Dé Céadaoin, Lúnasa 31, 2011

Coolock Remembers the Hunger Strikers
The 30th anniversary of the 1981 hunger strike was marked by the éirígí ciorcal in Coolock with a series of events last Saturday [August 27].
Pádraic Mac Coitir
The day commenced with a public meeting at the Le Chéile community centre in Donneycarney. The meeting was chaired by Ursula Ní Shionnain and was opened by local éirígí member Eoin Quinn who read the Bobby Sands poem ‘The Rhythm of Time’. Belfast man Pádraic Mac Coitir then delivered an enthralling personal account of his time in the H-Blocks from 1978 to late 1980 during which he participated in the blanket and no-wash protest.
Donneycarney meetingThe several dozen people in attendance were enraptured as Pádraic took them through his life journey from a teenager battling the British army on the streets of Belfast to his eventual arrest, interrogation, torture and imprisonment first at Crumlin Road jail and then the recently built H-Blocks. It was an intriguing and brutally honest account of the life of an IRA activist incarcerated during the epic prison struggle of the late 1970s and early 1980s.
The conditions experienced by republican prisoners in the H-Blocks were brought to life as Pádraic recounted the regular beatings, the forced mirror searches, the privations of the no wash protest during the brutally cold winter of 1978. While conditions were bleak, there was also much humour and a great sense of camaraderie forged by the brutality of the H-Block regime. It was a story of the life of a Blanketman and it was evident that Pádraic is rightly proud to be amongst their ranks.
What was at stake in the H-Blocks was summed by one of the H-Block martyrs Kieran Doherty:
Northsiders on the attack“The British and Maggie Thatcher won’t break me or my comrades. We are not criminals, we are Irish Political Prisoners of War and we will win in the end. Defeat is unthinkable after all that has passed. It is not just the 5 demands; the Republican Movement is at stake.”
Following the meeting it was off to the Inis Fáil GAA club in Balgriffin for a football match between éirígí teams from the Northside and Southside of Dublin. Prior to the match there was a tightly contested Poc Fada which was won by Scott Masterson. During the combative but generally good natured football encounter that followed, the Southsiders were given somewhat of a footballing lesson by a slick, well organised Northside team managed by the wily tactician Patrick Burke. The Northsiders ran out eventual winners 8-12 to 2-5 with several of the team surely staking a claim for a place on the Dublin panel for the upcoming all-Ireland final against Kerry.
FootballersChair of the local éirígí ciorcal Ciarán Heaphey presented the winning Northsiders with the Hunger Strike memorial trophy, which will be held with pride until the return leg next year.
Speaking after the event, he said, “Today was an opportunity for the local ciorcal to pay tribute to the Hunger Strikers and we are delighted it went so well. The courage and selflessness of the Hunger Strikers continues to inspire. They are remembered with pride by freedom loving people around the world. On behalf of the local ciorcal I would like to thank Pádraic Mac Coitir for sharing his memories with us and for speaking with such humility about what was an epic prison struggle. The struggle to achieve the aims for which the hunger strikers sacrificed their lives continues.”

Dé Céadaoin, Lúnasa 24, 2011

Cherry Orchard Community Clean-up
On Saturday [August 20] more than 30 people took part in a community clean-up in Cherry Orchard, which was organised by the local éirígí Ciorcal. In what was a great demonstration of community spirit more than 50 bags of litter, broken glass and other material were filled by local residents and éirígí activists.
Cherry Orchard community clean-up
In recent weeks a number of residents from Cherry Orchard had been in touch with éirígí to raise concerns about the lack of street cleaning and general maintenance work being carried out by Dublin City Council in the area. Following discussions with residents, éirígí agreed to organise a community response to the issue and the ‘Cherry Orchard Community Clean-up’ was launched. Following the success of the first clean-up it has been agreed this event will be organised on a monthly basis.
Cherry Orchard community clean-up
Speaking from Cherry Orchard local éirígí Councillor Louise Minihan said:
“Following requests from local residents I contacted Dublin City Council to raise concerns about the lack of maintenance work being carried out in the area. Due to cutbacks the council are now cleaning only the main roads. This represents a further abandonment of working class estates and communities by the state.
Cherry Orchard community clean-up
“In response éirígí organised a community clean-up which local residents made into a great success. In fact the clean-up has been such success that we are making it a monthly event. We aim to build on what has been started here today and spread the clean-up to other areas of Cherry Orchard. Everyone is welcome and I invite all residents to come along to next month’s clean up and take part in what is a great way of showing and indeed building community spirit.”
Minihan continued: “Today’s successful clean-up shows it is possible for communities to stand up for themselves and fight back once they organise together. For our part éirígí is committed to working with communities to organise and to make this fightback a reality.”

Dé Domhnaigh, Lúnasa 21, 2011

A Look at the European Financial Crisis
DebtocracyLast Saturday [August 13], the Progressive Film Club in Dublin held a screening of the documentaryDebtocracy, a Greek film about the European banking and financial crisis.
Debtocracy looks at the origins of the Greek and wider European crisis in terms of the development of capitalism under the auspices of the European Union. It charts the development of the EU as an economic system wherein the ‘core’ countries such as Germany and France have used their considerable political power and influence to benefit greatly at the expense of the working class peoples of the ‘peripheral’ countries that include those countries that make up the PIIGS, i.e. Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain. What clearly emerges from the economic and political overview provided by this film is the fact that the EU has been very good indeed for the ruling political elites and big-business interests in Europe.
The film also looks at the experience of a number of countries where the IMF has intervened. The cases of Argentina and Ecuador clearly show, in the former, how the IMF is used to deepen the penetration of neo-liberal policy and further the interests of the oligarchy, and in the latter, how a principled government can actually resist this plan and use the fact of intervention as a means to mobilise people against the excesses of capitalism.
What this film also does particularly well is explore the concept of ‘odious debt’. It looks at the historical precedent that exists for countries to repudiate debt that has been accumulated by the political and ruling classes in the name of the people but in contrary to their interests.
The issues tackled in Debtocracy make it a ‘must see’ film for all of those people who wish to better understand the nature of the crisis prone and contradiction-ridden economic and political system that is capitalism.

Dé Máirt, Lúnasa 09, 2011

Ballymurphy Massacre – Set the Truth Free
Thousands of people took to the streets of Belfast on Sunday [August 7] to mark the 40th anniversary of the Ballymurphy Massacre and to demand an independent international investigation into the killings.
March for Truth
As internment without trial was introduced to the Six Counties in August 1971, soldiers from the British army’s Parachute Regiment ran amok in the Ballymurphy area, killing eleven people and injuring dozens more. Five months later, the same regiment would be responsible for the murder of fourteen civil rights marchers in Derry.
No More Massacres - Britain Out of Ireland
Although the events of Bloody Sunday were filmed by the international media, and the horrors perpetrated were obvious to all but the most wilfully blind, it still took thirty-eight years of tireless campaigning for the relatives of those killed to receive some measure of closure through the long-delayed Saville report.
There were no media crews present in Ballymurphy in August 1971, and the victims were quickly written off as republican gunmen and forgotten about by all but their grieving families. They were left with deep pain and hurt, but also a strong desire that the truth of those events would see the light of day.
Around 100 éirígí members and supporters participated in Sunday’s march, which began in Springfield Park at the spot at which Father Hugh Mullan and 19-year-old Frank Quinn were gunned down.
Local youths carried banners bearing the images of the two from that spot and when the march reached the Springfield Road more banners marked the spot where mother-of-eight Joan Connolly and father-of-thirteen Daniel Teggart were killed. It was also the spot where 19-year-old Noel Phillips and father-of-twelve Joseph Murphy were injured by British gunfire – Noel was taken away by British soldiers and summarily executed while Joseph died a few weeks later from his wounds.
Youth carry images of the victims
The march then made its way to the top of the Whiterock Road, where father-of-seven Joseph Corr and 20-year-old John Laverty were shot and killed, before making its way through the Ballymurphy estate, where local workers Paddy McCarthy and John McKerr were killed. The march then passed the spot on the Whiterock Road where father-of-four Eddie Doherty was shot dead before concluding with a rally at the nearby O’Donnells GAC.
Speaking at the rally, cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said, “It’s clear from the march today that the Ballymurphy Massacre families and their supporters will not be deterred in their quest for truth.
57 children left behind
“They have not been deterred by the British government’s attempt to pawn their campaign to the discredited HET or by the same government’s desire to stifle any new inquiries in the aftermath of Saville.”
Leeson continued, “The British government must be well aware that any real investigation into the Ballymurphy massacre will only serve to topple the convenient myth of Saville – the myth that responsibility for Bloody Sunday lay with British soldiers on the ground alone and not with any of their superior offices.
Scaoil Saor an Fhírinne
“The myth that the Parchute Regiment lost control on the streets of Derry would be revealed to the world as a lie if the British government were to admit that the very same regiment had carried out a very similar massacre just a few months beforehand. The British government does not want the truth of Ballymurphy to be revealed; however it’s a truth that must and will come out in the end.
“éirígí supports the families and survivors of the Ballymurphy Massacre in their quest for the truth and completely endorses the families’ demand for an independent international investigation into the deliberate murders of eleven unarmed civilians. It’s a case that no-one can genuinely argue with.”