Dé Máirt, Meitheamh 29, 2010

Cá bhFuil Ár Scoil?

29/06/2010

(English version follows)

Chuaigh múinteoirí, teaghlaigh agus tacadóirí le páistí ó Scoil na Fuiseoige in iarthar Bhéal Feirste inné [Dé Luain] chuig agóid ag Stormont faoin diúltú leanúnach d’áiseanna scoile cuí.

Bhí imeachtaí ar siúl ag na páistí ar fhearann riarachán coilíneach na Breataine ag ceiliúradh na n-éachtaí s’acu le ocht mbliana déag anuas i gcoinníollacha atá ag dul in olcas agus atá cáinte ag sraith cigireachta.

Bunaíodh Scoil na Fuiseoige i gCill Uaighe i mBéal Feirste in 1992, ag glacadh inspioráide ón stailceoir ocrais agus díograiseoir Gaeilge, Bobby Sands, a raibh cónaí air i gCill Uaighe. Lonnaithe ar dtús i mbotháin shoghluaiste, nuair a bhain an scoil aitheantas oifigiúil amach in 1997 rinne roinn oideachais na Sé Chondae, faoi aire riail dírí na Breataine an tráth sin, rinne siad plean chun foirgneamh ceart scoile a thógáil a bheadh oiriúnach don fheidhm.

In 2005, chuir roinn oideachais na Sé Chondae, arís faoi aire riail dírí na Breataine, chuir siad an scoil isteach ina gclár Capital New Starts, rud ar chóir go gcinnteodh tógáil áiseanna nua-aimseartha. Inniu áfach, trí bliana déag ónar tugadh an gealltanas, tá glúin reatha na ndaltaí i Scoil na Fuiseoige go fóill sna botháin chéanna.

Iad as a ndóchas mar gheall ar an easpa dul chun cinn ar an cheist, chuaigh ionadaithe na scoile i dteagmháil le haire oideachais Stormont reatha, Caitríona Ruane, agus sa deireadh fuair siad dearbhú uaithi go mbeadh an obair déanta agus críochnaithe faoi thús na scoilbhliana seo caite, Meán Fómhair 2009.

Déardaoin seo caite [24ú Meitheamh], fuair an scoil amach gur cuireadh an tógáil ar an mhéar fhada arís eile. Ag trácht ar an scéal seo, dúirt an príomhoide Eilís Uí Néill: “Is maolaisnéis ollmhór í a rá go bhfuil tógáil nua ina riachtanas soiléir dúinn. Tá an foirgneamh reatha ag titim anuas orainn. Is guais sláinte agus sábháilteachta é. Níl na botháin shoghluaiste oiriúnach don fheidhm. Níor chóir go mbeadh ar dhuine ar bith fulaingt faoi gach ar fhulaing muidne le breis agus deich mbliana anuas. Tá sé doghlactha.”

Lean Uí Néill: “Tá an cinneadh gan dul ar aghaidh le tógáil nua Scoil na Fuiseoige in ainneoin ghealltanais fhadtréimhseacha an Roinn Oideachais ina bhuille uafásach don phobal scoile ina iomláine.”

Dúirt urlabhraí Gaeilge éirígí Ursula Ní Shionnain: “Ar dtús, ní mór an fhoireann go léir ag Scoil na Fuiseoige a mholadh as an dea-obair atá déanta acu le beagnach fiche bliain anois ag soláthar ardchaighdeán Gaeloideachais i gcoinníollacha fíordheacra.

“Tá Cill Uaighe ar na ceantair is díothaithe ar fud na Sé Chondae, a rinne rialtas na Breataine agus comhairle aontachtach Lios na gCearrbhach leatrom air le fada an lá. Tá roinn oideachais Stormont ag leanúint leis an pholasaí náireach sin inniu.

“Ní beag an tionchar dearfach atá ag Scoil na Fuiseoige, agus an naíscoil agus ionadh teaghlaigh tadhlacha, ar an cheantar. Éilíonn cumas na Gaelscoile freastal ar an phobal áitiúil ar bhealach níos cumsithí trí thógáil áiseanna cuí go dtéann an tógáil ríthábhachtach seo ar aghaidh.”

Lean Ní Shionnain: “Mura ndéantar an obair san am amach romhainn, beidh na páistí ag dul isteach sa scoil don chéad uair an Meán Fómhair beag seo daortha chuig na botháin lofa chéanna a fhad agus atá siad ag freastal ar an scoil.

“Caithfear brú a chur ar roinn oideachais Stormont glacadh le ciall ar an cheist, agus tábhacht infheistíochta i dtodhchaí ár bpáistí a aithint.”


Cá bhFuil Ár Scoil?


Children from Scoil na Fuiseoige in west Belfast were joined by teachers, families and supporters yesterday [Monday] for a protest at Stormont over the continued denial of proper school facilities.

The children held a number of events on the grounds of Britain’s colonial administration celebrating their achievements over the past 18 years in deteriorating conditions that have been condemned by a series of inspections.

Scoil na Fuiseoige was established in the Twinbrook area of Belfast in 1992, taking its inspiration from former Twinbrook resident, hunger striker and Irish language enthusiast Bobby Sands. Having initially been based in prefab mobile huts, when the school achieved official recognition in 1997 a plan was drawn up at the Six County education department, then under a British direct rule minister, to build a proper school building that would be fit for purpose.

In 2005, the Six County Department of Education, again under a British direct rule minister, included the school in its Capital New Starts programme, which should have ensured the construction of modern facilities. Today, however, 13 years since the commitment was given, the current generation of pupils at Scoil na Fuiseoige are still in the same mobile huts.

Frustrated by the lack of progress on the issue, representatives of the school contacted current Stormont education minister Caitríona Ruane and eventually received assurances from her that the work would be done and completed by the beginning of the last school year, September 2009.

Last Thursday [June 24], the school found out that the new build had been indefinitely postponed yet again. Commenting on this news, principal Eilís Uí Néill said: “To say that we have a demonstrated need for a new build is a massive understatement. The current building is literally collapsing around us. It is a health and safety hazard. The portable cabins are not fit for purpose. No one should have to endure what we have had to put up with for the past decade and more. It is not acceptable.

Uí Néill continued: “The decision not to go forward with Scoil na Fuiseoige’s new build despite the Department of Education’s long standing commitments and promises is a devastating blow to our whole school community.”

éirígí Irish language spokesperson Ursula Ní Shionnain said: “Firstly, all the staff at Scoil na Fuiseoige must be commended for the good work they have done for almost 20 years now in providing a high standard of Irish medium education in very difficult circumstances.

“Twinbrook is one of the most deprived areas in the whole of the Six Counties, having been discriminated against for far too long by the British government and the unionist Lisburn council. The Stormont department of education is today continuing with that shameful policy.

“Scoil na Fuiseoige, and the adjoining naíscoil and family centre, have had an enormously positive impact on the area. The potential of the Gaelscoil to serve the local community more fully through the construction of proper facilities demands that this vitally important construction go ahead.”

Ní Shionnain continued: “If the work is not done in the near future, then the children entering the scoil for the first time this coming September will be condemned to the same rotting mobiles as long as they attend the school.

“Pressure must be brought to bear on the Stormont education department to see sense on the issue, and to recognise the importance of investment in our children’s futures.”



Dé Luain, Meitheamh 28, 2010


éirígí Slam Latest Jailing of Shell to Sea Campaigner Maura Harrington

28/06/2010

Shell to Sea and Human Rights activist Maura Harrington was arrested Friday (June 25) as she left a funeral in Doohama, Co Mayo. She was detained for non-payment of fines relating to her involvement in protests against Shell's planned pipeline and the giveaway of our natural resources.

She was brought to Belmullet Garda station and then on to Mountjoy prison that evening. A demonstration organised by Shell to Sea took place outside the prison that same evening at 7.30PM.


Maura has on a number of occasions previously been arrested and jailed as a result of her unwillingness to bow to Shell law in north Mayo. Her most recent detention in Mountjoy was only last December.


Other Shell to Sea and human rights activists, Pat 'the chief' O'Donnell and Niall Harnett are also currently serving sentences in Castlerea prison as a result of their resistance to Shell.

Condemning the latest arrest and jailing of Maura, éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey said that the timing of her arrest was deliberate and designed to assist Shell who are to resume work in north Mayo in the coming days.


Casey said: “The arrest and imprisonment of Maura Harrington once again is despicable but not surprising. The timing of her arrest is also no coincidence.”

He added: “Once more, the Gardai are doing the dirty work of Shell. As with the jailing of Maura on previous occasions, and with Pat O'Donnell and Niall Harnett both of whom remain in Castlerea Prison, removing key activists opposed to Shell's pipeline and the giveaway of hundreds of billions of euro worth of natural resources, is a deliberate tactic used by the Gardai to assist Shell.”


“In this instance, Shell are to resume work on their project in a number of days. Quite clearly Maura was removed at Shell's behest in an attempt to lessen legitimate protest against their activities.”

"It is a testament to Maura's steely determination that Shell and the Gardai feel the need to target her for intimidation, assault and arrest and feel the need to remove her from Mayo in order to force this dangerous pipeline through. She has been a consistent thorn in their side and has refused to bow down or be bought off despite everything that Shell and all arms of the state have thrown at her on Shell's behalf."

“Maura's only crime is to stand up to injustice, to stand up for the safety of the people of north Mayo and to resist giving the Irish nations vast wealth to private companies, wealth that could be utilised to reverse cutbacks, increase living standards for all and to provide efficient health and education serevices for all.”



He concluded: “It is not Maura that should be in jail. It is the bankers, the developers and the politicians that brought this country to its knees, that squandered and pilfered the wealth created by workers and that created the worst recession seen by this state, that should be in Mountjoy tonight and for a long time to come. Maura Harrington, and her colleagues in Castlerea prison, should be released immediately.”



Dé Domhnaigh, Meitheamh 27, 2010

Successful Protest at Belfast City Hall

27/06/10

The PSNI were forced to watch impotently from the sidelines yesterday [Saturday] as éirígí held a well-attended anti-British Armed Forces Day picket at Belfast City Hall.

Last June, PSNI riot squads hemmed peaceful protestors into the Castle Street area when they attempted to make their way to City Hall to oppose the triumphalist celebration. However, this year, the best efforts of dozens of PSNI landrovers and scores of political police, as well as attempted intimidation by unionist elements, could not prevent around 100 republicans coming from across Belfast to the éirígí-organised demonstration.

Once at City Hall, the republicans, among them many young people, former political prisoners and victims of state violence, were addressed by John McCusker, the chairperson of éirígí’s ciorcal in west Belfast.

McCusker pointed out that, while the British government has now designated June 26 as ‘Armed Forces Day’, families across the Six Counties and beyond are living with the fact that nobody has ever been held to account for the state killings of their loved ones.

He also stated that what we are seeing is just the beginning of éirígí’s campaign for a British withdrawal.

Afterwards, éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said: “Today, the inability of the PSNI to permanently prevent the right to protest was witnessed. All those who made their way to Belfast City Hall are to be commended for upholding this fundamental right in the face of a major attempt at mass intimidation.

“The British government and its agencies of occupation should take note that significant numbers of nationalists and republicans are once again prepared to defy their thugs in uniform in pursuance of the national independence struggle. These numbers will only grow in the time ahead.”



Déardaoin, Meitheamh 24, 2010

Cur in aghaidh Lá Fhórsaí Míleata na Breataine

24/06/2010

(English version follows)

Ghlaoigh urlabhraí éirígí Thír Chonaill Mícheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig i gcomhair cur in éadan forleathan in aghaidh Lá Fhórsaí Míleata na Breataine, atá le bheith ar siúl Dé Sathairn an 26ú Meitheamh 2010.


Bhí sé ag labhairt i mbéal an imeachta atá chun a bheith ar siúl, mar a deireann Arm na Breataine, “chun Fórsaí Míleata na Breataine a cheiliúradh agus a onórú.” Chun an t-imeacht a mharcáil i mbliana ardófar brat Fhórsaí Míleata na Breataine os cionn Halla Cathrach Bhéal Feirste agus beidh leirsiú in aghaidh marcála an lae ar siúl taobh amuigh Dé Sathairn ag a 12 tráthnóna.

Dúirt an tUasal Mac Giolla Easbuig, “Tá sé draosta imeacht mar seo fiú a mholadh in Éirinn, fiú fós sna sé chontae forghafa sa Tuaisceart, le cuntas teiste scanrúil agus fada airm na Breataine ar a gcóir ar mhuintir na hÉireann.”

“Díreach an tseachtain seo caite chonaiceamar foilsiú fiosrúcháin Saville a bhfaca bunaíocht na Breataine ag admháil na fírinne faoin ionsaí fíochmhar ar léirsitheoirí chearta sibhialta neamhurchóirdeacha i Mí Eanáir 1972 nuair a dhúnmharaigh Arm pearsanra na Breataine 14 sibhialtach gan arm i nDoire, agus fós creideann siad gur fiú onóir a thabhairt don fhórsa seo,” dúirt sé.


“Ní teagmhais aon uaire déanta ag Arm na Breataine iad na teagmhais seo. Ach míonna roimhe, dhúnmharaigh an reisimint chéanna a rinne an sléacht ar Dhomhnach na Fola 11 sibhialtach sagart san áireamh i mBaile Uí Mhurchú, Béal Feirste. Níos lú ná cúig mhí tar éis Domhnaigh na Fola, rinne saighdiúirí Briotánacha sléacht ar chúigear sibhialtach eile i gCnoc na Foinse, iarthar Bhéal Feirste, beirt pháiste san áireamh. Thóg siad an t-iompar sádach céanna a chothaigh siad in Éirinn ar fud an domhain leo. Chuaigh siad as a gcrann cumhachta san Iaráic agus leanann siad ar aghaidh á dhéanamh san Afganastáin inniu.”

Chríochnaigh sé, “Is masla é do theaghlaigh iad siúd a mharaigh siad tríd glúine de riail impiriúlach ar fud an domhain agus anseo in Éirinn, Lá Fhórsaí Míleata na Breataine a chur ar siúl. Tá sé beartaithe go gcuirfidh an léirsiú i mBéal Feirste Dé Sathairn teachtaireacht shoiléir chuig na fórsaí míleata Briotánacha nach bhfuil aon chúis bhróid acu agus is brúidiúlacht é le cúis náire dóibh. Spreagfainn gach duine atá in aghaidh impiriúlachas iarracht a dhéanamh dul go Béal Feirste agus a ndéistin a thaispeáint don fhórsa míleata brúidiúil seo. Ba chóir Arm na Breataine a cháineadh de bharr an bhrúidiúlacht a rinne siad thar na blianta agus a leanann siad á dhéanamh inniu, agus is am foirfe é an Sathairn guth a thabhairt don cháineadh sin agus teachtaireacht shoiléir a chuir chuig bunaíocht na Breataine nach bhfuil fáilte roimh a láithreacht anseo in Éirinn.”


Oppose British Armed Forces Day

Spokesperson for éirígí Tir Chonaill, Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, has called for for widespread opposition to British Armed Forces Day, which is due to be held on Saturday 26th June 2010.


He was speaking in the lead up to the event which is to be held to, as the British army say, “celebrate and honour the British Armed Forces”. This year to mark the event the flag of the British Armed Forces will be raised above Belfast City Hall and a demonstration against the marking of the day is due to be held outside it this Saturday at 12 noon.

Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said, “It is obscene to even suggest holding such an event in Ireland, even in the still occupied six counties of the North, given the British army's appalling and lengthy track record of its treatment of the Irish people.”

“Only last week we seen the publication of the Saville inquiry which seen the truth finally admitted by the British establishment of the horrific attack on innocent civil rights marchers in January 1972 when British army personnel murdered 14 unarmed civilians in Derry, and yet they believe this is a force worth honouring,” he said.


“Such incidents at the hands of the British army are far from one offs. Only months before, the same regiment who committed the massacre on Bloody Sunday murdered 11 civilians including a priest, in Ballymurphy, Belfast. Less than five months after Bloody Sunday, British soldiers massacred another 5 civilians in Springhill, West Belfast, including two children. And the sadistic behaviour they nurtured in Ireland they shipped world wide. They ran amok in Iraq and continue to in Afghanistan today.”

He concluded, “Holding a British Armed Forces day is an insult to the families of all those they have slaughtered through centuries of imperialist rule throughout the world and here in Ireland. The demonstration in Belfast this coming Saturday is intended to send a clear message to the British Armed forces that they have nothing to be proud of and if anything, a brutality which they should be thoroughly ashamed of. I would urge all those opposed to imperialism to make the effort to get to Belfast and show their disgust for this brutal military force. The British Army should be roundly condemned for the brutality they have carried out over the years and continue to carry out to this today, and this Saturdays protest will be the ideal time to voice that condemnation and send a clear message to the British establishment that their presence is not welcome here in Ireland.”

Dé Luain, Meitheamh 21, 2010


Repression and Resistance in the Basque Country: The youth lead the way

21/06/10

Jarrai

You can’t blame the Youth – the classic song of Reggae legend Peter Tosh – readily comes to mind when considering the inspiring struggle of the Basque youth movement. It is a momentous story of perseverance and resistance to decades of repression.

The Basque youth movement, comprising young separatists and socialists, is one that will not be blamed; no matter what the provocation, they continue their activism and remain a popular expression of the desires of Basque youth. They have not been fooled either and, while many look to accommodate themselves with the Spanish occupation, the Basque youth movement maintains a strong demand for an independent and socialist Basque Country.

The history of the movement dates back to the founding of Jarrai in 1979, a youth organisation for those who supported Basque independence and socialism. In 2000, following Jarrai’s amalgamation with Gazteriak, based in the French-occupied Basque Country, a new movement emerged under the name of Haika. Not longer after its establishment, however, the Spanish state banned Haika and arrested its leadership. In order to maintain the movement, activists replaced Haika and formed Segi, meaning ‘To Continue’. Segi, in turn, was banned and eventually, with European Union approval, all three groups were designated “terrorist organisations”.

So how did these so-called terrorists respond to this naked repression by the Spanish state? Over the years, the organisations developed from a small cadre of activists into a popular movement. In 1994, Jarrai launched its Gazte Topagunea or Youth Encounter, a festival organised at Easter where large numbers of youth gathered and participated in a wide range of activities, including rock concerts, traditional Basque culture, theatre, sport, cinema, lectures and distribution of political literature.

In turn, Haika and Segi organised the Youth Encounter and, in 2006, the event returned to Etxarri, a small village in the north of the Basque Country, where 20,000 attended under the slogan Tipi-tapa independentzian topa! – meaning ‘Step by step meet in independence!’ This bi-annual event was organised in 2008 and again this year when, despite widespread repression by the Spanish state, almost 10,000 young people participated, demonstrating the widely popular nature of the demand for independence.

2006 Youth Encounter

In the alternate years between the Youth Encounters, a march through the mountains is organised at Easter, attracting up to 3,000 activists, who, as well as experiencing the breathtaking Basque countryside, engage in nightly political discussions. Alongside these national events, the Basque youth groups campaign on a wide range of political issues and employ a wide spectrum of political campaign activity, with posters, leaflets, stickers, pickets, concerts and direct action all being utilised.

National campaigns have included support for political prisoners, promoting the Basque language, opposing state repression of political activists and popularising socialism. These issues were augmented by campaigning specifically on youth issues such as employment rights, school facilities and rent controls. All of this political campaign work is, of course, defined as “terrorist” activity by both the Spanish and French states, who are concerned that the Basque youth are mobilised and gaining significant support for their demand of self-determination.

The hounding of the leadership of Jarrai/Haika/Segi began in 2001. To date, over 40 people have been indicted and charged with serious offences linking these three organisations to ETA. It seems that the Spanish government considers mobilising for independence to be illegal. The targeting of the youth organisations has not been isolated; language activists, lawyers, journalists and publishers among others have all found that their activities considered illegal and many face long jail terms. There can, on occasion, be a surreal aspect to the attacks by the Spanish state. In May 2006, while campaigning throughout Basque Country in favour of a ‘peace process’, thousands of young Segi activists were viciously attacked by police, with many badly injured and many more arrested.

The actions of the police stretched to arrests for pasting posters or handing out leaflets. That these activities are labelled as “terrorist acts” may seem out of step with European Union ‘norms’, until you scratch under the surface in Ireland and other countries suffering from occupation. The success of Jarrai, Haika and Segi in mobilising a popular youth movement in support of Basque independence has profoundly scared the Spanish state: repression is its response. What is described here accounts for only a small portion of the daily attacks on Basque youth, an experience that involves torture, imprisonment, assault, kidnapping, surveillance and harassment.

Basque activist being arrested

In early November 2007, seven activists were arrested in Donostia, which marked the third police operation against Segi, bringing to 18 the number arrested in the autumn of that year. It was evident that the state was intent on imprisoning all of those who opposed it. The reaction of the youth in Donostia was swift, with a demonstration of 1,000 people the day after the arrests and 1,500 on the Saturday following. Barricades were built throughout the city demonstrating that the youth of the city were as determined as ever. Seven days after their arrest, the activists continued to be held in communicado with no contact with relatives or lawyers. When finally contacted, all reported brutal attacks by police interrogators.

In the last week of November ’07, the attack against Segi intensified. Seven young people were arrested in Burlata near Irunea and over a dozen premises searched. Computers and documents were seized during the searches and, very quickly, the corporate media was reporting that the seven were guilty of a total of 32 charges in relation to rioting, attacking bank premises and assaulting police. During their Spanish Special Court hearing, held in Madrid, the seven accused outlined the torture they suffered at the hands of the police – one method involved partial suffocation by placing a plastic bag over their heads. Following the arrests, the youth of Burlata mobilised and demonstrated on the streets. The protest was attacked by the police and 10 youths were arrested [four of whom were under the age of 18] and all were charged with offences ranging from vandalism to assaulting police officers.

Less than two weeks later, 15 more young Segi activists from Donostia were in custody. Eight of these were imprisoned, while the rest had to provide bail of €6,000. Following a short seasonal break for the forces of injustice, they swung back into action in the last week of January 2008, smashing in the doors of youth activists across the Basque Country. In numerous raids, eight activists were arrested and imprisoned. The following month, another six youths were arrested in Gazteiz.

After a break of two months, the towns of Oiartzun and Orereta became the latest locations for a renewed attack on the right to campaign according to your political preference. Ten youths were arrested and, in response, thousands of locals came onto the streets in protest at yet another act of political repression. Once again, the police attacked demonstrators, some of whom were savagely beaten and at least three were arrested. The police kept a large presence in the town throughout the following week and, in addition to the arrests, over 30 houses were raided and searched.

In another example of the lengths the state has been prepared to go to shut down political activity, another six Segi activists were arrested in November 2008 and three were charged with “collaboration with an armed organisation”. This charge related to the “subversive” action of putting up posters, not the first time a bucket of paste and brush have been mistaken for deadly weapons. Clearly Segi’s arsenal appears very threatening to the state because, within months, another five of the organisation’s activists were arrested for distributing leaflets.

Rally in Donostia in 2009

For over a year appeared relatively quiet until late 2009 when over 900 police officers took part in a massive operation against Segi. Over 100 premises were raided and 36 people arrested. After five days held without contact with the outside world, the activists were charged. The reports from the interrogations were shocking: in addition to suffocation, forced exercises and assaults, female activists were sexually assaulted by masked interrogators and male activists had their testicles beaten repeatedly, while guns were used to threaten those under interrogation. As news emerged of the arrests and torture, massive demonstrations were organised. Over 20,000 mobilised in Donostia alone, demonstrating that Segi and the Basque people would not lie down in the face of state repression.

Since 2001, over 200 youth activists have been arrested and imprisoned. The thousands who continue to take to the streets will continue the struggle.

Repression is not restricted to the Spanish occupied Basque Country, three of the Basque Countries seven provinces are occupied by France. Traditionally, this area was a place where activists could feel relatively safe from persecution but, from the late 1980s, the situation became more hostile. Cooperation between both states is now so close that it is not unusual to find Spanish police operating alongside French police. The position of Basque youth at the hands of the French state is almost as perilous as the Spanish state.

In early 2006, while moves were being advanced in relation to a peace initiative, the French police arrested three young people for their political activities. At the time, this along with attacks by Spanish police was identified as a deliberate attempt to provoke Basque activists and to distract them from their political programme. In November 2007, Gorka Betolaza was back in Spanish custody having being extradited by French authorities and faced the prospect of completing his sentence of six years for being a member of Segi.

A month later, in December, another two youth activists were extradited to face charges in Spain. Asier Tapia faced charges as a result of taking part in a press conference for Haika and Spanish prosecutors requested a sentence of 100 years. The other youth, Gorka Urberuaga, was charged with spraying graffiti. The French authorities clearly had no problem with this modern day Spanish inquisition.

In 2009 the French police continued to demonstrate their commitment to mirror Spanish repression. The French arrested eight young Basques and charged them with taking part in acts of sabotage. Seven were released within a few hours, while one was taken to prison to await extradition to Spain. Upon their release, the seven activists outlined that, during questioning, there was no reference to acts of sabotage; rather, they were questioned solely about political activism. In early 2010, another eight activists were arrested and charged with attacks on the offices of estate agents in the French occupied zone. Hundreds took to the streets to protest and so the cycle continues.

While these attacks are directed specifically at Segi as an organisation, they are not restricted to Segi alone. Popular websites have been closed down, community activists have been kidnapped and assaulted and young people involved in language groups and festivals have been harassed and arrested. Anything suspect in the eyes of the state is open to attack and repression.

Despite the heavy hand of the state and attempts to close down the political expression of Basque independence and socialism, it is encouraging and inspiring to report that the Basque youth refuse to surrender. Late last month, hundreds of activists paraded in Brussels to bring attention to the repression they have faced and to highlight the existence of the Basque nation. The struggle goes on.

The building of a vibrant and active youth movement in the Basque Country clearly poses a direct challenge to capitalism and imperialism. Both the Spanish and French states have attempted to crush this challenge, that they have failed is a testimony to the determination and commitment of the Basque independence and socialist youth movement.



Dé hAoine, Meitheamh 18, 2010


Cur faoi chois na gCeardchumannach ag Méadú go hIdirnáisiúnta

18/06/10


(English version follows)

ITUC

D’eisigh Cónaidhm Idirnáisiúnta na gCeardchumann [ITUC] a Suirbhé Bliantúil ar Chearta na gCeardchumann do 2009 Dé Céadaoin [9ú Meitheamh] agus is cúis chorraithe iad cuid mhaith de na torthaí.

D’aimsigh an tuairisc gur maraíodh 101 ceardchumannach in 2009, méadú 30 faoin chéad ón bhliain roimhe. Tharla 48 de na dúnmharuithe sa Cholóim, áit a bhfuil fórsaí na heite deise ábalta feidhmiú le saoirse in éadan ceardchumannach agus gníomhaíoch chearta eile. Taifeadadh breis agus 400 ionsaí ar cheardchumannaigh sa Cholóim in 2009, cúpla iarracht feallmharaithe agus trí chás de dhaoine ag imeacht as radharc.

Maraíodh ar a laghad 12 ceardchumannach i Hondúras i bhforéigean i ndiaidh an coup d’état in éadan uachtarán cléach na tíre Manuel Zelaya i mí Meithimh. Bhí seo mar chuid de thuile ionsaithe ar eagraíochtaí sóisialta a chuireann in éadan an coup d’état.

Thug an tuairisc faoi deara chomh maith go bhfuil ionsaithe ar chearta oibrithe ar fud na cruinne ina dtoradh ar an ghéarchéim eacnamúil idirnáisiúnta. Tá áirithe ag an tuairisc go bhfuil an cur faoi chois ag méadú fiú i dtíortha le gluaiseachtaí ceardchumainn atá láidir go traidisiúnta, mar shample an Fhrainc agus an Ghearmáin.

Sa Roinn ar an Bhreatain agus ar Éirinn fhorghafa, chuir an tuairisc chun suntas an cás inar chuir 14 comhlacht tógála bunachar sonraí le chéile ar breis agus 3,000 oibrí, a úsáideadh chun ceardchumannaigh agus oibrithe míleatacha eile a chur ar an liosta dubh.

D’ardaigh an tuairisc freisin fadhb leanúnach na reachtaíochta a cheadaíonn do fhostóirí aitheantas do cheardchumainn neamhspléacha a chosc i bhfabhar a ‘gcearchumainn chomhlachta’ féin.

Tá an gá le ceardchumainn neamhspleácha ag troid thar ceann an lucht oibre chomh tábhachtach anois agus a bhí riamh. Ciallaíonn an aeráid eacnamaíochta idirnáisiúnta go bhfuil eagraíochtaí ag teastáil ó oibrithe a throidfidh dá leas in éadan na ndaoine atá ciontach as an aeráid sin – lucht an rachmais.

Tugadh an gá seo chun cruinne in Éirinn le seachtain anuas, nuair a d’ainmnigh an iris Business & Finance uachtarán ginearálta SIPTU Jack O’Connor mar ‘Duine gnó na míosa’ mar gheall ar a thacaíocht do bheart Pháirc an Chrócaigh.

James Connolly

Le tuilleadh ciorrú ar an bhealach thuaidh agus theas, ní mór go dtuigeann gluaiseacht an lucht oibre eagraithe nach bhfuil leas na n-oibrithe agus na gcaipitlithe comhlántach, ach naimhdeach. Ansin seans go dtosóidh an lucht oibre an troid cheart, mar i mbriathra an Chonghailigh:

“When the worker has so far advanced as to realise that his master's interests are antagonistic to his own, that the master class use every weapon from Parliament to prison to maintain their position against what they consider the encroachment of their serfs, then we have no doubt that the next step in the intellectual development of the worker will be to consider whether it is wise to tolerate longer a class in society which requires to be watched so constantly and guarded against so vigilantly; whether there is indeed any useful function performed by the capitalist and landlord class which the organised workers cannot perform without them. Whether the ownership of property cannot be vested in the organised community, and the conduct of industry entrusted to our trade unions, who could surely furnish men who would organise production and distribution in the interests of all much better than it is at present done by a class animated solely by considerations of profit. When the logic of events forces this question on the Dublin workers as it surely will, we believe that they will not fail to answer it aright, and that the answer will be well for our hopes of a socialist republic.”

Is féidir Suirbhé Bliantúil ar Chearta na gCeardchumann de chuid ITUC a léamh ag http://survey.ituc-csi.org/

Repression Against Trade Unionists on the Rise Internationally

The International Trade Union Confederation [ITUC] released its Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights for 2009 last Wednesday [June 9] and many of the findings make for disturbing reading.

The report found that 101 trade unionists had been killed in 2009, an increase of 30 per cent on the previous year. 48 of these murders took place in Colombia, where right-wing forces can act with impunity against trade unionists and other rights activists. There were over 400 attacks on trade unionists recorded in Colombia in 2009, including several assassination attempts and three disappearances.

Manuel Zelaya

At least 12 trade unionists were killed in Honduras in violence following the coup d’etat against left-wing president Manuel Zelaya in June. This formed part of a spate of attacks on social organisations that oppose the coup.

The report also noted how the international economic crisis has led to attacks on workers’ rights around the world. The report notes that repression has been increasing even in countries with traditionally strong union movements, such as France and Germany.

In the section on Britain and occupied Ireland, the report highlighted the case of a database of over 3,000 workers compiled by 14 construction companies used to blacklist trade unionists and other militant workers.

The report also brought up the ongoing problem of legislation that allows employers to prevent recognition of independent unions in favour of their own ‘company unions’.

The need for independent trade unions fighting on behalf of the working class is as important now as it ever has been. The international economic climate means that workers need organisations that will fight for their interests against those responsible for that climate – the capitalist class.

This need has been brought into focus in Ireland in the past week, with SIPTU general president Jack O’Connor being named ‘Business person of the month’ by the Business & Finance magazine, for his support for the Croke Park deal.

With a programme of further cutbacks on the way both north and south, it is imperative that the organised labour movement realise that the interests of workers and capitalists are not complementary but antagonistic. Then the working class may begin the real fight, as in the words of James Connolly:

“When the worker has so far advanced as to realise that his master's interests are antagonistic to his own, that the master class use every weapon from Parliament to prison to maintain their position against what they consider the encroachment of their serfs, then we have no doubt that the next step in the intellectual development of the worker will be to consider whether it is wise to tolerate longer a class in society which requires to be watched so constantly and guarded against so vigilantly; whether there is indeed any useful function performed by the capitalist and landlord class which the organised workers cannot perform without them. Whether the ownership of property cannot be vested in the organised community, and the conduct of industry entrusted to our trade unions, who could surely furnish men who would organise production and distribution in the interests of all much better than it is at present done by a class animated solely by considerations of profit. When the logic of events forces this question on the Dublin workers as it surely will, we believe that they will not fail to answer it aright, and that the answer will be well for our hopes of a socialist republic.”

ITUC’s Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights can be read at http://survey.ituc-csi.org/.



Dé Máirt, Meitheamh 15, 2010



The Truth Set Free

15/06/2010


Thirty-eight years. Thats how long the families of victims of the Bloody Sunday massacre had to wait to hear to the British government say that their loved ones were innocent and for the leader of that government to apologise for their murders.


The families of course always knew that the victims were innocent and that they were gunned down in cold blood by the British army as they took part in a Civil Rights march in Derry, January 1972. Countless others around the world also knew of their innocence and supported their calls for justice and their demand on the British government to set the truth free.

Today, Tuesday 15th June, 2010, those families and thousands of their supporters gathered at the Guildhall in Derry to finally hear the British establishment finally admit the truth as the findings of the Saville Report were published.













When the families entered the Guildhall to be allowed to see the report, 10,000+ people gathered outside to hear the expected public admission from the British prime minister beamed live to the assembled masse. But the families made sure they would set the truth free before David Cameron did, and shortly before the live broadcast, family members inside the hall pushed their arms through the small open windows high up on the building and gave the thumbs up to let the crowd know their loved ones had been exonerated, at which point the crowd below erupted in shouts and cheers of support, moving many to tears.


Unjustified and unjustifiable were the words used in the report to describe the actions of the soldiers who murdered the 14 innocent civilians and injured many others. This description was hardly a surprise to their families and everyone else who has suffered not only in Ireland but around the world – and continue to - at the hands of the British armed forces.


British politicians and members of the British army have now, after the publication of the report, rushed to the defence of the army, as good as saying it was a one off and have done all they can to try to perpetuate the nonsense that on the whole, the British army have an almost exemplary record here in Ireland and elsewhere around the world. Some of their comments today have all but said that Bloody Sunday was no more than a blip on the screen, almost dismissing the deaths on that day.

But the countless victims of their brutality will tell you otherwise. It went on before Bloody Sunday and long after it. What made Bloody Sunday different was the brazen nature of the crime, the enormity of it, it being carried out in broad day light and the arrogance of the British afterwards justifying the slaughter of innocent defenceless human beings by telling lies about them. And the sadistic behaviour they nurtured in Ireland they shipped world wide, as we have seen more recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.


The bottom line is that one day would have been a day too long for the families and victims to wait to hear the British admit the truth of their wrong doings, never mind thirty-eight years. Moreover, its a shocking indictment on their whole establishment that this admission had to be forced out of them under duress from the victims families. One commentator said this evening that this achievement of getting the truth for the families was only the first step on the road to justice. It should also be noted that what was achieved today only came about through the collective desire and hard work of so many to set the truth free and shows what can be done when everyone pulls together for a common purpose.


Injustice anywhere is injustice everywhere, whether it be on the other side of the world, twenty minutes up the road in Derry or on your own doorstep, and everyone should pull together to fight it. The families of the victims of Bloody Sunday and their supporters should be commended for their long and arduous fight to set the truth free and we wish them well and stand with them in any further action they decide to take.


Dé Luain, Meitheamh 14, 2010

Fianna Fáil TD Sides with Israel

14/06/2010

Dr James McDaid TD has once again shamed himself by launching a disgraceful verbal attack against the peace activist Fiachra O'Luain during a radio show in Donegal during the week (Tuesday 8th June). While Mr McDaid said he didn't condone Israel's most recent actions, he clearly had no truck with Israel's general violent and disproportionate attitude shown towards the Palestinian people and anyone who attempts to show Palestine any type of humanity or provide it with humanitarian aid.


His comments saying that Israel are justified in administering collective punishment against the people of Gaza solely for exercising their democratic will in electing a government which Israel and Mr McDaid don't like, were astounding given the fact that Mr McDaid is, himself, an elected representative and would lead one to believe that he has scant regard for the democratic system. Saying also that Israel's disgraceful act of piracy on the high seas (international waters) when they boarded humanitarian aid ships by force, murdered aid workers, kidnapped and brutalised others and stole their property and cargo was “understandable”, almost beggars belief.

'Almost', because Mr McDaid and his ilk in Leinster House are clearly no strangers to piracy given their theft of benefits, money and wages of the most vulnerable in Irish society to back up the already wealthy and well catered for, and if he has such disdain for the weakest and most vulnerable in his own country, then his lack of humanitarianism towards the people of Palestine will come as no surprise to most.

The ignorance of him to question Mr O'Luain's peaceful humanitarian actions for Palestine during the show was almost childlike and embarrassing. Someone should ask Dr McDaid if he would so question Bob Geldolf on why he concentrated his efforts in Ethiopia and no-where else, or George Clooney on why he concentrated his efforts in Darfur and no-where else? Its not likely that he would. His questioning only went to show his bias in favour of Israel's brutality and his ignorance of the issue.

He's also clearly ignorant of the ground-swell of support there has been in this country and internationally for the people of Palestine and their plight, and the disdain there is of Israel's brutal oppression. His attitude is almost akin to that of a drunken pirate sailing in the wrong direction of an on-coming hurricane of support for Palestine which will hopefully see him brought to book for his (possibly deliberate) ignorance of the countless wrongs of the Israeli State.

Fiachra O'Luain and every other individual who show humanitarianism to Palestine and work for justice for its people without being influenced by warped political thinking should not only be commended, but should also be supported by ALL the members of Leinster House and not attacked on air by its out of touch elected public representatives using their position to voice their own personal views.

Déardaoin, Meitheamh 10, 2010

Immediate Action Needed on Israel

10/06/2010


éirígí have again called for immediate action on Israel after Israeli forces once again boarded and seized a humanitarian aid ship bound for Gaza. The Irish registered aid vessel MV Rachel Corrie was carrying over 1000 tons of medical and construction supplies to Gaza which has been under blockade since January 2006.



Speaking during a rally of up to 2000 people in Dublin last Saturday (June 5th), which was held to protest against Israel's siege of Gaza and the killing by Israeli forces of at least 9 aid workers who were part of the aid flotilla, éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said it was now time for the Dublin government to take immediate action against Israel.


“The arrogance of Israel to once again board an aid ship, kidnap its passengers and steal the aid supplies on board in a blatant act of piracy goes beyond belief” he said. “People should be under no illusion that the Israeli forces would have again seriously injured or even murdered more aid workers on the MV Rachel Corrie, just as they had done only days before, if wasn't for the fact that the world's media was watching them. But they still found it expedient to board the ship, to capture and detain humanitarian aid workers and steal what doesn't belong to Israel even though they were under such scrutiny.”



“Only days before, the foreign minister in Leinster House Micheál Martin said Israel's actions were nothing more than kidnapping and indeed Taoiseach Brian Cowen said that the aid ships should be allowed to continue unhindered to Gaza and if any harm came to any Irish citizens there would be serious consequences. Well unfortunately Irish citizens were harmed and the aid was stopped from making its way to Gaza and its time for everyone to insist the Dublin government are true to their word on this one and make sure Israel pay for their barbaric crimes” said Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig.


“Its good to hear that other organisations around the world are taking action on this, such as the Swedish Port Workers Union who are to blockade all Israeli ships and cargo handled by their union members and also that other governments are taking action against Israel. Its also good to know that more activists are planning to try break Israel's siege of Gaza by bringing more aid in another flotilla in the months ahead. The government in Leinster House must now take cues from such bravery and stand up to Israel and their crimes by taking action against them.”



He concluded, “Just as Donegal County Council voted unanimously in favour of a motion calling for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and his staff from Ireland, so should Leinster House. All trade agreements should end and I would call on all unions in Ireland to follow the example of their counterparts in Sweden and elsewhere in calling for a complete cessation of dealings with Israel in any form. I would also call on all businesses to end all dealings with Israel and not handle any Israeli products, shopkeepers not to stock any goods sourced in Israel and for the general public to boycott all Israeli goods and products. We can all make a difference to the terrible situation the Palestinian people are forced to endure and we should always remember that bad things will continue to happen if good people remain silent. If we turn a blind eye to blatant state sponsored terrorism such as that of Israel's then we are complicit in it. Brian Cowen should be true to his word and act immediately to make sure this brutality doesn't continue or go unchecked. The time to act is now.”


Dé Luain, Meitheamh 07, 2010


Oppose British Armed Forces Day

07/06/10

British soldier

éirígí’s rúnaí ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith has announced that the party intends to actively oppose the marking of the British government’s Armed Forces Day in the Six Counties.

Scheduled for June 26, the triumphalist occasion will include the raising of a British Armed Forces flag at Belfast City Hall. éirígí will be holding a demonstration at Belfast City Hall on the same date.

Mac Cionnaith said: “It is completely unacceptable that the British government and its supporters in Ireland intend to mark Armed Forces Day in the Six Counties. People in the Six Counties and across Ireland have suffered grievously due to the involvement of the British army and other British state agencies in this country.

“At a time when we are awaiting the publication of the Saville Report into the Bloody Sunday massacre, it is even more obscene that the British army’s cheerleaders intend to celebrate its history of mass murder.”

Mac Cionnaith continued: “As was the case last year, éirígí will be actively opposing the celebration of British Armed Forces Day in occupied Ireland.

“The British government’s war machine remains active in Ireland and lethal in Afghanistan – it is the responsibility of all republicans and socialists to battle against it at every turn.

“We call on all those who oppose the British occupation and imperialism in general to join éirígí in protest at Belfast City Hall on June 26.”

éirígí’s demonstration against British Armed Forces Day will commence at 12pm at Belfast City Hall on Saturday, June 26.



Dé hAoine, Meitheamh 04, 2010



Freedom Flotilla Protest


Protest against the Israeli military attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Friday 4th June. O'Hanrahan Bridge, New Ross, Wexford, 4pm.

Saturday 5th June. Hill Street, Newry, 12noon.

Saturday 5th June. Red Square,Waterford, 12noon.

Saturday 5th June. O'Connell Square, Ennis, Clare, 1pm.

Saturday 5th June. Daunt Square, Patrick Street, Cork, 1pm.

Saturday 5th June. Arthur's Quay Park,Limerick, 1.30pm.

Saturday 5th June. Guildhall Square,Derry, 2pm.

Saturday 5th June. Assemble at Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square, Dublin, 2pm.

Saturday 5th June. GPO, O'Connell Street, Sligo, 3pm.

Saturday 5th June. City Hall, Donegall Square, Belfast, 4pm.



Resist the Health Cuts & drive to privatisation

04/06/2010

From July 1 the Health Service Executive (HSE) are to cut the numbers of Junior Doctors in our hospitals from the current level of 4500 down to 3600, a massive drop of 900 doctors in one fell swoop. Donal Duffy of the Irish Hospital Consultants Association (IHCA). has said the planned cuts will have “profound” consequences for the health service immediately and in the future”.

According to Duffy, “patients and their families will see dramatic reductions in service. The most notable impact will be in anaesthesia (with knock on consequences for surgery and obstetrics) and emergency medicine”.

Noreen Muldoon, the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation’s (INMO) industrial relations officer in the west, also slammed the move.

She said that the health service is already in deep crisis from the ban already imposed on staff recruitment along with recent budgetary cuts. “This is coming at a very bad time” she said. “If you don’t have doctors there is going to be a reduction in services. This is a real concern to us.”

The reduction in these junior doctors posts is just the latest in a long line of cutbacks that have being imposed in recent years on the health sevice by the HSE and their political masters in Leinster House. The effect of all these cuts has had a serious effect on the provision of essential services, creating extra stress and difficulties for staff and patients alike and without any doubt leading to increased illness, unnecessary suffering and deaths.

Up to May 28, there have been 1222 beds removed from our hospitals in this state, an increase of over 300 from this time last year. Those figures do not include the planned closure of beds and theatres over the summer in order for staff to take annual leave and further cutbacks in budget. A further 1100 more beds are set be removed before the end of the year.



Below are the figures for hospitals in the Sligo, Mayo, Roscommon and Donegal region.


Aras Mahair Pol CNU, Castlerea, - 10 long stay beds for elderly closed due to non-replacement of staff


Belmullet District Hospital – 10 care of the elderly beds closed


Letterkenny General Hospital – 22 beds closed


Mayo General Hospital – 16 male surgical beds closed


Plunkett CNU, Boyle – 9 beds closed


Mayo Sacred Heart Hospital, Castlebar – 36 beds closed


Sligo General Hospital – 72 beds closed


The situation is the same wherever you look throughout the country with the Midlands regional hospital in Tullamore, Monaghan General hospital and Beaumont hospital in Dublin amongst those particularly hard hit. Tullamore has lost 86 beds and Monaghan 56 beds and a high care unit while the Beaumont's budget is being cut this year by €19 million. As a result two wards are closing, 52 beds removed and a theatre will be closed, resulting in up to 1400 people having their treatment delayed this year.


On Friday last (May 28) 284 patients in the 26-counties were left lying on trollies in hospitals because of a lack of bed spaces for them. This is not an unusually high number. The average is between 280 and 300 with it going as high as 345 on May 5.


And things are only going to deteriorate as the moratorium on recruitment and new cutbacks on their way start to be felt. As if the situation was not bad enough, in Sligo General, cuts of up to €13 million are to be made on this years budget. The INMO representative at the hospital Ann McGowan says that it will mean more people on trolleys and longer waiting lists for elective surgery.


In relation to the HSE ban on recruiting new staff, she said that it was crippling front-line staffing levels and putting massive pressure on those working in already difficult conditions within the hospital.


“Most wards” she said “are now operating with two or three nurses less than they need but the needs of patients are still the same so staff are operating under pressure all the time.” Not only is this unacceptable. It is dangerous and is putting the well being of patients at risk.


Sligo General has already lost one of its two orthapaedic wards, resulting in capacity in the single ward now reduced from 52 beds to 18 beds. Cancer services were also removed last year despite massive opposition from within the hospital and the community at large. The services have been moved to Galway University Hospital which has been unable to cope with its own patients, let alone the new influx from Sligo as it too suffers the effects of cutbacks.


Cutbacks and staff shortages are also causing major problems in the delivery of potentially life-saving cancer screening services. The breast cancer screening service BreastCheck which only was rolled out in Sligo and the north-west last year, 10 years after it commenced in other parts of the country, has seen major delays for women seeking their mammogram due to staff shortages.


Similarly, as reported previously here, recent figures from the National Purchase Treatment Fund has shown an increase in the numbers of patients waiting more than three months to recieve their colonoscopy. Such a procedure, which is the most effective way of detecting bowel cancer, should be carried out within weeks of referral by a GP according to the Irish Cancer Society. Last September there were 722 patients awaiting their colonoscopy longer than three months. That figure has risen significantly to 951.

December 09 March 2010 May 2010


Sligo General Hospital 44 74 99


Letterkenny General Hospital 25 43 56


Galway University Hospital 62 106


As already referred to above, Beaumont Hospital in Dublin has suffered severely because of the cuts and waiting lists for colonoscopies is no different. There were just 9 people waiting longer than 3 months back in December of last year. That figure increased to 66 in March and now stands at 131. For those people forced to wait months for this procedure, this is literally a matter of life and death.


Mayo General is also to suffer further cutbacks of €9 million, the closure of a male surgical ward and at least 30, and probably more, bed closures in general female and surgical wards. Our Lady's Hospital in Manorhamilton in county Leitrim has been downgraded and stripped of virtually all its services over recent years. Maternity and A&E services were stopped with orthapaedic services being transferred to Sligo, which has subsequently lost one of its wards and a reduction of 34 beds. More recently, rheumatology and endoscopy services have been removed also, leaving the future of Leitrim's only hospital in serious doubt.


In County Donegal, Letterkenny General Hospital has seen the closure of two wards in recent years including a 12-bed orthapaedic unit and cancellation of all elective surgery in the latter part of 2009. A number of community hospitals in the county, the Shiel and The Rock Hospitals in Ballyshannon as well as Lifford Community Hospital are all under threat of closure.


The removal of surgical, medical and Accident & Emergency (A&E) services at Roscommon County hospital and at Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe is also imminent.


All of the cuts highlighted above are just a snapshot of how our hospitals and public health service is being decimated here in the north-west, a situation replicated right throughout the state. They in no way represent the full extent of the cuts imposed – they merely give an indication of how more and more services are being downgraded and removed further and further away from the communities that depend on them.


The impact of these cutbacks has been to reduce the ability of our hospitals to give the quality care and adequate service that patients require and deserve. For front-line staff such as nurses trying to work under already extremely difficult conditions, their situation has become intolerable as they try to cope with increased workloads due to the reduced staff numbers.


The bottom line is that these cuts have caused great distress to patients and inevitably have caused lives and will increasingly do so as time goes on. The really sad thing is that these cuts are not only unjust, they are totally unneccesary. They are the result of deliberate political decisions by a government that has nothing but contempt for the well being and health of those they supposedly represent.


Fianna Fáil and the Greens are now using the current economic crisis, brought about by a combination of greed and corruption by the wealthy political and business elite and the inevitable failure of the capitalist system, as a smokescreen for implementing these cuts and their real agenda, which is about privatising the public healthcare system.


But there is no place in providing essential public services such as health care for private companies. Their priorities lie, not with the patients in need of care, but in accumulating profits for their shareholders.


The current cutbacks and the drive towards privatisation must be resisted and the current two-tier health system abolished. Health care is a basic human right that must be free, easily accessable by all and must be completely under public control. The only criteria in treating people must be their medical need, not their ability to pay as things currently stand.


While Brian Lenihan and Mary Harney on the one hand say they cannot afford to properly fund our health service, they have no hesitation in pumping tens of billions of euros to bail out the banking sector and the wealthy business elite. Indeed only yesterday it was revealed that Anglo Irish Bank were to get another €2 billion of tax-payers money on top of the billions they have already recieved.


The message is crystal clear – the profits of the banks and the rich are more important to this administration than the health of those dependent on public healthcare.




Dé Máirt, Meitheamh 01, 2010

Caithfear stop a chur le mídhaonnacht Iosrael


(English version follows)


05/06/10

“Lá dorcha don chine daonna”. B’shin iad focail Aire Gnóthaí Eachtracha na Tuirce Ahmet Davutoglu agus é ag tabhairt aitheasc ag an chruinniú éigeandála tionólta ar an Luan (31ú Bealtaine) ag Comhairle Slándála na Náisiún Aontaithe i ndiaidh dúnmharaithe brúidiúil Iosrael ar ghníomhaígh síocháná agus ar oibrithe cabhracha daonnúla ag tógaint cabhair chuig muintir Gaza atá curtha faoi léigear.

Tá muid go léir eolach anois faoin phíosa scannáin scanrúil atá feicthe thar timpeall an domhain de ruathar stíl chománlach Iosrael ar long ag iompar cabhair dhaonnúil agus an sléacht fuilteach a scaoil siad ar na paisinéirí, fir, mná, páistí agus daoine aosta san áireamh ag marú deichniúir ar a laghad agus ag gortú níos mó. An cur síos is fearr gur féidir a dhéanamh ar a ngníomhuithe in uiscí idirnáisiúnta ná píoráideacht. Ní raibh ach rud amháin ar intinn acu – chun leanúint ar aghaidh leis an smacht olc agus mídhaonnachtúil atá acu ar Gaza.

Tá mórán agóide – ní mórán ó na Stáit Aontaithe nó na Náisiúin Aontaithe áfach – mar gheall ar an ghníomh brúidiúil seo, nuair a sheol siad ó héileacaptair anuas ar dheic an shoithigh Turcach Mari Marmara agus thosaigh siad ag scaoileadh gunnaí tazer, deorghás, piléir phlaisteacha agus babhtaí beo gan idirdhealú a dhéanamh ar na hoibrithe cabhrach neamhúrchóideacha, le bás agus gortú mar thoradh ar an bhád seo agus ar bhád eile an Spendoni. Is ráiméis amach is amach é go bhfuil Iosrael díreach ag cosaint iad féin. Níl leithscéal ar bith ach an oiread ar ghabháil agus ar choinneáil oibrithe cabhracha ina dhiaidh sin nó ar a gceistiúcháin.

Tá an agóid chomh glórach agus chomh forleathan sin toisc go raibh an t-ionsaí ó Iosrael ar oibrithe cabhracha as tíortha eile. Ní bheidh ionadh ar bith faoi ionsaithe Dé Luain ar éinne eile atá eolach faoina cruatain leanúnacha atá á riarú ar mhuintir na Palaistíne. Is tarlú laethúil é seo ar a bhfuil an iomarca taithí ag muintir Gaza agus an Bhruach Thiar, ach is annamh a bhíonn an tarlú seo sna cinnlínte idirnáisiúnta. Scaoil agus mharaigh Iosrael, ach lá amháin i ndiaidh an ionsaí ar an chabhlachán, beirt cóngarach do theorainn Gaza agus scaoil siad splancacha isteach sa cheantar. Tugadh fíor bheagán tuairisceoireacht, más rud é go raibh aon tuairisceoireacht, ar na gníomhuithe seo ag an chuid is mó de na meáin. Tá sé soiléir nach bhfuil saolta Palaistíneacha tábhachtach! Fiú i rith ionsaí míleata Iosrael 2008/2009 ar mhuintir Gaza, thóg sé an iomarca ama sula tháinig daorbhreith ar bith. Caithfear deireadh a chur le seo agus leis an ghnáthchiúnas sna meáin agus óna rialtais thar timpeall an domhain ar mhídhaonnacht brúidiúil Iosrael.

Cé go bhfuil ár náisiúnaigh féin bainteach ní chiallaíonn sé sin go bhfuil gníomhuithe an impiriúlaigh níos brúidiúla, níos uafásaí nó níos éagóra. Caithfidh an t-idirnáisiúnaí atá ionainn go léir féachaint ar mhuintir na Palaistíne mar ár muintir féin agus caithfimid ár dtacaíocht a thabhairt dóibh, díreach mar a rinne na fir agus mná cróga ar an Free Gaza Freedom Flotilla agus fós a thabhairt fad is atá an soitheach Éireannach Rachel Corrie ag taisteal. Ba chóir moladh, tacaíocht agus spreagadh a thabhairt do ghníomhuithe diongbháilte iad siúd sa chabhlachán, ar nós Fiachra O’Luain as Dún na nGall agus níos mó. Ní chóir go mhothódh aon duine nach bhfuil siad ábalta aon rud a dhéanamh mar tá an-chuid gur féidir linn a dhéanamh. Tríd baghcatáil a dhéanamh agus gan earraí Iosraelacha a cheannach nó siopadóireacht a dhéanamh i siopaí a thacaíonn le hIosrael, ar nós Marks and Spencers, is féidir linn teachtaireacht shoiléir a chuir chucu. Is féidir leat páirt a ghlacadh in agóideanna nó bí le grúpaí a thacaíonn leis an Phalaistín i do cheantar.

Ba cheart do chomhlachtaí trádála diúltú le hIosrael agus diúltú earraí Iosraelacha a stocáil.

Déan stocaireacht ar d’ionadaithe poiblí áitiúla chun beart a dhéanamh agus Iosrael a cháineadh agus a ngníomhuithe in aon bhealach gur féidir leo, ar nós an rúin a chur comhairleor neamhspléach Thomas Pringle os comhair Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall ar lá na n-ionsaithe ar an chabhlachán a dúirt “Cáineann Comhairle Contae Dhún na nGall gníomhuithe chabhlach Iosrael in ionsaí a dhéanamh ar an chabhlachán ag tabhairt cabhair dhaonnúil chuig Gaza agus glaoigheann sé ar rialtas Bhaile Átha Cliath ambasadóir Iosrael a chaitheamh amach mar agóid.” D’éirigh leis an rún seo d’aon ghuth agus ba chóir do gach comhairle ar an oileán an rud céanna a dhéanamh.

Tá ról ríthábhachtach dá gcuid féin ag rialtas Bhaile Átha Cliath. Ar a laghad ar bith ba chóir dóibh ambasadóir Iosrael agus a fhoireann a chaitheamh amach. Dhéanfadh sé difríocht mhór aon chomhaontuithe trádála le hIosrael a ghearradh agus rialtais eile a spreagadh chun an rud céanna a dhéanamh. Ba chóir dóibh éilimh go gcuirtear deireadh le hidirbheart trádála an AE le hIosrael agus glaoigh ar dhíbirt láithreach Iosrael ón OECD.

‘Sé an bunlíne ná gur cheist dhaonnúil é seo agus is iad na daoine Palaistíneacha na híospartaigh. Bhí dúnmharuithe brúidiúlacha Iosrael Dé Luain ar oibrithe cabhracha neamhúrchóideacha uafásach agus gan leithscéal. “Lá dorcha don chine daonna” a bhí ann cinnte. Ach ní raibh sé níos dorcha ná lá ar bith eile a fhulaingíonn na Palaistínigh faoi réimeas cinedheighilte Iosrael agus caithfimid cuimhneamh ar seo.

Dúirt duine de na céad oibrithe cabhracha a scaoil na hIosraelaigh saor i ndiaidh ruathar ar an chabhlachán agus an gabháil a tharla tar éis go bhfuil eagla ar Stát Iosrael “roimh dhaonnacht”. Má tá eagla orthu roimh an airm seo, seo an t-arm a úsáideann muid. Faoi dheireadh bhí gníomhuithe Iosrael ann chun daoine a dhíspreagadh ó dhaonnacht a thaispeáint do dhaoine imshuite Gaza. Ní oibreoidh sé seo. Caithfidh ár dtacaíocht leanúint ar aghaidh agus méadú. Caithfidh deireadh teacht le forghabháil Iosrael agus léigear Gaza láithreach. Ní féidir le gníomhuithe Iosrael tarlú gan phíosós. Tá sé in am dúinn gníomhú!



Israel's Inhumanity Must be Stopped


01/06/2010


“A dark day for humanity”. Those were the words of the Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu as he addressed the emergency meeting convened on Monday (May 31st) by the UN Security Council after Israel's brutal murder of peace activists and humanitarian aid workers bringing aid to the much beleaguered people of Gaza.



We're all now aware of the horrific footage beamed around the world of the Israeli military's commando style raid on a ship carrying humanitarian aid and the bloody massacre they unleashed on the passengers, including men, women, children and the elderly, killing at least ten and injuring countless more. Their actions which were carried out in international waters can be described at best as piracy. Actions with only one sole intent - to continue the evil and inhumane strangle-hold of Gaza.


There has been much – although not that much from the US or UN - international outcry about this brutal act, when Israeli commando's ab-sailed from helicopters on to the deck of the Turkish vessel Mari Marmara and began indiscriminately firing tazer guns, tear gas, rubber bullets and live rounds at the innocent aid workers on board, causing death and injury on this and another boat the Spendoni. The nonsense that the Israeli's were merely protecting themselves almost beggars belief. The subsequent kidnap and holding of the aid workers and their interrogation is also inexcusable.



But the outcry is only as loud and widespread as it is because the attack launched by Israel was on aid workers coming from other countries. Anyone else aware of the ongoing hardships meted out on the Palestinian people will not have been one bit surprised by Mondays attack. This is a daily occurrence that the people of Gaza and the West Bank are all too familiar with, but an occurrence which rarely makes international headlines. Only a day after the attack on the flotilla Israel shot and killed two people near the Gaza border and fired shells into the area . Little, if any, coverage was given to these actions by most media outlets. Obviously Palestinian's lives aren't that important! Even during the 2008/2009 military assault by Israel on the people of Gaza, it took much too long before widespread international condemnation was forth coming. This, and the normal daily silence in the media and from the governments around the world of Israel's brutal inhumanity must end immediately.


Just because our own nationals may be involved does not make the imperialist's actions any more brutal, horrific or wrong. The internationalist in all of us must see the Palestinian people as our own and we must act accordingly in giving them our support, just as the brave men and women on the Free Gaza 'Freedom Flotilla' have done and continue to do as the Irish vessel Rachel Corrie is still underway. The determined actions of those in the flotilla, such as Donegal's Fiachra O'Luain and countless others should be commended supported and encouraged. No-one should feel unable to do anything for there is much that can be done. Simply by boycotting and not purchasing Israeli goods or buying in shops who support Israel, such Marks & Spencers, can send a clear message. You can take part in protests or even join Palestinian support groups in your area.



All businesses should refuse trade with Israel and refuse to stock Israeli goods.


Lobby your local public representatives to take action and publicly denounce Israel and their actions in any way they can, such as the motion put before Donegal County Council by independant councillor Thomas Pringle on the day of the attacks on the flotilla which read “That Donegal County Council condemns the actions of the Israeli navy in attacking the flotilla delivering humanitarian aid to Gaza and calls on the Dublin government to expel the Israeli ambassador in protest.” This motion was passed unanimously and all councils on the island of Ireland should follow suit.


Indeed the Dublin government have their own, very crucial role to play. Expelling the Israeli ambassador and his staff is the very least they can do. Cutting off any trade agreements with Israel and encouraging other governments to do likewise could make a huge difference. They should demand that the EU's trade deal with Israel should be scrapped and call for Israel's immediate expulsion from the OECD.



Bottom line is that this is a humanitarian issue and the Palestinian people are the victims. Monday's brutal Israeli murders of innocent aid workers were horrific and inexcusable. Indeed it was “a dark day for humanity.” But it was no darker than any other day which the Palestinian people have to endure under Israel's apartheid regime and this is what we have to remember. One of the first aid workers to be released by the Israelis after the flotilla raid and kidnapping which followed, said on his release that the state of Israel are “afraid of humanity”. If this is the weapon which they are afraid of, then this is the weapon we use.


Ultimately Israel's actions were to deter people from showing humanity to the besieged people of Gaza. This will not work. Our support must continue and if anything, be increased. Israel's occupation must end and the siege of Gaza must be ended immediately. Israel's actions must not go unpunished. Its time to act!