Category Archives: six counties

Get involved in the éirígí local election campaigns

This May will see éirígí candidates stand for election to local authorities in Wexford, Wicklow, Dublin and Belfast. Although éirígí previously fielded candidates in the 2011 local elections in Belfast, this will be the first time that the party will contest elections on both sides of the border simultaneously.

A total of eight candidates will represent the party from the rural hinterland of New Ross on the Wexford / Waterford border, to the flats complexes of Dublin’s inner city, to the sprawling housing estates of West Belfast. Citizens of the towns, cities and counties that gave birth to the 1798, 1916 and 1969 insurrections are again on their streets, calling for the overthrow of the ancien régime and the establishment of a new all-Ireland socialist republic.

Between them the eight éirígí candidates have many decades of experience of political struggle in all of its forms. Trade unionists, community activists, Irish language advocates, former political prisoners all coming together to stand on a single, coherent ideological platform. The candidates are: Read the rest of this entry

UNITE and organising against Croke Park III

imagesby James Fearon

Rank-and-file Unite union members have expressed angry opposition to the Croke Park III agreement (called Haddington Road to protect the guilty.) The recent Belfast Conference saw the Regional Secretary, Jimmy Kelly, using language that echoes James Connolly’s ’Old Wine in New Bottles’, say that workers would not be deceived by a deal that was the contents of the ‘Croke Park bottle’.

The radicalism did not last long. No sooner than we have been marched up the hill than the leadership are instructing us to turn around and march back down again. It should come as no surprise; we have been at this point of departure before when Unite rejected Croke Park I. Jimmy made exactly the same noises then but later went in to avoid being ‘victimised’. 

Only the incurably naïve could suggest that we take the bureaucracy’s rhetoric at face value. Radical speeches are followed by a climb down, in this case by means of a re-ballot with a recommendation to ‘accept’ coming from the leadership. 

For years the trade union leadership have hidden their betrayals behind the low level of industrial struggle and the concomitant low level of self confidence among workers. Promises of success at the negotiating table were always linked to reminders of unsuccessful attempts at industrial action. No mention is made of course that the lack of success was as often as not due to the Read the rest of this entry

Yes to industrial action, but a new political movement is needed too

ICTU head David Begg: an example of what Connolly thought of as the labour lieutenants of capital

ICTU head David Begg: an example of what Connolly thought of as the labour lieutenants of capital

by Philip Ferguson

Free State taoiseach Enda Kenny’s reaction to the public sector workers’ rejection of Croke Park 2 has been to declare that workers in this sector, by their vote, have stripped themselves of protection from redundancies.  In effect, on April 24 he was saying that public sector workers, no matter how they voted or how the bulk of people in the 26-counties see things, had to accept either pay cuts or redundancies.

Welcome to all capitalism has on offer to workers in Ireland, either side of the British state’s border.

Meanwhile the latest Red C / Sunday Business Post poll, the results of which appeared in last Sunday’s SBP (April 28), indicate that less than a third (30%) of respondents support cuts to public sector pay, while 56% of respondents said the government should accept the position of the unions following their rejection of Croke Park 2.  Just over two-thirds of people also thought that if there was any spare funds in the system these should be used to reduce taxes on working people.

The rejection of Croke Park 2 seems to have caught both government parties, Fine Gael and Labour, on the hop.  Labour’s Brendan Howlin, responsible for public expenditure, had already compiled budget figures based on acceptance of the deal; namely, €300 million of pay cuts.   On RTE radio’s This Week on April 28 Labour junior minister Alan Kelly reiterated that, while there was Read the rest of this entry

Morgan, Purdie and divided Ireland

This is an historical one.  The review below appeared in Ireland Socialist Review #8, winter 1980/81.  I gather that #8 was the final issue of this particular magazine.  Pity; it looks like a good magazine.  Thanks to Liam O Ruairc for drawing my attention to it.

Austen Morgan and Bob Purdie, Ireland: divided nation, divided class, London, Ink Links,

reviewed by Richard Chessum

“We have no doubt that, historically, progressive social and economic developments were associated with Irish nationalism.  We also have no doubt that the current entrenchment of the Irish left in the ‘battle of the nations’ is not justified, either by Marxist theory or by the real needs of the Irish working class.  The Northern state partially collapsed between 1968 and 1972 because of the uprising of the Catholic minority against unionist resistance to reform. . .  The partial c ollapse of the sate did not logically imply that it had to be destroyed by a section of the Catholic minority and replaced by a unitary Irish state. Unless, that is the crisis was seen through Republican spectacles and Unionist hegemony was interpreted simply as a British strategy for suppressing the historic Irish nation.  While it was correct for socialists to respond to events as they occurred, it is not obvious why they should have placed all the chips on the green or orange numbers. . .  It is by no means clear why socialists should pose a national question as the central political question when this merely raises a problem which cannot be solved and also obscures the global class struggle.”

In these words, Morgan and Purdie, the editors of this new collection of essays, sum up their starting point in their quest for a new Marxist understanding of the possibilities for socialism in Ireland.  Many of the readers of Ireland Socialist Review may feel that the starting point is not new.  Indeed, one way or another, socialists, reformist or revolutionary, have been at this one before.  Yet the national question continues to pose itself – or rather, significant individuals and social forces obstinately persist in pushing it to the forefront of political discussion.  One suspects that Morgan and Purdie will have little more success than King Canute in ordering the waves to go back, no matter how many books they edit.  Moreover, it is by no means clear (to use their own expression) how many loyal supporters these latter day Canutes have amongst the contributors to this collection of essays, or how many of these latter might wish to add some sort of disclaimer to the views expressed by them.

When the editors speak in their Introduction of “the varied composition of the seminar” at which the papers upon which this book is based were presented, this is a polite way of saying that there was little common agreement on very basic issues amongst the contributors.  This, of course, does not invalidate the book.  But readers should not be left to assume that those who contributed to it would all assent to the view that the national question is a diversion.  The present reviewer attended the seminar in question (held at Warwick University) and it was apparent that Read the rest of this entry

Dolours Price, 1951-2013

_65485214_dolours_price01_I hope to stick up a fitting tribute to Dolours Price over the next few days.

I never met her, let alone knew her.  But I know she was one of the true ones.  She could have had a career in mainstream politics and done well for herself, as others in the Movement did by selling out.  But, like her sister Marian, Dolours held to the true thing, despite the considerable personal cost.

The sad circumstances of her final years and her death also should remind us that on our side we need to look after our veterans better.

Beir bua agus tiocfaidh ár lá.

Marian Price. . . the struggle continues


End political policing – free Stephen Murney

Protest 1.
Free Stephen Murney!
2pm, Sat, 26th January
General Post Office,
O’Connell Street,


Protest 2.
Free Stephen Murney!
1pm, Sat, February 9th,
International Wall,
Falls Road,

End Political Policing Now!

Free Stephen Murney picket, Dublin, January 26

Support the call for Stephen’s release and join the protest at the G.P.O. in Dublin at 2pm on Saturday, January 26th. All welcome. Bígí linn. Please forward this to others who may be interested.

The six counties: the carnival of reaction continues

belfast-flags-poli_2445688bby James Fearon

While northern middle class nationalism stamps its feet in chagrin at the unwillingness of their Unionist counterparts to call Loyalist protests to heel it is forced to ignore an increasing body of evidence that contradicts its view of Unionism. Widespread among the chattering classes is the view that the issue of the Irish relationship with British imperialism has been put on a stable footing. In this perspective the North of Ireland, despite some anomalies, is now a place in which the Catholic middle class, increasingly happy with a ‘Northern Irish’ identity,  has a considerable stake, and the relationship with comfortable middle class Unionism, based on ‘parity of esteem’, is at the beginning of a long period of steady, prosperous evolution. What a shock the flag issue has been for them. Nationalist spokespeople react with genuine surprise and abhorrence at the destabilising effects of the protests but it is not so much the display of plebeian bigotry that upsets them but Read the rest of this entry

Liam Mellows / Four Martyrs Commemoration, Co. Wexford



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