Dé Luain, Bealtaine 31, 2010
éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír has called on people to attend today’s demonstrations in Belfast, Derry and Dublin in response to the Israeli attack on the international aid flotilla bound for Gaza.
Twenty aid workers have been confirmed dead and dozens injured after last night’s attack in international waters when the Israeli navy opened fire on the six boats and commandos stormed the decks and opened fire. At least eight Irish people are among the humanitarians who were bound for the besieged Gaza Strip, which has suffered under a zionist blockade since the democratic election of the Hamas government.
Mac An Mhaistír said: “Yet again, Israel has been exposed as a rogue state in the eyes of the world. Their barbaric treatment of international aid workers seeking to relieve a beleaguered population bears all the hallmarks of a fascistic regime.
“Action must be taken to end these recurring massacres. The Israeli ambassador and all the embassy staff must be expelled by the Twenty-Six County government without delay.
“Trade with Israel should be suspended and the preferential agreements the European Union has negotiated should be cancelled. This apartheid state should be boycotted and shunned by the whole world.”
Mac An Mhaistír continued: “To this end, people should get to today’s demonstrations in Belfast, Derry and Dublin – as an act of solidarity with the Palestinian people and the aid workers, as a display of outrage at the Israeli regime and as an act of protest against western complicity in the ongoing Palestinian nightmare.
“The more people there are on the streets, the more pressure will be brought to bear upon those in Ireland who insist on collaborating with the Israeli regime.”
Dé Sathairn, Bealtaine 29, 2010
Dúirt urlabhraí Thír Chonaill Mícheál Mac Giolla Easbuig nach bhfuil áit do chomhlachtaí príomháideacha i bhforáil an chórais shláinte in ospidéal Leifear nó in earnáil ar bith den chóras sláinte.
Bhí sé ag freagairt ráiteas ó Sheanadóir Fhianna Fáil Brian O' Domhnaill nuair a mhaígh sé go ndéanfadh an tAire Sláinte Mary Harney cíoradh ar fhorbairt ospidéil phobail nua i Leifear mar chuid de chomhpháirtíocht phríomháideach phoiblí.
Dúirt sé: "Tá na ciorraithe agus dúnadh atá á dhéanamh agus á phleanáil d'ospidéil ar nós Leifear, á thógáil ar bhunús buiséadach agus níl baint acu leis an chúram leighis a chuireann siad ar fáil nó le riachtanais shláinte an phobail."
"Ní amháin go bhfuil na ciorraithe seo éagórach, ach níl gá ar bith leo. Tá siad á fhorchuir trí chinntí polaitiúla réamhbheartaithe tógtha ag páirtí Sheanadóir O' Domhnaill, Fianna Fáil. Deireann siad nach bhfuil an t-airgeadas acu chun ár n-ospidéil agus ár gcóras sláinte a mhaoiniú i gceart, ach ag an am céanna níl leisce ar bith orthu teacht ar na billiúin euro chun dul i mbannaí ar a gcomhghuaillithe sna bainc."
"D'fhéadfadh an rialtas seo chomh maith, agus ba chóir dóibh, ár n-acmhainní nádúrtha a náisiúnú. Tá níos mó ná 500 billiún euro d'ola agus gás faoi ghrinneall na farraige ónár gcósta, na cearta tugtha d'ilnaisiúnach ollmhór cosúil le Shell. Níl aon bhac dleathach ag cur coisc orthu na hacmhainní seo a náisiúnú. Ní fhágfadh an saibhreas ollmhór leithscéal ar bith do dhúnadh Leifear agus ospidéil eile. Ní bheadh leithscéal ar bith acu ar dhúnadh leapaí, baint seirbhísí, ganntanas foirne agus anliosta de chiorrathe eile forchurtha ag an rialtas fuarchroíoch seo. Arís eile, an t-aon rud atá in easnamh ná toil pholaitiúil."
No place for private finance in Health Service
He was responding to comments from Fianna Fáil Senator Brian O’Domhnaill in which he claimed that Health Minister Mary Harney would consider the development of a new community hospital in Lifford as part of a Public Private Partnership.
He said: “The cutbacks and closures being carried out and planned for hospitals such as Lifford's are being taken on a budgetary basis and has nothing to do with the medical care they provide or the medical needs of the community.”
“These cuts are not only unjust, but they are completely unnecessary. They are being imposed by deliberate political decisions being taken by Senator O'Domhnaill's party, Fianna Fáil. They say they haven't the finance to properly fund our hospitals and health service, yet at the same time they have no hesitation in finding tens of billions of euros to bail out their cronies in the banks.”
He added: “Despite the economic recession, Ireland remains a wealthy country. The problem lies in that 1% of the population control 34% of the wealth. These people have escaped unsacathed while workers, pensioners, the unemployed, the ill and those with special needs have borne the brunt of the cutbacks. A hefty wealth tax imposed on these individuals would also bring in massive revenue making these cutbacks unnecessary. All that is lacking is political will.”
“The government could also, and should, nationalise our natural resources. More than 500 billion euros worth of oil and gas lies under the seabed off our coast, the rights to which they have given away to private multi-national giants like Shell. There is no legal impediment preventing them nationalising these resources. The vast wealth would leave no excuse for closing Lifford and other hospitals. They would have no excuse for bed closures, removing services, staff shortages and the litany of other cuts imposed by this uncaring administration. Once again, all that is lacking is political will.”
He concluded: “Lifford hospital needs to be retained and retained solely in public hands. There is no place for private companies or profit motives in the provision of health care, an essential public service. Our health care system must be completely under public control, must be truly free and equal, based solely on medical need, not ability to pay. Fund our hospitals, not the banks”.
Dé hAoine, Bealtaine 28, 2010
Around 70 republicans held a white line picket in Camlough, south Armagh on Friday [May 21] in solidarity with the protesting republican prisoners in Maghaberry jail.
Many éirígí members and supporters were in attendance, as were the families of political prisoners, former POWs and other republicans.
The picket, which fell on the 29th anniversary of the death of south Armagh hunger-striker Raymond McCreesh, highlighted the inhumane conditions that political prisoners in Maghaberry have to endure, including:
- 23 hour lock up
- Degrading strip searches of themselves and their visiting families
- Psychological torture
- Controlled movement
- Sniffer dog searches
During the picket, a banner was erected in the village calling for an end to the criminalisation of republican prisoners.
Meanwhile, the family of Lurgan republican Colin Duffy have challenged the decision to ban them from visiting him in Maghaberry.
Duffy’s wife and brother were informed this week that they would not be allowed to attend visits in the jail. No explanation for the vindictive move was given to them.
The Duffys’ legal representative Kevin Winters described the visiting ban as “draconian”.
“What’s more, at the minute it seems totally indeterminate,” Winters said.
“We have written to the governor asking for a reinstatement of visits. As yet, we have not received a reply.
“Should the situation carry on as it is then we have no alternative but to go before the courts to seek access regarding visits.”
Déardaoin, Bealtaine 27, 2010
Almost a century after the Dublin Lockout, the shocking living conditions of working class residents in the Dublin City Council flat complex of Dolphin House are an indictment on the Twenty-Six County state.
According to a Human Rights Commission report, flats in the complex “have sewage backing up into sinks and baths and mould covering entire walls of bedrooms”. The Commission viewed video material made by the residents, which showed “black mould growing on walls, curtains and clothes, sinks and baths filled with sewage and water dripping down walls and windows”. According to a survey of the residents of 72 flats, 84 per cent regularly experienced sewage coming up through pipes and sinks, 72 per cent had damp in their flats, 64 per cent had mould growing in bathrooms and bedrooms, 93 per cent reported foul smells, 91 per cent of those who had damp or sewage problems said it was affecting their health and 86 per cent said they were dissatisfied with the response from Dublin City Council.
That working class communities in the 21st Century continue to live in conditions of absolute degradation is a shameful and criminal indictment of the state authorities and proof, were it needed, that the rights of citizens to live in dignity is subordinate to the interests of private capital.
How is it that, 100 years after the Dublin Lockout, council tenants in one of the wealthiest cities in Europe continue to live in conditions that are unfit for human habitation? What type of society allows it citizens to live in flats where raw sewerage flows through plug holes; where walls drip with water and crumble from damp; where, due to the environment in which they are forced to live, adults and children suffer from asthma, respiratory illnesses, skin infections and stomach bugs? The Human Rights Commission report stands as a criminal testimony of inequality perpetuated during the ‘Celtic Tiger’ years. The Celtic Tiger did not so much by-pass communities like those in Dolphin House as crush them under-foot and force them deeper into poverty.
“In Magees Court there are seven small cottages (42 rooms) enclosed in a court ten feet wide. In these cottages live 36 families – 156 people. The air is practicably unbearable. The rooms at night are walking with sewerage beetles. Mothers have to remain up all night to protect their children from these loathsome insects… The walls are crumbling and damp, the roofs leaking, the floors slanting in the upstairs rooms because the front walls of the houses are leaning so much forward.”
Meanwhile, on York Street, in Dublin’s south inner city, swarms of rats were “a constant worry” with “as many as thirty caught in one kitchen in one week and an infestation of countless millions of bugs” was causing an “even greater calamity”. These hellish conditions were being reported two decades after the 1913 Lockout, a period in which Arnold Wright, no friend of the Dublin working class, described the slums of Dublin “as a thing apart in the inferno of social degradation”. During the course of the 1913-14 British government Inquiry into Dublin Housing Conditions, Dublin Corporation was forced to admit that 28,000 citizens of the city were living in conditions that were unfit for human habitation. The Irish Times described the Inquiry’s report as a “terrible indictment of the social conditions and civic administration of Dublin”. Not surprisingly, the same paper neglected to include that the slums also represented the very essence of capitalist exploitation.
The ‘civic administration’ indicted by the Irish Times almost 100 years ago once again stands indicted for placing the interests of private capital above that of its people. The response from Dublin City Council to this report has been utterly contemptible. Indicating the blatant disregard in which the Council holds its tenants, city manager John Tierney refused to even attend the launch of the report. The Council should be hauled before the courts and charged with human rights abuses. It is becoming clearer by the days that we live in a society in which those without power, wealth and influence can quite literally be treated as non-humans. While the state facilitated widespread profiteering in property by a powerful rich elite in Irish society, the working class of Dolphin House are forced to live in Dickensian conditions.
The weasel words from a city council press release that they do not have sufficient finance to carry out the necessary repairs in Dolphin House is simply a hand wringing exercise and a complete abdication of responsibility. It has been clear for a long time that the Council is seeking to extricate itself from its responsibility to provide social housing. In 1985, the local authority provided 27 per cent of new homes built, by 1998 this was reduced to just eight per cent. During that period, thousands of local authority houses were sold to tenants. The use of Public Private Partnerships for regeneration programmes has resulted in a further significant reduction in the number of social housing units available. While council tenants in Dolphin House live in a sewerage infested hell, private landlords are getting rich on massive state subsidies.
According to research conducted by Tenants First in 2008, private landlords were subsidised to the tune of €391.5m [£332m] annually through the rent supplement scheme, with Dublin City Council spending an almost equal amount on rent supplement as social housing. Ironically, given the abominable conditions in which the residents of Dolphin House are forced to live, an astonishing 96 per cent of private properties in the city council area failed to comply with minimum standards under the rent supplement scheme. Given the current economic recession and the huge increase in unemployment, there has undoubtedly been a significant increase in the amount of public money going to subsidise private landlords. While private landlords enjoy a feast of public money, city council tenants in Dolphin House endure intolerable and inhuman living conditions. Were this a failed bank with billions of euro of debt, there is no doubt that the state would intervene. The fact that the state is pumping billions into Anglo Irish Bank, while citizens of the state live in conditions akin to the Dublin slums of the early 20th Century says everything about the rotten, corrupt and barbaric system that is capitalism.
It is difficult to comprehend that an analysis from the Republican Congress newspaper just over 75 years ago could so appropriately describe the contemporary living conditions of the working class of Dublin’s inner-city; “terrible indignation should burn up in the breast of every worker at a system that condemns our brothers and sisters to crawl to an unholy death in such cesspools of misery and death”. Dublin City Council must be compelled to take immediate action and provide decent living conditions for its tenants in Dolphin House. Residents should withhold their rent and City Hall should tremble from the march of thousands until an end is put to the appalling human suffering in Dublin’s south inner city.
Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 25, 2010
Dé Luain, Bealtaine 24, 2010
Thousands March to Demand Retention of Lifford Hospital
Thousands of people took to the streets of the border town of Lifford in County Donegal on Sunday (May 23) for a march and rally opposing HSE plans to shut Lifford Community Hospital. In sweltering heat, the large crowd assembled at the grounds of the threatened hospital before marching to the Diamond in the town.
Amongst those who addressed the Rally at the Diamond were representatives of the Save Lifford Hospital group, local clergy and political representatives as well as speakers from IMPACT, SIPTU and the INMO trade unions.
Speaking after the rally, éirígí Tír Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig who had taken part in the march with other éirígí activists, said that the demonstration sent a loud message to the HSE and their political masters in Leinster House, that the hospital is not for closing, and that they must fund our hospitals instead of the banks.
MacGiolla Easbuig said: “This Fianna Fáil led administration are systematically dismantling and destroying the public health service. Not only must their savage cutbacks be reversed, but our hospitals and the essential services they provide must be upgraded and provided with the necessary staff and resources so sadly lacking at present.”
He added: “There is a a general policy of slash and burn by Fianna Fáil and the Green party towards public health services in this country. Hospitals are being downgraded and shut down completely. Services are being reduced and moved further away from local communities. There are ward closures, bed removals, staff reductions and cuts in home help to highlight just a some of the outrageous and unjust cutbacks being imposed.”
“Make no mistake, the future of Lifford Community hospital is under serious threat. If we are to prevent its closure, then people power is the only way to do it. Todays march and rally was an excellent start but the momentum now needs to be maintained and intensified on the streets.”
MacGiolla Easbuig concluded: “The thousands of people who marched through Lifford today sent a loud and clear message to Fianna Fáil and the HSE. That message is to fund our hospitals, not the banks. As a community we have had enough of these savage health cuts and the closure or reduction of sevices in Lifford hospital will not be tolerated. We deserve a first class health service easily accessible and available to all based on a persons medical need, not their wealth.”
You can view more photos from Sunday's march & rally by clicking here
Dé Sathairn, Bealtaine 22, 2010
Dé hAoine, Bealtaine 21, 2010
Déardaoin, Bealtaine 20, 2010
Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 18, 2010
Dé Luain, Bealtaine 17, 2010
Dé Domhnaigh, Bealtaine 16, 2010
On Saturday (May 15) the true nature of the Twenty-Six County state was once again exposed as the Garda violently attacked those who dare to oppose NAMA, the bank bailouts and the savage programme of cutbacks.
The Garda response to éirígí’s protest was not the result of an operational blunder or lack of experience. The decision to attack peaceful protesters was both premeditated and well planned. And more importantly is was highly political. The Dublin government have clearly decided that the emerging resistance to their right wing economic policies must be crushed before it grow stronger.
Below is a full account of the events of the day. The times below are accurate to within ten minutes. All of the key facts below have been authenticated by eye witness accounts, photographs and video footage.
First Garda arrive within five minutes of rooftop protest beginning. Those taking part in the protest inform the Garda that they are staging a peaceful protest in opposition to NAMA, the bank bailout and the cutbacks. They also inform the Garda, in an act of civil disobedience, that they will not be complying with Garda orders to end their protest.
Additional Garda units arrive in a variety of marked and unmarked vehicles. By seven o’clock fifteen Garda vehicles are in situ, including a number of vans which are positioned under the outer porch of the building. The Garda also erect crowd control barriers across the front of the building.
The rooftop protesters continue to hold their banner while chatting to people on the ground who have come to show their support. The general atmosphere is light hearted and entirely peaceful.
Despite the obvious safety risks a number more Garda climb through the window. In response the protesters move to the edge of the outer porch, still offering no resistance. The Garda then remove the banner and other items belonging to the protesters from the porch roof.
Up to twenty Garda charge towards the protesters. Despite the fact that no resistance is offered all four protesters are pinned down before being dragged through the window into the building. Once inside all four are forced to lie face down before being handcuffed and removed to a waiting van.
Meanwhile outside the bank roughly twenty protesters move to the rear entrance of the Anglo Irish building, with the intent of establishing the well-being of those who had just been dragged off the roof. It was at this point that the Garda first draw their batons and beat the protesters back onto Dawson Street.
Following a short standoff upwards of eighty Gardaí, including members of the riot squad and the dog unit, again attack protesters, pushing them into the path of oncoming traffic on Dawson Street.
For roughly ten minutes the Garda mob push, punch, drag and kick protesters away from the Anglo Irish building. At no point do the protesters retaliate in kind, despite the ample provocation.
Three more people, including the advertised main speaker for the protest, Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, are arrested under public order legislation.
Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson and Rúnaí Ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith both address the crowd as word comes through that all of those who had been arrested are to be charged in the Bridewell court later in the afternoon.
The Garda attempt to prevent the erection of an effigy of disgraced banker Sean Fitzpatrick. The crowd refuse to bow to the Garda and cheer loudly as the effigy is set on fire. Chants of ‘Whose cops? NAMA’s cop’s’ and ‘Regulation doesn’t work – let the banks burn’ echo off the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank.
Six of the seven protesters, Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, Eoin Ó Sé, Daithí O Riain, Ursula Ní Shionnain, Pádraig Ó Meiscill and Robert Fox are released on bail after being charged under trespass and public order legislation. As part of their bail conditions all are banned from Anglo Irish Bank headquarters or any other Anglo Irish Bank property.
The seventh protester John McCusker is refused bail on the spurious grounds of the Garda being unwilling to accept that he was indeed John McCusker. The six protesters leave the courts to loud cheers from the assembled supporters.
John McCusker is transported to Cloverhill Prison until such time as the Garda are satisfied that they have established his identity. At the time of writing (the evening of Sunday May 16) John remains in custody.
Dé Sathairn, Bealtaine 15, 2010
éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson has described the Garda attack on peaceful protestors at Anglo Irish Bank today [Saturday] as “vicious and unprovoked”.
There was a large and aggressive Garda presence at the Stephen’s Green headquarters of the bank from early this morning after four éirígí activists gained access to a roof and unveiled a banner proclaiming ‘People of Ireland, Rise Up’.
Later, as Gardaí moved onto the roof to assault and arrest the protestors, demonstrators on the ground were also attacked, with three more arrests taking place. A number of those arrested sustained injuries in the Garda attack and received treatment from a doctor in Pearse Street Barracks.
Despite the attempt at intimidation, today’s main protest went ahead as planned at 2pm, with around 150 people turning up to demand an end to the bank bailout, NAMA and the slashing of public services. As the scheduled speaker, Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, was among those arrested, Brian Leeson gave the main oration.
During the demonstration, a large effigy of former Anglo Irish Bank chief executive Seán Fitzpatrick was burned.
Leeson said: “Today’s events proved the point that the institutions of this state act only in the interest of the bankers, developers and the entire business class.
“However, today also demonstrated that working class people are not powerless in the face of the economic onslaught being waged by right-wing politicians and the wealthy. The Garda’s aim – to prevent the demonstration going ahead – was not achieved.
“People should be conscious of their own ability to change the agenda in this country if they act collectively and determinedly. The action of the Garda and government cannot stop the fight-back that has now begun.”
Leeson also called for the immediate release of the only éirígí activist still in custody tonight, who is being held on the spurious grounds that Gardaí cannot ascertain his identity.
“There is absolutely no reason this man should continue to be held apart from political vindictiveness. He should be released immediately and the charges against all the activists should be dropped.”
Dé hAoine, Bealtaine 14, 2010
Dé Céadaoin, Bealtaine 12, 2010
Dé Máirt, Bealtaine 11, 2010
Announcing the weekend’s events Rúnaí Ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said, “This is the fifth year that éirígí have marked the anniversary of the execution of James Connolly and the other leaders of the 1916 Rising. Over the course of the upcoming Connolly weekend éirígí will hold an internal meeting to discuss policy and strategy as well as the anti-NAMA protest and wreath-laying ceremony. This mix of political theory, action and commemoration represents a fitting memorial to the legacy of James Connolly.
“In previous years éirígí’s commemoration in Arbour Hill has formed the centrepiece of the Connolly weekend. This year, however, we are breaking with that tradition and making the protest at Anglo Irish Bank the main focus of the weekend’s events. In the context of the current economic catastrophe we believe that there could be no more fitting tribute to the memory of James Connolly than the organisation of resistance to NAMA, the bank bailout and the savage cutbacks of the Dublin government. Connolly himself was a firm believer in the street politics of protest and demonstration.
“I would encourage republicans and socialists from across the country to join our protest at Anglo Irish, to bring the politics of Connolly out of the graveyard and onto the streets. In particular I would implore the tens of thousands of unemployed young people who have been abandoned by the Dublin establishment to join our protest, to become politically active and take back control of their own country.”