Dé Domhnaigh, Lúnasa 29, 2010

Fianna Fáil Should Apologise


Donegal spokesperson for the socialist political party éirígí, Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig has called for an apology from MEP Pat the Cope Gallagher and his party Fianna Fáil for what he says was a string of lies fed to the electorate regarding the Lisbon referendum.

His comments come following the announcement last week of further job cuts in the county at the Oatfield sweet factory in Letterkenny. There are plans to axe 30 jobs from the factory leaving only 15 people employed in the well known establishment which has been a familiar fixture in the Donegal town for many years. The job losses come as the company Zed Candy, who now own the Oatfield brand and the factory, plans to move manufacture of certain lines of sweets from Letterkenny to a factory in the UK.

Speaking following the announcement Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said, “This is just another case of job losses in this county which exposes the Fianna Fáil led government for the liars that they are. Here we have a company who now own a business which has been in Letterkenny for 80 years, shedding jobs solely in the interests of the owners and its all going on under the watchful eye of the government in Lenister House.”

“Thats 30 job losses announced last week and 100 announced the week before in Buncrana and no doubt there will be a knock on effect of further unemployment because of these losses. So one has to ask where is the economic security and jobs promised by those who campaigned for a YES vote in the Lisbon referendum. This time last year we had the government out disgracefully forcing people back to the polling booths to vote again on the Lisbon Treaty, a treaty which the people of the Twenty-Six Counties had already rejected. But because those in Lenister House and their masters in Europe didn't like what the people had said, they rejected their democratic vote and forced them back to the polls,” he said.

Calling for a public apology, the éirígí spokesperson finished by saying, “Those who led the charge for a YES vote in the re-run of the Lisbon referendum fed the electorate a string of lies when they said that voting yes would solve the problems in our economy and create jobs. MEP Pat The Cope Gallagher himself when talking in reference to Lisbon insinuated that voting Yes would “ensure that we can create more jobs”. But instead we see story after story in the press of more jobs losses. At the end of July 2009 there were 20,851 people on the live register in County Donegal. In July 2010 that number had increased to 22,832, a rise of almost 2000 people. Where are the wonderful promises of Lisbon? Its time those in Lenister House faced up to the failure they have made of our economy and I call on the Fianna Fáil led Dublin government and Pat The Cope Gallagher to do the decent thing and publicly apologise for the lies they have told the Irish people.”

Dé Sathairn, Lúnasa 28, 2010

Féile na Gaeilge 2010


(English version follows)

Tharla chéad Fhéile na Gaeilge de chuid éirígí i gCondae na Mí Dé Sathairn seo caite [21ú Lúnasa], la dhá dhosaen ball agus tacadóir ag taisteal go Gaeltacht Ráth Chairn chun páirt a ghlacadh in imeachtaí an lae.

Thosaigh an lá le ranganna Gaeilge, agus chruthaigh an aimsir bhreá coinníollacha foirfe don chomórtas poc fada agus roinnt cluichí lasmuigh. Ní ba mhoille, bhí fleá fhulachta ann freisin agus chríochnaigh an oíche le seisiún iondúil ins An Bradán Feasa.

Thug Diarmuid Breatnach ó Choiste Dlúthpháirtíochta Bhaile Átha Cliath leis na Bascaigh caint ar stair theanga na mBascach, Euskara, agus iarrachtaí rathúla na heite clé ar son na saoirse chun úsáid na teanga a chur chun cinn.

Bhreathnaigh an comhrá ina dhiaidh ar na cosúlachtaí agus éagsúlachtaí idir cásanna na mBascach agus na hÉireann, ar na ceachtanna a dtig le gníomhaígh Ghaeilge foghlaim ó ghluaiseachtaí athbheochana teanga go hidirnáisiúnta, agus freisin an ról a bhí agus a d’fhéadfadh bheith ag athbheochan teanga i streachailtí frith-choilíneacha agus um shaoirse náisiúnta.

Ag caint faoin lá, dúirt urlabhraí éirígí Ursula Ní Shionnain: “Ba é seo an chéad bhliain a bhí Féile na Gaeilge eagraithe ag roinn Gaeilge éirígí. Ón aiseolas dearfach ar fad a fuair muid, is cinnte go bhfuil daoine ag dúil go mór le Féile na bliana seo chugainn cheana féin.

“Tugann an Fhéile deis do Ghaeilgeoirí agus do fhoghlaimeoirí Gaeilge páirt a ghlacadh in imachtaí bunaithe ar ár dteanga agus cúltur dúchasach. Lá sultmhar atá ann do chách, agus cabhraíonn sé chomh maith taispeáint do dhaoine an ról leathan atá ag an teanga le himirt sa streachtailt in éadan an impiriúlachais in Éirinn an lae inniu. I bhfocail Mháirtín Uí Chadhain, ‘Sí an Ghaeilge Athghabháil na hÉireann agus is í Athghabháil na hÉireann slánú na Gaeilge’.”

Féile na Gaeilge 2010

éirígí’s inaugural Féile na Gaeilge took place in County Meath last Saturday [August 21], with two dozen members and supporters making their way to the Ráth Chairn Gaeltacht to participate in the day’s events.

The day began with Irish language classes, while the good weather provided the perfect atmosphere for the poc fada competition and a number of outdoor games. Later on, there was also a barbecue and the evening concluded with the obligatory session in An Bradán Feasa.

There was also a talk given by Diarmuid Breatnach of the Dublin Basque Solidarity Committee on the history of the Basque language, Euskara, and the highly successful efforts of the pro-independence left in the country to promote its usage.

The discussion afterward delved into the similarities and differences between the Basque and Irish cases, into what lessons Irish language activists can learn from language revival movements internationally, and also into the role language revival has played and can play in anti-colonial and national liberation struggles.

Speaking about the day, éirígí spokesperson Ursula Ní Shionnain said: “This year was the first time that Féile na Gaeilge was organised by éirígí’s Irish language department. From all the positive feedback we have received, it’s clear that people are already looking forward to next year’s Féile.

“The Féile offers Irish speakers and learners an opportunity to take part in activities based around our native language and culture. It’s an enjoyable day for everyone, but it also helps to demonstrate to people the wider role the language has to play in the struggle against imperialism in modern day Ireland. In the words of Máirtín Ó Cadhain, ‘Sí an Ghaeilge Athghabháil na hÉireann agus is í Athghabháil na hÉireann slánú na Gaeilge’. [The Irish language is the Reconquest of Ireland and the Reconquest of Ireland is the salvation of the Irish language.]”

Dé Céadaoin, Lúnasa 25, 2010

Breizhistance: The Struggle for Independence and Socialism in Brittany


Sometimes it is easy to slip into self-doubt and wonder whether the struggle for an independent and socialist Ireland is an impossible task.

One of the easiest ways to overcome any doubts or questions is to look at similar struggles being fought throughout the world. In recent years, many activists have become well informed on the struggles in Venezuela, Palestine and the Basque Country. Another, less reported struggle is that of the people of Brittany.

In this fellow Celtic country, many activists are drawing similar conclusions to those of many in Ireland – they are organising not only for independence but also for socialism.

Less than a year ago, over the weekend of October 24-25 2009, left-wing supporters of independence for Brittany met in conference. After substantial deliberations, a new organisation was formed: Breizhistance-Socialist Party of Brittany. The new organisation announced the appointment of a national directorate and that a meeting would be held in public to announce its 100 Proposals for an Alternative Brittany. At this meeting, attended by over 60 people, the new proposals were launched alongside the public launch of this new political initiative.

The proposals centred on demands for a democratic process in all of Britanny to allow for self determination, as well as on how the economy can be transformed in order to redistribute the wealth of the nation equitably.

After this presentation of its political programme, Breizhistance quickly demonstrated that it was not to be just a party of theory. On November 11 2009, around 30 activists gathered outside the French Army recruitment office in Rennes to protest against the presence of a foreign army in Brittany and in other occupied countries such as Afghanistan. November 11 in France is officially a day of remembrance for those who died in WW1 but the protestors highlighted the fact that, instead of just remembering the dead, the day was used to sanitise old imperial adventures and justify present day imperialist activities by the French state.

In the months that have passed, Breizhistance has built on these initial steps and has become central to the struggle for independence and socialism in Brittany. With a focus on popular mobilisation around the area of national rights, Breizhistance has remained consistently active.

National Rights

In the French state at present the ruling UMP [Union pour un Mouvement Populaire] has started a debate on the issue of “national identity” because it fears the recent resurgence of what it calls “regionalism”.

The debate, according to the right-wing politicians, is to centre on the usage of the French language, the importance of the “national anthem” and display of the French tricolour. The French Socialist Party is not immune from this jingoism, with public figures on occasion suggesting that all houses should be forced to display the French tricolour and that the French national anthem should be sung each day by schoolchildren.

The people of Brittany, the Basque Country, Corsica and Martinique who find their countries occupied by the French state obviously have a huge issue with the idea that inspires the ‘national identity’ since it calls into question their very existence as nations.

As part of the French jingoistic debate, 12 public meetings were scheduled to take place in Brittany. The first was arranged for Guingamp on Monday, December 17 at 5pm. The day, the proximity of the date to Christmas and time were all designed to ensure that the ability of protestors to upset this showpiece for the French state would be limited. Breizhistance, only a few months in existence, called a protest and, at short notice, mobilised over 100 activists. Consequently, the meeting was officially postponed while one planned for Nantes was cancelled.

One of the major nationalist campaigns in recent years in Brittany is entitled ‘44 = BZH’. [BZH is short for Breizh, which is the name for Brittany in the Breton language]. This campaign sees the slogan displayed everywhere all over the country – on stickers, posters, graffiti and items of clothing. The message is simple. The 44 counties of Brittany make up the country and the French occupation and partition of it into different regional administration sections doesn’t alter this fact.

On March 1 this year, an interesting method of getting the message across was organised in a public square in Nantes. Around 2,000 people, including Breizhistance activists, gathered and a human fresco of the 44 = BZH was organised. The amazing aerial photographs demonstrated the popular demand for Brittany’s independence.

In early June, six young Breizhistance activists appeared in court to appeal a sentence they received for acts of graffiti undertaken in favour of the 44 = BZH campaign. The six had endured raids on their homes and 40 hours in police custody for this simple act of defiance in December 2008. At their initial trial, the six received a fine totalling €32,000 fine, two month suspended prison sentences and 100 hours of community service each. This obvious act of overkill by the French state is the subject of ongoing protests.

One of the more original aspects of the Breizhistance campaign to secure the national rights of the Breton people was in relation to the bi-annual Forum on Human Rights held in Nantes. The conference is hosted and funded by the local administration in Nantes which is controlled by the French Socialist Party.

The sessions of the 2008 conference included discussions on Identities and Minorities and The Crisis in Labour Law. This from a political party which cooperates closely with the French right to deny Bretons and other oppressed peoples self-determination, while also promoting privatisation and the EU inspired race to the bottom in terms of workers’ rights.

Breizhistance took the opportunity to highlight what an obvious joke the conference really represented by organising a colourful protest.

Just as in Ireland, the struggle for national independence and socialism is alive and well in Brittany.

Dé Domhnaigh, Lúnasa 22, 2010

The following opinion piece was written by Tommy McKearney and looks at the issue of emigration caused by todays growing levels of unemployment in Donegal. Tommy Mckearney is a former IRA member, blanketman and hunger striker who now works as an organiser with the Independent Workers Union and as a freelance journalist.

The Curse of Emigration is the Curse of Poor Governance

Not so long ago Donegal experienced the agony of a devastating road tragedy that took eight lives. Innishowen was in shock and its people’s pain was obvious to all. Few happenings have such a powerful impact as multiple deaths occurring in a close-knit rural community. It is a very natural reaction and the hurt of sudden parting takes time to heal.

Other painful partings, albeit not so tragic or final, are again beginning to visit the homes of Donegal. The old spectre of emigration is once more emerging to take the young men and women of the towns and parishes of the county to far away places. As Donegal knows only too well, many, indeed most who go, rarely return to stay. Old men and women are left with memories of children whose lives are lived out across the oceans and with only occasional glimpses of grand children they will never see grow to adulthood.

The live register is rising almost monthly (currently standing at 13.7% according to CSO) and a baldly stated statistic of a certain percentage unable to find work fails to tell the full tale of Donegal’s plight. The national average is just that; an average figure taken across the entire state. It disguises the reality that in remote, rural areas the actual percentage is not only much higher but will remain so for longer than in urban east coast towns.

The ESRI has said that 150,000 will leave over the next two years and that this may not be the end of the flight. The is little doubt that unemployment black spots such as Donegal will lose a disproportionate number of its young in this migration of the post Celtic Tiger generation.

Nor do prospects for most of those going abroad look tempting. The traditional destinations for Irish emigrants are also suffering the impact of a debilitating global recession. Britain is slashing its budget expenditure and while it may balance its books there is no prospect of an economic upturn in the UK in the foreseeable future and certainly no employment boom. The United States is in a similar position with its economy in long-term decline.

A recent article in the Financial Times Weekender magazine highlighted the true extent of US difficulties, reporting that working class income there had remained essentially static since 1973. The impact of this has been enormous. Ordinary Americans are no longer able to purchase all the goods the country is capable of making, leading in turn to ever increasing unemployment and underemployment. With many Americans forced to double or even triple job to remain solvent, there is only need for migrant labour in the poorest paid, most onerous work places.

With the Irish economy in free fall and little sign of real recovery on the way, emigration from areas such as Donegal is destined to remain a major issue into the foreseeable future unless that is, we force through a fundamental restructuring of how this country is managed and its wealth distributed. Unless we do so the agony of parting with loved ones will remain a constant sore for decades to come.

Déardaoin, Lúnasa 19, 2010

Stand Up for Equal Rights for the LGBT Community


LGBT Noise March for Marriage posterSuppose black citizens were told they weren’t allowed to avail of the same form of marriage as other members of Irish society – that they’re just not normal people like everyone else?

Suppose Asian people in Ireland were told they weren’t really fit to make decisions regarding their own children.

Suppose the right of women to certain kinds of social protection was severely limited.

This state could easily be called an apartheid state.

Well, in Ireland today the Twenty-Six County establishment is about to legislate for such an apartheid state for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transsexuals.

The legislation that will be up for debate in Leinster House next month is the Civil Partnership Bill that the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government has introduced. The bill as proposed will provide certain legal rights for LGBT couples but will not provide the same rights and protection as are conferred under the auspices of civil marriage and they will also be excluded from rights under the constitution.

Gay couples will not have the same rights as heterosexual couples. In the area of tax and social welfare, the fact that gay couples can’t marry means that they may have to pay more tax. They may also not be able to access the same levels of social welfare benefit such as pension benefit. The Dublin government has already amended legislation in this area, in 2005, to specifically exclude gay couples from having the same rights as married or unmarried straight couples.

So, when in relation to the Civil Partnership Bill, the political establishment says it will deal with these aspects with another piece of legislation at some point in the future, it is rather difficult to trust their sincerity.

The most worrying aspect of the Civil Partnership Bill, though, is how it treats the rights of gay couples in relation to their children; in fact, the bill fails to mention this at all. The Twenty-Six County Constitution declares that family life can only be based on marriage. Now, with marriage being inaccessible to gay couples and the Civil Partnership Bill ignoring the issue, we are in a situation where it is impossible for gay parents to form legal bonds together or with their children.

Conversely, children in these families have no rights to have a legal relationship with their parents. According to the LGBT Noise campaign group, this means that gay couples are denied “the right to make educational and medical decisions for their children; it denies them the right to visit their children in hospital; it denies them custody and visitation should the adult relationship break down.”

It is also patently clear that to set up a different system with less legal rights for a minority cannot be adjudged to be fair for gay couples. Ireland now finds itself promoting apartheid while Spain, Sweden, Norway, Canada, Argentina, Portugal, Nepal, Mexico, Iceland, Holland and Belgium have already legislated for the LGBT community to have equal rights in this area.

Irish republicans and socialists have long campaigned on issues relating to national liberation and economic exploitation. They have also a proud history of standing up for the rights of victimised minorities. It is to be hoped that as many as possible will make their way to protest on Sunday.

March for Marriage
Sunday, August 22 2010 at 2pm
Assemble: City Hall, Dame Street, Dublin

Dé Luain, Lúnasa 16, 2010

An Appreciation of Jim Gralton – Leitrim’s Unrepentant Communist


Jim GraltonOn August 13, 1933 Jim Gralton was forced to board a Trans-Atlantic Liner in Cork which was to set sail for the USA. Jim had been arrested on August 10 at a friend’s house in Gorvagh, County Leitrim and brought to Ballinamore Barracks where he was detained before being brought to Cork for his deportation. He had been living on the run since February of that year following the issuing of a deportation order by the courts who ruled that he had to leave Ireland by March 5. His deportation 77 years ago makes him the only native Irishman to be deported from this state.

He was born in Effernagh close to Carrick on Shannon in County Leitrim on April 17 1886. His education, such as it was, was received in nearby Kiltoghert school. Like most young people at the time, he left school early, aged just 14. After working for a number of employers in the local area, fed up with the harsh treatment he and others suffered at their hands, Jim headed for Dublin where he enlisted in the British army.

His rebellious behaviour was not long coming through and he endured punishment of 84 days on “bread and water” for his refusal to shine the leggings and buttons of one of his officers. He was then posted to India, but refused to go in protest at British policies in Ireland. For his defiance and protest, Jim was jailed for a year and subsequently deserted the army, going to work for a time in the coal mines of Wales and in Liverpool docks.

He then got employment as a ship’s stoker and eventually settled in New York where he became a US citizen in 1909. In the midst of the great wealth in the USA, Jim was appalled at the harsh, slave-like conditions that workers endured, which led him to become a firm believer in supporting the rights of workers and in socialism.

From the time he arrived in the US, Jim was active in supporting and raising much needed funds for both the Irish republican struggle and for fellow workers in New York. He became a member of the US Communist Party and became heavily involved in trade union activity. In the wake of the 1916 Rising, and after studying of the writings of James Connolly, Jim became a founding member of the James Connolly Club in New York.

Almost a decade and a half after arriving in the US, Jim decided to return home to Ireland in June 1921, just a month before the truce in the Tan War commenced on the 11th of July. During the war, the notorious Black and Tans had burnt the local Temperance Hall beside Gowel Church to the ground. On his return, Jim promised local people he would replace it and set about, with his own money and with local support, building a new hall on his father’s land near Effernagh crossroads.

The new hall, named the Pearse-Connolly Hall, was eventually opened on December 31 1921 and became an integral part of the everyday lives of the local community. Amongst its many uses was the holding in classes of a wide range of subjects including Irish, English, music, dancing, civics and agricultural science. This was also a time of many land disputes and the Hall was also used to hold Land Courts to settle many of these disputes. Despite the good work Jim was doing for his community and despite the valuable educational service that was been provided, not everyone was happy.

The Catholic Church in particular were extremely unhappy. They denounced him at every opportunity, at the pulpit during mass and in letters, going as far as to describe him as an extremely dangerous socialist and even an “Anti-Christ”. They accused him of “leading a campaign of Land agitation”, of trying to take the youth of the area away from the Catholic Church and of teaching communism to them in his classes.

The Free State forces also were unhappy with his activities, and on May 24 1922, they raided the Hall in a failed attempt to arrest Jim. The following month, as Civil War loomed, he got out and returned to the US. He did not return to Ireland until 1932 following the death of his brother Charlie who looked after and ran the family farm and following the securing of power in the Twenty-Six Counties by Fianna Fáil. Like many other people at that time, Jim was of the mistaken belief that a Fianna Fáil government would allow for the development of progressive politics in his homeland.

Following his return to Ireland, Jim re-opened the Pearse-Connolly Hall which had been closed for many years while he was in the US. He also involved himself once again in left-wing agitation, joining the Revolutionary Workers’ Group [a forerunner of the Communist Party of Ireland]. As well as the hall being used for dances and other social activities, meetings were also held there highlighting issues such as unemployment and the rights of workers and tenants.

He spoke at many anti-eviction meetings and following the eviction of a worker from his home in Keadue, also in County Leitrim, Jim joined with a local IRA group in re-instating the worker and his family back into their family home. This radicalism and persistent campaigning on such issues was of major concern once again to conservatives in general and to the Catholic Church and Fianna Fáil in particular.

Once again, Jim was denounced as a massive campaign was launched by the clergy against him and the views he represented. Shamefully, many of his former comrades turned their backs on him, as the church demanded that the Hall, which they described as a “den of iniquity” be shut down.

The Hall came under physical attack on many occasions. Shots were fired into it during a dance and an attempt to blow it up with a bomb failed. Finally, on Christmas Eve 1932, the Hall was eventually destroyed when it was burned to the ground.

In February of 1933, at the behest of the Catholic Church, the Fianna Fáil government ordered the deportation of Jim from his homeland by March 5 on the spurious grounds of him being an “undesirable alien”. Instead of complying with the order, Jim went on the run, staying with friends and neighbours in the area. During his time on the run, the Revolutionary Workers’ Group organised a campaign in support of Jim. Public meetings were organised and addressed by Jim himself, and by other prominent republican socialists of the time such as George Gilmore and Peadar O’Donnell. Many of these meetings were attacked and broken up by reactionaries.

Finally on August 10 1933, the Free State caught up with Jim, capturing him at a friend’s house in Gorvagh. He was taken to Ballinamore Barracks where he was detained before being transported to Cork where he was put on board a Trans-Atlantic Liner and deported to the US against his will. He was never again allowed to return to Ireland.

Undeterred, upon his arrival back in the US, Jim once again got involved in trade unionism and left wing politics. Along with Gerald O’Reilly, a close colleague of George Gilmore, Jim set up the Irish Workers’ Group in New York. He became a trade union organiser, encouraging the involvement of women within the unions, and set about promoting, republishing and distributing the works of James Connolly. During the Spanish Civil War, he raised funds for the International Brigades who were going to Spain to fight against fascism and in defence of the Republic.

A committed and unrepentant communist up to his last breath, Jim Gralton died in exile in New York on December 29 1945 and is buried in Woodlawn cemetery in the Bronx area of the City.

To conclude fittingly, the final words go to a comrade of Jim’s, Charlie Byrne. Speaking at Jim’s Graveside in the Bronx in 2005 to commemorate the 60th anniversary of his death, Charlie said:

“Let all of us who believe in the principles for which Gralton stood, pledge ourselves anew to the continuation of the fight for the complete political, cultural and economic rights of the working classes in all lands, no crying, no weeping over his grave at Woodlawn. There is work to be done, so let us carry on; Gralton would have it that way.”

Dé Sathairn, Lúnasa 14, 2010

Email this – British Royals not welcome in Ireland


Dublin City Council is scheduled to debate and vote on a motion opposing a British royal visit at its next meeting on September 6. In advance of that debate éirígí is asking people to contact the councillors to urge them to support the motion and send a message to the Dublin government that the British royals are not welcome in Dublin or any part of Ireland.

Below is the text of an email that helps people do just that. Please cut and paste the text into an email and send it to your family, friends, workmates and neighbours and encourage them to get in touch with their local councillors. Don’t wait for someone else to do it. Together we can stop the British royal visit.


Get your councillors to oppose the British Royal visit!

Brian Cowen’s government is set to invite Elizabeth Windsor on an official state visit, most likely in the summer of 2011. The only thing that can stop the ‘British queen’ from walking the streets of Dublin and elsewhere is people power. It’s easy to join the campaign to stop the British royal visit. Read on to see how you can help.

As you read this email there are more than 5,000 British combat troops, 9,000 paramilitary police and 100s of MI5 operatives occupying six Irish counties. Thousands more British soldiers are taking part in the Anglo-American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. All of these forces are loyal to one person, the head of the British state and British armed forces, one Elizabeth Windsor, aka the ‘British Queen’.

Dublin City Council is scheduled to debate a motion opposing a British royal visit to the Twenty-Six Counties at their monthly meeting on September 6. The text of the motion, which was submitted by éirígí’s Councillor Louise Minihan, reads:

“That this council notes with deep concern the proposal for a state visit to the Twenty Six Counties by the British head of state. Such a visit would be entirely inappropriate whilst the British state continues to implement imperialist policies and commit human rights abuses across the world, most notably in Afghanistan, Iraq and here in Ireland. This council calls on the Dublin government to abandon its plans to invite the British head of state to Ireland and on behalf of the proud citizens of this city we declare that Elizabeth Windsor is not welcome in Dublin.”

If you support this motion and you want Dublin City Councillors to vote in favour of it you need to get in touch with them now! Below are the email contact details for all Dublin City Councillors. Please email them and tell them that you want them to support the motion opposing a British royal visit to the Twenty-Six Counties when it comes up for debate.

There is also a sample text below that you might want to cut and paste into your email. If you live in Dublin City you may want to email the councillors that represent your area and let them know that you are one of their constituents, and that you will be watching closely to see if they support the motion.

When Dublin City Council meets in City Hall on Dame Street to debate the motion on September 6 there will be a public protest outside. The protest will start at 7pm and last for about two hours. Please come along and let your councillors know in person that the British royalty aren’t welcome in Dublin. All are welcome at the protest. Bígí Linn.

Find out more about éirígí’s ‘No British Withdrawal? No Royal Visits’ campaign at:

Please forward this email to as many people as possible.


‘I am writing to you in relation to a motion which has been submitted by Councillor Louise Minihan in opposition to a British state visit by the ‘British Queen’ to the twenty six counties. I am totally opposed to such a visit and am calling on you support the motion when it comes up for debate and vote. I trust that you will publicly support both the motion and the sentiment contained within it.’



Déardaoin, Lúnasa 12, 2010

Putting the Blame Where it Lies


A month has now passed since the events in Ardoyne on July 12. Much has been said and penned in that time, the majority of it insinuation, fabrication and outright condemnation of the residents of Ardoyne and those who came to their aid.

In an all too familiar pattern, we have witnessed how a vulnerable and besieged nationalist community find the guns and fingers pointed inwards, at them, and not outwards at the real perpetrators. It is imperative that we collectively cut through the hype, innuendo and refocus on the core issues - sectarian parades and the right to protest.

In line with the European Convention, every man, woman and child has a right to live free from sectarian harassrnent. These were the rights being claimed by residents of Ardoyne. Everyone also has a fundamental right to engage in peaceful protest in defence of these rights. These were the rights being claimed by residents of Ardoyne.

Let us be clear, these are rights - not privileges and, as such, they are not subject to negotiation nor is there a mandate in the land that may impinge upon them. This is the context in which activists found themselves in Ardoyne, at the invitation of residents. Those activists found themselves where they have always been.

Irish republicans have a proud tradition of supporting beleaguered communities at their request. From the Garvaghy and Ormeau Roads, to Ballinaboy in County Mayo, the activists that comprise éirígí are part of this tradition.

Thus, when faced with a peaceful sit-down protest by Ardoyne residents in defence of their fundamental rights on one hand and the encroaching of those that would extinguish those rights in the form of heavily armed and PSNl members on the other, there was only ever going to be one result. It was at this point that a small number of activists sat down and linked arms with the residents.

The imagery of peaceful protesters being manhandled off the Ardoyne Road and the moral force of their argument wasn’t lost amongst the riots that ensued, it was buried. It was intentionally buried by those in the media and political institutions who have no interest in showing a society where the rights of nationalists come second to unionist demands. It was intentionally buried by those in the media and political institutions who have no interest in showing a society where peaceful protesters are punched, kicked and batoned by state forces in their own communities.

The people who brought violence to Ardoyne on July 12 were the PSNI. It was they who attacked peaceful protesters, besieged a community and assaulted onlookers. The end result of this has always been, and more than likely will always be, wide-scale rioting.

Without a doubt there were those amongst the rioters who were reacting to assaults on their community by British state forces. Without a doubt there were those amongst the rioters who cared little for their community and certainly cared little for the protesters that they showered with bricks, bottles and, in at least one instance, a petrol bomb. These are issues that need to be addressed locally.

It would appear that there is a growing belief in our communities that the much promoted channels to stopping sectarian parades aren’t working. The lobbying, rational debate, passive protests and appeals for goodwill have failed to halt sectarian parades. They have failed to stop sectarian orders from demanding them. They have failed to stop the six county Parades Commission from allowing them.They have failed to stop the PSNI from forcing them through at all costs, both physical and financial.

Thus, we must re-address the situation. We must refocus on the core issue. We must stop these sectarian parades once and for all. If we fail in this task then we will condemn ourselves to revisiting this debate year upon year.

Dé Máirt, Lúnasa 10, 2010

éirígí Issues Challenge to Sinn Féin


éirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith has issued a challenge to the leadership of Sinn Féin to engage in a public debate with the socialist republican party.

MacCionnaith was speaking at éirígí’s Divis Mountain demonstration on the outskirts of Belfast on Saturday [August 7]. His comments came after Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams claimed to be interested in dialogue with a number of republican organisations.

MacCionnaith said: “There are those in Ireland who want to see éirígí go away; who seek to misrepresent and criminalise us out of fear of the challenge we are presenting to the political, social and economic apartheid that continues to exist in the Six Counties.

“In the past week, Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams claimed to have contacted a number of groups, including éirígí, to request discussions. As party general secretary, I can confirm that so such request has been made of éirígí by Gerry Adams or anyone else in Sinn Féin."

“However, if Sinn Féin want a debate, let’s have one. But it should be an open public debate. We have no interest in behind closed doors discussions. Let éirígí and Sinn Féin put their political, social and economic agendas to a public republican audience, in west Belfast for example, and let them decide who has the most radical, realisable manifesto for change.”

MacCionnaith continued: “There are those who fear that we will damage the substandard political settlement which they have negotiated. Well, they should be afraid, because that is exactly what we intend to do.

“éirígí is not going away. We will continue to build across Ireland to complete the reconquest of this country by the working people of this country.”

Thousands March Against Health Cuts in Letterkenny


Thousands of people took to the streets of Letterkenny in Co Donegal on Saturday [August 7] to show their anger at Dublin Government and HSE plans to slash services at Letterkenny General Hospital and to impose other cuts throughout the health service.

Around 3,000 people assembled at the station roundabout in the town at midday for the rally which was organised by the newly formed ‘Save Donegal Health Services’ campaign group. Led by a piper, the large crowd marched up the Port Road towards the Main Street before turning up High Road and proceeding to the hospital itself where a number of speakers addressed the crowd.

Among those who delivered speeches to those assembled were spokespeople from the three main health service trade unions, IMPACT, SIPTU and the INMO [Irish Nurses & Midwives Organisation]. Speakers from the Voice of Older People Donegal [VOPD] and Donegal Action for Cancer Care [DACC] also addressed the crowd.

The planned cuts for Letterkenny include a reduction in day services, closure of the pharmacy, the closure of an operating theatre, the removal of at least 13 beds from Orthopaedics and the Intensive Care Unit as well as the slashing of the numbers of hours being worked by almost 100 members of staff at the hospital. They are also to close the hospital’s mortuary on a Saturday. Similar cutbacks are planned at Sligo General Hospital and other hospitals throughout the region.

Speaking in relation to the event, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said, “Those who took part in the protest must be commended for their determination to have their voices heard on this issue. The fact that so many attended, all from different situations, just goes to prove how many people these cuts will affect. The images of the protest just show that it will be people of all ages, from babies in prams to the most senior in our society, hospital and nursing staff, the sick, infirm and people in wheelchairs, who will be hard hit by these disgraceful cuts.”

“The Dublin government should be utterly ashamed of themselves for forcing these people into a position where they have to take to streets just to have their voices heard. Those in Lenister House plan cutting bed numbers in Intensive Care Units and Orthopaedics, closing an operating theatre and cutting back the hours of nearly 100 hospital staff as they say they have to make savings, yet we see these same people in the government flying around in private jets, travelling in chauffeur driven cars and living lavish lifestyles all at the tax payers expense”, said the éirígí spokesperson.

“The bottom line and plain fact of the matter is that these cuts are totally unnecessary. The Dublin government would like us all to believe that there is no money available and that these cuts are needed to balance the books, but that is a total fallacy. They can find plenty of money to bail out corrupt bankers and private developers by using billions of tax payers money. Even despite the recession Ireland is a wealthy country. As we in éirígí have said before, just off our shores we have oil and gas reserves worth in excess of 500 billion euro, all of which rightfully belongs to the Irish people. But those in Lenister House made the ridiculous decision to sign away the rights to this valuable resource to private multinational oil giants such as Shell.”

Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig finished by saying, “These resources should be nationalised, as has been done in other countries and the resulting wealth used to invest in our health service, education and infrastructure. The money is there, the political will is not. The only way people will get the fair and just country they deserve is to take to the streets, as they did last Saturday, and keep doing so until their demands are met.”

Smaller hospitals such as the Sheil Hospital in Ballyshannon and Lifford Community Hospital, both in County Donegal, face closure. Now the HSE are saying that they may also close a major hospital somewhere in the west but they have refused to say which hospital they have their sights on.

Fianna Fáil and the Green Party are also believed to planning even further cutbacks in the region of €600 million [£500 million] in the upcoming budget beyond these current plans to slash services.

Following the rally, the HSE issued a statement in which they claimed they would “protect front-line services” and that all services provided by HSE West would be provided in a “safe manner”.

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey, who was one of many éirígí activists from Counties Sligo and Donegal to take part in the rally, dismissed the HSE’s assertions saying that the planned cutbacks are “completely unnecessary” and will cause “unnecessary suffering and death”. He said the Dublin government are deliberately slashing services and stripping the health service bare to facilitate the privatisation of the public health service.

Speaking following the rally, Casey said: “The savage cutbacks planned by the HSE and their political masters will decimate what remains of the public health service. They are using the excuse of the recession, caused by their corruption and greed in the first place, to strip the public service bare and to press ahead with the privatising of our public health service. It is also being used to drive down workers wages and condition within the health service.

Casey concluded: “If the government are allowed get away with these proposed cuts, the reality is that people who cannot afford private health care will suffer unnecessarily and even die as a result. We should not be surprised that this administration puts private profit before the health and well being of the people they claim to govern on behalf of but we have a duty and responsibility to not let them away with it. If we fail to stop what can only be described as the wanton vandalism and destruction of our health service then future generations will suffer greatly and needlessly.”

Dé Sathairn, Lúnasa 07, 2010

Unnecessary Health Cuts & the Give-away of our Natural Resources


In recent weeks, the Fianna Fáil/Green party coalition have been flagging up yet further cutbacks they plan to introduce in the upcoming budget. This follows a series of the most savage budget cutbacks imposed since the foundation of the 26 county state.

This administration's policies has decimated the economy, created mass unemployment (22,000 + in Donegal alone), driven thousands of families into poverty, forced tens of thousands of young people to emigrate once more and systematically stripped down our hospitals and health services to crisis point.

Not content to see tens of thousands of people lose their jobs, the government heaped further misery on already struggling familes by slashing their social welfare, cutting child benefit, ending the Chrismas bonus, introducing the carbon Tax and increasing fuel costs. All this has led to a sharp decline in people's living standards and has caused increased poverty.

Institute of Public Health in Ireland research published in 2007 claimed that fuel poverty directly effects people’s health. According to the Report, every year during the winter months, almost 3,000 people die due to preventable, cold-related illness.

Figures from the Central Statistics Office show that, in 2008, more than four per cent of people were living in consistent poverty, with almost 15 per cent at risk of poverty. Almost a third of those living in consistent poverty were children. All those figures will have risen dramatically over the past two years as unemployment soared and wages and welfare were cut.

In recent weeks we have seen HSE proposals to slash services even further at Letterkenny General Hospital and elsewhere throughout the state. Smaller hospitals such as Lifford's community hospital and the Sheil Hospital in Ballyshannon face closure also. Such cuts, if the government get their way, will mean severe reductions in essential services, longer waiting lists, increased workloads for already overburdened front line hospital staff and increased suffering and even deaths for patients who will not get the medical care and assistance they need when they need it.

However, if that was not bad enough, the HSE's political masters are now intent in forcing through even more severe cutbacks in the upcoming budget. They are planning to slash the Health, Education and Social Welfare Budgets by €1.1 billion, €700 million of that from an already underfunded, understaffed and under-resourced health service.

Fianna Fáil say these cuts are necessary but the reality is the opposite. There is no excuse for cutting funding and services for hospitals. It is a deliberate political decision and strategy based on Fianna Fáil's and the now-defunct PD's right wing privatisation ideology.

When it comes to throwing tens of billions of euros to bail out the banks or €8 million to bring the Commander in Chief of the British army Elizabeth Windsor to this state next year Fianna Fáil and the Greens have no problem. Yet ask them to invest in our hospitals and and they tell us the money is not there.

But the money is there, only they believe bailing out banks is more important than our health. This remains a wealthy state, however the wealth is controlled by a small minority. As workers and those on welfare have seen their incomes slashed, the rich in this state have become even richer. Yet the administration in Leinster House refuses to introduce a wealth tax and refuses to nationalise our natural resources which would bring in hundreds of billions of euros that could be used to create a first class health service for all.

Under the seabed off the coast of Mayo, Sligo and Donegal lies oil and gas that rightfully belong to the Irish people. These valuable resources are worth at least €500 billion and in all likelihood far in excess of that. Yet, in one of the most shameful decisions ever made, Fianna Fáil signed away the rights to this vast wealth to private multinational oil giants like Shell, who have an appalling environmental and human rights record around the world.

But it is not too late to do something about this – all that is lacking is the political will. This wealth, could and should be used to reverse the savage welfare and pay cuts and to create jobs and stem the flow of young people emigrating. It should be used to eradicate the shameful blight of poverty that continues to increase. It should be used to, not just reverse the cuts at Letterkenny General Hospital and elsewhere, but to invest in creating efficient health and education services accessible and available to all based on need, as opposed to a person's wealth.

In short, it should be used to create a fairer society, one that cherishes all the children of the nation equally in line with the 1916 proclamation, with a better standard of living for all. So the next time you hear a Fianna Fáil politician telling you how these cuts are unavoidable and how hard decisions have to be made, dont hesitate in telling them that the decisions they need to make are to tax the wealthy, nationalise our natural resources and to fund our hospitals, not the banks. Your health is more important than keeping the wealthy political and business elite living in the luxurious lifestyles they are accustomed to.

Déardaoin, Lúnasa 05, 2010

Protest Against Hospital Cuts - Letterkenny Sat Aug 7


As people will already be aware, the Health Service Executive (HSE), on behalf of their political masters in Leinster House, are preparing to cut staff numbers and slash services at hospitals throughout the country. This includes both Letterkenny and Sligo General Hospitals here in the north west. The future of other smaller units such as Lifford Community Hospital and the Sheil hospital in Ballyshannon are also under threat.

As this blog has regularly highlighted the cutbacks already imposed on our hospitals and health service in general, have caused immense suffering and hardship to patients. According to the main nursing union, the INMO "the level of cuts, currently being imposed upon our public health service, are compromising patient care, lowering standards and greatly increasing the clinical risk to patients."

Following their carrying out of a comprhensive review of the entire Health Service, the INMO said that they discovered the following:

  • Over 1,500 public beds are closed including beds in hospitals designated as Centres of Excellence resulting in longer waiting time for essential treatment

  • Very high levels of A&E overcrowding with over 300 people on trolleys, awaiting a bed, on nine days in July as compared to one in July 2009

  • Primary care services being curtailed, or suspended indefinitely, due to a shortage of nursing staff

  • Intellectual disability services being curtailed, suspended or eliminated altogether, again due to the shortage of human or financial resources; and

  • Frontline staff, in nursing, midwifery and other support grades, not being replaced resulting in frontline direct patient care services being compromised.

Letterkenny General Hospital

Amongst the latest cuts planned by the HSE for Letterkenny General Hospital are believed to be a plan to cut the working hours of 94 members of staff on fixed term contracts by eight hours each. Such cutbacks will result in a devestating loss of income for these workers, particularly those who are only part-time.

What these cutbacks will mean for patients are yet more operating theatre and bed closures, more people left lying on trolleys, cancelled operations, longer waiting lists and unnecessary and increased suffering and even deaths.

The INMO General Secretary, Liam Doran has claimed that the cuts being implemented are being
"imposed in a manner which is unsafe" and are a result of the Croke Park Agreement between the Dublin government and ICTU on public pay reform.

Speaking on Tuesday he said that patients "are entitled to quality assured services when they need them and public patients cannot be treated like second class citizens when compared to those who can afford private healthcare at this time”.

He added: “The INMO voted against the Croke Park proposals primarily on the basis that they require 6,000 posts to be taken out of our health service in a haphazard, uncontrolled and unplanned manner with scant regard for the impact upon patients and their needs and requirements. We are now seeing the real impact of this flawed approach."

Sligo General Hospital

And while people are rightly horrified at these latest plans to cut services in our hospitals, even worse is set to follow. In the upcoming budget, Health Minister Mary Harney is seeking a further cut of €600 million off the health budget. Unless they are forced to halt these cutbacks and actually invest in creating an efficient first class health service for all, we will very soon be left no public health service at all.

This Saturday (August 7) a march and rally has been organised in Letterkenny, Co.Donegal to protest against the HSE's proposed cutbacks. The march, which will commence from the Station roundabout in the town at 12 midday and proceed to the hospital, has been organised by the newly formed Save Donegal Health Services campaign group.

The group is comprised of the three main health care trade unions, INMO, SIPTU and IMPACT. Other groups involved include the Irish Kidney Association, Donegal Action Cancer Campaign, Friends of Letterkenny General Hospital, Co-operating for Cancer Care North West and the General Voice of Older People Donegal.

Health Cuts Protest Lifford

éirígí are urging people throughout the north west to attend Saturday's protest march in large numbers. The HSE and their political masters in Leinster House need to realise and to see that as a community we are sick and tired of the savage cuts being imposed on us, at the same time as they bail out the banks to the tune of tens of billions of euro and as they feather their own nests and that of that of the wealthy business elite.

The people of the north west and the people of Ireland deserve a first class public health service properly funded, resourced and staffed. It is our right, not some privilege to be dispensed at the discretion of overpaid and uncaring politicians who are intent on dismantling it and privatising it in order to make profits for their cronies within the business sector.

Once again, the message is clear. Fund our hospitals, not the banks.

Cáineann éirígí fógra an Aire Coughlan chun foirgneamh scoile i Leitir Ceanainn a phríomháidiú


(English version follows)

Cháin an páirtí polaitiúil sóisialach poblachtánach éirígí an moladh chun an scéim chomhpháirtíocht phríomháideach phoiblí ar a bhfuil míchreidiúint, a úsáid chun áitreamh scoile nua a thógaint do Choláiste Ailigh i Leitir Ceanainn. Táthar ag súil le tógaint an fhoirgnimh, atá beartaithe chun lóistín a chur ar fáil do 350 dalta, a bheith faoi bhealach i 2012.

Faoin scéim Chomhpháirtíocht Phríomháideach Phoiblí, beidh scoileanna nua deartha, tógtha, maoinithe agus cothabháilte ar feadh 25 bliain ag pé comhlacht príomháideach a éiríonn leo frithir na scoile a fháil. Ansin ligfear an scoil ar cíos don rialtas i rith an ama sin ón chomhlacht príomháideach.

Agus é ag cáineadh na scéime, dúirt urlabhraí éirígí i nDún na nGall, Mícheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, “Cé go gcuirfeadh muid fáilte roimh thógáil scoileanna nua mar chéim dearfach, caithfear an modh a bhfuil Fianna Fáil/An Comhaontas Glas agus an Tánaiste agus Aire Oideachais Mary Coughlan ag moladh, a cháineadh go hiomlán. Is moladh scannalach é ligeaint do ghnóthaí príomháideacha brabús a dhéanamh as oideachas ár bpáistí. Ba chóir cuimhniú ar thuairisc ón Ard-Reachtaire Cuntas agus Ciste a fuair amach gur féidir le scoileanna atá tógtha agus feidhmithe tríd scéimeanna Comhpháirtíochta Phríomháideach Phoiblí cosain níos mó ná 13% níos costasaí ná scoileanna curtha ar fáil tríd an modh traidisiúnta. D’fhiafróinn mar sin an réasúnaíocht don scéim seo agus d’éileoinn freagraí poiblí ó Mary Coughlan ar conas gur féidir léi seasamh le scéim a chosnóidh níos mó ar an cháiníocóra agus a ligfidh do chomhlacht príomháideach brabús a dhéanamh as oideachas ár bpáistí.

Lean Mícheál, “Ar an drochuair, léiríonn an moladh seo céim eile i bplean an rialtais chun an ghéarchéim eacnamaíochta reatha a úsáid chun sócmhainní a dhíol agus a phríomháidiú. Ní gá dúinn ach féachaint ar an phríomháidiú taobh istigh dár gcóras sláinte le haghaidh fianaise de na torthaí tubaisteacha de phríomháidiú. Rialaíonn comhlacht príomháideach an-chuid gnéithe den chóras sláinte, ó chúram dár ndaoine aosta, go dtí carrchlóis ospidéil agus glanadh. Bearta go léir a ba chóir dóibh a bheith faoi úinéireacht phoiblí agus iad go léir mar mhórcheisteanna anseo i nDún na nGall.”

I gconclúid ghlaoigh Mícheál ar an ghluaiseacht cheardchumannachas cur in aghaidh an t-ionsaí is déanaí seo ar sheirbhísí poiblí agus ar an phobal chun seasamh suas agus ár scoileanna, ár n-ospidéil agus sócmhainní an stáit a chosaint in aghaidh brabúsaithe príomháideacha, “le chéile caithfidh muid cur in aghaidh go gníomhach na moltaí is déanaí agus troid chun oideachas ár bpáistí a choimead as lámha iad siúd le suim amháin i mbrabús.”

éirígí Condemns Minister Coughlan's Announcement to Privatise School Building in Letterkenny


The socialist republican political party éirígí has condemned the proposal to use the widely discredited public private partnership scheme to build a new school premises for Coláiste Ailigh in Letterkenny. Building of the school, which is intended to provide accommodation for 350 pupils, is expected to get under-way in 2012.

Under the Public Private Partnership scheme, new schools will be designed, built, financed and maintained for 25 years by which ever private company is successful in obtaining the tender for each school. The school in turn will then be rented back from that private company by the government during that time.

Criticising the scheme, éirígí spokesperson in Donegal, Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said, “While we would always welcome the building of new schools as a positive step, the manner in which this is being proposed by the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government and Taniaste and Education Minister Mary Coughlan, must be utterly condemned. Allowing private business to profit from the education of our children is an outrageous proposal. It should also be recalled that that a report from the Comptroller Auditor General in found that schools built and operated through Public Private Partnership schemes can cost up to 13% more than schools provided through the conventional method. I would therefore question the rationale for this scheme and demand public answers from Mary Coughlan as to how she can justify a scheme that will end up costing the tax payer more and allow private business profit from the education of our children.

Micheál went on to comment, “Unfortunately, this proposal represents yet another step in the government's plan to use the current economic crisis to sell off and privatise state assets. We only have to look at the privatisation within our health service for evidence of the disastrous consequences of privatisation. Private business controls many aspects of the health service, from care of our elderly, to hospital car parks and cleaning. All matters which should be under the public ownership and all of which have been issues of concern in recent times here in Donegal.”

In conclusion Micheál called on the trade union movement to actively oppose this latest attack on public services and for the public to stand up and defend our schools, hospitals and state assets from the hands of private profiteers, ''together we must actively oppose these latest proposals and fight to keep our children's education out of the hands to those whose only interest is profit''.