Category Archives: six counties

éirígí on the new settlement


‘A Fresh Start’ – the latest ‘deal’ in a line of apparently never-ending deals from the Stormont Coalition and the Dublin and London governments. But in truth there is nothing ‘fresh’ about it.

There is nothing fresh about opportunist politicians acting to protect their own jobs, the jobs of their cronies and their place at the expenses trough.

There is nothing fresh about politicians in a capitalist system bending over backwards to maximise the profits of their corporate sponsors.

There is nothing fresh about politicians speaking out of both sides of their mouths, declaring themselves as defenders of the marginalised and the poor while implementing policies that will increase marginalisation and poverty.

There is nothing fresh about Sinn Féin claiming to be opposed to austerity in the Twenty-Six Counties while implementing austerity in the Six Counties.

Let those who think that Sinn Féin is a left-wing party and a defender of the working class take note of yesterdays ‘deal’. See how quickly some of the poorest people and communities in Western Europe were sacrificed to ‘save Stormont’ (and the jobs for the boys).

Let those who think that Sinn Féin is a genuine partner in the fight for the Right to Water, Housing and Change similarly take note.

No amount of spin and double-talk can change the facts of what Sinn Féin has cooked up with the DUP and the two governments.

Yesterday’s deal can only have one outcome – the rich will get richer as corporation tax is reduced AND the poor will get poorer as the Tories are handed control of social welfare payments in the Six Counties. Logically, there can be no other outcome.

A new people’s movement against austerity, poverty, exploitation and injustice must be built upon solid ideological foundations, not the double-speak of self-serving, hypocritical politicians.

For our part we are ready to play our part in a movement for maximum change – a movement that will topple the rule of the political and business elite once and for all.

The above appeared on the party’s facebook page, here.


What about the Protestant working class?: an analysis from 1981


The 1974 strike against power-sharing was far more representative of Protestant working class politics than the Outdoor Relief strike of 1932

The following article appeared in the September 1981 issue of the British Marxist review the next step.  This was one of the few British left publications which understood the importance of the national question in Ireland and the struggle of Irish republicans with the British imperialist state.  Most of the British left preferred to ‘play it safe’ and failed miserably to meet their obligations to support the Irish anti-imperialist movement against the British occupation and the British state.

by Suki Gray and Carol Taggart


Nowhere was last month’s ‘royal’ wedding more enthusiastically celebrated than in Belfast’s Shankill Road and in all the other working class Protestant areas in the six counties.  The loyalist workers are a peculiar phenomenon: Irish workers whose basic allegiance is to the British crown.  During 12 years of war the Protestant workers have formed a solid bloc with their employers and the British state: a million strong, highly armed and organised, an implacable barrier to Irish unity and independence.

The British left retains the prejudice that it is possible to unite Protestant and Catholic workers around ‘bread and butter’ trade union issues.  To refute this notion (dismissed as a “doctrine almost screamingly funny in its Read the rest of this entry

The changing faces of Martin McGuinness

Martin McGuinness, charismatic young IRA leader, 1972

Martin McGuinness, charismatic young IRA leader, 1972

Martin McGuinness and Britain's chief constable in the six counties George Hamilton

Martin McGuinness and George Hamilton, Britain’s chief constable in the six counties, 2015

Martin McGuinness at Sinn Fein ard fheis, November 1986:
“I can give a commitment on behalf of the leadership that we have absolutely no intention of going to Westminster or Stormont. Our position is clear and it will never, never, never change. The war against British rule must continue until freedom is achieved. We will lead you to the Republic.”

Martin McGuinness on BBC Northern Ireland, October 2001:
“As far as I’m concerned it [decommissioning] couldn’t happen quick enough – if it happened tomorrow morning it would not be quick enough.”

Martin McGuinness, on republicans engaged in armed struggle in the north of Ireland, March 2009:
“These people are traitors to the island of Ireland, they have betrayed the political desires, hopes and aspirations of all of the people who live on this island. They don’t deserve to be supported by anyone.”

“Let me be clear, if I call on the people, our people, to Read the rest of this entry

Shinners sink to new depths. . . or just the same oul’ shite

McGuinness and Britain's chief 6-County cop George Hamilton

McGuinness and Britain’s chief 6-County cop George Hamilton

by Philip Ferguson

On the night of August 6, as part of Feile an Phobal, the West Belfast Community Festival, Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness shared a platform, and a warm handshake, with the head of the British state’s police in the six counties, George Hamilton.

Hamilton has obviously been well-schooled in the language of political correctness that they teach in police forces across the western capitalist world these days.  Thus, he said things like “Just because I am the chief constable does not mean that I am not prepared to accept that there were serious problems in policing in the past, I do.”

McGuinness and the British 'queen'

McGuinness and the British ‘queen’

And, “Fear does not make peace – courage, optimism, belief is where peace is made. . .

“I think we need to be brave and courageous, easy words to say. I think we need to believe in our ability to continue to build a safe, confident, peaceful society together.

“To do so we have to face our fears, to go beyond our comfort zones, to be selfless, to be generous, to be gracious, to be ready to listen to each other and to have challenging and respectful conversations.”

McGuinness and Ian Paisley

McGuinness and Ian Paisley

McGuinness meanwhile has exchanged the language of militant republicanism for the language of Read the rest of this entry

Tribute to Peggy O’Hara

The following appeared on July 19 on the IRSP site, here.

Saturday 18th July 2015 saw Derry City centre come to a standstill as Republican Socialists from across Ireland assembled to say farewell to Peggy O’Hara, a lifelong supporter and activist in the Irish Freedom struggle and mother to three imprisoned Republican Volunteers, including H-Block martyr Patsy O’Hara, who died following 61 Days on Hunger Strike in May 1981 aged 23.

Peggy’s was a life immersed in the cause for Irish Freedom, a dedicated supporter of the armed campaign against British Imperialism, she balanced the priorities of running a family with those which inevitably come with a National Liberation struggle, in this task she was faced many times with agonising realities and trials, all of which she faced with courage and dignity.

mcguinness-critical-of-inla-funeral-for-peggy-ohara-300x174Earlier in the week a firing party paid tribute to Comrade O’Hara by delivering a volley of three shots over her coffin, on which was placed the Starry Plough and Irish National Flags. The Volunteers then offered further salute in the fashion of military genuflexion, the same salute paid at her son’s graveside in 1981.

Peggy’s death had brought people together from the wider revolutionary republican family with comrades from across the country making their way to Longtower Church in Derry where requiem mass was said before the funeral cortege made its way to Derry City Cemetery.

11760190_921236834581533_3732216738808571363_n-300x200Marching ranks of Volunteers as well as IRSP activists in Read the rest of this entry

The birth of The Pill

Given the excitement caused in Ireland, north and south, by The Pill folks might be interested in this new book called The Birth of the Pill, reviewed by a friend of mine here:


Bloody Sunday commemoration: Belfast-Derry bus

A chairde,

éirígí Béal Feirste will be providing transport to the Bloody Sunday march in Doire on Sunday.

The bus will leave our Belfast office on the Springfield Road shortly after 10.45am. Return ticket is just £10.

Return will be approximately 1 hour after the march and seats are limited so please get in touch asap by replying to this email or messaging our Belfast Facebook page at

Go raibh maith agaibh,

éirígí Béal Feirste

Belfast public meeting on organising against austerity


éirígí calls for building of radical campaign against cuts in the 6 Counties

The following statement has been released by éirígí

stop-stormont-cuts-orange1In December 2010 Stormont agreed a budget that would see £1,500,000,000 (£1.5Billion) slashed from our public expenditure. They have implemented this budget without hesitation and wreaked havoc across working-class communities in the Six Counties, with one Stormont Minister commenting that, “It would be a good Christmas present for the people…”.

The Stormont coalition partners, Sinn Féin and the DUP, oversaw an economy where more than 100,000 people currently want meaningful work but cannot get it. 1 in every 4 young people aged 18-24 are without a job. 1 in every 5 children lives below the poverty line – this figure increases to 43% of children in West Belfast. Families struggle to pay for basic necessities such as food, heating or clothing. 21% of Pensioners also live in poverty. Nearly 40,000 households sit on housing waiting lists. They have closed the City Hospital Accident & Emergency department and the MS respite unit at Dalriada. Further closures are to come for minor injury units in Armagh, Whiteabbey and Bangor. Beds at the Mid-Ulster Hospital, Downe Hospital and Lagan Valley will be axed, adding additional strain across the board.

Not content, and in order to squeeze every remaining penny from the working class people of the Six Counties, Sinn Féin and the DUP are now in the process of Read the rest of this entry

Remember the Housing Action Committees – don’t we need them now?


Pictures: above, Dublin Housing Action Committee protest, late 1960s; top left, homeless person in the six counties; top right, ghost estate

Pictures: above, Dublin Housing Action Committee protest, late 1960s; top left, homeless person in the six counties; top right, ghost estate

In the 1960s there were militant grassroots campaigns for access to housing, both north and south.  In Derry and elsewhere in the six counties they campaigned for equal access to housing and fought sectarian discrimination; they demonstrated and they occupied.  In Dublin they also demonstrated and occupied, demanding that more houses be built and that empty houses be provided to people who needed them.

Today there are 90,000 people on housing waiting lists in the south, while there are 700 ghost estates – and that’s not counting the ghost estates that have been bulldozed – and many, many thousands of other unoccupied housing units.  NAMA holds most of the abandoned properties and, while 4,000 of these have been earmarked for public housing, this isn’t exactly proceeding quickly.  Moreover, 4,000 is a ridiculously low number – in Kildare alone, for instance, there are 5,000 people waiting for homes.

Indeed, reports by the BBC and The Guardian in April 2010 suggested there were as many as 300,000 fairly new, empty properties in the south.  Karl Whitney notes, for instance,  “A recent report by the National Institute for Regional and Spatial Planning estimated that there were over 300,000 empty, newly built properties in Ireland’ (The Guardian, April 8, 2010).

In the north, the situation is proportionately similar.  The Department for Social Development itself noted in its official action plan released last year, “as of December 2012 there were over 40,000 people on the Waiting List with approximately half of these applicants in housing stress”.  Not that Read the rest of this entry


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