Déardaoin, Deireadh Fómhair 28, 2010

Viva Palestina Succeeds in Breaking the Siege
At 4pm local time last Thursday [October 21], a convoy of 370 people in 150 vehicles carrying $5 million [€3.6 million; £3.2 million] of humanitarian aid crossed the border from Egypt into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing.
The Viva Palestina convoy, which had set out on its journey across Europe from London four weeks and five days earlier, was the largest convoy to date to break the Israeli siege and deliver much needed aid to the long suffering and besieged population of Gaza.
As the activists from more than 30 countries, including a number of Irish activists from counties Antrim, Tipperary and Tyrone, entered Gaza they were met by thousands of jubilant Palestinians who had gathered to welcome the convoy and celebrate the breaching of the siege.
The convoy had eventually departed for Gaza from Latakia in Syria by sea last Tuesday [October 19]. This was after a 16 day wait in a refugee camp in Latakia, set up for Palestinians ethnically cleansed from Acre and Haifa by Israel in 1948, for clearance from the Egyptian authorities for the aid to be landed at Al Arish and transported through Egypt to the Rafah Crossing and onward into Gaza. While Egypt eventually agreed to allow the convoy to proceed, they denied permission to enter to 17 activists, including Viva Palestina founder George Galloway and a number of survivors from the Mavi Marmara ship.
Amongst the aid onboard were vital medical and educational supplies, which Israel continues to prevent from being brought into Gaza. Included were chemotherapy drugs, antibiotics for the old and sick, ventilators for newborn babies, refrigerator units, new wheelchairs, breathing tubes, surgical equipment, dental equipment and hundreds of different types of medicine, bandages and dressings. Supplies for schoolchildren included schoolbags that had been filled with copybooks, pens, pencils and other basic school items that many children take for granted but which are denied to the children of Gaza.
Also delivered on Thursday was an ambulance filled with medical aid and school supplies for the Al Awa hospital in Gaza. The ambulance was driven the more than 3,000 miles from Tipperary to London and onwards across Europe by Tipp to Gaza activists Jimmy Nolan and Joe Gilmartin.
Survivors of the Mavi Marmara massacre on May 31 also participated in the convoy. Soil from the graves of those murdered by the Israeli military on that Freedom Flotilla were brought into Gaza to be used to plant trees as a memorial to the martyred human rights activists.
éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír said the actions of the activists had put governments around the world to shame.
“The failure of the United Nations, the European Union and governments worldwide to take action against Israel to bring an end to this inhumane and illegal siege is shameful. It is indicative of the contempt with which these organisations view the most basic human rights of the Palestinian people,” Mac An Mhaistír said.
“The continued imposition of this siege has resulted in widespread suffering for the civilian population of Gaza. Essential items such as medical equipment, food and clean water continue to be blocked from entering Gaza in sufficient quantities. The result of this collective punishment by Israel is rampant poverty, needless hunger, extremely high levels of children with chronic malnutrition and unnecessary suffering and deaths from preventable illness.
“The most recent example of the real human cost of Israel's blockade was the death of two year old Nasma Abu Lasheen. According to Physicians for Human Rights, Nasma, who was suffering from Leukaemia, was referred for emergency treatment to a hospital in the Israeli state on October 6. Without any justification and despite pleas from a host of human rights organisations, the Israeli military delayed granting an entry visa for Nasma until October 14, eight days later, by which time the child was too ill to be moved and died just two days later.
Mac An Mhaistír added: “Easing the siege or lifting certain restrictions on certain items is not a solution. Only the complete lifting of this illegal blockade, the securing of freedom for the entire Palestinian people and the bringing to justice of the zionist political and military establishment for their countless war crimes is an acceptable solution. Freedom and justice are non-negotiable.”
Freda Hughes and Daithí Mac An Mhaistír
Also welcoming the news was Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign [IPSC] national chairperson Freda Hughes.
“These activists are to be commended and congratulated for their bravery and determination to breach this illegal blockade and deliver their humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza Strip,” Hughes said.
“This was despite threats in recent days by the Israeli military that they were preparing to intercept the convoy and various obstacles placed in their way by Egyptian authorities. The people of Gaza must also be praised for their steadfastness in the face of the brutality and inhumanity of Israel's apartheid policies.

“While this convoy has breached the blockade, the cruel and illegal siege remains in place. The fact that these activists have had to resort to such actions is a damning indictment of the international community, who, despite acknowledging the illegality and barbarity of the blockade, have failed to take any meaningful action to end it.”
Hughes added: “It is long past time for the international community to finally live up to their responsibilities. They must take whatever action is necessary to force Israel to end the blockade and to secure justice and freedom for the Palestinian people. The EU and the Irish government regularly express a commitment to human rights, now they need to move beyond rhetoric and implement official sanctions against the rogue state of Israel or it will continue to act with impunity and the Palestinian people will continue to pay the price.”

Dé Luain, Deireadh Fómhair 25, 2010

Malairt Phictiúrlainn Phobail

(English version follows)

De hAoine 29ú Deireadh Fómhair seoltar tionscnamh úr oideachais in Anagaire, Dún na nGall, d’arbh ainm ‘Malairt Phictiúrlainn Phobail’. Thar 6 ócáid áirithe cuirfear scannáin fhaisnéise agus príomhscannáin faoi ábhair éagsúla i láthair agus beidh deis ag an lucht féachana na scannáin a phlé agus labhairt leis na haoichainteoirí a bhéas i láthair.
Leis an chéad imeacht, ar an 29ú Deireadh Fómhair, taispeánfar an scannán ‘Kangamba’, scannán Cúbach a leanann na heachtraí a tharla le linn ‘Cath Cangamba’ in Angóla agus a dhíríonn isteach ar thréimhse 9 lá i 1983 ina raibh trúpa de 90 trodaí idirnáisiúnta Chúbach agus comhraiceoirí ó Fhórsaí Armáilte ar son Saoirse Angóla i gcogadh le fórsaí ciníocha na hAfraice Theas.

I láthair ag an imeacht beidh a Soilse Teresita Trujillo, Ambasadóir Chúba d’Éireann a bheirfeas an phríomh chaint. Beidh ceol agus cuideachta i ndiaidh an taispeántais chomh maith le bia.

Is é an gníomhaí forbartha pobail, Mícheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, eagraí an tionscnaimh agus tá tacaíocht ag an imeacht ó Chlár Peace III an Aontais Eorpaigh, Comhairle Chontae Dhún na nGall agus Bord Forbartha Chontae Dhún na nGall. Deir Mícheál : ‘Taispeánann an tionscnamh seo gur féidir scannánaíocht a úsáid mar uirlis oideachais in ionad é a bheith ina ghléas siamsaíochta amháin mar a fheictear le scannánaíocht príomhshrutha an lae inniu. Is é an aidhm atá againn, 6 imeacht áirithe a chuir ar siúil ina dtaispeántar scannán nó clár faisnéise mar bhealach iad sin atá i láthair a chuir ar an eolas faoi cheisteanna agus scéalta áirithe ar fud an domhain, chomh maith le bheith ag cothú meas agus tuiscint do chultúir eile.
Tá an t-ádh orainn Ambasadóir Chúba d’Éireann, Teresita Trujillo, a bheith mar aoichainteoir againn, rud a chuirfeas le blas idirnáisiúnta an tionscnaimh agus a bheirfeas deis dóibh siúd i láthair a tuairim a fháil faoin scannán agus faoi dhlúthpháirtíocht agus tuiscint idirnáisiúnta. Le ceol beo agus bia i ndiaidh na himeachta agus seans d’achan duine an scannán a phlé ba chóir go mbeadh oíche thaitneamhach agus eolasach ann dúinn uilig.’
Beidh an chéad imeacht de ‘Malairt Phictiúrlainn Phobail’ i Halla Mór Anagaire, ar an Aoine an 29ú Deireadh Fómhair. Tosóidh an scannán ar 7:30in agus tá cead isteach saor in aisce. Tuilleadh eolais ó Mhícheál Cholm ar 0868845476.
Beidh Ambasadóir Chúba i láthair ag oifigí Phort na Fáilte i Leitir Ceanainn ar maidin an 29ú Deireadh Fómhair chomh maith, áit a gcasfaidh sí le hoifigeach forbartha Peace III, an Dr. Karin White, le comhairleoirí condae Dhún na nGall, le ceannairí pobail agus le baill as grúpaí mionlaigh.

Alternative Community Cinema

On Friday 29th October, the launch of a new educational initiative will take place in Annagry, County Donegal. Called 'Alternative Community Cinema', it is planned that over six different occasions film documentaries and feature films will be shown on specific topics and those gathered will be able to remain after the screenings of the films to discuss the topic and listen to speakers deliver a short talk on each issue.

Click to enlarge
The first of the events on October 29th will see the screening of the film 'Kangamba'. This Cuban made film, which is subtitled in English, follows the events of the Battle of Cangamba which took place in Angola and concentrates on a period of nine days in 1983 which saw a contingent of 90 internationalist Cuban fighters and combatants from the Armed Forces for the Liberation of Angola battle against the forces of racism in Southern Africa.

This first film showing which will take place in the Annagry Community Hall will see the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, Her Excellency Teresita Trujillo, attend the event and give the main speaking address on the night. The film screening will also be followed by live music and food to be enjoyed by those attending.

Organiser of the project, which is supported by the the European Unions Peace III Programme and managed for the Special EU Programmes Body by Donegal County Council and the Donegal County Development Board, is local community development activist Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig. Speaking of the Alternative Community Cinema project, Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said “This initiative is to show the possibility of using cinema as an educational tool, rather than just the sole aim of entertainment that you tend to find with mainstream cinema today. The aim is to hold six different events during which a film or documentary will be shown as a way to educate those who attend and inform them of various stories and issues from around the world, while also helping them to understand and appreciate other cultures.”

Cuban Ambassador to Ireland
Teresita Trujillo
“We are lucky enough to have the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland Teresita Trujillo attending and speaking at this event which will lend to the international feel of the project and give those attending a chance to hear her opinion on the film and the idea of international awareness and solidarity. With live music and food after the screening and the chance for everyone to discuss the film it should be an enjoyable and informative night for all attending” he said.

The first of the 'Alternative Community Cinema' screenings will be held in Annagry Community Hall, Annagry on Friday 29th October. The film begins at 7.30pm and admission is free. For more information people are asked to contact Micheál Cholm on 0868845476.
Annagry Community Hall
As well as speaking at the Alternative Community Cinema event, the Cuban Ambassador will also be in attendance at the Port Na Failte offices in Letterkenny on the morning of October 29th where she will meet with Peace III development officer Dr Karin White, local Donegal County Councillors, community leaders and members of minority groups.

Dé hAoine, Deireadh Fómhair 22, 2010

For Your Future, For Your Class, For Your Community – Act Now!
That, on the day an ailing Margaret Thatcher was being treated in a private hospital, British Tory chancellor George Osborne was rising at Westminster to wield his ideological axe was highly ironic.
While the woman who wreaked such bloodshed and destruction in occupied Ireland, in British mining communities, in the Malvinas and elsewhere is weak in body, her hateful policies are very much alive and well in the halls of power in Westminster, Leinster House and Britain’s papier-mâché parliament at Stormont.
While British New Labour adopted Thatcherism by stealth, leading the woman herself to claim that party’s reincarnation as her greatest achievement, the current British Tory-Liberal Democrat government has no such qualms about being publicly Thatcherite in its policies.
Osborne & Co have set out a plan that will cripple public services, leave millions in poverty and working class communities in despair.
Among the most significant points of what the British government labeled its ‘spending review’ are: nearly 500,000 public sector jobs to be axed across the British state; an average 19 per cent four-year cut in departmental budgets; £7 billion [€7.9 billion] in additional welfare budget cuts; the retirement age to rise to 66 by 2020, which will impact particularly on low-paid workers who start work earlier in life; the increase of the NHS budget by just 0.4 per cent is de facto the biggest cut since the early 1980s.
In terms of the Six Counties, these cuts translate into: a £4 billion [€4.5 billion] cut in public expenditure over four years, which is effectively a 40 per cent cut in the British government’s subvention; the loss of up to 30,000 public sector jobs, which it is estimated will consequently cost 16,000 jobs in the private sector; the education sector, the health service and social housing will all be hit hard by the mass withdrawal of public money.
The alleged opposition of the establishment parties at Stormont to these viscous attacks on working class people amounts to posturing of the weakest kind. While they have described Osborne’s proposals as “unacceptable”, the reality is that their policy of appealing to the better instincts of a British Tory government has failed completely. A British Tory government does not possess ‘better instincts’ when it comes to dealing with Irish people or workers.
Indeed, some Stormont politicians who should know better had the audacity to feign hurt and offence at the “broken promises” of the British government in relation to what capital it was going to provide in the Six Counties. Any politician, particularly one who claims to oppose Britain’s presence in Ireland, who takes a British government at its word is guilty of breathtaking naivety.
Stormont first minister Peter Robinson and his deputy Martin McGuinness weren’t even in the country to lend their desperate howl of opposition to the British government’s financial holocaust. Instead, they were out with their begging bowl in Washington, seeking the benevolence of another imperial power due to the miserly attitude of the British one.
Britain’s Stormont administrators have two choices in the face of Osborne’s announcement: they can either implement the cuts or they can resign and let the British government do its own dirty work. They can no longer claim the role of opposition while dutifully carrying out the role that Britain designed for them – that of local administrators.
The chances of these establishment politicians doing the right thing and resigning is next to none; they have invested too much of their careers and credibilities in a ridiculous set-up they like to pretend is a real government.
Therefore, it falls on working people to do both the right thing and the only viable thing according to their interests – to actively oppose these cuts and the politicians, both native and foreign, who will implement them. This is the alternative, the only alternative, to meekly bowing down in the face of upper-class Tory ministers whose sole aim is to protect the interests and wealth of the business class.
Starting this Saturday [October 23] in Belfast, people must take to the streets and make it powerfully clear that anyone who dares to implement these cuts is signing their political death warrant.
Public sector workers, the low-paid, the unemployed, community workers, young people, pensioners – everyone who stands to lose in this crisis has a role to play in fighting for a future without poverty and greed.
This is our last chance to ensure that the hateful legacy of Margaret Thatcher and her disciples dies with her – grab it with both hands.
The Irish Congress of Trade Union’s march and rally against the cuts will assemble at the University of Ulster Arts College, Belfast city centre at 12.30pm on Saturday [October 23]. Bígí Linn.

Dé Domhnaigh, Deireadh Fómhair 17, 2010

Damn Your Consensus Cowen – We Want Our Wealth
For the past week, members of the business and political establishment in the Twenty-Six Counties have been tripping over one another to make calls for the development of a so-called national consensus to deal with the current capitalist crisis.
Calls for a ‘national consensus’ are simply a means of trying to stymie opposition to the impending four year austerity programme currently being cooked up by the Fianna Fáil/Green Party coalition and their advisers in the employers’ group IBEC.
To suggest that ‘we’ are ‘all in this together’ and that a great ‘national effort’ is required to deal with the economic catastrophe is to grossly distort the true nature of this crisis and an attempt to hoodwink the working class into becoming their own gravediggers. The working class are not responsible for this crisis and should not be paying the price for it.
Already, the establishment parties who supported the Lisbon Treaty are in agreement that the target of a three per cent budget deficit contained within the European Union’s Growth and Stability Pact should be reached by 2014. They are also in agreement that next December’s budget should include public spending cuts of at least €3 billion [£2.6 billion]. However the coalition government has already made it clear that cuts will be in the order of €4 to €5 billion [£3.5-4.4 billion], while Fine Gael’s young Tory Leo Varadkar has called for the full implementation of the McCarthy Report and cuts of €6 billion [£5.3 billion] this year.
It will be remembered that the McCarthy Report effectively called for the evisceration of the public sector and the sell-off of all remaining state assets. Not surprisingly, calls for the burden of the crisis to be heaped upon the working class have been supported by parasitic tax exiles such as Denis O’Brien and Michael Smurfit. The ‘national consensus’ is simply a denial of class division within Irish society and an attempt by capitalists to continue to appropriate wealth from the working class.
The shape of December’s budget is clear: further cuts in social welfare payments; imposition of domestic water charges; increased taxes on the low paid; privatisation of publicly owned companies such as the ESB and Bord Gáis; lowering of the minimum wage and cuts in state spending on health, education and housing.
The airwaves have been jammed with a host of right-wing quack economists who still cling to this neo-liberal agenda and demand that the limited sovereignty enjoyed in the Twenty-Six Counties be surrendered to the all-powerful international markets. By their logic, reducing the living standards of the majority of the population is not only in the ‘national’ interest but is also the only thing that will satisfy the ‘Masters of the Universe’ in stock exchanges and investment banks around the globe.
It comes as no surprise that establishment politicians would capitulate to the demands of both native and international capitalists. Echoing Brian Lenihan’s call when announcing last year’s savage budget cuts to ‘pull on the green jersey’, Brian Cowen described these latest measures as being for the ‘common good’ and serving the ‘national’ interest.
The only interests being served in this nascent cosy consensus are those of capitalism. ‘We’ are not in this together and attempts to co-opt the working class into this agenda must be vigorously resisted: a capitalist with a green jersey is still a capitalist and is the enemy of the working class. In the words of James Connolly:“No matter what the form of government may be, as long as one class owns as private property the land and the instruments of labour from which mankind derive their substance, that class will always have it in their power to plunder and enslave the remainder of their fellow-creatures.”
One item that will certainly not be on the agenda of any meeting between establishment political parties in the Twenty-Six Counties is the appropriation of the wealth of those who created the economic catastrophe. The bankers, the speculators and the property developers who gambled and lost can sleep easy in the knowledge that their vast wealth is safe and that the working class will pick up their tab. Austerity measures, it seems, are reserved for the working class.
Yet, as éirígí and the newly established 1 Percent Network, has consistently highlighted, just one per cent of the population controls 34 per cent of the wealth in the Twenty-Six County state.
What absolutely terrifies the business and political establishment is the mobilisation of the working class in defiance of the austerity measures being imposed upon them and their unified call for the seizure of the assets of the rich. Why is it that cutting pensions, minimum wage and health services are somehow in the ‘national interest’ and for the ‘common good’, while increasing corporation tax, imposing a wealth tax, the nationalisation of our natural resources and the seizure of the assets of developers are not? The simple answer is because we live in a class based society and no amount of blather from John Gormley or Brian Cowen about a ‘national consensus’ can alter that fact.
In recent weeks, Europe has reverberated with the sound of marching feet and angry voices as millions of workers mobilise against the imposition of austerity measures. Early this week, over three million French workers were joined by huge numbers of school students in opposition to government plans to increase the retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age at which individuals can receive a full state pension from 65 to 67. During the course of the one day strike, eight of France’s 12 oil refineries were shut down and transport networks across the country’s major cities were brought to a standstill. Trade unions in France have now balloted for rolling daily strike action as opposition to president Nicolas Sarkozy’s right-wing government grows.
On September 29, as part of a European trade union day of action against austerity measures, millions of workers participated in a one day general strike against public sector cuts being imposed by the Spanish government, who are also attempting to increase the retirement age.
Meanwhile, in Greece, where unemployment has risen to 12 per cent, workers continue to be at the forefront of resistance to the European wide cutbacks. This week, Greek police fired tear gas and attacked strikers at the Acropolis in Athens, where workers are seeking two years of unpaid wages.
This is the type of action that so terrifies the business and political establishment in Ireland and it is no coincidence that, in recent days, both RTÉ and the corporate print media have attempted to downplay the extent and significance of the mobilisations in France.
It is time to smash the cosy consensus that exists between Leinster House and IBEC HQ and to make the rich pay for their crisis.

Déardaoin, Deireadh Fómhair 14, 2010

Walking Tour Captures the Imagination


Given the unique nature of last Saturday’s [October 9] political walking tour, it was always going to be difficult to predict how many people would turn up to the event.
Political protests in Dublin invariably follow the same format; marching the well-trodden route from the Garden of Remembrance to the gates of Leinster House, where speaker after speaker addresses an ever-dwindling crowd.

But, if the organisers of the 1% Network had any concerns that people might not ‘get’ the concept behind the walking tour, they need not have worried. By 1.30pm on Saturday, the assembly point at the Wolfe Tone monument on Stephen’s Green was thronged with upwards of 250 people who had come along to see “how the  1% live,” and to add their voice to the demand for an end to wealth inequality in Ireland.

Before the tour moved off, two speakers addressed the crowd. The first, Gregor Kerr from the Workers Solidarity Movement, gave a brief explanation of the background to the 1% Network and the tour itself.

Next up was the first tour guide of the day, éirígí councillor Louise Minihan, who informed the crowd of the various private clubs that are to be found in the vicinity of Stephen’s Green. Many members of the one per cent economic elite are members of such clubs, using them not only to socialise but also to reinforce the old boy networks which are central to Twenty-Six County business and political dealings.

As the tour moved off along Merrion Row, it was clear that the Garda were adopting a low-key presence. This was in stark contrast to the policing of demonstrations at Anglo Irish Bank and Leinster House earlier this year, where the Gardaí attacked protesters on a number of occasions.
The second stop, at 71 Merrion Square, is one of the many residences of billionaire tax dodger Dermot Desmond. Here, Bernie Hughes from the Irish Socialist Network gave the tour a taste of Desmond’s background, including his support for Charlie Haughey and the controversy that has surrounded his business dealings for decades.

Andrew Flood of the Workers Solidarity Movement was the third tour guide, addressing a stop outside of IBEC headquarters on Baggot Street. To boos and jeers, he explained the role that IBEC plays as defender of the one per cent, propagating anti-worker and pro-business sentiment at every available opportunity from every available platform.

With the crossing of Baggot Street Bridge, the tour moved from Dublin 2 into the true heartland of the golden circle in Dublin 4 where the next stop, at Connaught House, was addressed by éirígí’s Daithí Mac An Mhaistír. The building currently houses the headquarters of both Treasury Holdings and the private banking division of Anglo Irish Bank. The full headquarters of Anglo are soon to be moved there as well, as the bank abandons its flagship Stephen’s Green offices in favour of a location less likely to attract protest.

Mac An Mhaistír explained the nature of private banking – a highly secretive sector of the financial industry which can only be accessed by those with extremely large sums of cash to invest. While most of Irish society has not even heard of the private banking sector, the same cannot be said for the one per cent, who are all too familiar with the best ways to avoid and evade the paying of taxation. The éirígí spokesperson also gave a brief rundown on the dealings of Treasury Holdings, a property development company which owes NAMA close to one billion euro.
At the other end of Burlington Road, the tour stopped outside the ‘purple palace’ residence of Treasury Holdings co-owner Johnny Ronan. Here, Grainne Griffin of the Workers Solidarity Movement gave an overview of some of the dealings of Treasury Holdings, including its controversial public private partnership deals with the Twenty-Six County state.

The tour then moved onto Leeson Street and back into Dublin 2 for the next stop at Corrib House, the headquarters Shell Oil’s Irish operation. Here, Caoimhe Kerins brought the tour up to speed on the scandalous giveaway of Ireland’s oil and gas reserves to private energy corporations, including Shell.

Another company to benefit from the great oil and gas giveaway is Providence Resources, a company owned by another leading member of the one per cent, tax dodger Tony O’Reilly. And it was his property on Fitzwilliam Square which formed the next and final stop on the walking tour. From the steps of O’Reilly’s mansion, the Irish Socialist Network’s Stephen Lewis provided a brief summary of the incredible wealth of O’Reilly and his family, as well as the huge influence they exercise on Irish society via their extensive stable of media outlets.

The final speaker of the day was éirígí’s Brian Leeson, who also addressed the tour from the steps of O’Reilly’s Dublin residence.
Leeson urged people to remember that the wealth of the one per cent was, in fact, generated by the rest of the population and, as such, the rest of the population had the right to take back that wealth. He also posed a series of questions, asking people what they would be willing to do over the coming months and years as the business and political establishment attempted to introduce round after round of cutbacks: “Are you willing to march to the gates of Leinster House? Are you willing to block those gates? Are you willing to storm those gates?”

In conclusion, Leeson thanked everyone for attending and informed people that the next 1% Network event would take place on the Halloween weekend, with details to be made public over the coming days.

Dé Máirt, Deireadh Fómhair 12, 2010

What follows is a piece on the education system written for the éirígí Tir Chonaill blog by Peter O'Donnell.

The Business of Education

Education in Ireland, North and South is a business. Like any good business, it has made strenuous moves over the years to safeguard itself and ensure its continuance for future owners. Cf. Ken Bloomfield and the 11+, Set up your own schools in England and the C.C.M.S.

In terms of buying shares in such an enterprise, it is a sure bet. The client base is ongoing, nearly from the cradle to the grave, or at least from Naionra to Post Grad. The product is well defined, excellently promoted and eagerly sought after. The resources are expensive and, like the Manchester United shirt upgraded nearly every year.

The Boards of Directors are up there with the Executive boards of multi-nationals. They are richly rewarded, powerful in terms of property assests, potent in distribution of jobs, secret in the continuance of its education philosophy and adverse to change. Pension plans are rewarding and employment is often guaranteed after retirement.

To continue the Premiership notation, it covers all divisions. Years ago, there was the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions. Now you have the Premiership, The Championship, designed no doubt to give some false semblance of equality. Grammar, Comprehensive, Private, Metropolitan Colleges all put themselves forward as equal limbs of the same tree.Unfortunately, if you look at the fruit from each of these branches, there is a great disparity in quality and achievement.

That is, if you buy into the system.

Like any self serving system eg. The Catholic Church, The British Monarchy, The American Establishment there is an in ordinate amount of time, energy and resources utilised to maintain the system. Years ago, this would have been the status quo, but as the denim clad singers head for the Christmas compilations, so trying to keep still is not now an option. The Monarchy forgot about repackaging Charles and Camilla, and concentrated on the normal princes as lads about town, fighting for their country in hot far off lands and building wells for African families.

The Catholic Church minimised abuse scandals and are using their influence (in education circles) to promote those who are not bad apples. Micky Hart, the Tyrone manager and other worthies, has contributed to a new CD, the 3 Amigos/Priests sing their way through the avenues and allyways and Benidict is visiting Britain. A Eucharistic Conference is mooted for the future.

For those in the education process in Ireland, change is not going to happen. The system is geared to a person who is compliant and ready. Parents chase schools, wealth dictates residential address and status; language, speech, writing, access push are linked to the chain of riches or poverty.

The boards of governors, in many instances the same people interchanged, reinvent the teaching cadre, promotion is linked to the local GAA club as is often admission to teacher training colleges. I often wondered why God gave vocations to family groups instead of sharing them out. Look at any death notices and amaze yourself at the workings of the Lord. A bishop, a parish priest, a nun, a few principles, a solicitor and a book maker all in the same family. If you are poor, you get to see his mother in Fatima, Lourdes or Knock.

My wish is that education splits from the education system.

Dé Domhnaigh, Deireadh Fómhair 10, 2010

Cameron the Little Imperialist
Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has said the comments of British prime minister David Cameron at his party’s annual conference are proof of Britain’s continuing imperialist role in Ireland.
In his main address earlier this week, Cameron said: “When I say I am prime minister of the United Kingdom, I really mean it. England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland – we're weaker apart, stronger together, so together is the way we must always stay.”
Mac Cionnaith responded: “The comments of many senior British politicians in recent times have made a mockery of the previous claim that Britain has no selfish or strategic interest in Ireland.
David Cameron“Cameron’s comments are reminiscent of former British foreign secretary Jack Straw’s assertion that the Britain must remain in Ireland in order to maintain its prominent status in bodies such as NATO, the EU and the UN.
“Cameron’s arrogant claim that ‘together is the way we must always stay’ is a powerful demonstration on the part of the British government that it continues to reject the right of the Irish people to decide their own destiny, freely and as one people.”
Mac Cionnaith continued: “Yet again, it falls to Irish republicans to point out that Britain has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland and never can have any right in Ireland. All the posturing in the world by British prime ministers cannot change that fact.
“éirígí will continue to actively challenge the British government’s illegal and illegitimate claim on the North of Ireland, while campaigning in tandem against the right-wing cuts it plans to impose on working class people in the Six Counties.
“It is only by effecting a British withdrawal from Ireland and defeating the disastrous social and economic policies that Britain and its proxies administer to the Irish people that a truly new society can be built. éirígí is calling on all republicans and socialists to begin building a mass opposition to these twin evils.”

Dé Céadaoin, Deireadh Fómhair 06, 2010

Take Your Anger to the Doors of the Wealthy


Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has encouraged people to take their anger and frustration to the doorsteps of those who comprise the Golden Circle by taking part in the Political Walking Tour through Dublin this Saturday [October 9].
1% Stall, Ballyfermot
The tour has been organised by the 1% Network, a new initiative launched by a number of socialist organisations, including éirígí, to highlight the fact that the super-rich have escaped virtually unscathed from the current economic crisis. It will assemble at the Wolfe Tone monument at the Merrion Row corner of Stephen’s Green at 1pm. The route of the tour is about 3km long and will last about two hours.

Leeson added: “This tour through the heartland of the Golden Circle will stop at private mansions, the homes of billionaire tax dodgers, at corporate headquarters, at failed banks and at the offices of various lobby groups that protect the interests of this super-rich one per cent.”

1% Stall at GPO, Dublin
“Last Thursday [September 30], the Twenty-Six County government pumped a further €10–15 billion [£8.8-12 billion] into the banks, bringing the total cost to date of the bailout to €50 billion [£44 billion]. To pay off these gambling debts of private bankers, this administration has decimated our public health and education systems and slashed the incomes of working class people, leading to increased hardship and poverty. Now, they plan to impose yet further cuts of €4-5 billion [£3.5-4.4 billion] in next month’s budget.”

Leeson concluded: “We are urging people to take to the streets on Saturday to resist these cutbacks, to demand an end to the bailout of private banks and to ensure that the wealthy political and business elite are made to pay their fair share. The capitalist economy has failed spectacularly and we must now begin dismantling it and creating a new society based on the redistribution of wealth and public ownership, which puts need before greed.”


Mac Cionnaith Rubbishes Saulters Comments

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith has said the comments of Orange Order grand master Robert Saulters are indicative of the sectarian malice at the heart of that organisation.
Breandán Mac Cionnaith
Mac Cionnaith was responding to an article Saulters wrote in the current edition of Orange Standard publication, where he claimed: “Surely we have learned something from the Claudy bombing, the Omagh bombing and all the other atrocities, these fancy names of dissident, real, eirigi [sic], they are all the Roman Catholic IRA and let us not forget that.”
Mac Cionnaith said: “Yet again, Robert Saulters has exposed himself as a fundamentalist bigot of the worst variety. Throughout its history, the Orange Order has been shown to have a clear and proven record of fomenting sectarian division and religious hatred; Saulters’ comments should be seen in this context.
“The Orange Order is an organisation that carries the images of deceased sectarian killers in its processions, has refused to expel living sectarian killers from its ranks, has actively allied itself to unionist murder gangs and continues to attempt to impose sectarian marches upon nationalist areas. It is an organisation with no credibility – in fact, in recent years its membership has dropped drastically from more than 100,000 to just 39,000.”
Mac Cionnaith continued: “For the record, éirígí is a secular, socialist republican political party that seeks to unite working class people of all creeds and none in a struggle against occupation and exploitation. This is the real reason for the Orange Order’s antipathy towards republicanism – an antipathy which has existed ever since the Order was first used as an armed militia to suppress those catholics, protestants and dissenters who had joined together within the United Irishmen to embrace a republican vision of society based upon liberty, fraternity and equality as opposed to the one based on exploitation, sectarian division and discrimination as favoured by the Order.
“It is to be hoped that those who have attempted to rehabilitate the Orange Order through such shams as Orange Fest will take the continued sectarian comments of its leadership into account when they are considering what to do with their next tranche of funding.”

Dé Domhnaigh, Deireadh Fómhair 03, 2010

Investment Needed Not Cutbacks - éirígí


Letterkenny Genneral Hospital
Spokesperson for éirígí Tir Chonaill, Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig has said that the news that services in Letterkenny General Hospital were stretched to the limit last Monday night (September 27th) just goes to highlight the mistake the Dublin government and the HSE have made in deciding to make cuts in the health service. He also said that it was another example of how the future will go if the government continue to implement cutbacks in order to make up the deficit which has been created in the banking crisis.

Speaking after the news broke that staff at Letterkenny General Hospital were overstretched as twelve patients spilled over into the out-patients department, forcing a number of clinics in the hospital to be closed on Tuesday and the A&E department to issue a call that people do not attend unless absolutely necessary, the éirígí spokesperson said “This unfortunate example where hospital staff have found themselves over stretched and unable to deal properly with patients is a taster of what will be ahead for all of us if the Fianna Fáil led government are allowed to make the savage cutbacks that they are planning.”

“In order to balance the books after they bailed out the bankers and property developers who helped cause this financial mess in the first place, the government think the best way to do it is to make cutbacks in in essential services such as health. Can you imagine how more disastrous things might have been in Letterkenny General on Monday if the hospital staff numbers were cut or hospital beds closed? This is a prime example if ever there was one that the government should be investing in our public services not slashing them to ribbons”, he said.

Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig finished by saying, “What happened in the hospital this week would only be the tip of the iceberg if the Fianna Fáil/Green Party government continues with its cuts in public services. Instead of making draconian decisions to make the most needy in society pay for the mistakes and greed of the exceptionally wealthy by cutting public services such as health, those in Lenister House should stop bailing out the wealthy individuals who caused the problem in the first place. They should also take back our natural resources from foreign private companies and invest the resulting wealth of those resources in our health services so that we not only never again see the likes of what happened this week in Letterkenny General, but have a world class health service free at point of delivery for all the people”.

Dé hAoine, Deireadh Fómhair 01, 2010

Jail the Bankers and Politicians, Not Protesters


Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson has said the arresting and charging of the protester who drove a lorry into the gateway of Leinster House exposes the stark contrast between the Twenty-Six County state’s treatment of bankers and those who dare protest against the bank bail-outs.

Joseph McNamara drove a cement mixer emblazoned with the slogans “Anglo Toxic Bank” and “Sack All Politicians” up to the gates of Leinster House on Wednesday morning and abandoned it, causing consternation among the establishment politicos attempting to enter the building.

Leeson said: “The speed with which this man was arrested and charged stands in stark contrast to the treatment of the bankers and wealthy business elite responsible for the economic crisis.

“He is not the first to be charged for opposing the bail-out of Anglo Irish Bank and others, the cost of which, according to the Central Bank, is now set to rise to a massive €50 billion [£43 billion]. In May, seven éirígí activists were arrested and currently await trial for offences relating to a protest at the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank. Yet not one person has faced charges for their role in the banking crisis, further evidence that the institutions of this state act only in the interest of the business class.”

Leeson continued: “Ironically, the charging of this man coincided with Twenty-Six County finance minister Brian Lenihan’s announcement that a further €10-15 billion [£9-13 billion] is to be pumped into Anglo Irish Bank, Allied Irish Bank and Irish Nationwide Bank. According to Lenihan, he has ‘no choice’ but to do so and to slash even more than the previously suggested €3 billion [£2.6 billion] of cuts in the upcoming budget.”

“Lenihan’s claim that he has no choice but to impose these cuts is untrue. He could impose a wealth tax on the business elite and he could nationalise our oil and gas, a move that would bring tens of billions of euro into the public purse.

“However, true to form, Fianna Fáil have no intention of making the rich pay their fair share. Instead, they have taken a deliberate decision to make working class communities, low paid workers, social welfare recipients and the public health and education systems they rely on suffer in order to maintain the lavish lifestyle of the wealthy political and business elite in this state.”