Dé Máirt, Eanáir 26, 2010

Victims of a Profoundly Sick Society


During the ‘Celtic Tiger’ era, multinational companies and banks flocked to Ireland to take advantage of unregulated economic laws, low corporation tax and greedy politicians.

All the while, the Twenty-Six County state established a façade of western liberal democracy and unrivalled economic growth and prosperity, while, in the north-east of the country, the Stormont establishment wined and dined with North American businessmen and their political cohorts in a now failed attempt to attract inward investment.

However, in the working class communities where the Celtic Tiger could barely manage a purr, the pressures of modern capitalist Ireland are too much to bear for many men, women and children.

Drug and alcohol abuse, financial pressures, broken relationships, unemployment and mental illnesses have brought many to the depths of despair and, sadly, many feel so isolated that suicide becomes a tragic option.

Almost every year in Ireland, around 700 people will feel so isolated and distraught that they take their own lives, since 1996 the number of suicides in the Six Counties has increased by an outrageous 111 per cent.

On December 23 last year, a 16-year-old boy from the New Lodge area of north Belfast, after taking illegal drugs, sadly lost his life. The blame for his death lies firmly at the door of the drug dealers in the area who are selling lethal drugs for as little as 50 pence [57 cent] per pill.

North Belfast is a community that has had to deal with suicide in the past – the area has the highest suicide rate in the Six Counties.

Young men in socially deprived areas are twice as likely to attempt suicide than young men living in non-deprived areas; the average rate of suicide in the north is 9.8 per 100,000 – within north and west Belfast, the rate is much higher with an average approaching 18 per 100,000.

In 2008, 9,218 people in the Twenty-Six Counties received treatment in accident and emergency units as a result of acts of self harm; that is a 6 per cent increase on the previous year, while 21 per cent of these cases were repeat acts of self harm.

A common myth about self harm is that those who harm themselves physically have no intention of taking their own lives. However, recent studies have found that, in 75 per cent of suicides, the victim has self harmed previous to taking their own lives.

The pressure on frontline services, which are extremely vital in dealing with suicidal patients, is going to become greater following the anti-social Dublin government budget, which savagely attacked jobs in the public sector, and the recent announcement in the Six Counties that the Department of Health will face cuts of up to £113 million [€129 million]. Meanwhile, the Stormont parties went cap in hand to the British government to secure £1 billion [€1.1 billion] for the proposed limited transfer of policing and justice powers.

While the statelets both north and south have shown just how inept they are in dealing with vulnerable people, credit must be given to charitable organisations like PIPS, Suicide Awareness and The Samaritans who have attempted to fill this void.

The situation that has been allowed to fester under capitalism has driven many people to the brink of suicide as they fail to cope with the pressures of a profoundly sick society. This travesty has been conveniently hidden under the façade of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ and the ‘Peace Process’.

Dé Domhnaigh, Eanáir 24, 2010

British and PSNI Actions Contravene Human Rights

Earlier this month the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the Section 44 stop and search powers of the British government's 'Terrorism act' was an invasion of people's right to liberty and privacy and contravened Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. These same powers, which the court described as “coercive”, have been used by the PSNI in the six-counties with increasing frequency in recent months.

The landmark judgement stated that “it considers that the powers of authorisation and confirmation as well as those of stop and search under sections 44 and 45 of the 2000 (Terrorism) Act are neither sufficiently circumscribed nor subject to adequate legal safeguards against abuse. They are not, therefore, ‘in accordance with the law’.”

Despite such a damning indictment of the draconian and arbitary powers that the PSNI and other British police forces have been given by their political masters in Westminster, what followed has been a shameful silence among the media and by human rights bodies and politicians on both sides of the border.

The reality is that this judgement is of importance in casting a spotlight, not just on police forces in Britain, but specifically on the PSNI and the way they operate in the six counties. As éirígí have regularly highlighted, the use in the six counties of such stop and search powers condemned in this judgement, has risen dramatically in recent times.

Back in November of last year it was revealed that during the nine month period from January 1st to September 30th last year under the British government’s ‘Terrorism Act’ and ‘Justice & Security Act’ over 20,000 different stop and search's took place in the Six Counties.

Between July and September alone there were more than 12,000 stop and search operations carried out by the PSNI, an average of 110 a day, three times the number for the previous quarter and more than the total number for all of 2008.

Section 44, the act now found to be illegal was the legislation used by the PSNI to carry out the vast majority, more than 17,000 in fact, of these stop and search operations.

What these figures show is that the PSNI, contrary to the image and media spin presented by the constitutional nationalist politicians who now fully endorse and support them, are a force that employ repressive measures, not reluctantly, but with great enthusiasm. These stop and search figures, coupled now with the European Court's judgement, shatters the myth repeated over and over by those politicians that we were witnessing a new beginning to policing. Rather, it reveals a true picture of the arbitary and repressive nature of British policing in Ireland.

The lack of concern at increased British government and PSNI repression from those politicians who now wholeheartedly support the re-named RUC as they administer British rule from Stormont comes as no great surprise however.

They have failed to challenge the step up in repression that has occurred in recent times. On top of the staggering increase in stop and search incidents, over the past twelve months we have seen the introduction of 28-day detentions, the firing of plastic bullets once again and the re-deployment of the British army's undercover Special Reconnaissance Regiment (SRR).

The PSNI powers of arrest have increased. They continue to intercept email and telephone communications, to retain fingerprint and DNA samples of innocent people (also ruled illegal by the European Court just twelve months ago), to secretly colloborate with MI5, and to harass and intimidate political activists.

The ECHR judgement was crystal clear in pointing out how the stop and search powers of Section 44 could be misused against political activists and other peaceful demonstrators which would contravene Article 10 and/or 11 of the Convention. An example of this being the PSNI’s use of those powers against éirígí activists and supporters during a peaceful demonstration last November at a British army telecommunications post on Belfasts' Black Mountain.

Despite the current hype and speculation surrounding a deal on the devolution of policing and justice powers to the administration at Stormont, any agreement will see little improvement in protecting human rights. Power over what is termed matters of “national security”, the excuse used to enact and enforce repressive legislation, will remain firmly in the hands of the British government. As if to prove the point, following the ECHR judgement, the British government declared that they would continue using the stop and search powers of Section 44 despite it being declared illegal.

The bottom line is that, regardless of whether policing and justice powers are devolved to Stormont or not, the increased repression, the European Courts judgement on the use of Section 44, and the decision to continue using those illegal stop and search powers, have torn to shreds the lie that the PSNI are a civic police force.

While they may have changed their name and uniform, the PSNI remain the same discredited, human rights abusing, British paramilitary police force enforcing British rule in Ireland, intent on stifling all political opposition to the British occupation. Its long past time that those politicians that now endorse this police force, faced up to the reality of the PSNI and the continuing British occupation and withdrew their support for both.

Dé Domhnaigh, Eanáir 17, 2010

Donegal Protest Calls for Boycott of Israel

In January last year (2009) the people of Gaza were enduring a massive military assault, carried out by Israel, which left more than 1,400 people dead, including 400 children. Tens of thousands were left homeless and the infrastructure was completely destroyed. The Israeli state continues to impose a siege on Gaza, not allowing the 1.5 million people living in the Gaza strip (an area no bigger than Inishowen in north Donegal), access to food, medical supplies and basic building materials to begin rebuilding their homes, schools and hospitals, after the Israeli military tried to wipe them from the map. These actions were just part of a long running series of horrific events, meted out upon the Palestinian people by the Israeli state over the last 62 years, and indeed in the years leading up to the forming of the Israeli state in 1948.

Yesterday (Sat 16th Jan) éirígí Tir Chonaill held a protest in Letterkenny, County Donegal, calling for the a complete boycott of Israel. Éirígí activists and supporters travelled to the well attended event from all over the north-west of Ireland, from Downings to Sligo, from the off-shore islands to Derry.

As part of éirígí Tir Chonaill's continuing campaign of support for Palestine, the protest was held to remind people of the oppression suffered by the people of Palestine, at the hands of the Israeli state and to call upon everyone to send a message of support and solidarity to the Palestinian people by engaging in a wide-spread consumer boycott of all Israeli goods.

The Letterkenny event held by éirígí Tir Chonaill was one of a series of protests, held throughout the country on Saturday, as part of a national day of action called for by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) against Israel. Protests and actions were also carried out in Belfast, Dublin, Arklow and Cork. Banners, calling for the boycott, were erected by éirígí activists in Sligo, Dublin and throughout County Donegal. The protest was attended by people of all ages and was received well by the general public in the towns main street. Hundreds of leaflets were distributed to the public and passing drivers, Palestinian flags flew and banners and posters reading "Boycott All Israeli Goods" and "Free Palestine Free Gaza" were on display.

Speaking after the event éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson Micheál MacGiolla Easbuig said: “We organised this demonstration in Letterkenny along with the erection of the large banners to not just extend solidarity with the Palestinian people, specifically those suffering immense hardship within Gaza, but to also support the demand for a boycott of Israeli goods. It is important that we make people aware of the practical measures which we all can take against the Israeli state. Israel continues its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the building of its illegal annexation wall. The inhumane siege of Gaza continues as the civilian population, particularly children and the elderly, increasingly struggle to get food and essential medicines to survive. ”

He continued: “The Israeli military continue to carry out military attacks on both Gaza and the West Bank, killing Palestinians, destroying the remnants of an already obliterated infrastructure and economy and carried out countless war crimes during last years murderous assault on Gaza. Despite all of this, the EU have refused to take action against Israel to defend the Palestinian people or to end the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. Rather than cutting all ties with Israel, imposing sanctions on them and seeking to bring to justice those responsible for the war crimes committed against the Palestinian people, Israel has once again been shamefully allowed to retain favoured trading status with the EU. The EU are effectively bankrolling the Israeli terror regime and are complicit in Israel's war crimes and human rights abuses.”

He concluded: “We must now initiate an all-out boycott of Israeli business and produce as we did with South African goods in the 1980's. As consumers we must check the country of origin of all goods we buy and refuse to buy any that originate in Israel. We must also put pressure on retailers to refuse to stock any Israeli goods. These are simple practical measures that we can all take to oppose the continued occupation of Palestine and to support the Palestinian people's right to justice and freedom. It's long past time we made Ireland an Israeli-free zone.”

Dé Céadaoin, Eanáir 13, 2010

Good Riddance to Raytheon

éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mháístír has welcomed the closure of the Raytheon company’s plant in Derry City.

Raytheon, a US-owned military manufacturer, is the maker of the bunker-buster bomb and Tomahawk and Cruise missiles, which have been used with devastating consequences by the US and other armies. The company’s Derry plant was, according to Raytheon, involved in the software end of military manufacture.

Mac An Mháistír said: “The closure of Raytheon’s Derry plant can only be welcomed by anyone who has concern for Ireland’s complicity in the murder of thousands of human beings by militaries around the world.

“As a builder of bunker buster bombs and an array of missiles, among other weapons, Raytheon is a purveyor of death on a mass scale through its peddling of military material to some of the most immoral governments in the world.

“Raytheon supplied much of the murderous weaponry that was used by the US military against the Iraqi people from the 2003 invasion onwards; indeed, it was a Raytheon manufactured missile that smashed into a Baghdad market in April 2003, killing 62 civilians. Likewise, the US/NATO war machine in Afghanistan has been amply supplied by Raytheon, with horrific consequences for the civilian population.

“Raytheon is also a major dealer to the Israeli Occupation Forces. In the recent bombardments of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, it was Raytheon missiles that did so much damage when fired from Israeli jets. It was Raytheon missiles that smashed into refugee camps, ambulances, hospitals, schools, houses, food stores and, ultimately, innocent men, women and children.”

Mac An Mháistír continued: “The people of Derry are to be commended for their steadfast opposition to Raytheon’s presence in their city – many were arrested and dragged before the courts for their refusal to ignore mass murderers in their midst. This moral courage was in stark contrast to the complicity of local politicians, who either openly supported or privately connived at Raytheon’s operations.

“While the closure of the Derry Raytheon plant will probably not affect the overall operations of the company, it is a small victory and offers Ireland the opportunity to remove all war mongers from the country and present a truly humane image on the international stage.”

Dé Sathairn, Eanáir 09, 2010

Fianna Fáil Goillte i nDún na nGall

(English version follows.)

Ag druidim leis an Nollaig sheol éirígí i nDún na nGall feachtas fógraí agus bileogaí in éadan na gciorruithe a leagtar síos i gcáinaisnéis is déanaí na Sé Chondae Fichead.

Ba é tógáil líon chlár fógraí in iarthar na tíre an chéad chuid den fheachtas, a léigh 21,000+ Dífhostaithe i nDún na nGall – Nollaig Shona Daoibh ó Fianna Fáil agus an Comhaontas Glas. Ina dhiaidh seo scaip gníomhaígh éirígí bileogaí ar thithe ag míniú na gciorruithe nua i bpá, leasa sóisialta, sláinte agus oideachas chomh maith leis an Ghaeltacht agus an Ghaeilge.

Ag seoladh an fheachtais, dúirt urlabhraí éirígí Thír Chonaill Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig go mbeadh méadú suntasach i leibhéil bhochtanais sna Sé Chondae Fichead mar thoradh ar na ciorruithe is déanaí.

“Do na deiche míle teaghlach in Éirinn a mhaireann ar phá íseal agus ar leasa sóisialta, anró agus cruatan atá i ndán dóibh agus na ciorruithe ag teacht i dtír orthu,” arsa é.

“Tá anois breis agus 20,000 duine gan obair sa chondae seo mar gheall ar shaint agus teipeanna an rialtais seo agus a gcomhleacaithe sna gnónna móra ach ní dhearna siad faic le cuidiú leis an daoine seo agus a dteaghlaigh. Ní dhéanann an cháinaisnéis seo dada chun postanna a chruthú. Muise, leanfaidh líon na dífhostaíochta ag méadú mar gheall ar an cháinaisnéis seo.

Lean Mac Giolla Easbuig: “Do na mílte daoine a chaill a bpost le bliain anuas agus a chonaic a n-ioncam ag socthumadh mar thoradh, tá an rialtas seo ag caitheamh a thuilleadh anró orthu trína rátaí leasa sóisialta a ghearradh.”

Bhí freagairt Fhianna Fáil ar fheachtas éirígí tapaidh agus sothuigthe. Mar a bheifeá ag súil leis i lár oll-dífhostaíocht agus ciorruithe fiáine ón rialtas, bhí uafás ar comhairleoir David Alcorn ó Ailt an Chorráin.

Níorbh é go bhfuil breis agus 21,000 duine gan post i nDún na nGall, go bhfuil ar dhaoine ar fud na tíre imeacht ar an bhád bán, go gcuirfidh ciorruithe fiáine i bpá agus i leasa sóisialta anró ar theahglaigh atá ag streachailt cheana féin nó go bhfuil imeachtaí a pháirtí sa rialtas ag scriosadh ár seirbhísí sláinte agus oideachas, níorbh é sin an rud a chuir uafás air agus ar a pháirtí áfach.

Níorbh é ná baol air. An rud a chuir uafás ar an chomhairleoir Fhianna Fáil, mar a dúirt sé leis na meáin áitiúla, ná gur tógadh na fógraí seo le linn seachtain na Nollag, rud a chuir sé síos air mar ‘dhrochmhianach’. Dúirt sé gur olc le neart daoine na fógraí agus gur thug siad ‘drochainm’ don áit. Bhí an chuma ar an scéal gur cheistigh sé fiú ceart éirígí le bheith i nDún na nGall.

Thug Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig freagra ar bhriathra Alcorn agus Fhianna Fáil.

Dúirt sé: “Bhí cuma dhaingean ar David Alcorn gan ligean do rud ar bith cur isteach ar a Nollaig dheas – fiú míchóngar na 21,000 daoine i nDún na nGall ag féachaint ar an Nollaig ar an dól.

“Do na mílte daoine, bhí an Nollaig ina hualach eacnamúil eile ar a bhfoinsí airgid atá teann cheana féin, ach tá níos mó imní ar David Alcorn faoi seo a bheith léirithe dó ná faoi dada a dhéanamh faoi.

“I bhfírinne, is é freagra David Alcorn ar na fógraí seo an t-aon rud atá drochmhianach. Is léir gur fearr leis go mbeadh an ghéarchéim dífhostaíochta i nDún na nGall as radharc na súl – b’fhéidir le cuidiú leis codladh san oíche.”

Lean Mac Giolla Easbuig: “Tá Fianna Fáil i nDún na nGall agus ar fud na Sé Chondae Fichead i gceannas ar chóras eacnamúil a d’fhág na ceádta míle ag maireachtáil i mbochtanas. Le cur leis seo, tá siad anois ag tabhairt faoi sheirbhísí poiblí agus leasaí stáit a ghearradh, agus iomaí oibreoir ata ag brath orthu ó lá go lá.

“Is páirtí frithshóisialta iad atá i mbun ghiorruithe frithshóisialta, nach bhfuil in ann chuig oifig ar bith sa tír.”

Chríochnaigh sé le dúshlán don dreach gur cheisnigh David Alcorn ceart éirígí le bheith ann i nDún na nGall.

“B’fhéidir go bhfuil sé buartha go bhfuil an leibhéal gníomhaíochais s’againn ag nochtadh theipeanna a pháirtí féin.

“Ba chóir go mbeadh a fhios ag an chomhairleoir Alcorn nach mbeidh éirígí ag dul ar shiúl. Beidh méadaú ag teacht ar ghníomhaíochtaí eirígí i limistéar Dhún na nGall sa bhliain le teacht – tá muid tiomanta bheith ionadaíoch agus troid ar son leas na ndaoine ar mhaith le Fianna Fáil a threascairt.”

Fianna Fáil Get Upset in Donegal

In the run-up to Christmas, éirígí in Donegal launched a billboard and leaflet campaign against the cutbacks imposed in the recent Twenty-Six County budget.

The first part of the campaign was the erection of a number of large billboards in the west of the county which read 21,000+ Unemployed in Donegal – Happy Christmas from Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. This was followed up by éirígí activists delivering leaflets to homes outlining the latest cuts in pay, social welfare, health and education as well as to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language.

Launching the campaign, Tír Chonaill éirígí spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said that the end result of the latest series of budget cuts would be that poverty levels in the Twenty-Six Counties would rise significantly.

“For tens of thousands of Irish families who survive on low pay and social welfare, the new year is set to be one of misery and extreme hardship as the effects of these cuts start to hit home,” he said.

“There are now more than 20,000 people unemployed in this county as a result of the greed and failures of this administration and their cronies in big business yet they have failed to take any action to help these people and their families. This budget does absolutely nothing to create jobs. Indeed, the jobless figures will continue to rise as a result of this budget.

Mac Giolla Easbuig continued: “For the thousands of people who have lost their jobs over the past year and who have seen their incomes plummet as a result, this administration has heaped yet more misery on them by slashing their welfare rates.”

The reaction of Fianna Fáil to éirígí’s campaign was swift and telling. As would be expected in the midst of mass unemployment and savage government cutbacks, Burtonport-based councillor David Alcorn was appalled.

However, what appalled him and his party was not the fact that more than 21,000 people are unemployed in Donegal, that many people from around the county are being forced to emigrate, that savage pay and social welfare cuts would impose real hardship on already struggling families or that our health and education services would be further decimated by his party’s actions in government.

Not at all. What appalled the Fianna Fáil councillor, as he told the local media, was the putting up of these billboards during Christmas week, which he described as in “bad taste”. He said that a lot of people resented the billboards and that they gave the area a “bad name”. He also appeared to question the right of éirígí to exist in Donegal.

Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig hit back at Alcorn’s comments and Fianna Fáil.

He said: “David Alcorn seemed determined not to allow anything to get in the way of him having a good Christmas – even the inconvenience of 21,000 people in Donegal facing Christmas on the dole.

“For thousands of people, Christmas was yet another economic burden on their already strained financial resources, yet David Alcorn was more concerned about this being pointed out to him than actually doing anything about it.

“In reality, the only thing in bad taste was David Alcorn’s reaction to these boards. Clearly, he would rather the unemployment crisis in Donegal was swept under the carpet – perhaps to help him sleep better at night.

Mac Giolla Easbuig continued: “Fianna Fáil in Donegal and across the Twenty-Six Counties has presided over an economic system that has left hundreds of thousands subsisting in poverty. To compound this fact, they are now going about the business of cutting the public services and state benefits that so many working people rely on in their daily lives.

“They are an anti-social party carrying out anti-social cuts that are not fit to hold any office in the land.”

He concluded by challenging what appeared to be David Alcorn’s questioning of éirígí’s right to exist in Donegal.

“Perhaps he is worried that our level of activism is exposing the failings of his own party.

“Councillor Alcorn should be aware that éirígí will not be going away. The party will be increasing its activities in the Donegal area over the coming year – we are determined to represent and fight for the interests of the people that Fianna Fáil want to drive into the ground.”

Dé hAoine, Eanáir 01, 2010

éirígí New Year Statement 2010


At the beginning of a new year, éirígí takes this opportunity to thank its members and supporters for the commitment and energy they have displayed throughout 2009. Their sterling work across Ireland has inspired many others to become involved in the struggle for national, economic and social freedom.

éirígí rededicates itself to the achievement of a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties and the establishment of a 32-County Democratic Socialist Republic.

As we enter a new decade it is appropriate to review the first decade of the new millennium.

Just ten years ago, global capitalism was positioned in a seemingly impregnable position – with all alternatives being widely rubbished as historical failures. Within the first two years of the new millennium, the world’s only superpower, the United States, embarked upon a massive political, economic and military offensive under the shabby pretext of a ‘War on Terror’.

In truth, this ‘war’ was only an extension of the decades-old US policy designed to impose a single socio-economic model upon all the nations of the Earth – a capitalist model which would allow private corporations access to vast reserves of natural resources and expanding markets.

Eight years after the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, millions of human beings lie dead and the lives of tens of millions more have destroyed. For the people of both countries, the prospects for future peace, stability and justice remain bleak.

By 2007, the first signs of a global recession which would engulf the world were appearing. For billions of people across the globe the last two years of the decade were dominated by fear, uncertainty and dramatic reductions in their standards of living, as the capitalist system entered an inevitable cyclical contraction.

In these darkest of times, however, the light of freedom continued to shine. In the opening years of the new millennium, the resistance of the Palestinian people during the second Intifada, the commencement of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, the continuation of the Cuban revolution and the world-wide mass movement against the Iraq war demonstrated the unquenchable human desire for freedom and justice.

As the decade progressed, resistance to US-imposed political and economic systems spread across the globe. Nearly every country in South America rejected the calamitous economic policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other US controlled bodies. For the first time in decades, the potential for a continent-wide revolution now exists. That it does so in the virtual backyard of the US is all the more inspiring.

In other parts of the globe too, in Europe, Asia, Africa and within the US itself there have been many positive developments as people have begun to organise multi-fronted opposition to twenty-first century capitalism.

Ireland has been far from immune from the global developments of the last decade. At the dawn of the millennium, it appeared that the British strategy of Ulsterisation, Normalisation and Criminalisation was as close to fruition as it had ever been. Through the framework of the Good Friday Agreement it appeared that the British government had succeeded in finally consolidating both partition and the British occupation of the Six Counties.

Ten years later, it is clear that the process of normalisation of the Six Counties has now peaked. Indeed, this process is now crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions.

The deployment of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment on Irish soil, the firing of plastic bullets, the use of 28-day detention, the widespread use of ‘stop and search’ powers, the continued use of non-jury Diplock courts and the increasing militarisation of the PSNI all demonstrate the completely abnormal nature of the Six County state.

In parallel to this overt abnormality, the fundamentally sectarian nature of the Six Counties also remains unchanged. Nationalists remain two-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than their unionist counterparts and, in some parts of the North, make up over 80 per cent of those on the housing waiting list. Stormont is today as incapable of delivering freedom, justice and prosperity as it was in 1921.

In the Twenty-Six Counties, the last decade has seen the myth of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ exposed for the artificial debt-driven bubble that is was. Within three short years the population in the Twenty-Six Counties have seen their standards of living and prospects for the future collapse.

After decades of a deeply-flawed ‘social partnership’ between the business class, the state and the trade union leadership, the prospect of class war is now openly back on the agenda.

In its most recent budget, the Dublin government has, in effect, declared war on workers and the poor. The establishment in the Twenty-Six Counties appear to believe that the young, the old, the disabled, the unemployed and working people should collectively pay for the greed of the wealthy and powerful.

In the Six Counties, Britain’s puppet administration at Stormont also appears to believe that most vulnerable should pay for the excesses of the most privileged. The Six-County executive has already agreed to cuts of tens of millions of pounds in public services. These cuts will be exacerbated as the British government reviews its stipend to the Six-County state in the coming year.

Across Ireland, more than half a million workers are without work, while tens of thousands more face the prospect of forced emigration. This is the unpalatable reality of a society and a system that has been carefully designed to protect profit margins at the expense of its population.

But, as in so many other places, the working people of Ireland are beginning to realise that they alone can and will protect the interests of their families and communities. Workers at Visteon, Waterford Crystal, Thomas Cook and the Dublin docks have shown that workers have the means at their disposal to fight back.

2010 begins with a world in crisis environmentally, economically and politically. But the myths of the recent past have been exploded. No economic system can provide extreme wealth for the few without taking from the many. And the will of a people to be free cannot be contained by force, treaty, deception or bribery.

The last decade has also shown that there can be no decent future for the majority without struggle and a willingness to fight for that which is right – even when the price of that struggle may be high.

As 2010 dawns Ireland, more than ever, needs a radical mass movement that will represent one class in society – the working people – and which will adopt but one attitude to the British occupation – that of uncompromising active resistance.

For its part éirígí remains fully committed to playing an active role in that mass movement for the achievement of justice and freedom in Ireland.