Archive for the ‘Republic of Ireland’ Category

November 19th – 212th Anniversary of Wolfe Tone’s Death

November 19, 2010

The following is a statement by The Workers’ Party on the current situation in the Republic on the anniversary of Theobald Wolfe Tone’s death.

Theobald Wolfe Tone, the father of anti-sectarian Irish Republicanism, died on the 19th November 1798. Today (Friday) is his 212th anniversary.

Today is also the day on which Fianna Fáil, the loudly self-proclaimed Republican Party, totally have surrendered the last vestige of meaningful republicanism.

Since their return to power in 1997 Fianna Fáil have run this country in the interests of bankers and speculators. When the Celtic Tiger property bubble inevitably burst two years ago, Fianna Fáil immediately went to the aid of the banking-speculator axis. Since that time they have ruthlessly cut wages, slashed services, and borrowed internationally, to support this failed strategy.

The freedom to decide our own budget is one of the basic cornerstones of a sovereign state. Today, with the arrival of the second tranche of the IMF heavy-gang that freedom disappeared. No matter what way it is glossed over, the Irish Finance Minister will, for the foreseeable future dance to an IMF tune. The voice which delivers the budget speech may well be Irish, but the script will be all New York.

The surrender of our sovereignty is an insult to every Irish person. The lies and verbal contortions of FF ministers over the last week is a further insult to the people. The co-incidence of these events on the anniversary of Wolfe Tone is an insult too far. Tone, in his time knew that to trust the fate of the country in a rich elite would lead to disaster, and in his own words, stated: “Our independence must be had at all hazards. If the men of property will not support us, they must fall; we can support ourselves by the aid of that numerous and respectable class of the community, the men of no property”.

Now, more than ever, the Workers’ Party calls on the men and women of no property, the Irish working class, to unite to defend our interests, protect our resources and promote a decent future for ourselves and for our children.

Advertisements

Harney Cancels Christmas

November 15, 2010

Irish Defence Forces Say No to British Army War Memorials in Barracks

July 12, 2010

As any long-time readers (and all the people who get here by searching for images of Nadine Coyle) will know, one of my favourite hobby horses is the poppy. More specifically, the way that the wearing of the poppy has been promoted in Ireland as some act of reconciliation. Here is some of what I had to say on the issue previously (previous posts here and here):

“In addition, I am sickened by the way in which a war that cost tens of millions of lives over the oppression of the peoples of other continents is trivialised and presented as a good things by idiots because Catholics and Protestants fought in it together, and we should all unite and honour their memory. Well no. We shouldn’t. We should condemn imperialism. And we should condemn the type of facile politics that produces the trivialisation of the greatest imperialist war in history. And reject them. If people want to wear a poppy, it should be a white one.”

The determined attempts to inject the commemoration of those who died in the furtherance of imperialism into culture across the island have a received a lot of support from influential people in the south such as Mary McAleese. And the southern army has participated in this as well. In its own words

The Defence Forces also give significant support to the recently established annual event organised by the Royal British Legion at the National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, with its emphasis on the Battle of the Somme and the Great War.

However, it seems that a limit has been reached, and not before time. Unlike the Guards, who essentially have long viewed themselves as having organisational continuity with the RIC (hence the Guards band playing songs associated with that era for example), the Defence Forces have recently rejected attempts to have a memorial to British troops placed in their barracks in Cork. The reason given was that the Defence Forces – whose Irish-language title of Óglaigh na hÉireann is a reminder of their self-image and origins in the Treatyite wing of the IRA – represented a different tradition to that of the British army.

In considering any monument or event commemorating the Great War, the department wishes to ensure that due regard be had to the separate traditions of the Defence Forces and membership by Irish people of the British armed forces.
“The dedication of memorials in Defence Forces barracks and churches to personnel and units of the British services could give rise to confusion in relation to the separate traditions.
“As a general principle therefore, it is not intended that any further memorials be erected on Defence Forces properties relating to military service other than with Óglaigh na héireann.

The Royal Munsters Fusiliers Association, a commemorative society, had wanted to put a window in the garrison church in Cork for the centenary of the outbreak of World War One. Its spokesperson had the following to say.

It does not seem to gel with what Taoiseach Brian Cowen has recently said with regard to honouring the dead on all sides.
“This is not a subject that is ever broached in our schools and it is only when you delve further, you realise how much a part of our heritage this is.
“A lot of these men went out to fight these wars in the hope of helping Ireland and I think now they are being hard done by. We appear to be heading in the wrong direction in remembering their sacrifice with this decision.”

I couldn’t disagree more with his final sentence. What we need to remember is that a lot of those who went out to fight, in WWI in particular (though note he talks about wars in the plural), did think they were helping Ireland. But they were also doing so as part of an imperial project to which the Irish Parliamentary Party was dedicated. If we are to face up to this period in all its complexity, the imperialist nature of the Irish nationalist elite – and probably a large proportion of its electorate – must be faced up to. Putting an end to the culture of celebration of imperialism through facile words about the different traditions in Ireland shedding blood together, and unyieldingly shining a light on Ireland’s imperialist heritage is essential, especially if we are to understand our island’s role in the world today.

UPDATE: WP Cork city councillor Ted Tynan has issued a statement on this issue warning that commemoration of the dead must not slip into glorification of imperialism and war.

Even Better than the Dog Ate My Homework

April 21, 2010

Charged with being in a car with boiler suits, cable ties, balaclavas, and knives? Here is the most hilarious possible defence.

Mr Mac Carthaigh replied “The car’s not mine. Although I do use a balaclava for sex sometimes.”

When asked to account for the other items in the car and explain why they were there, he said: “I don’t know. An orgy maybe.”

A Perverse Budget from a Government with No Shame – WP

December 10, 2009

The Workers’ Party have described today’s budget as diabolical and utterly perverse, saying it targets working class people and only working class people with a vicious round of cutbacks in their incomes and in public services.

Minister dancing to IBEC’s tune

Workers’ Party Councillor Ted Tynan said that Minister Brian Lenihan’s budget was drafted to an agenda set down by IBEC and big business and that the minister had bent over backwards to grant their demands while tightening the thumbscrews on working people, the poor and their families.

Cllr. Tynan said “The reduction in excise duty on alcohol and the car scrappage deal is an affront to society. This budget will force some people to cut back on food and home heating. It is a perverse government indeed which can cut child allowance but give an effective subsidy to the drinks industry and the motor trade”.

“Nowhere in this budget do we see any effort to seriously tax the ostentatious wealth that is still being flashed around by the moneyed elite in this society, the one percent who hold one-fifth of this country’s wealth. Nor has any effort been made to reform the banks as part of the NAMA process. Having gambled away billions they have been given a massive top-up which has been raised by bleeding workers dry and throwing the most vulnerable people to the wolves”, said Cllr. Tynan.

Slash and Burn economics

“This is a budget which makes historic figures like Richie Ryan and Margaret Thatcher seem benevolent. It is a slash-and-burn budget which has reduced the most marginalised people in society, not just to poverty, but to abject poverty. The decision to slash Jobseekers payments for young people and cut it for everyone else, in addition to the cut in child benefit is an outright attack on the poor. Not one single job will be created as a result of this budget, but still we have handouts to businesses in the name of so-called competition”.

“A government with no morals no mandate and no shame”

“In short Minister Lenihan’s budget is an abomination. It is the product of a government which has been bought by big business but paid dearly for by ordinary workers and their families. It is a government with no morals, no mandate and no shame”, said Councillor Tynan.

Issued Wednesday, 9th December 2009

International Solidarity for Coca Cola Workers and Seán Garland

October 27, 2009

greekcocacolademo

This post also appears over at Cedar Lounge Revolution.

The strike by Coca Cola workers over plans to sack 130 workers and outsource their jobs pits Irish workers against Coca Cola HBC Ireland Ltd, which is a subsidiary of the Greece-based Coca Cola HBC. Following a request from the International Department of The Workers’ Party, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) and the workers’ organisation PAME organised a protest in solidarity with the Irish workers at a recent shareholders’ meeting of Coca Cola HBC in Athens. The KKE has also been a strong supporter of Seán Garland, with a delegate from their international department who was present at the 2005 Ard Fheis when Seán was first arrested taking part in protests, and protests taking place in Athens within days. The KKE also raised the issue in the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, two musical giants have added their voice to the campaign against the extradition of Seán Garland, who is due to appear in court again tomorrow. The 90-year old folk music legend Pete Seeger has been active in left-wing politics since the 1930s. Like the Hollywood Ten, he refused to plead the fifth amendment against the McCarthyite House Un-American Activities Committee, and was subsequently convicted of contempt of Congress, a conviction subsequently overturned. Seeger opposed the Vietnam War, and was active in the US Civil Rights movement. He was one of those who helped popularise its anthem “We Shall Overcome”. His is a powerful voice to be added to the campaign against the extradition, and hopefully will help raise the profile of the issue in progressive circles and beyond in the United States. Christy Moore, who of course needs no introduction here, has also added his support to the campaign, another sign of his long-term commitment to progressive causes. Both of their signatures are signs that the injustice of attempting to extradite Seán Garland to the US is plain for all to see.

And the British branch of the Campaign to Stop the Extradition of Seán Garland is holding an awareness music and social night to raise the profile of the case in Britain. It will addressed by Councillor Ted Tynan of The Workers’ Party. It takes place in the Green Room in Lewisham High Street on Saturday October 31st at 8pm.

Internationalism is alive and well.

Worth a Thousand Words

September 26, 2009

INGLORIOUS1

Oi! Heaney! NO!

September 13, 2009

I’ve just put this up over on Cedar Lounge Revolution, but I’m that annoyed that I’m putting it up here too.

Today’s Observer has a story reporting Seamus Heaney’s conviction that a no vote in the Lisbon Treaty would mean that the people of the Republic will have “lost ourselves in the modern world”. Now I’m not really sure what that is actually supposed to mean, so back to Heaney.

Heaney said the loss for Ireland from a “no” vote was “inestimable”. He said: “I was in Italy when the first referendum came in, and I was distressed for Ireland in Europe because of the kind of refusal of commitment after decades of benefit. It is inestimable, the loss of influence, status and trust that occurred with a ‘no’ vote: it is palpable and real.

Ah. So the fact that the Republic has benefited from membership of the EU in terms of structural funds and the like means that it should forever do whatever the people in Brussels want. Now, we may think that there is a democratic deficit in the EU, that important decisions about our futures are being made by unelected and appointed officials (many of whom are running from their incompetence or corruption at home), that the choices open to us have been circumscribed by undemocratic EU rules designed to benefit capitalism, and that the citizens of the states of the EU were with one exception denied an opportunity to vote on the Treaty by the political and bureaucratic elite of the EU. But that would be because we lack the necessary poetic vision to understand what is really at stake.

Europe was “more than a bureaucracy, it’s an ideal,” he said. “The word ‘Europe’ is one of the first cultural underpinnings to our lives in this part of the globe. It’s for Greece, Italy, Rome, England, France that I feel it.” He also dismissed claims that the Lisbon Treaty would end Irish sovereignty and see the republic absorbed into a European super-state.
Asked if Europe was as important for him culturally as it was economically, Heaney said: “I think it’s slightly more important, not only in terms of culture but in terms of credit, in terms of meaning.

So apparently European civilisation – thousands of years of philosophy, political thought, law, science, art, literature, technology, religion, and the rest – has been reduced to a proposed new set of rules on how to govern an amalgam of states in a mere part of Europe. If we reject it, then we reject our cultural inheritance. Nonsense. As I’m sure the greatest of the Russian poets Pushkin and others from that part of Europe would agree. Clearly our Nobel-winning poet needs refresher courses in basic geography and history.

A lesson in the basic principles of democracy – perhaps Europe’s greatest gift to the world – might also prove useful.

“The reasons for voting ‘no’ are manufactured, on the whole. And if it’s ‘no’ again, I think we have lost ourselves in the modern world.”

Did the No campaign manufacture the fact that those proposing this Treaty have openly admitted that their aim in doing so was to avoid having referenda that might cause them trouble in countries like France and Denmark? Did the No campaign make the decision to deny the citizens of Europe a free vote, a chance to decide for themselves? Whatever about the issues of this Treaty for the Republic of Ireland, is there a better reason for voting ‘NO’ than the fact that the people have been denied a say? If Heaney is so concerned about the peoples of Europe, perhaps he might have taken this into account when considering the whole topic. And spared us his sentimental, apolitical, not to say ignorant nonsense.

Lying about Seán Garland

August 25, 2009

Here is the text of a thread I’ve started over on Politics.ie

Yesterday’s British Independent contained an article that contained a number of outright and ridiculous lies against Seán Garland, written by a journalist with a track record of writing stories that promote the discredited neo-con agenda. The lies contained in the article reveal the real truth about the attempt to extradite Seán Garland, and why we must oppose the Extradition.

The article claims that The Workers’ Party is a “far-left faction…that had never elected a single one of its members to any mainstream political body.”

This is a lie. In fact, The Workers’ Party at its height had 7 TDs and an MEP, as well asmany councillors north and south. It retains elected councillors to this day.

The article claims that “Garland was a lifelong terrorist who had personally engaged in deadly attacks on British soldiers and police in Northern Ireland since the 1950s, and whose exploits were said to have inspired Tom Clancy’s novel Patriot Games…in the 1990s, Garland…rejected the idea of a peace deal in favour of the continuation of bombings, bank robberies and other politically-motivated crimes.”

This is a lie. In fact, Garland was central to securing the (Official) IRA ceasefire in1972, and the transformation of the (Official) Republican Movement into a democratic socialist party. The Workers’ Party for decades has promoted Peace, Work, Democracy and Class Politics, and supported the Good Friday Agreement. Reverend Chris Hudson, the Chair of the campaign against the extradition and former organiser of the Peace Train movement, has stated that it is Garland’s long-term efforts to bring peace that persuaded him to become involved in the campaign.

The article claims that “Bills from the same series turned up a year later in Lebanon’s Bekka Valley, leading to suspicion that the supernote was being printed in the Islamic Republic of Iran, which needed foreign currency to fund an estimated $100 million a year in donations to Hezbollah and other terrorist organisations – who, as it happened, were being trained in bomb-making in Lebanon by Sean Garland. Intelligence analysts noted that Iran had taken delivery of two intaglio printing presses shortly before the fall of the Shah, who had sent a team of 20 master engravers to be trained by the Federal Bureau of Engraving in the US.”

This is a lie. In fact, Seán Garland is a revolutionary socialist. The Workers’ Party aims at the creation of a democratic, secular, socialist unitary state on the island of Ireland – a Republic. The Workers’ Party has been prominent in pushing for the secularisation of Irish society north and south. The idea that Seán Garland had any links to militant Islamists is laughable. And the idea that he was out in Lebanon teaching anyone how to make bombs is beneath contempt. The attempt to link Seán Garland to Islamism is designed to distract attention from a plausible alternative origin for the counterfeit notes that undercuts the neo-con case.

The rest of the article offers no evidence against Seán Garland, and is based largely on the assertions of a man so dedicated to neo-con politics that he resigned from the Bush regime on the grounds that it had gone soft.

The neo-cons lied to us all to start the war in Iraq. And they are lying to us to try and frustrate efforts to secure a peaceful settlement and reconciliation on the Korean peninsula, and using lies against Seán Garland to further their agenda. We must remember that one of Condeleeza Rice’s last acts in the dying days of the Bush regime was to sign the extradition request against Seán Garland, knowing full well that it would raise tensions on the Korean peninsula, and make efforts at a peaceful settlement by the Koreans and the Obama regime more difficult. We must not be fooled by their lies.

The case against Seán Garland is non-existent – the neo-cons know that it would never stand up in an unbiased court. That is why they sought his extradition. Mention the words “Korea” and “Communism” in an American court, and a conviction is guaranteed. There is no chance of a fair trial. Garland is 75, and suffering several severe medical problems, including two forms of cancer. The attempt to extradite is a violation of natural justice.

That is why the campaign against the extradition has secured widespread support, from MEPs, TDs and Senators across the political spectrum, from FF, FG, Labour, SF and the SP. Garland has also secured the support of unionist politicians, as well as the trade unions, and prominent figures from the cultural sphere. The attempt to extradite Seán Garland is unjust. Add your voice to those opposing it. As we can see from this article, it is built on lies, and aimed solely at promoting the agenda of neo-cons whose lies have resulted in war before.

Click on the link to the Stop the Extradition of Seán Garland campaign to learn more, and sign the online petition against the extradition.

USi Protest Against Fees, TCD August 12th at 12pm

August 11, 2009

From the USI website, which doesn’t give the date, though Indymedia gives it as August 12th at 12 pm outside Trinity College.

Angry members of the USI will voice their strong opposition to education minister Batt O’Keefe’s proposals to implement a graduate tax or deferred loan system onthe students of Ireland.

This event will coincide with the release of the Leaving Certificate results, whenthousands of young people discover how they performed in the State exams.

USI President Peter Mannion said:

“This is a time when students should be excited about receivingtheir Leaving Certificate results and going to college to study their chosensubjects, but many thousands of young people will be signing up to a systemwhere their futures come with a hefty mortgage.

If the Minister of Education gets his way, these studentswill be liable to pay tens of thousands of Euros in future for a degree. It isgrossly unfair that these young people, who expected to receive a freeeducation just over a year ago, will now be targeted with fees.”

Support the USI and SAY NO TO FEES!