Dé Domhnaigh, Bealtaine 29, 2011

Restaurant Workers Demonstrate to Defend Conditions
Members of the Restaurant and Catering Workers Forum held a demonstration at the Annual Irish Restaurant Awards on Wednesday [May 25]. The Awards are hosted by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, which is behind an attack on the wages and conditions of workers in the industry by calling for the abolition of the Catering Employment Regulation Order.

Dé hAoine, Bealtaine 27, 2011

James Connolly, Monarchy and Labour Party Hypocrisy


The tweet below was posted by Labour party TD for East Galway Colm Keaveney on the first day of the Windsor visit and was reproduced in the Galway Independent newspaper the following day in its May 18th issue.

Below is the contents of a letter from éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey in response to Keaveney's remarks which was published in Wednesday's Galway Independent (May 25th).  Just click on the image below to read the digital edition or click here to read it on the papers website.

The following text is the full content of the response to Deputy Keaveney.

A chara

Please allow me to respond to the Labour TD Colm Keaveney's ill-informed tweet relating to the Windsor visit published in last weeks Galway Independent. In it he describes the socialist republican party éirígí as 'thugs'.

So what merits such a tag in Deputy Keaveney's eyes?

Is it upholding our right to organise a series of protests against the visit of the British head of state, all of which were peaceful despite huge provocation from Gardai? Is it our refusal to be intimidated by persistent Garda actions who, in the run-up and during the visit, intimidated and threatened activists engaged in legal political activity?

Party members erecting posters in Dublin, including myself, were illegally stopped and searched and interrogated by Gardai refusing to show ID or cite what act they were acting under as obliged by law. Despite having permits to poster, these were torn down and the remainder seized by Gardai.

éirígí Dublin City Cllr Louise Minihan had her car searched by up to a dozen Gardai who seized a banner that read 'Fund Communities Not Royal Visits' deeming it to be 'offensive'. Other similar banners and flags were also seized as Gardai tried to prevent peaceful protests taking place. I was grabbed from behind and thrown to the ground by Gardai as I videoed their attempts to prevent people joining a protest at the Spire.

While the Union Jack flew over government buildings, Gardai effectively banned our national flag from Dublin city centre, seizing tri-colours and throwing them in refuse trucks.

As someone who has watched Gardai police anti-Shell protests in north Mayo, this intimidation, illegality and blatant attempts to prevent peaceful protest does not surprise me. But if Deputy Keaveney is concerned about 'thugs' he would be better served taking on those 'thugs' for which his government are responsible i.e the Gardai. Or does Deputy Keaveney think that the right to engage in legal political activity and peaceful protest should only extend to other countries and not here?  Does he believe the thuggery outlined above is acceptable?

Is mise

Gerry Casey
éirígí Sligeach

Labour TD Colm Keaveney
Previously a full-time Trade Union official with SIPTU until his recent election to Leinster House, Keaveney and his colleagues in the Labour party would like us all to believe that they are following in the footsteps of James Connolly and James Larkin.

Speaking at Arbour Hill just two days before he welcomed the first English Monarch to visit the 26 counties in 100 years off her plane, Keaveney's party leader Eamon Gilmore said: 

"It is an occasion to honour the memory of a man who, through his ideals; through his vision; and through his sacrifice; bequeathed to us a living legacy. That legacy is the Labour Party."

Gilmore welcomes Windsor to Dublin
He added:

"So as we gather to celebrate the life of James Connolly - the values he stood for, the ideals he fought for - we might also reflect on our own call to duty."  

So what were those values of Connolly's that the Labour party leader wanted to celebrate?  What for instance were Connolly's views on Monarchy and of royal visits to Ireland?

Speaking in the advance of the last 'British royal' visit in 1911 Connolly made his views absolutely crystal clear "that the occasion will be utilised to make propaganda on behalf of royalty and aristocracy against the oncoming forces of democracy and National freedom".

James Connolly
 And in comments that could just as easily be directed now at Gilmore and Keaveney he said:

"Let the capitalist and landlord class flock to exalt him; he is theirs; in him they see embodied the idea of caste and class; they glorify him and exalt his importance that they might familiarise the public mind with the conception of political inequality, knowing well that a people mentally poisoned by the adulation of royalty can never attain to that spirit of self-reliant democracy necessary for the attainment of social freedom."  

Gilmore and the Labour party have portrayed  this visit as one of the greatest moments in Irish history, as they grovelled before the English monarch, the head of what Connolly described as "a survival of the tyranny imposed by the hand of greed and treachery upon the human race in the darkest and most ignorant days of our history."
While Connolly along with other socialist republicans was leading the opposition to the last 'royal visit' to Dublin,  Gilmore and the Labour party were shutting down large sections of the city, using their political police to try to prevent protests against this visit.   Cheered on by a largely compliant and unquestioning media, they attempted to demonise and criminalise those who dared take to the streets in opposition to this visit in the same way that Connolly and Markieveicz were treated in 1911 by the British authorities.

Clearly at odds with the current Labour party view of monarchy, Connolly described it as deriving its only sanction "from the sword of the marauder, and the helplessness of the producer, and its gifts to humanity are unknown, save as they can be measured in the pernicious examples of triumphant and shameless iniquities."

So while Gilmore, Keaveney and the rest of the Labour party may wish people to believe that they are following in the footsteps of James Connolly, do they seriously think he would have welcomed the Commander in Chief of the British army to our shores while they continue to occupy part of our country?

They may want us to believe that Connolly would have wined and dined in Dublin Castle rubbing shoulders with the political and capitalist classes that have caused so much suffering to Irish workers  in order to honour  an English monarch, but does anyone with capacity for rational thought seriously believe them?  

Unlike Eamon Gilmore and the Labour party, James Connolly was avowedly opposed to capitalism, to monarchy and to all forms of privilege.  Unlike them, he was a staunch defender of workers rights and of the poor.  Unlike them, he was not a social democrat - he was a socialist and a revolutionary socialist at that.  Unlike them, he was an anti-imperialist opposed to the occupation of any part of Ireland by a foreign government. 

In his final statement which was given to his daughter Nora on the eve of his execution, Connolly re-iterated his position on the British occupation in no uncertain terms.

"The British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland

Commandant-General, Dublin Division,
Army of the Irish Republic

May 9th 1916 

Dé Domhnaigh, Bealtaine 22, 2011

éirígí anti-Windsor Protests, May 17th – Full Report
Tuesday’s [May 17] day of protest against the state visit of Elizabeth Windsor began on O’Connell Street when a group of éirígí activists and supporters staged an impromptu sit-down protest beside the Spire monument. As Windsor left Casement Aerodrome, on the outskirts of the city, the chants of ‘Can you hear us loud and clear? British royals not welcome here!’ and ‘Whose streets? Our streets?’ were echoing off the historic GPO.
As more activists arrived with flags and megaphones the face of the Gardaí said it all. Despite the massive security operation that had been put in place it was clear that the voice of Irish republicanism was going to be loudly heard in the centre of Dublin. By the time Gardaí formed a line to prevent further supporters joining the protest there were already thirty people sitting on the ground, with more arriving by the minute.
Within ten minutes of the action starting there were two groups of protesters in place – one on the otherwise deserted central plaza of Dublin’s main thoroughfare and one hemmed behind the police line at the top of Henry Street. With roughly two hours remaining until Windsor’s scheduled arrival on O’Connell Street scores of Gardaí began to forcibly push protesters back down Henry Street.
When that task was completed another large force of Gardaí prepared to move on the activists sitting beside the Spire. In the face of certain arrest and removal from the streets for the duration of the Garden of Remembrance ceremony, the group of activists made their way en bloc to their comrades at the top of Moore Street.
The professionalism of the Garda was to the fore as the various top brass starting issuing contradictory orders to various sections of their yellow-coated goons. So as some Gardaí tried to arrest the protesters others opened the police line to let them onto Henry Street, and yet more started pushing protesters back down the street!
The chaotic scenes continued for roughly five minutes before the now 150-strong group of éirígí activists and supporters made their way to 16 Moore Street for a wreath-laying ceremony. The protest had lasted over half an hour, during which time hundreds of onlookers and dozens of journalists had witnessed both the dignity of the protesters and the aggression of the Gardaí.
At 16 Moore Street éirígí ‘s Ursula Ní Shionnain gave a brief speech prior to the laying of a wreath in memory of all of those who have died for Irish freedom, which was followed by a minute’s silence. With the ceremony complete the large and very loud protest moved onwards towards the Garda line at the corner of Parnell Square. Once there, the entire crowd sat down on the road where they remained for close to two hours in a remarkable demonstration of dignified and disciplined political protest.
Those who found themselves sitting on Parnell Street were an unusual mix of seasoned political activists, school children, university students, workers, the unemployed and those who call the streets of the north inner city home. For almost two hours they sang rebel songs, chanted anti-royal slogans, blew whistles and banged drums – united in their opposition to Windsor and all that she represents.
Despite the oppressive security operation and the ample provocation of Windsor’s presence in the Garden of Remembrance, the ever-swelling crowd did not walk into the trap that the forces of the state had laid for them. Instead they maintained a dignified and disciplined protest which succeeded in its objective.
Footage of the protest was beamed around the world by Sky News and other multi-national news stations. The message was unmistakable – Windsor is not welcome; Britain out of Ireland. In countless radio, television and print interviews éirígí spokespeople hammered home that same message again and again. And when Windsor finally arrived at the Garden of Remembrance the noise of the protest was deafening as hundreds of voices, whistles, drums and air-horns screamed their unmistakable opposition to the British Empire.

Although Windsor, and the apologists that joined her, may not have seen any protesters they most certainly heard them, a fact confirmed by journalists who were in the Garden and those who could hear the protest as far away as Denmark Street. All in all, it was a most unusual and most successful protest – one that sat in perfect harmony with the anti-royal protests of Connolly and Markievicz one hundred years before hand.

Dé Luain, Bealtaine 16, 2011

Join the Garden of Remembrance Protest
No 'British Queen' in the City of '16No element of the upcoming Windsor visit has caused as much outrage as her visit to the Garden of Remembrance on Dublin’s Parnell Square. The monument is dedicated to all of those who have died in the struggle for Irish freedom. In other words, the garden is dedicated to those who have been killed by Britain – the same Britain that continues to occupy the Six Counties and the same Britain of which Windsor is the head of state.
What other state in the world would invite the Commander-in-Chief of an occupying army to visit a freedom memorial while that occupation is still ongoing?
And to add insult to injury the Windsor wreath-laying ceremony at the Garden of Remembrance is set to take place on May 17th – the thirty-seventh anniversary of the Dublin/Monaghan bombings. The stage is now set for the Commander-in-Chief of those who planted the Dublin and Monaghan car bombs to pass within metres of where one of those bombs killed eleven innocent people. To this day the British state denies all involvement in the Dublin/Monaghan bombings whilst simultaneously blocking all efforts to get to the truth of what happened on May 17th 1974.
At 1pm on Tuesday [May 17] éirígí is organising an alternative wreath-laying ceremony at No 16 Moore Street in Dublin – the location of the final headquarters of the 1916 rising. Following the wreath-laying ceremony the protest will move as close to the Garden of Remembrance as possible. All are welcome and don’t forget to bring the noise. Whistles, fog-horns, bin lids and drums and anything else that will make a racket! 10,000 Gardaí and soldiers might prevent Windsor from seeing any protests but they can’t prevent her from hearing them.