected to the 1916 Rising.  From the local IRB circle to Na Fianna, from the local Irish Volunteers to the Irish Citizen Army and Cumann na mBan, many local residents took part in the Rising and local areas, including the Phoenix Park and the South Inner City ,saw important battles during Easter Week 1916. Join us as we organise community celebrations of the most important event in modern Irish history.

The Dublin South Central 1916 Centenary Committee has been formed by local residents to organise community celebrations of the 1916 Rising in Dublin South Central.  Its launch will take place at a public talk on “1916 and the Irish Revolution” by Dr Ruan O’Donnell on Saturday July 4, at 4pm, in the Bosco Centre Drimnagh. Bigi Linn; All Welcome.

In review: Maurice Coakley on how Britain under-developed Ireland

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Maurice Coakley, Ireland in the World Order: a history of uneven development, London, Pluto Press, 2012

I read this book a couple of years ago and meant to review it then, but other things got in the way.  To make up for the delay, I’ve done something bigger – basically a mix of summary and review:

Coakley begins with a brief survey of bourgeois and anti-capitalist attempts to explain uneven development, from Weber and Durkheim to Gramsci, Jack goody, Immanuel Wallerstein and Robert Brenner. Coakley is concerend, in particular, with the different patterns of growth exhibited in Britain (especially England but also Scotland and Wales) and does so by exploring the unequal relations between them from the medieval era onwards.

Imposition of feudalism

He notes that the Anglo-Norman conquest resulted in the division of Ireland into Gaelic and Anglo-Norman regions. While the boundaries and interactions were fluid, they possessed different social structures. In the Anglo-Norman areas, a manorial/feudal economy was developed, with the local nobility owing allegiance to the English monarch. The peasantry which worked the land for the new elite included a layer of free peasants (largely transplanted from England) and a larger layer of unfree peasants (serfs) of Irish stock. This latter group was less free than the unfree peasants (villeins) in England itself. For instance, they had no legal rights at all.

The crisis of feudalism throughout the 1300s in Europe, including Ireland, explains the decline of Anglo-Norman power and the English language. It also reduced free tenants to labourers. This produced a significant return to England by peasants wishing to avoid greater subjection. The lords in Ireland were then forced to make concessions to Irish peasants. This combined with the impact of the plague largely finished off serfdom by about 1500.

The economy, moreover, had shifted in the 1300s back largely to pasture. This meant a different form of social organisation to tillage, where peasants laboured for a lord. Pasture involved a more kindred pattern of social organisation. The Anglo-Normans were also becoming Gaelicised. But Anglo-Norman-Gaelic Ireland was a hybrid social formation because as well as the kindred social organisation the major feudal lords were more powerful than their counterparts in England who were checked by the king from above and a large lower aristocratic layer and yeomanry below. Even in the Pale there was no yeomanry.

In the distinctly Gaelic and predominantly pastoral areas of Ireland, land and cattle denoted power. Access to land was dependent on kinship, with collective inheritance. While cattle were individually owned they were also dispersed; for instance, through being loaned to poor members of a clan. There was no significant surplus product which might create and sustain a Gaelic ruling class and state comprised of bodies of armed men; rather, “the principle of reciprocity permeated every aspect of Gaelic society”, although this did not mean equality. Read the rest of this entry

Come Here to Me and The Sugar Club: Pieta House benefit, Thursday, June 4

Come Here to Me blog and The Sugar Club have a benefit on this coming week, Thursday, June 4, for Pieta House.

For details, see:

Support the Dunnes Stores Workers, Saturday, June 6

éirígí's photo.

Join the national day of protest, Saturday, June 6.

Assemble 1pm, Merrion Square for march to Dunnes Stores Head Office on Georges Street, Dublin 2.

An injury to one is the concern of all!

Big victory for gay rights

11269286_989326261079791_5893754339816510698_nThe south of Ireland has given a resounding ‘yes’ to equal marriage rights.  The vote has gone roughly 62% for, 38% against.  In Dublin the vote is more like 70-30 and in some of the big working class areas voting booths have even shown support as high as 80%. Only one constituency – Roscommon/South Leitrim – recorded a ‘no’ majority and it was very narrow. images (1)While the Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist churches called for a ‘no’ vote, they – especially the Catholic hierarchy – no longer have the power to determine the outcome of referenda on social issues.  The tide finally began to turn on these reactionaries in the early-mid 1990s and is now clearly moving with the forces of modernisation and liberalisation. At the same, it is important to recognise that the dominant section of the establishment in the south is now the liberal bourgeoisie.  They’re all for gay rights, but are utterly anti-working class.  They continue to impose vicious austerity on the working class.  The fight against them will be even harder than the fight against the reactionary religious hierarchies.


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