Dé Domhnaigh, Feabhra 19, 2012

Save Our DEIS Schools
The recent decision by the Fine Gael and Labour government to implement cuts to the DEIS school initiative, while continuing to fund the elitist private school system, can only be seen as a direct attack on working class people in the Twenty-Six County state and proves that these government parties, despite how they might try to convince us otherwise, are in fact no better than the band of crooks that they replaced.
The DEIS initiative is designed to ensure that the most disadvantaged schools benefit from a comprehensive package of support, while also ensuring that other schools continue to get support in line with the level of disadvantage experienced by their pupils. Not only will these cuts lead to more job losses – teachers, classroom assistants and special needs assistants – the loss of these much needed DEIS funded schemes are an indictment of the education system and will have a huge impact on our society as a whole.
Cork rally against DEIS cuts
In Cork alone there are thirty-seven schools under the DEIS scheme, and of these nineteen schools will see a combined loss of 88 teaching posts which will inevitably lead to higher class numbers. This is not acceptable. Pupils in smaller classes are proven to achieve better results and receive a better standard of education. Therefore there is no logical reason for cutting such vital services as this can only lead to negative social problems for future generations.
éirígí members were among a crowd of over 300 parents, teachers and pupils that braved the wet conditions recently to march through Cork city to voice opposition to these cuts. Parents and teachers took to the stage and made their feelings known about the seriously negative effect these cuts will have on our youth and to plead with Twenty-Six County education minister Ruairí Quinn to reverse the proposed cuts. Quinn has recently admitted he had not fully researched the DEIS initiative before deciding to make these cuts and has promised to review his decision.
Although this ‘review’ is welcomed, it must be noted that Ruairí Quinn has a history of breaking promises with regards to the education of our youth. Before the 2011 general election Quinn had promised not to reintroduce college fees if Labour were to get into government, but within 100 days he had reneged on this pre-election promise thereby ensuring that less students from working-class backgrounds will be able to benefit from the ‘privilege’ of a higher education.
Cork rally against DEIS cuts
Speaking at the march Labhrás Ó Tuama of éirígí Corcaigh said, “The 1916 Proclamation of the Irish Republic that James Connolly died for stated “The Republic guarantees… equal opportunities to all its citizens”. So for the Labour party, which claims to carry on the legacy of Connolly, to be the ones to cement further the huge class division within our education system proves conclusively that they have betrayed the working class and sold out all of the principles they claim to stand for and.
“éirígí is calling on all parents, teachers, students and anyone who wishes to see a publicly-funded, high quality and widely accessible education system to resist these cuts in any way they can. Contact your local TD to let your opinion be known, come out and march to show your opposition, but most importantly never be fooled by the lies and deceit of those in power.
“The Young Irelander Thomas Davis once wrote, “Educate that you might be free”. At a time when the Twenty-Six County state provides the private school system with annual funds of over €100 million we implore you; resist these attacks on our civil liberties, resist the education cuts! Beir bua!”

Dé Domhnaigh, Feabhra 12, 2012

 Vigils Held in Solidarity with Palestinian Hunger Strikers
éirígí held vigils in Belfast and Newry yesterday [February 11] in solidarity with hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan.
Adnan has been on hunger strike since his arrest by Irsaeli military forces on 17th December 2011. He is protesting against being held in administrative detention – internment without charge or trial for up to six months, which can be repeated indefinitely. He is shackled to a bed and is being tortured and interrogated, and is also not permitted to wash or shower. Khader Adnan has now been joined on hunger strike by his comrades.
Belfast picket
Palestinian prisoners have for years experienced degrading treatment and humiliating conditions at the hands of the Israeli Prison Administration. Their friends and families on the outside have to also endure shameful treatment just to get to visit their loved ones, and sometimes even this can’t happen as detainees are routinely moved from one prison to another with little notice.
Speaking at the Newry vigil, éirígí’s Stephen Murney said, “The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine called upon all Palestinian and international organisations and activists to join in a campaign of solidarity with the hunger striking prisoner and to launch protests and solidarity actions in support of Khader Adnan.
Newry vigil
“So here we are here today to show solidarity with our comrades in Palestine who are currently on hunger strike. We have deliberately picked this location, Ray McCreesh Park, for obvious reasons. Over thirty years ago Raymond McCreesh and his comrades also embarked on hunger strike and paid the ultimate sacrifice in doing so.”
Murney continued, “Unsurprisingly the PSNI made a very deliberate and obvious decision that they would target today’s vigil and those taking part in it. This morning, several hours before the vigil, I was stopped and searched in the Derrybeg estate by the PSNI. I was searched for ammunition, wireless apparatus and transmitters, they then attempted, unsuccessfully, to question me about the vigil we would be having. The zionists would be proud of the actions of this militia today.
Belfast picket
“éirígí will continue with our local, national and international campaigns. Internationalism and internationalist solidarity have always been a central theme of Irish republicanism. éirígí understands that now, more than ever, the struggle for an Ireland free of the twin fetters of capitalism and imperialism is integrally linked to the wider international struggle of the poor and oppressed against the rich and powerful.
“For this reason éirígí is committed to building links with progressive organisations and individuals internationally as well as assisting various solidarity campaigns based in Ireland.”

Déardaoin, Feabhra 09, 2012

Cearta Gael á n-Éileamh i Rith an Ama
StormontBa bheag an t-iontas a bhí ar phobal Gaeilge na Sé Condae nuair a rinneadh tagairt d’Acht na Gaeilge i gcuimhní cinn Peter Hain a foilsíodh ar na mallaibh,Outside In. Maidir le cainteanna Chill Rímhinn in 2006, admhaíonn iar-státrúnaí na Breataine nach raibh aon rún ag rialtas na Breataine an tAcht a rith, ag rá gur ‘sheafóid’ a bhí ann ach gur chuir siad é i gComhaontú Chill Rímhinn ar scor ar bith.
Níl an chaimiléireacht neamhiontach seo ag cur aon bhac ar Ghaeilgeoirí a gcearta a éileamh áfach. I ndiaidh stocaireacht agus cruinnithe le habhcóidí Gaeilge, mhol Comhairle na hEorpa le déanaí go bhforbraíodh na húdaráis reachtaíocht chuimsitheach ar an Ghaeilge sna Sé Chondae agus go ndéanaidís beart le cearta teanga phobal na Gaeilge a chonsaint agus a chur i bhfeidhm níos éifeachtaí. Mhol siad chomh maith go ndéanadh na húdaráis tuilleadh le ceist chomharthaíocht phoiblí agus chraoltóireachta a réiteach.
Dúirt Janet Muller ón eagraíocht Pobal, “Tá sé an-suntasach, mar gheall ar an raon leathan de cheisteanna a dhéanann an Coiste Comhairleach trácht orthu a bhaineann le Sasana, le hAlbain, leis an Bhreatain Bheag agus leis an thuaisceart, gur dhírigh siad ar an Ghaeilge mar bhuncheist go réiteofaí láithreach bonn.”
Cé gur tábhachtach é reachtaíocht a bheith ann chun an pobal Gaeilge a chosaint, is léir nach sin tús deireadh an scéil. D’ainneoin go bhfuil sé leagtha amach i gComhaontú Aoine an Chéasta go ndéanfadh rialtas na Breataine “dualgas reachtúil a chur ar an Roinn Oideachais chun oideachas trí mheán na Gaeilge a spreagadh agus a éascú”, tá sé soiléir go bhfuil lucht leanúna na caipéise úd i Westminster agus i Stormont ag déanamh a bheag den Ghaeloideachas go fóill.
Nuair a thug an mheánscoil Ghaeilge Coláiste Feirste roinn oideachais na Sé Chondae os comhair na cúirte anuraidh as seirbhís bus a dhiúltú don scoil, rinne dlíodóirí na roinne iarracht cinneadh an aire a chosaint as rá nach raibh sa Chomhaontú ach ábhar ‘mianaidhme’.
Bhí sampla eile den drochiompar seo le feiceáil díreach seachtain ó shin nuair a dhiúltaigh aire oideachais Stormont John O’Dowd do mholadh naíscoile reachtúla in iarthar Bhéal Feirste. Rinneadh iarracht an cinneadh a chosaint trína rá nár chóir an naíscoil dheonach a chur in áit naíscoile reachtúla, ach tá foireann dheonach na naíscoile ag streachailt leis na deiche míle punt a thiomsú gach bliain i gceantar díothach Lóiste na Móna leis an scoil an chothú. Pé scéal é, tá an fhoireann tiomanta chun leanúint le deachaighdeán oideachais a chur a fáil trí mheán na Gaeilge sa naíscoil.
Ní thiocfaidh deireadh ariamh leis an streachailt chun cearta Gael a chosaint, ach ní féidir bheith ag brath ar fhreagraí reachtúla nuair is léir go ndéanann na húdaráis neamhaird orthu agus iad míchaoithiúil. Is ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann an pobal Gaeilge agus is é an pobal céanna sin a chosnóidh agus a chuirfidh an teanga chun cinn i ndeireadh an dála.
Ní neart go cur le chéile.

Irish Speakers Continue to Demand Rights
Peter HainThere was little surprise in the Irish language community of the Six Counties when the Irish Language Act was referenced in Peter Hain’s recently published memoirs, Outside In. In regards to the St Andrew’s talks in 2006, the former British secretary of state admits that the British government had no intention of passing the Act, saying that it as“nonsense” but they included it in the St Andrew’s Agreement at any rate.
However this unsurprising duplicity has not prevented Irish speakers from demanding their rights. Following lobbying and meetings with Irish language advocates, the Council of Europe recently recommended that authorities “develop comprehensive legislation on the Irish language in Northern Ireland and take resolute measures to protect and implement more effectively the language rights of persons belonging to the Irish-speaking community”. They also recommend that the authorities do more to resolve the issues of public signage and broadcasting.
Janet Muller of the organisation Pobal said, “It is highly significant, given the broad range of issues which the Advisory Committee have commented on throughout England, Scotland, Wales and the North, that they have focussed on the Irish language as a key matter for immediate resolution.”
Although it is important that there be legislation to protect the Irish language community, clearly this is not the beginning and end of the story. Despite it being laid out in the Good Friday Agreement that the British government would “place a statutory duty on the Department of Education to encourage and facilitate Irish medium education”, it is clear that the supporters of that document in Westminster and Stormont are still making little of Irish-medium education.
When the Irish-medium second-level school Coláiste Feirste took the Six-County department of education before the courts last year for refusing the school a bus service, the department’s lawyers attempted to defend the minister’s decision by arguing that the Agreement was merely “aspirational”.
Another example of this negative attitude could be seen just last week when Stormont education minister John O’Dowd rejected a proposal for a statutory nursery in west Belfast. There was an attempt to defend this decision by saying that a voluntary nursery should not be replaced by a statutory nursery, but the voluntary staff at the nursery is struggling to raise tens of thousands of pound every year in the deprived Turf Lodge area to maintain the school. Nonetheless, the staff is committed to continue providing a good standard of education through the medium of Irish in the nursery.
The struggle to defend the rights of Irish speakers will never end, but legislative solutions cannot be depended on when it’s clear that the authorities ignore them when they are inconvenient. The Irish language community prospers by its own initiatives and achievements and ultimately it will be that same community that will defend and develop the language.
Ní neart go cur le chéile.

Dé Máirt, Feabhra 07, 2012

Vita Cortex Workers Keep Her Lit
Support the Vita Cortex WorkersSince December 16th last, the resilient workers of Vita Cortex have braved the undesirable conditions of having to squat in the cold, damp and poorly ventilated warehouse of their former employers in order to demand their just rights from millionaire boss Jack Ronan, and to expose his betrayal of the workers to the public.
As anyone that has visited the workers can assure you, this is not a decision they have taken lightly. Yet despite the inconvenience of their new residence, the agony of being apart from their families and the obvious stress and strain the situation has brought upon them, they remain determined with their spirits unbroken.
But these thirty-two workers, with a combined 847 years of service to the company are not making any unjustifiable demands from Mr. Ronan. All they are asking for is 0.9 weeks pay for every year worked, with the Twenty-Six County government having committed to paying the extra two weeks per years service as agreed to in the Labour Relations Court late last year.
In addition to Vita Cortex, which operates on eight sites in both the Twenty-Six and Six Counties, Ronan has a 300-acre stud farm, two crèches, various plots of development land, a piggery, an extensive residential property portfolio, a retail park, forestry, a couple of supermarkets, a furniture factory in England, and a boar station. He has 27 directorships listed with the Companies Registration Office and won the Irish Field “breeder of the year” award last August for a racehorse called Cape Blanco. With such a vast amount of wealth, the €1.2 million he agreed to pay the workers will undoubtedly not cause him too much hardship.
Over the past few weeks the Vita Cortex 32 have upped their campaign, and began to confront Ronan and fellow shareholder (and father-in-law) Seán McHenry by picketing their homes. Mr. McHenry was quoted as saying, “It’s not very pleasant for my wife and family… But we’ll see it through.”
Commenting on the workers’ situation, Labhras Ó Tuama of éirígí Corcaigh stated, “I’m sure the inconvenience of having the reality of the workers’ struggle brought to your doorstep pales in comparison to the hardship that the workers themselves, and their families, have to endure. Such shameful remarks prove that these men that have benefited from the labour of others are completely out of touch with reality, and are incapable of showing any empathy to the working classes.
“éirígí will continue to stand in solidarity with the Vita Cortex workers, and all other workers who seek to reap the fruit of their own labour, and we urge all working class people to support them in any way they can.
“100 years ago, William Martin Murphy and fellow Dublin capitalists crushed the workers’ struggle with the force of the state and law. Great men like James Connolly and James Larkin became icons of labour movements worldwide, and today it is the Vita Cortex 32 that are inspiring workers in similar situations to stand up for their rights and to rally the cry of Connolly and Larkin, ‘The great only appear great because we are on our knees. Let us arise’.”