Déardaoin, Meán Fómhair 30, 2010


The 1% Network - Make The Rich Pay!


30/09/2010


Savage Cutbacks
The Dublin government has used its last three budgets to introduce a wide-range of savage cutbacks. Healthcare, education and housing budgets have been slashed. Social welfare payments have been cut. The old, the young, the sick, communities, the unemployed and the low paid have all been targeted by a government and a political system desperate to protect the status quo and revive their failing capitalist economy.
As the depth of the economic and social problems facing the Twenty-Six Counties becomes ever more apparent the first signs of a popular fight back are emerging all across the state. In May 2010 a series of protests outside of Anglo Irish Bank and Leinster House presented a glimpse of the types of public protest that will be required to stop the government’s cutback agenda in its tracks.

Countdown to Budget 2011
As the countdown to the next budget on December 7th continues éirígí and a number of other socialist organisations have launched a new initiative to highlight the fact that the super-rich are escaping virtually unscathed from the current economic crisis. Other organisations within the 1% Network include the Workers Solidarity Movement, Irish Socialist Network and Seomra Spraoi.

The ‘1%’ in the name of the network refers to the fact that just 1% of the population are estimated to own in excess of 34% of the wealth of the state, a fact which is rarely, if ever, highlighted in mainstream political debate or the corporate media. Property developers, landlords, bankers, barristers, media tycoons, and politicians are amongst this 1% that own so much, but contribute so little.

As ordinary workers and communities are forced to endure untold hardships to protect the private banking sector the wealthy elite of the Twenty-Six Counties remain largely untouched. éirígí understands that an equal and stable society cannot be based on the foundations of such fundamental economic inequality.

A Political Walking Tour – A Demand for Justice
Like nowhere else in Ireland the districts of Dublin 2 and Dublin 4 are littered with the landmarks of the power and wealth of the 1%. Banks, private mansions and corporate headquarters all sit side by side in the heartland of the golden circle.

On Saturday, October 9th, the 1% Network is organising a ‘political walking tour’ through Dublin 1 and Dublin 2 to highlight the gross inequality that lies at the heart of Irish society and to demand that the 1% pay their fair share.

Stops along the tour will include the residences of billionaire tax dodgers, the headquarters of failed banks and the offices of the lobby groups that protect the interest of the 1%. The tour will assemble at the Wolfe Tone monument at the Merrion Row corner of Stephens Green at 1pm on October 9th. The route of the tour is about 3km long and should last about two hours. All are welcome.

Dé Luain, Meán Fómhair 27, 2010


Don't Question the Politicians


27/09/2010

Tánaiste Mary Coughlan has received harsh criticism form éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig following comments she made recently to a Donegal newspaper in the wake of the "Garglegate" affair and Taoiseach Brian Cowen's now infamous morning interview.
Tánaiste Mary Coughlan
Defending Brian Cowen and his late night shenanigans Coughlan had said that if politicians were not allowed to live with the freedom that everyone else had then it was a "very sad day". She went on to say that it was taking politics too far when politicians were asked questions of their movements and also said "When we find ourselves in a situation where we cannot socialise then it's a particularly difficult day. Is that to say each football club now is not allowed to have a dinner-dance, socialise? Is that where we're going?"

Speaking of her comments Mac Giolla Easbuig said "Tánaiste Mary Coughlan's latest rant in which she insinuates that it is somehow unacceptable for the general public to ask wholly appropriate questions of politicians and that it is “taking politics too far”, just goes to show the contempt that she and her ilk in Lenister House have for the electorate of this country."

"She and her cohorts tend to forget that it is those very people asking the questions who pay their wages. For her or anyone in her position to think that they are exempt from scrutiny because they sit in government, and her likening of that government which has been given by the people the position of holding their very lives in its hands to nothing more than a football club, exposes for all to see just how deluded the current ruling class are" he said.

"Her comment that she and her accomplices who have been responsible for the decimation of the Twenty-Six Counties are entitled to “the freedom that every person else has” as she puts it is the ultimate slap in the face of each and every individual that has had to suffer thanks to the ineptitude of the likes of Tánaiste Mary Coughlan."

He went on to say "Not only should she and those employed by the general public be asked questions about what they do when in a position of being a paid public representative, but the question should also be asked just exactly what freedoms does she seem to think the people of this country have? Where is the freedom of the almost 500,000 people who have been left unemployed thanks to the gross and consistent mishandling of the economy? Where is the freedom of those who have been consigned to the dole queues and cannot afford to pay their mortgages? Where is the freedom of those people who cannot avail of health or dental care etc.? Where is the freedom for those whose home help has been dramatically reduced or refused? Where is the freedom Ms Coughlan for the countless families in Ireland who cannot afford to heat their homes (and for the individuals who have died as a result), clothe their children or put food on the table thanks to the greed of the capitalist class which you have shored up?"

"Clearly Mary Coughlan's idea of freedom is completely different from ours and if her idea of a “sad day” is when people ask an uncomfortable question of her, then it is abundantly clear that she is completely out of touch with reality."

The éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson concluded by saying "It is also quite clear that the likes of Mary Coughlan do not want questions asked of them. For too long now the people have not asked the politicians the questions that need to be asked. But those questions have been building thick and fast Tánaiste so you should prepare for many sad days to come."


Dé Sathairn, Meán Fómhair 25, 2010






Scannáin Gaeilge...


(English version follows)


Léiríonn sraith Tuiscint don Scannánaíocht an YARD:

Scannáin Gaeilge CINEGAEL de chuid Bob Quinn
(fotheidil i mBéarla)

Léirigh Bob Quinn an chéad príomhscannán riamh i nGaeilge i 1979: Poitín. Tá thar 100 príomhscannáin agus cláir fáisnéise déanta aige. Iad uilig poblach ó bhonn, agus nochtaíonn siad neamhspleáchas chultúrtha agus féinriail do chainteoirí dúchais Gaeilge san Iarthar. I 1995, toghadh Quinn ar Údarás RTÉ. D’éirigh sé as i 1999, ag cinneadh RTÉ bheith chomh dírithe sin ar thráchtál is gur beag bogadh a bhí ann, agus fiú diúltú, le scannáin a léiriú a chuirfeadh san áireamh fíorchultúr tuaithe na hÉireann. Ansin, i 2001, bronnadh Dámhachtain Sárshaothair Saoil ar Quinn ó Institiúid Scannán na hÉireann.

Poitín, Dé Luain, 27 Meán Fómhair: Daite, 65 bomaite – Aithris Quinn ar “The Quiet Man”, an léiriú cáiliúil de chuid John Ford. Poitín, agus Cyril Cusack, Niall Tóibín, Dónal McCann, Mick Lally agus Mairéad Ní Conghaile sna príomhpháirteanna, is scéal meidhreach agus corruair dúranta é seo faoi bheirt gníomhairí uisce beatha a ghoideann ar ais a dtaisce atá i seilbh na nGardaí. Ní h-é seo go díreach scéal eile faoi laochas tuaithe idéalaíoch, ach léiríonn sé saol atá go minic brúidiúil agus i mbochtaineacht, saol a theastaíonn críonnacht agus gliceas le theacht slán.

Atlantean, Dé Luain, 4 Deireadh Fómhair (cuid 1) agus Dé Luain 11 Deireadh Fómhair 11 (cuid 2):
Daite, 90 bomaite. Bheir Quinn muid ar thuras eachtrúil go Iarthar na hÉireann, An Spáinn, An Fhrainc agus chuig cultúr Arabach an Mhéanmhuir chun sleachta chultúr Iarthar an hÉireann a aimsiú. Nochtaíonn sé stair fhada agus saibhir an mhalartú thrádála agus chultúrtha idir na pobail mairnéalach seo agus cosúlachtaí suntasacha san ealaín, ceol, teanga, dearadh mairnéalachta agus an cur i gcoinne coilíneachas.

Caoineadh Áirt Uí Laoire (Lament for Art O’Leary), Dé Luian, 18 Deireadh Fómhair -
Daite, 52 bomaite. Tarlaíonn an scannán i ré na linne seo, ach baineann sé le scéal an réabhlóidí Éireannach ón 18ú haois, Áirt Ó Laoire, gur thóg na Sasanaigh seilbh ar a fheirm. Úsáideann Quinn agus a charachtair an Ghaeilge mar chomhartha comhraic, modh leis an aitheantas náisiúnta a chur in iúl. Léiríonn sé labhairt na Gaeilge mar bheart réabhlóideach cumhachtach ó chultúr le gur bhfearr leis an saol “nua-aimseartha” go ndéanfaí dearmad dó.

San YARD, An Fál Carrach. Doirse foscailte ar 7.00in le tae agus sóláistí saor in aisce a fháil, taispeáint ar 7.30in.

Síntiús molta: €3.00       




Films In Irish...


The YARD Film Appreciation series presents:
Bob Quinn’s Irish-language films from CINEGAEL
(all are sub-titled in English)

Bob Quinn produced the very first feature film in Irish in 1979: Poitín. He has made more than 100 feature films and documentaries. All are radically populist, and express cultural independence and autonomy for the Irish-speaking people of the west. In 1995, Quinn was elected to the RTÉ Authority. He resigned in 1999, finding that RTÉ to be so commercially oriented that there was little room, and even resistance, to pre­senting films that embraced true Irish rural culture. Then, in 2001, Quinn was given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Irish Film Institute.

Poitín, Monday, September 27: Colour, 65 minutes - Quinn’s answer to the “The Quiet Man”, the famous John Ford production. Poitín, starring Cyril Cusack, Niall Tóibín, Dónal McCann, Mick Lally and Mairéad Ní Conghaile, is a hilarious and sometimes grim story of two whiskey agents who steal their confiscated hoard back from the Gardaí. It’s not just another tale of idealised rural heroism, but shows a life often brutal and impoverished, one that requires wit and cunning to survive.

Atlantean, Monday, October 4 (part 1) and Monday October 11 (part 2):
Colour, 90 minutes. Quinn takes us on an odyssey to the west of Ireland, Spain, France, and the Arabic cultures of the Mediterranean to discover the roots of western Irish culture. He uncov­ers a long and rich history of trade and cultural exchange among these sea-faring peoples and striking similarities in art, music, speech, nautical design and of resistance to colonialism.

Caoineadh Áirt Uí Laoire (Lament for Art O’Leary), Monday, October 18 -
Colour, 52 minutes. The film takes place in modern times, but draws on the story of the 18th-century Irish rebel Art O’Leary, whose farm was taken over by the English. Quinn and his characters use the Irish language as a sign of resistance, a way that national identity can be asserted. He shows the speaking of Irish as an act of powerful insurgency by a cul­ture that the “modern” world would rather everyone forget.

At The YARD, Falcarragh. Doors open at 7:00pm for a free cuppa and a snack, screening at 7:30pm

Suggested donation: €3.00


Déardaoin, Meán Fómhair 23, 2010



The Beat of a Different Drum In Annagry


23/09/2010


Alternative was the word of the moment in Annagry last Friday night when a public event entitled 'Growing Together' was held in Annagry Community Hall. The night which was held to discuss horticulture, peak oil and sustainable communities seen a larger than expected crowd fill the hall and experience an evening which had education and learning at its heart. Chairs had to be borrowed from a local bar as more and more people turned up at the event and filled the hall to capacity.

Welcoming people outside the hall as they arrived was a group of African drummers who had travelled from Letterkenny to attend the event and their performance caught the attention of many of the passing locals and livened up the quiet village for a time and some even had a go at trying to play some of the instruments the performers had brought with them.

The evening began with the showing of a documentary called 'The Power Of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil'. The title of the film very much spoke for itself and told of the hardships faced by the Cuban people as the country faced massvive oil and food shortages in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990. It explained how the Cuban people then went from having a highly mechanised, industrial agricultural system to one of organic farming and local, urban gardens.

The film was followed by guest speakers who discussed various topics from peak oil to sustainable communities and horticulture. The informative talks gave the audience an explanation of the dangers of 'peak oil', which is a term used to describe the point when oil production reaches maximum output, after which the rate of production goes into terminal decline. The speakers gave examples of how a change of thinking of reliance in oil in favour sustainable communities and horticulture projects within communities could be a positive and successful way forward.

The event then went on to see the crowd gathered enjoy a selection of organic vegetarian food and live music into the night.

Speaking after the event, organiser and community activist Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said how overwhelmed he was with the turnout on the evening and support the event received. “I was more than pleasantly surprised to see so many people turn up and it just goes to show how interested people are in horticulture and sustainable living. The aim of the night was to show that there is an alternative to the way modern day society has become reliant upon oil. Oil is a finite resource and one day people are going to have to find an alternative way of living when it runs out and I think if we start looking now at those alternatives, such as horticulture, local farming and building sustainable communities, then when that eventuallity arrives we will have already made the transition by establishing such projects,” he said.

“Such projects have many benefits, not just that of us getting away from being reliant on oil, but they would also build community spirit, educate our children and of course be better for our environment. We would also be more aware of the world around us, an attribute which we seem to be sadly lacking in todays consumer driven world. Making our communities sustainable and not so reliant on multi-national companies and big business should be our aim and hopefully this event will get people thinking.”

Thanking those involved with the event Micheál said “This event wouldn't have happened or been the success it was without the work of so many people, which is just another example of what can be achieved when people pull together for a common cause. I have to give a special thanks to Karin White who through Donegal County Council helped fund this event with money from the Peace III Programme. A big thankyou must also go to the guest speakers, Amanda Slevin, Denise Gallanagh-Wood and Connor O'Kane for their time and efforts, those who provided the musical entertainment, the fantastic food and the use of the hall. There are so many people who were involved with this event, too many to mention, and all who were deserve a huge thanks for making it a great night, not least all those who attended in such large numbers. Hopefully it will have inspired a few people as well!”



Dé Luain, Meán Fómhair 20, 2010




Protest Against Cutbacks as Cowen Visits Sligo


20/09/2010


More than 120 people took part in a demonstration on Friday night outside the Clarion hotel in Sligo. The occasion was the annual dinner of Sligo Chamber at which the guest of honour was Brian Cowen.
The demonstration had been called and organised by two local campaign groups. The Save Sligo's Cancer Services were protesting at the removal of Breast Cancer services from Sligo General Hospital to Galway last year and the ongoing cutbacks at Sligo General hospital.

The Sligo Workers Alliance (SWA) also held a protest opposing the savage cutbacks imposed on essential public services, including cutbacks at Sligo General hospital, as well cuts in workers pay and social welfare payments.

According to Brian O'Boyle, spokesperson for the SWA, they were there to highlight the fact that the people who had caused the economic crisis were still in charge and forcing the less well off to carry the burden.
Despite requests from a variety of local community organisations who had sought a meeting with Cowen, all those requests were denied. Instead, the only engagements he took part in was a meeting with the Sligo Champion, one of the many newspapers owned by Tony O'Reilly's media empire, who are launching their newpaper in new tabloid format and his attendance at the Sligo Chamber's 5-star tuxedo dinner where Cowen wined and dined with business elite of Sligo.

Amongst those taking part in the protest was local éirígí activist Gerry Casey.

Speaking following the protest Casey said: “The fact that Cowen refused to meet with local community groups effected by the cutbacks imposed by his administration, yet was more than happy to help promote one of Tony O'Reilly's newspapers and attend a lavish banquet with the wealthy business elite of Sligo, shows exactly where his priorities lie.”

He added: “Cowen and his cronies care nothing for the suffering of local working class communities who he is forcing to pay for the economic crisis brought about by his policies and that of his administration. His only concern is with protecting the interests of the wealthy political and business elite and maintaining their lavish and extravagant lifestyles. The presence of so many 2010 Mercedes' at the Chamber dinner shows Cowen has done a fine job in protecting that wealth”
“On the other hand low paid workers and welfare recipients have already suffered immense hardship due to the extent of the savage cutbacks imposed over the past two years. They have suffered cuts in pay, welfare, child benefit, early childcare supplement, home help, school transport, school book schemes, the scrapping of the Christmas bonus and new prescription charges, all of which have had a hugely negative impact on their standard of living.”

He continued “Added to this is the impact that the carbon tax, subsequent increased fuel costs and the imminent ESB price hike has had on these families and which has lead to a sharp decline in the living standards of working people and has created widespread poverty. As we approach winter, the reality is that fuel poverty is set to increase dramatically and will ultimately result in more preventable illness and deaths, placing an even heavier burden on an already overburdened public health system that has been stripped to the bone and has suffered widespread slashing of essential services.”

As éirígí have repeatedly pointed out, none of these cutbacks are based on economic necessity. This administration has pumped tens of billions of euros into bailing out the banks at the same time as they deliberately slash essential health and education services and drive increasing numbers of families into extreme poverty.”

Casey concluded: “This is a fight that working class communities cannot afford to lose. Its long past time for these communities the length and breadth of this state to come together and organise effectively to drive these self serving politicians from power. More importantly however we need to dismantle and destroy their capitalist system which is based on greed before need and is responsible for the continued and increasing exploitation of workers, the ongoing drive to slash and privatise hospital services and the neglect of the most vulnerable in society who need assistance and care."



Dé hAoine, Meán Fómhair 17, 2010




Action in Support of a Bigotry-Free Newry


17/09/10

On Sunday afternoon [September 12], around 30 nationalists and republicans, including several éirígí activists, made a stand against sectarian intimidation in Newry.

Several weeks ago, imperialist and sectarian flags were erected on the newly opened Newry by-pass in an attempt by unionists to intimidate nationalists in the area. This was a highly publicised incident which attracted the attention of both the local and Six-County media.

Despite this attention, little or no action was taken to tackle the issue, indeed while the PSNI is threatening to arrest GAA fans for erecting Down flags in the same area, the force took no action against the unionists erecting sectarian flags.

Consequently, local nationalists took it upon themselves to remove the provocative sectarian emblems on Sunday afternoon.

This action was taken to support the right of everyone to live free from sectarian intimidation and harassment. Such was the support it received that numerous passing cars were beeping their horns in solidarity as the flags were being taken down.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “Unionism has traditionally used flags and emblems in an attempt to mark out territory and construct sectarian divides.

“This type of sectarian intimidation is completely unacceptable and should be opposed by all citizens.

“Those activists who removed the offending items should be commended for their efforts to create a bigotry-free environment in the Newry area.”


Dé Luain, Meán Fómhair 13, 2010



Oíche Ghairneoireachta do Dhún na nGall

13/09/2010

(English version follows)

Beidh oíche ag plé gairneroireachta, buaic ola agus pobail inbhuanaithe ag tarlú an mhí seo sa chondae. Beidh an imeacht, faoin teideal ‘Ag Fás le Chéile’, ag tarlú i Halla Pobail Anagaire Dé hAoine 17ú Meán Fómhair le roinnt mórghnéithe á bpleanáil chun slua mór a mhealladh.

Dúirt eagraitheoir na himeachta Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig go bhfuil sé ag dúil ní amháin go n-oilfidh an oíche daoine ach go spreagfaidh sí iad le bheith níos airdeallaí faoina riachtanais agus a gcumas féin pobal níos inbhuanaithe a thógáil anseo san iarthuaisceart.

Ag caint faoin imeacht, dúirt Mac Giolla Easbuig, “Oíche iomlán atá ann ní amháin le hoideachas ach le siamsaíocht chomh maith, agus súil againn go mbaineann gach duine sult as. Beidh taispeáint scannáin againn, agus aoichainteoirí – Connor O’Kane, Amanda Slevin agus Denise Gallangh-Wood – chun gairneroireacht, buaic ola agus pobail inbhuanaithe a phlé. Ina dhiaidh sin beidh bia orgánach ann, le rogha feoilséantach, agus leanfaidh an oíche le daoncheol beo ón ghrúpa Ard Rí. Ní oíche eolais amháin a bheas ann ach oíche thaitneamhach do gach duine chomh maith.”

Mhínigh sé freisin an smaoineamh taobh thair den imeacht, atá maoinithe ag Peace III, agus an fáth ar roghnaíodh an t-ábhar. “Tá muid inár gcónaí i dtréimhse an-difriúil agus deacair ina bhfuil tuilleadh daoine níos eolaí faoin domhan thart orthu agus faoin tionchar atá acu ní amháin ar an phobal ina gcónaíonn siad ach ar an domhan mór ina iomláine. Tá muid ag druidim ar bhuaic tháirgeadh na hola, mura bhfuil muid ansin cheana, agus tá na héilimh a chuireann tomhaltachas agus maireachtáil an lae inniu ar an domhan agus ar ár sochaí anois dochosanta,” arsa an tUasal Mac Giolla Easbuig.

“Is é aidhm an oíche seo taispeáint nach gá dúinn bheith i dtuilleamaí na n-ollmhargaí ilnáisiúnta móra lenár dtorthaí úra a sholáthar agus go bhfuil an cumas againn uilig ár bpobail a thógáil ina bpobail féinchothaithe ina ndéanann muid ár nglasraí, torthaí agus araile. Dhéanfadh seo, le comhoibriú ónár bpobal feirmeoireachta áitiúil, ár bpobail inbhuanaithe agus bheadh tionchar mór dearfach aige ar an timpeallacht, le torthaí ar fáil go háitiúil seachas a bheith seolta isteach ó i bhfad i gcéin, agus le fás agus bainistiú ceart bheadh sé ábalta fostaíocht áitiúil inbhuanaithe a chruthú san fhadtéarma. Chomh maith, mar atá le cluinstin ó dhuine ar bith a bhfuil suim acu i ngairneoireacht agus a dtorthaí féin a fhás, tá buntáistí dearfach ollmhóra ann do do shláinte fhisiceach agus intinne as seo a dhéanamh.

“Ba bheag nár thug muid droim go hiomlán lenár n-oidhreacht tuaithe, agus lenár gcumas soláthar dúinn féin, mar gheall ar an mhealladh nua-aiseach leis an tomhaltas. Tríd an imeacht seo agus an plé ar ghairneoireacht táthar ag súil go smaoineoidh daoine arís faoina n-úsáideann muid agus go dtuigfidh siad, mar aonaraigh agus mar phobail, go bhfuil an cumas againn smacht a fháil ar ár saolta féin agus gan a bheith ag brath ar ghnó mór le maireachtáil. B’fhéidir go gcuirfidh sé muid ar an bhóthar chuig caidreamh níos deafraí agus torthúla leis an talamh ar a maireann muid agus go gcuideoidh sé linn an dearfacht agus féinmhuinín sin a chur ar aghaidh chuig na glúnta atá le teacht.”

Tosóidh an imeacht Dé hAoine 17ú Meán Fómhair ag 7.30in go cruinn agus tá fáil isteach don oíche sao in aisce. Le haghaidh tuilleadh eolais is féidir dul i dteagmháil le Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig ag 0868845476.



A Night of Horticulture For Donegal

13/09/2010

An evening discussing horticulture, peak oil and sustainable communities is due to be held this month in the county. The event entitled 'Growing Together' is to be held in Annagry Community Hall, Annagry, on Friday 17th September with a host of features planned for the night to gather a large crowd.
Event organiser Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said he hopes that the night will not only educate but also encourage people to be more aware of their needs and their own abilities to build a more sustainable community here in the north west.

Speaking of the coming event, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said “Its a full evening of not only education but entertainment as well, which we hope everyone will enjoy. We will have a film showing and guest speakers, Connor O'Kane, Amanda Slevin and Denise Gallanagh-Wood to discuss horticulture, peak oil and sustainable communities. This will be followed by organic food for everyone to enjoy, with a vegetarian choice available and we will continue the night with live folk music by the group Ard Rí. So it will be not only an informative night but an enjoyable evening out for everyone as well.”

He also explained the thinking behind the holding of the Peace III funded event and the reasons why the subject matter was chosen. “We are living in very different and difficult times these days where a lot of people are more aware of the world around them and the impact they have not only on the community in which they live, but the world as a whole. We are reaching the much discussed time of peak oil production, if we have not already, and the demands which modern day living and consumerism are putting not only on the planet but our own society is becoming unsustainable”, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said.

“The aim of this event is to highlight that we do not need to be reliant upon large multi-national supermarkets to supply us with our fresh produce and that we all have the ability to build our communities into self sustaining ones where we grow and produce our own vegetables, fruit and other such items. This, along with co-operation from our local farming community, would not only make our communities sustainable but it would also have a large positive effect on the environment with produce being able to be sourced locally and not shipped in from much further afield, and with proper management and growth could create sustainable local employment in the long run. Also, as anyone who enjoys horticulture and the growing of their own produce will testify, the positive benefits to your own physical and mental well-being gained from the satisfaction of growing your own produce is immense,” he said.

“The modern day fascination with consumerism has almost led us to completely lose touch with our rural heritage and with that the ability to fend for ourselves. In having this event and discussing horticulturalism it is hoped that people will maybe think twice about what they consume and hopefully realise, that as individuals and communities, we have the ability to take control of our lives and not have to rely so heavily on big business to survive. Maybe it will also get us back to a more positive and productive relationship with the land on which we live and help us pass that positivity and self reliance on to our future generations.”

The event on Friday 17th September will begin at 7.30pm sharp and entry for the evening is free of charge. For more information Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig can be reached on 0868845476.



Déardaoin, Meán Fómhair 09, 2010


Precarious Childhood in Post-Independence Ireland - Book Review


09/09/2010


What follows is a review by Jack White of Moira J. Maguire's book 'Precarious Childhood in Post-Independence Ireland'.

Academic hard-back books tend to cost their weight in gold, and this study, at €62, will have a lot of us waiting for the paper-back edition, but don’t let that put you off. For a state so wracked by media and public concerns about the welfare of its children, the 26 counties has nonetheless failed comprehensively to learn from the lessons of its past in regard to social services for its most vulnerable citizens.

This would seem to be the most obvious conclusion to be drawn from Moira J. Maguire’s new, admirably constructed study, Precarious Childhood in Post-Independence Ireland.
Maguire’s accessible and straightforward book shows how terribly neglected this area has been. She first couches her discussion in terms of the Irish Free State's period of formation. She argues that, if the progressive Democratic Programme of the First Dáil set out specific rights and responsibilities regarding children, there was very little follow-through. The state’s “first duty” was “to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children”, but Maguire conveys how all the egalitarian and lofty lip-service about how this was to be done was gradually filched away.

Bunreacht na hÉireann, for example, “enshrined […] the state’s right to strip ‘unfit’ parents of their parental rights”, and while this might sound like proper order to the uninitiated, when one considers how many children were near enough kidnapped from their parents at the stroke of a pen, the sinister undertones become clear. Under this supposedly caring regime, children like (the now survivor’s rights activist) Christine Buckley were arrested and charged as toddlers for alleged “crimes” such as “wandering”, then sent to barbarous institutions for the remainder of their childhoods.

Many children were sent away to work in industrial schools, often on the basis of flimsy or reckless reasoning. Moreover, Maguire also systematically disproves the kind of misleading hearsay, of the dúirt-bean-liom-go-ndúirt-bean-léi variety, which has allowed so many myths to arise around why the children were sent away in the first place. How many times have we heard the word “orphanage” used as a euphemism for a child-prison (that had very few orphans), or how often was it assumed that the children came from desperate single mothers — that the Catholic church, inferentially, was doing these kids a big favour by taking them in?

“Legitimate children were as likely as their illegitimate counterparts to be sent to industrial schools,” Maguire shows, “primarily on the grounds of parental poverty, neglect, death or desertion”. She also shows that the children were, overwhelmingly, not “criminals”. Her conclusions are damning: “Throughout the first two-thirds of the twentieth century law makers presented a façade of caring and compassion while their social policies repeatedly ignored the needs and best interests of the neediest Irish children.”

The church was not doing anybody any favours. Contrary, again, to popular belief, it was in fact relatively well paid by the state to keep these children. And Maguire argues, compellingly, that if the same money had been given to their parents in the first place, a lot more families could have been kept together. The church in fact made a good deal of revenue from the slave-labour of Irish children, and recent concerns voiced by abuse survivor Paddy Doyle add a further sinister edge.

Some institutions were apparently using their unwitting inhabitants as guinea pigs to test new drugs for big pharmaceutical companies, unbeknownst to their families. “I cannot say with any degree of certainty that I was subjected to experimentation by vaccine,” Doyle writes; “what I can say is that the nuns in whose care I was placed by the District Court in Wexford were willing participants in assisting the doctor who visited St Michael's to administer injections, just as they were willing to tell me and the other boys: ‘Stop crying like a baby just because you got a little needle.’ The recent publicity concerning vaccine trials carried out on children in industrial schools is a cause of major concern to all of us who were given injections or ‘nice medicine to swallow.’” Obviously this could have been a nice little earner for the institutions involves. Another inquiry on the horizon, I hear you say?

Maguire’s book shines a light on a world that has “been ignored or marginalised in the historical record”. It shows that “Irish social policy had the effect of destroying family life when it did not conform to middle-class norms and expectations, or when it threatened the nationalist idea of a simple, content, if poor, morally pure Irish society”. That society is still reeling from the revelations of the past twenty years or so about how vulnerable children suffered all manner of abuse, but what Maguire reveals most plainly is that a lot more remains to be done.

The Irish state has yet to come to terms with its dire record of social care and political duplicity, and more recent dispatches from mental health institutions pose questions about how much we have really learned. What real rights do children (the ones without solicitors or wealthy parents) have today? This is a timely and engaging study, and a must-read for anyone involved with or concerned for the care of children by the state.

Jack White

'Precarious Childhood in Post-Independence Ireland' by Moira J. Maguire, is published by Manchester University Press.



Dé Máirt, Meán Fómhair 07, 2010



Promises, Promises: The Rampant Lies from Leinster House


07/09/10


Despite Brian Lenihan’s pledge to bring about “a big change in banking culture” after €7 billion [£5.9 billion] of public money was transferred to the private Allied Irish Bank and Bank of Ireland, a cursory glance at the people at the top of Irish financial institutions today clearly shows that not to be the case.

On the contrary, figures released by a daily newspaper last week indicate that, bar a few individual resignations, the bulk of the financial hierarchy in the Twenty-Six Counties remains in place and the majority of these are earning massive salaries which far outstrip the Dublin government-recommended rates of pay drawn up last year. Regardless of the posturing of political establishment that ‘heads would roll’ it is clear that this has not transpired in any meaningful shape or form.

Of the 12-strong director’s board of the Bank of Ireland in 2007, eight of them have been retained, while almost half of those in charge of running AIB remain in place today. A particularly notable case is that of Nationwide, which has cost taxpayers in the Twenty-Six Counties over €12 billion [£10 billion] to date. Three of the original five-man board continue to run Nationwide; the departures being disgraced financier Michael Fingleton [who received a €1 million bonus before his resignation] and his deputy, John Purcell.

While the salaries of the banking CEOs have been cut slightly, they remain far in excess of even the Dublin government’s recommendations. Last year, Bank of Ireland CEO Richard Boucher received a total of €1.99 million [£1.7 milion] in salary, associated benefits and a pension top-up. In the same year, AIB director Colm Doherty received €833,000 [£696,000]. Also in 2009, the CEOs of Anglo-Irish Bank and Irish Life and Permanent received €500,000 [£418,000] and €533,000 [£445,000] respectively. These astronomical amounts are being ‘earned’ by bank executives despite the fact that it will eventually cost taxpayers tens of billions of euro to bail out these institutions.

While it will come as no surprise to many that the business class continues to pilfer massive amounts of money, these figures do illustrate the hollow nature of previous government promises to ‘rein in the banks’. In essence, it demonstrates how the political and financial establishment work hand-in-glove and how each is dependent on the other for survival.

The Twenty-Six County government has no problem with diverting billions of euro of public money into these institutions and then subsequently declaring that the state cannot afford to provide vital services for working class citizens.

One thing is clear, meaningful regulation of the banks will never take place unless they are placed firmly in public hands and run solely for the benefit of society as a whole as opposed to the profit of a few.



Dé Domhnaigh, Meán Fómhair 05, 2010



Royal Visit Must Be Opposed

05/09/2010

A spokesperson for the socialist political party éirígí has called for widespread support of their campaign to stop a state visit to Ireland by the British Queen, Elizabeth II. The visit has been talked about in the media in recent months following a statement by An Taoiseach Brian Cowen that he was in favour of extending an invitation to the monarch. Mr Cowen made the statement following a meeting in Downing Street in June with David Cameron.

Although no date has yet been fixed for the suggested state visit, Brian Cowen stated that the visit could come before the end of next year and that talks had begun between Downing Street and the Dublin Government.

Since the announcement in June of the impending visit, éirígí have been very vocal in their opposition to it and have already staged a protest in Dublin outside a City Council meeting in July when éirígí Councillor Louise Minihan put a motion to the council calling for Dublin City Council to call on the Fianna Fáil led government to abandon their plans for the visit. During the protest several Dublin City councillors came out and joined the crowd which had gathered for the protest.

Speaking of the campaign, local éirígí spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said that the campaign against the planned visit was on going stating that another protest was due to be held tomorrow (Monday), again outside Dublin City Hall, as the motion proposed by Councillor Minihan is due to be debated.

“Once again we will take to the streets in protest against this move by Brian Cowen and his party to welcome the British head of state to Ireland and we will bring that protest to Dublin City Hall as the motion calling for it to be stopped is debated. Our aim is to show those councillors debating the motion the number of people who are against this move and let their voices be heard” Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said.


“This head of state, Elizabeth Windsor is not only the British Monarch but she is also the Commander In Chief of the British armed forces and as such we find it totally unacceptable that the Dublin Government have extended an invitation to her. As commander in chief, Elizabeth Windsor is the figure head of a military force which still occupies the Six Counties and also a military force which has been responsible for laying waste to Afghanistan and Iraq over the last ten years” he maintained.

Calling for support against the visit, the éirígí spokesperson concluded by saying, “Theres also the issue of the cost to the Irish tax payer that this visit will incur. The dole queues are lengthening here in Donegal and across this country and public services are being slashed. Beds are being reduced in Letterkenny General Hospital. Medical services are being cut and jobs are also being lost in the hospital because the government cannot find €8 million to make up the hospital budget, yet they can find €10 million of tax payers money to stage this visit. This is totally unacceptable and I would urge the public to support our campaign and to lobby their councillors and public representitives to insist that this visit does not go ahead.”


Dé hAoine, Meán Fómhair 03, 2010




Shell Takeover of Ireland ‘Complete’


03/09/2010


“The Shell takeover of Ireland is now complete.” This was the message from Shell to Sea campaigners, including a number of éirígí activists, who raised a Shell flag at the Twenty-Six County Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government in Dublin on Sunday [August 29].

The action recreated an iconic Second World War image of US forces seizing the island of Iwo Jima, south of Japan, in 1945. The demonstration called on environment minister John Gormley to reject Shell’s foreshore license application to lay a pipeline in Kilcommon parish in County Mayo.
Shell are looking to lay a 4.9km gas pipeline that will travel from Broadhaven Bay through the Sruth Fhada Conn estuary, both of which are designated as Special Areas of Conservation. The proposed route is also close to the Dún Chiortáin mountain, which was devastated by over forty landslides in September 2003 that caused millions of euros of damage, and which remains environmentally unstable.

Sunday’s action took place as a public consultation of Shell’s application came to an end. Shell to Sea are calling on Gormley to reject Shell’s application, and should he go ahead with the plan they are calling for an oral hearing into the granting of the foreshore license so that the health, safety and environmental impacts can be properly assessed.

Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson commented: “Given Shell’s record on human rights and the environment internationally, the Shell to Sea campaigners should be commended for their work in challenging ‘green’ minister Gormley on the Twenty-Six county state’s collusion with Shell.

“This is nothing new of course, and political interference in support of Shell should come as a surprise to no-one. Earlier this year, an official Éamon Ryan’s Department of Energy and Natural Resources attempted to influence An Bord Pleanála’s safety standards for the Shell application.”

Leeson continued: “The environmental and health and safety impacts of this project on the local community are of huge concern. Given the slaveen attitude of the Twenty-Six County government, it’s clear that these concerns will only be respected when the giveaway of our natural resources is successfully challenged, and when we choose to exploit our natural resources for the benefit of all the people of Ireland, and not for the benefit of multinational corporations and their political flunkies.”


Questions Must Be Raised - éirígí


03/09/2010

(English version follows)

Dúirt urlabhraí éirígí Thír Chonaill, Mícheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, gur chóir ceisteanna díríre a tharraingt anuas sa díospóireacht leanúnach faoi ghiniúint leictreachais ó fheirmeacha gaoithe. Tháinig a chuid ráitis toisc go bhfuil cinneadh dlite le déanamh ar iarratais phleanála d’fheirmeacha gaoithe i gCo. Dhún na nGall sna seachtainí amach romhainn.


D’áitigh an t-urlabhraí de chuid éirígí freisin nach mbainfidh ach méad beag daoine tairbhe as tógáil feirmeacha gaoithe ag rá go mbeadh ar phobail áitiúla fulaingt dá mbeadh cead ag comhlachtaí príomháideacha a gcuid feirmeacha gaoithe a bhunú ar fud Dhún na nGall.

Dúirt An tUasal Mac Giolla Easbuig, “Níl an feachtas reatha seo chun feirmeacha gaoithe a thógaint ar mhaithe leis an phobal agus pobail áitiúla, ach ar mhaithe le gnóthaí móra agus comhlachtaí príobháideacha amháin. Tá sé soiléir don chuid is mó go mbeidh athrú go dtí foinsí in-athnuaite fuinnimh riachtanach sna blianta amach romhainn, ach ní chóir é seo a dhéanamh ar chostas phobail áitiúla díreach ar mhaithe le daoine saibhre na gcomhlachtaí móra. Anseo i nDún na nGall feiceann muid cailiúnt postanna ar fud na tíre agus ciorraithe ar ár séirsbhísí poiblí agus an t-am ar fad tugann an rialtas i dTeach Laighean go náireach cearta ár n-acmhainní nádúrtha do thionscail phríobháideacha ar mhaithe le héilít bheag ag baint tairbhe astu.”



“Tá sé áiféiseach go mbeadh aon rud chomh flúirseach agus ar fáil chomh saor sin ar nós na gaoithe tógtha go héifeachtach ó dhaoine as náisiún ar bith, brabúis déanta asti agus na brabúis seo go léir tógtha ag beagán áirithe,” dúirt sé. “Má tá sé ceaptha go mbeadh ar phobail cur suas leis na tuirbíní gaoithe móra seo ba chóir go mbeadh siadsan ag baint tairbhe as na tuirbíní ar an chéad dul síos. Tá buarthaí inchosanta na bpobal i nDún na nGall againn freisin atá ag troid faoi láthair in aghaidh a bheith curtha síos le aon chéad chiliméadar de 110kv cábla leictreachais ag crochadh ó phiolóin ag lámhacán tríd tuath Dhún na nGall,” dúirt urlabhraí éirígí.

“Tá sé soiléir gur é príomh-intinn na tógála de líne den sort sin ná ar mhaithe le tairbhe na bhfeirmeacha gaoithe atá faoi úinéireacht phríobháideach. Ní amháin go mbeidh tionchar tromchúiseach ag na piolóin agus na línte leictreachais ar an tírdhreach ar a bhfuil cáil domhanada ar Dhún na nGall agus ar thurasóireacht ar a bhfuil an contae ag brath uirthi, ach freisin tá gné ciapadh na n-impleachtaí sláinte féideartha óna leithéad de phiolóin leictreachais ag teacht cóngarach do réadmhaoine cónaithe. Más féidir línte cumhachta den sórt sin a chur faoin talamh i gcathracha ar fud na hEorpa, in Éirinn chomh maith, níl cúis ar bith nach é seo an cás i nDún na nGall.”



Chríochnaigh sé, “’Sé an bunlíne anseo ná go bhfuil ar dhaoine ceisteanna dáiríre a chur, ní amháin ar cé atá ag baint tairbhe as feirmeacha gaoithe don chuid is mó ach an cheist ar cén sórt todhchaí atá uainn. An luíonn muid síos ag ligeaint dóibh siúd i dTeach Laighean satáil orainn ar mhaithe le comhlachaí príobháideacha? Caithfear stop a chur le scriosadh phobal áitiúla láithreach. Caithfidh sláinte, sábháilteacht agus inbhuanaitheacht ár bpobal a bheith ar bharr chlár oibre rialtais Bhaile Átha Cliath agus ní leasanna ghnóthaí príobháideacha.”


Questions Must Be Raised - éirígí

Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, spokesperson for éirígí Tir Chonaill, has said that serious questions have to be raised in the on-going debate over electricty generation from wind farms. His comments come as a decision on planning applications for wind farms in County Donegal is due to be made in the coming of weeks.

The éirígí spokesperson also insisted that it was only a small number of individuals who would benefit from the construction of wind farms saying local communities would have to suffer if private companies were allowed to establish their wind farms across Donegal.

Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said, “This current campaign to have wind farms built is clearly not in the interests of the public and local communities, but solely in the interests of big business and private companies. Its seems obvious to many that a switch to renewable energy resources will become a neccessity in the years ahead, but this should not be done at the expense of local communities just to benefit the fat cats of big business. Here in Donegal we see job losses throughout the county and cuts to our public services while all the time the Government in Lenister House shamefully hand away the rights to our natural resources to private industry for a small elite to benefit from.”

“It seems ludicrous that any people of any nation should have something as abundant and freely available as wind effectively taken from them, profits made from it and all those profits pocketed by a select few”, he said. “If communities are to be expected to put up with these huge wind turbines then it is them who should be reaping the benefits of those turbines first and foremost. We've also got the justifiable concerns of the communities in Donegal who are currently fighting against being run rough-shod over with one hundred kilometers of 110kv electricty cable hanging from pylons snaking through the Donegal countryside” said the éirígí spokesperson.



“Clearly the main intent of the construction of such a line is to mainly benefit he these privately owned wind farms. Such pylons and electricty lines will not only have a serious impact on the scenery which Donegal is world famous for and therefore tourism which the county is reliant upon, but there is also the worrying aspect of possible health implications of such electricty pylons coming anywhere near residential properties. If such power lines can be put underground in cities across Europe including in Ireland, as well as underground in various other parts of the countrysides across Europe, including in Ireland, then there is absoultely no reason why this cannot be the case in Donegal.”

He concluded, “The bottom line here is that people need to ask serious questions, not only of who's actually benefiting from wind farms the most, but also the question of exactly what kind of future do we want. Do we lie down and let those in Leinster House run all over the top of us in interests of private business? This rail-roading of local communities must stop now. The health, safety and sustainablity of our communties must be at the top of the agenda for the Dublin government and not the interests of private business.”


Dé Céadaoin, Meán Fómhair 01, 2010



PSNI Donegal Incursion Condemned

01/09/2010


Local spokesperson for éirígí, Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig has strongly condemned the PSNI for crossing into Donegal from the border town of Belleek in County Fermanagh. The incident which took place on August 12th is one of a series which have taken place along the border in recent times, most notably when they entered a shop south of the border and ignored locals who pointed out to them that they were out of their jurisdiction.


The PSNI has attempted to explain the latest incident by saying that the incursion was a “simple mistake” and that “the officers were from the Omagh area and not familiar with the local landmarks”.

Speaking in relation to the PSNI incursions into Donegal, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said, “It is an absolute disgrace that these incursions into the Twenty-Six Counties by British armed forces continue. Of course its nothing new that such incidents happen given the litany of stories that have emerged over the years describing the actions of British armed forces along the border, but that fact doesn't make it any more acceptable. Neither are their excuses acceptable.”

bridge crossing from Belleek into County Donegal
“In years gone by we've seen many such incursions where the British army have crossed the border not only on foot, but in armoured vehicles and by helicopter, on at least one occasion landing their helicopter south of the border. Both regular and SAS British soldiers have been apprehended by the Gardi in the Twenty-Six Counties on a number of occasions. Whether they were here for intimidation purposes, intelligence gathering or just by “simple mistake”, the fact that the Dublin Government had them released and sent back across the border without charge almost beggars belief. But then again, when we hear the likes of Fianna Fáil Senator Cecilia Keaveney inviting the British army to operate in the Twenty-Six Counties we should hardly be surprised at the apathetic attitude of Lenister House towards this issue.”


Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig concluded by saying, “This is at least the third time this year such an incident has taken place and it should not be allowed to continue. The parties in Stormont would like us to believe that the PSNI have changed their ways from days gone by but they have anything but done that. They have no respect for the nationalist communities in the occupied six counties, as was most evident given their treatment of the residents of Ardoyne on July 12th, nor do they have any respect for the people of the Twenty-Six Counties when they think its acceptable to cross into Donegal and set up vehicle checkpoints, as happened earlier this year. The PSNI remain what they always have been, an unaccountable British paramilitary police force who seem to be able to act with total impunity.”