Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Democracy Denied Protest – Belfast

Speaking at today’s [Wednesday] protest at the European Commission offices in Belfast, éirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith said no decisions on European integration should be taken until after a British withdrawal from the Six Counties.

The protest, intended to coincide with the closing stages of the Lisbon referendum campaign in the Twenty-Six Counties, made the point that Irish citizens in the North are being denied a say on the issue.

During the protest, which employed agitprop to make the point that hundreds of thousands of Irish citizens are being disenfranchised, MacCionnaith and other éirígí activists were refused entry to the European Commission offices to put their views across.

MacCionnaith said: “It is totally unacceptable that the population in the Six Counties is being denied the chance to vote in what is supposedly a national referendum.

“This denial of democracy is symbolic of the anti-democratic nature of the Lisbon Treaty.

“The implementation of the Lisbon Treaty would be deeply damaging to the interests of working people across Ireland and éirígí is actively campaigning for a no vote in the Twenty-Six Counties. However, Ireland will not be in aposition to properly decide its relationship with the rest of Europe until a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties has taken place and a national democracy has been established.

“Today’s protest was intended to make the point to both the European Union and the Twenty-Six County establishments that the denial of democracy in the Six Counties is not an issue that can be ignored.”

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Vote NO to Lisbon 2 - Every vote counts

éirígí are once again appealing to people to vote NO to the Lisbon Treaty on October 2nd. There are many very important reasons for doing so.

The EU and the Fianna Fáil led administration have refused to respect the democratic will of the people of this state when they rejected Lisbon last year. They have not addressed their concerns in relation to the Treaty. The campaign for a yes vote is based almost entirely on deceiving the public into thinking that the Treaty has somehow changed. They have coupled this deception with blatant scaremongering and bullying tactics as Micheál Martin and Brian Cowen threaten us with impending doom if we refuse to vote the way they tell us to.

Lisbon is fundamentally an undemocratic Treaty that is very bad not just for the Irish people but for the people of Europe as a whole. That we are even being asked to vote on this again after the people of France, the Netherlands and most recently the people of this state last year, rejecting this Treaty exposes the undemocratic agenda underpinning the entire European Union project.

Don’t be fooled. This is the exact same treaty – word for word. Nothing has changed in it. The guarantees are meaningless promises. They are as reliable as the content of a Fianna Fáil election manifesto and as valuable as the paper they are printed on.

But the treaty isnt all bad news. At least not if you are Ryanair’s Micheal O Leary or multi-national corporation Intel seeking to increase its profits on the backs of the EU’s 500 milion workers and specifically in Intels case by the increased militarisation that Lisbon will bring about.

The Treaty obliges ALL EU states to increase its military capabilities. It deepens and strengthens the links between the EU and NATO, it seeks to increase the EU’s military capabilities and it creates a mutual defence pact in clear breach of the neutral status claimed by this state.

Intel manufactures computer parts for use in military hardware. Along with the rest of the arms industry they view Lisbon as a heaven sent opportunity to boost its profits regardless of the death and destruction the military hardware they help to produce will wreak on civilians on its receiving end in various war zones around the world.

While the Treaty does serve the self interest of the political establishment, big business and the arms industry, for workers Lisbon is yet more bad news and will see an intensification of the continuing attack on their living standards and working conditions.

The policies driven by the European Union and enforced by the lackeys that pass for a government in Leinster House, and which are enshrined in this Treaty, have devestated our farming communities and the fishing industry which has been completely decimated.

We are in the midst of probably the worst recession this state has ever seen. While the entire country has suffered greatly, the north-west has been probably been the worst hit region in the state. Almost half a million people in the 26 counties are now unemployed. Our health services have been savagely cut with major cutbacks in the provision of front line services as much needed nursing and cleaning staff are being laid off with essential medical services being removed or reduced. Our education services have also suffered greatly, particularly for those families on low pay and social welfare. The book grant scheme has been withdrawn, school transport fees have shot through the roof and the cutbacks in teaching staff have seen class sizes increase needlessly once again.

And the people responsible for creating this economic wasteland are now telling us, as they continue to live their lavish lifestyles drawing enormous salaries and over-generous expenses, to trust them. To trust them and to vote for Lisbon, for more of their discredited right wing, neo-liberal, greed before need capitalist policies that caused this crisis in the first place.

People have a choice. They can cave in to the bullying and scaremongering. They can put their faith in Fianna Fáil and the likes of Micheal O Leary and vote for a more undemocratic, heavily militarised Europe putting the interests of multi-nationals and big business above the rights of workers and their families and ahead of peoples right to first class health and education services.

Or they can can vote NO for a fairer, more democratic Europe that places the rights of workers and the right to public healthcare and education before the profits of big business. On October 2nd éirígí urge you to once more vote NO for a better Europe and a better future for us all.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Republican Councillors Against Lisbon

Seven republican elected representatives from across the country released a joint statement on Thursday calling on the electorate of the Twenty-Six Counties to reject the Lisbon Treaty again. Click here for more.

No To Nama - No to Cuts - No To Lisbon

On Semptember 19th 2009, thousands of people took to the streets of Dublin in opposition to NAMA and the cutbacks to public services. éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson addressed the crowd and appealed to people to start the fight back by rejecting the Lisbon Treaty. Click here for more.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Lisbon is bad for you

Republican Councillors Against the Lisbon Treaty

Seven republican elected representatives from across the country today [September 24] released a joint statement calling on the electorate of the Twenty-Six Counties to reject the Lisbon Treaty again on October 2nd. (See full text of joint statement below.)

Republican Councillors Against Lisbon

The seven councillors, Martin Connolly from Down, John Dwyer from Wexford, Louise Minihan from Dublin, Barry Monteith from Tyrone, Cieran Perry from Dublin, Thomas Pringle from Donegal and Bernice Swift from Fermanagh slammed both the Lisbon Treaty itself and the anti-democratic method by which it is being proposed to bring it into effect. At a press conference in Dublin city centre this morning six of the councillors outlined why they believe the Lisbon Treaty is a bad treaty for Ireland and for Europe.

Speaking at the press conference éirígí’s Barry Monteith said: “éirígí was delighted to participate in this initiative, particularly as one of the key points being made today related to the fact that 1.8 million people living in the Six Counties have been denied the right to vote on Lisbon.

“Regardless of the content of the Lisbon Treaty, and the content is appalling, the decision to accept or reject it should not be taken while the Six Counties remains occupied by a foreign power. All decisions on further integration into the EU, or otherwise, should only be taken after national sovereignty has been restored. To do otherwise is fundamentally anti-democratic.”

Barry concluded, “I would appeal to the people of the Twenty-Six Counties to remember their 1.8 million fellow citizens living under British rule when they go the polls on October 2nd. By voting No they can send a very powerful message to the Dublin government – ‘you might have forgotten about the Six Counties but we have not.’”

éirígí activist Councillor Louise Minihan echoed Barry’s appeal: “The Lisbon Treaty is designed to bring us one step closer to a federal united states of Europe. A Europe based on a foundation of neo-liberal capitalism. NAMA, savage cutbacks, the privatisation of healthcare and education and the introduction of water charges are just a few examples of what we can expect if the Lisbon Treaty is passed. On October 2nd we in the Twenty-Six Counties have the opportunity to lead a European wide fight-back against the ruling elite who created the current economic disaster. We need to take that opportunity and vote No to Lisbon”

Republican Councillors Against Lisbon Joint Statement

September 24, 2009

We, the undersigned, represent communities across Ireland.

Our collective constituencies in Donegal, Down, Dublin, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Wexford form a broad cross-section of urban and rural Irish society. We have come together to add our combined voice to the campaign to defeat the Lisbon Treaty.

It is our view that the Lisbon Treaty itself and the process by which it is proposed to bring it into effect are deeply anti-democratic. Of the 500 million people living in the EU, just 3 million people in the Twenty-Six counties have been allowed to vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

In the Irish context, this democratic deficit is further exacerbated by the fact that 1.8 million Irish citizens living in the British-occupied Six Counties have been denied a vote on the Lisbon Treaty.

In June 2008, the electorate of the Twenty-Six Counties voted by a substantial majority to reject the Lisbon Treaty. In forcing a second referendum, the Dublin government and the European political establishment have demonstrated their complete contempt for democracy.

We represent communities that are being devastated by the current economic crisis, a crisis which was created by the very same economic policies that are enshrined within the Lisbon Treaty. The administrations in Leinster House and Stormont continue to slavishly follow these failed and discredited neo-liberal policies that have led Ireland into economic ruin.

Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, IBEC and other elements of the Yes camp have cynically and falsely claimed that the Lisbon Treaty will deliver jobs and economic recovery. It will deliver no such thing because the Treaty is about neither jobs nor recovery. Nor is it about ‘our place in Europe’. The Lisbon Treaty is about the usurpation of democracy, the privatisation of public services, the undermining of workers’ rights and the militarization of the EU.

As republicans, we believe in the principle of the sovereignty of the people. This principle provides that the people, not the business or political classes, have control over the democratic process and the economic life of the nation.

Lisbon represents a further erosion of this democratic principle. It can and must be stopped. On 2nd October, we are calling on the people in the Twenty-Six Counties to reaffirm their decision of June last year and to once again vote No to the Lisbon Treaty.

Councillor Martin Connolly (Ind)
Councillor John Dwyer (Ind)
Councillor Louise Minihan (éirígí)
Councillor Barry Monteith (éirígí)
Councillor Cieran Perry (Ind)
Councillor Thomas Pringle (Ind)
Councillor Bernice Swift (Ind)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

éirígí urge Sligo County & Borough Council to support calls for ban on plastic bullets

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey is calling on Sligo County Council and Sligo Borough Council to table and adopt resolutions calling for the immediate and complete banning of the use of Plastic bullets in the six counties.

Casey was speaking following the adoption of such a motion by Dublin City Council at their September monthly meeting. The emergency motion, which was adopted unanimously, was tabled by éirígí activist Cllr Lousie Minihan. The adopted motion will now be circulated to all City and County Council’s throughout the twenty six counties.

Casey said: “This is a human rights issue. The adoption of this motion by the largest Council in Ireland is a very welcome step in the campaign to secure the banning of plastic bullets. Plastic bullets are a barbaric weapon that have no place in a civilised society. These weapons have killed seventeen Irish citizens including nine young children, scarring and maiming countless more. As recently as July and August, the PSNI have fired plastic bullets at civilians in the Ardoyne and Short Strand areas of Belfast. As a result of these attacks, numerous children suffered horrific injuries.”

He added: “This motion will now be circulated to all City and County Council’s. This will give Councillors here in Sligo the opportunity to follow the lead of their colleagues on Dublin City Council. Over the coming weeks, éirígí Sligeach will be contacting all local Councillors to seek their support for this campaign and for the tabling and adopting of a resolution calling for the immediate banning of plastic bullets.”

He concluded: “The decision of Dublin City Councillors to put aside their petty political differences and to unite behind this motion was commendable. I would be hopeful that all councillors here in Sligo will do likewise, will see the outlawing of plastic bullets as the human rights issue that it is, and table and vote for resolutions calling for their immediate banning.”

Labour/FG support for Lisbon show they offer no alternative to FF

Sligo éirígí spokesperson Gerry Casey has claimed that the Lisbon Treaty is designed to serve the interests of the wealthy business and political elite of Europe. He also claimed that Labour and Fine Gael support for the anti-worker neo-liberal policies contained within the Treaty showed that they offered no credible alternative to the current Fianna Fáil led administration.

Casey said: "Despite all the mock outrage from the leadership of Fine Gael and Labour over the current economic crisis, these parties are now siding with Fianna Fáil and singing from the same hymn sheet as them when it comes to the Lisbon Treaty. Central to the Lisbon Treaty is its entrenchment of the very economic policies that led us into the recession and the economic wasteland we are currently in. This neo-liberal, privatisation, greed before need agenda has led to mass unemployment, severe cutbacks in essential public services as well as pay cuts for workers and an erosion of their working conditions. These are the very same policies which Labour and Fine Gael are now telling us to vote for."

He added: "Contrary to what this united front of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour have tried to suggest, ratifying Lisbon will not end the recession but will actually intensify the crisis. Business interests will be placed ahead of the rights of workers and we will witness a speeding up of the race to the bottom in terms of workers pay and conditions. This is what Lisbon is really about - serving the interests of the wealthy business and political elite of Europe at the expense of workers, their rights and their living standards."

He concluded: "That Fine Gael and Labour are singing from the same hymn sheet as Fianna Fáil in relation to the Treaty and the failed economic model it promotes shows they are two sides of the same coin despite all their rhetoric. While the country is crying out for an alternative to the Fianna Fáil led administration, Fine Gael and Labour quite clearly do not offer any form of a credible alternative. They only offer yet more of the same failed and discredited right wing policies that created the economic recession in the first place."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Thousands Oppose NAMA and Cut Backs

Dozens of éirígí activists and supporters participated in the first major protest organised by the Alliance Against Cuts in Dublin on Saturday last (September 19). An estimated 2,500 people assembled at the Garden of Remembrance before making their way to the headquarters of Anglo Irish Bank on St Stephens Green.


A wide range of community groups, political parties, trade unions and lobby groups took part in the demonstration which was called in opposition to both NAMA and cutbacks to public services. The many posters and banners carried by the protesters reflected the wide range of issues that had brought people onto the streets.


The demonstration was addressed by a number of speakers at both ends of the marchSTAY ON THE STREETS route. Speaking after the demonstration éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson, who addressed the crowd outside of the Anglo-Irish building said, ‘Today’s demonstration represents a good starting point for the coming months, during which time it will be necessary for people to take to the streets in their tens of thousands.

Leeson continued ‘Next December the Dublin government will attempt to introduce the most savage cutbacks to public expenditure in the history of the state. Working class families, as ever, will be the ones to bear the brunt of these cutbacks. As a result of these cuts we can expect that hospital waiting lists, the dole queues and class sizes will all get bigger. The only thing that will stop these cutbacks are massive, frequent and militant protests by ever larger numbers of people. éirígí would encourage everyone to play their part in stopping the twin madness of NAMA and cutbacks to public services."

Friday, September 18, 2009

It’s Time to Take to The Streets!


Assemble at 1pm tomorrow (Saturday, September 19), Garden of Remembrance, Parnell Square.

Brian CowenJust over a year ago a panicked Dublin government stunned the rest of Europe when it announced its bank guarantee scheme. Three months later, in the December 2008 budget, Cowen and company introduced wide-ranging cutbacks to government expenditure and essential services. In April of this year an additional ‘emergency’ budget again focused on slashing government expenditure while simultaneously imposing higher rates of tax on ordinary workers.

Earlier this week the legislation enabling the greatest financial package in the history of the Twenty-Six County state, the National Asset Management Agency, was introduced to Leinster House. Under the NAMA proposals the ‘bad’ debts of the private banks will be nationalised by the state, leaving the banks with only the ‘good’ debts to worry about. Taxpayers for years, potentially generations to come, will pay for this insane version of Fianna Fáil nationalisation.

In December the Dublin government will announce yet further cuts to public expenditure, which will result in ever increasing hardship for working families from Donegal to Wexford. It is clear that the political establishment will stop at nothing to get the Twenty-Six counties’ capitalist system back on track – even if that includes the beggaring of a generation of Irish citizens, forced to repay the borrowings of Brian Cowen’s administration.

Tomorrow [Saturday, September 19] a coalition of political parties and organisations has organised a major protest in opposition to the ongoing cuts to public services and the bailing out of the private banks.

Speaking ahead of the protest, éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson said, “The time has come for the people to take to the streets. They alone have the power to stop the crazy policies of Fianna Fáil and the Greens. The only way that the anti-social plans of this government can be stopped is by building sufficient public pressure against them. If implemented, the Bord Snip cuts and the NAMA bailouts will wreck hundreds of working class communities and destroy the lives of hundreds of thousands of working class people, while protecting the profits of the business class.

Welfare queues continue to grow“Throughout the years of economic boom, the Dublin government neglected the health service, the education system and every aspect of the state that is essential to the well being of working people. Now, in the economic crisis, the establishment is eager to strip away what little protections there are for those not lucky enough to possess an off-shore bank account or a seat in government buildings.

“It will take generations to recover from the damage that will be wrought on the fabric of Irish society if Colm McCarthy and his cronies get their way. The cuts must be vigorously opposed and, ultimately, the government brought down.”

Leeson continued: “For months now, people across the Twenty-Six Counties have been fighting back against creeping unemployment and the Dublin government’s complicity in the crimes of the business class with strikes, sit-ins and protests. Tomorrow’s march is the next step in that fight back.

“éirígí is calling for as many people as possible – those forced out of work, those whose jobs are under threat and the under paid – to converge on Dublin city centre tomorrow to give a strong message to the business class and their allies in Leinster House: we won’t do the time for your crimes.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Lisbon 'guarantees' on neutrality as reliable as the contents of a Fianna Fáil manifesto

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has dismissed claims by Fianna Fáil that neutrality will not be affected by the Lisbon Treaty and that it will not increase the moves towards a more heavily militarised Europe. He also rubbished their claims of having secured "legal guarantees" as bogus saying they were as trustworthy and reliable as the contents of a Fianna Fáil election manifesto.

Casey said: "The Treaty is crystal clear. It intensifies the push towards a more heavily armed and militarised Europe, drawing the EU and this state ever closer to a nuclear armed NATO. It sets in place a mutual defence pact obliging ALL EU states to come to assistance of another member state if an armed attack takes place on its territory, regardless of the circumstances. The Dublin Government's own White paper on Foreign Policy (1996) stated clearly that 'provisions committing the parties to collective action in the event of armed attack against one or more of them .... would not be compatible with an intention to remain neutral.' This clearly puts to bed the lie that this states supposed neutral status will not be affected."

He added: "The Treaty also obliges all states to increase their military spending. This comes at a time when the Fianna Fáil led administration are looking to impose further taxes on low paid workers and cut social welfare rates. They have already introduced savage cutbacks in essential health and education services. Front line hospital staff are being laid off, hospital wards are being closed and essential medical services are being downgraded or removed. This administration, and the so-called 'opposition parties' Fine Gael and Labour who support this Treaty also, obviously view the profits of the European arms industry as a higher priority than the education and health of the people of this state."

"The so-called 'guarantees' on neutrality and other issues that Fianna Fáil claim to have secured are meaningless, have no legal status and are merely political promises from discredited politicians and bureaucrats. They are as trustworthy and reliable as the contents of a Fianna Fáil election manifesto. They do not override the contents of the Treaty itself, which is unchanged and is what we are being asked once again to ratify, despite already having democratically rejected it. Fianna Fáil cannot be trusted when it comes to the issue of neutrality. The have betrayed the Irish people on too many occasions. They joined NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) without the referendum they promised. They have turned Shannon airport into a virtual US military airbase as US troops and aircraft use their facilities on their way to and from the occupied territories of Iraq and Afghanistan."

He concluded: "They are being disingenuous when they say Europe will not become more militarised or that Irish neutrality will not be affected if Lisbon is ratified. To prevent an increase in the increasing militarisation of Europe it is essential that people do not put their trust in Fianna Fáil and the political and business establishment and instead vote NO to Lisbon on October 2nd."

Stormont Isn’t Working for the 100,000 Out of Work

StormontAs Britain’s Stormont administration resumes this month, the impotency of its politicians in the face of the crisis in capitalism continues unabated.

Despite a recession affecting greater numbers of people than officially admitted, the Stormont parties collude to conceal both their own ineptitude and the full extent of that crisis from the population.

Numerous adjustments to the official definition of ‘unemployment’ were previously made by various British governments, which revised figures downwards by moving unemployed people on to other social welfare benefits – to class them as “economically inactive” rather than unemployed.

Today, Stormont’s politicians use the same methodology to mask the full extent of unemployment. They have learned well how to mimic Whitehall’s sleight-of-hand tricks.

The most recent employment figures for the North put the ‘official’ unemployment rate at 6.7 per cent or 51,000.

Buried among those official statistics was a shocking acceptance by the Six-County Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment that among those classed as “economically inactive” are another 50,000 people who are seeking work.

Just as Stormont’s increasing budgetary deficit is hidden from view by private finance initiatives, 50,000 people were hidden from public view in official unemployment figures.

Add these 50,000 ‘lost’ people to the official unemployed figure and one discovers at least 101,000 men, women and young people seeking work in the Six Counties.

In real terms, unemployment is actually over 13.0% – a rate not seen since the early 1990s – putting the North’s unemployment levels above that of the Twenty-Six Counties (12.4 per cent) and the European Union (9.5 per cent) for August 2009.

However, no party or elected representative at Stormont is prepared to break ranks to challenge this cover-up.

To admit that unemployment is at such high levels would run counter to the ‘good news’ stories and artificially manufactured political deadlocks which Stormont prefers.

Some recent examples demonstrate just how scarce jobs have become in the Six Counties. One supermarket chain revealed in August that a staggering 3,500 people applied for 172 jobs at two new stores it had opened. Another stated that, since August last year, it had received over 9,000 applications for just 81 new jobs.

Child poverty remains a huge problemAnd it’s not just those of working age that the Stormont political class are failing.

Two years ago, Barnardo’s, in the It Doesn’t Happen Here report, showed that over 100,000 children and young people in the Six Counties were living in officially defined levels of poverty, with a further 44,000 children and young people living in severe poverty. That already shamefully high figure can only have increased due to rising unemployment and high food and fuel prices, leading to even more families struggling to cover the cost of basic household bills.

An Audit Office report in 2008 found that 34 per cent of homes in the Six Counties were experiencing fuel poverty. In 225,000 homes, 10 per cent or more of household income was spent on energy bills to maintain an acceptable level of temperature in the home. Since that report’s publication, the effects of the economic situation have undoubtedly drawn more households into the fuel poverty trap.

In July this year, Age Concern/Help the Aged published research showing that the numbers of elderly people living in poverty in the Six Counties was also under-estimated by Stormont.

One of the researchers, Professor Eileen Evason said: “The figures that the Department (of Social Development) relies on count Disability Living Allowance and Attendance Allowance as income but do not take account of the increased costs associated with living with a disability and as a result underestimates the number of people living in poverty, in particular single female pensioners.”

If official calculations included the costs associated with living with a disability, the number of pensioner households unable to make ends meet would increase from 24 per cent to 30 per cent. The number of single female pensioner households in poverty would rise from 33 per cent to 41 per cent.

In housing, 38,923 applicants are now on the waiting list for social housing, 20,481 of whom are in urgent housing need. Almost 9,000 families were also deemed to be homeless during the past year and required immediate assistance and support.

The Civil Rights campaignThe truth is that the social and economic fabric of the Six-County state is in complete disarray and the Stormont assembly is unable to provide any meaningful or effective solutions.

Instead, it opened business with yet another conveniently created political mini-storm in a teacup while people on low incomes are being financially squeezed and increasing numbers of children, adults and older people are falling into poverty.

Similarly, no party in Stormont is prepared to confront the key issue of how much people earn when they are in work.

In the Six Counties, the well-off still retain the largest slice of the financial cake. Meanwhile, the lower paid, when not faced with pay cuts, struggle to survive with paltry pay rises to meet huge increases in household bills.

In 1990, the highest earners in the Six Counties received, on average, at least £300 per week more than the lowest paid workers. In 2007, when Stormont was restored, that gap had risen to £600 per week. And that does not include the continuing unfair wage differential between men and women.

All the Stormont parties are keen to hide the stark reality of these actual unemployment figures, poverty levels and the wages gap – not only for economic reasons but because of the political signals these figures send out – a message that the Six-County state is an impractical and ineffectual economic entity based upon a misguided philosophy that partition can be made to work.

Stormont never worked for working class communities in the past. It’s not working for them now.

Fuel povertyOver 225,000 homes not able to provide adequate heating are proof that Stormont isn’t working.

Almost 150,000 children living in poverty are proof that Stormont isn’t working.

Tens of thousands of pensioners living in poverty are proof that Stormont isn’t working.

Almost 40,000 people seeking public housing are proof that Stormont isn’t working.

Over 100,000 people who want work but who can’t get jobs are proof that Stormont literally isn’t working for them.

Stormont’s economic agenda is designed in Britain and implemented without question or dissent by local politicians. As the British Labour government (and increasingly more likely, a new British Tory government) prepares to introduce widespread cuts across all public sector services, Stormont will dutifully follow suit through ‘modernisation agendas’, ‘health service streamlining’ and ‘investment incentives’.

The reality for people in the Six Counties will be a massive, negative impact on housing, employment, health and social services, with continued community disintegration and housing shortages, reduced services for the ill and vulnerable, and further financial pay offs to companies through the privatisation of public services with rock-bottom wages. Stormont won’t be able to provide any alternative.

The clear and increasingly obvious signal is that a new political, economic and social order is required right across Ireland to bring radical, meaningful and effective improvement to the lives of working class people. Stormont cannot deliver on that and therein lies its most fundamental flaw.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


On October 2nd éirígí are urging people to once again vote NO to the Lisbon Treaty. Despite democratically rejecting the Treaty last year, we are now being forced to vote again on this exact same Treaty.

The French and Dutch public also democratically rejected this Treaty in 2005, then titled the European Constitution, when it was put to them in referenda. Instead of accepting the democratic decision in those countries, the EU simply changed the name of the Treaty and had the French and Dutch government's ratify it without putting it back to the people to avoid it being defeated again.

That this Treaty has not been scrapped despite being rejected by the people of three different European states, only serves to confirm the undemocratic nature of the Treaty and the contempt with which the EU and our so-called government have for democracy itself.

Despite the pretence of the political establishment, this is exactly the same Treaty we rejected last year. Not a single line, word or comma has been changed. Their claims to have secured "legal guarantees" that address the concerns that the public has over the Treaty are disingenuous and a deliberate effort to deceive the public.

Their guarantees have no legal basis, are not included in the Treaty and have not been added as protocols to the Treaty. They are empty political promises by politicians and bureaucrats at Irish and European level who have shown consistently that they cannot be trusted. The actual content of the Treaty, which is what we are voting on, overrides any "guarantees" or pre-referenda promises that may be given in order to secure your vote.

The Treaty also intensifies the push towards a more heavily armed and militarised Europe, drawing this state closer to a nuclear armed NATO. It creates a mutual defence pact, obliging ALL states in the union to come to the assistance of another EU state where an armed attack takes place on its territory. According to the Dublin Government's own White paper on Foreign Policy (1996) "provisions committing the parties to collective action in the event of armed attack against one or more of them .... would not be compatible with an intention to remain neutral."

It also obliges all states to increase their military spending. This at a time when Fianna Fáil and the Greens are imposing savage cutbacks in essential health and education services properly. Clearly this administration views the profits of the European arms industry as a higher priority than the education and health of the people of this state.

The reality is that this administration has already seriously eroded this states supposed neutral status. They joined NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) without holding the referendum they promised. They have assisted the US and British war effort in Afghanistan and Iraq. They have turned Shannon airport into a virtual US military base, providing refuelling and rest and recreation facilities for US aircraft and troops on their way to and from slaughtering civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The announcement in recent weeks by Ryanair, by Intel Ireland and by the Business group IBEC, that they are to spend hundreds of thousands of Euro campaigning for a yes vote clearly shows who will benefit from the Lisbon Treaty. Lisbon is a charter for big business. For workers it is an extremely bad deal. If Lisbon is ratified it will see a continuation of the neo-liberal economic madness that led to the current recession, with its mass unemployment and cutbacks in essential public services, that we are currently in. The one thing that Lisbon will provide for workers and their families is increased misery and hardship and yet further attacks on their working conditions and living standards.

While that may be the political and business establishment’s vision for Europe, it is not éirígí’s. All the reasons why we opposed this Treaty last year remain. A yes vote will increase the militarisation of Europe and see the further erosion of workers’ rights, sovereignty and democracy. On that basis we are campaigning and asking people once again to vote NO for a better Europe, not a Europe based on greed over need and the exploitation of its 500 million workers.

Ireland’s Largest Council Calls For Plastic Bullets To Be Banned

Dublin City Council last night [Monday] adopted an historic motion calling for the banning of the use of plastic bullets in the Six Counties. The motion, which was proposed by éirígí activist Councillor Louise Minihan, received the unanimous backing of Ireland’s largest council. Indeed such was the support for the motion that no debate or discussion was required prior to voting.

The motion stated that: “This council notes with deep concern the firing of plastic bullets by the PSNI in Belfast on July 13 and August 31 2009. These lethal weapons have already killed seventeen Irish citizens and injured and maimed countless others. This council calls for the immediate banning of the use of plastic bullets under any circumstances in the Six Counties before they cause further injury or death.”

Councillor Louise Minihan holding plastic bullet

Having been adopted by Dublin City Council the motion will now be circulated to all county and city councils in the Twenty-Six Counties, providing each of these councils with the opportunity to follow the lead of Dublin City.

Prior to the council meeting more then forty éirígí activists and supporters gathered outside City Hall to protest against plastic bullets and lobby councillors to support the motion calling for their banning. Holding ‘Plastic Bullets Kill’ placards they mingled with those attending a protest in support of the striking Dublin dockers, who were also holding a protest to coincide with the monthly council meeting.

Plastic Bullets Kill

Speaking after the adoption of the motion éirígí Chairperson Brian Leeson said: “The adoption of this anti-plastic bullets motion marks a significant victory in the campaign to have these barbaric weapons banned. All of the councillors that supported this motion are to be commended for rising above petty party politics and seeing the outlawing of plastic bullets for the human rights issue that it is.

“In adopting this motion Dublin City Council is sending a very clear message to the occupying authorities and their henchmen in the PSNI – that the firing of plastic bullets at Irish citizens is not acceptable. The adoption of this motion also sends a message of solidarity to the people of the Ardoyne, the Short Strand and the rest of the Six Counties. On too many occasions in the past the elected institutions of the Twenty-Six Counties have been silent with regard to the activities of Britain’s forces in the Six Counties. Hopefully tonight’s motion marks a change in this pattern.

Outside City Hall

“The submission of this motion was just one of a number of initiatives taken by éirígí in response to the firing of plastic bullets by the PSNI in the Ardoyne area of Belfast on July 13th and again in the Short Strand area on August 31st. As welcome as the Dublin City motion is, we know that plastic bullets will not be banned as a result of council motions alone. It is only through the building of a mass campaign on the streets, in the elected institutions and within society at large that sufficient pressure will be brought to bear on the British government to outlaw these lethal weapons.”

Brian concluded: “I would encourage socialists, republicans and democrats across the Twenty-Six Counties to contact their local councillors and lobby them to support the anti-plastic bullet motion when it comes before their respective councils. They should also try to organise protests and other events to highlight the issue of plastic bullets and the unacceptable toll of human suffering that they cause. If other councils follow Dublin’s example it will add real political weight to the campaign to have plastic bullets permanently banned from Ireland.”

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Leaflet on Lisbon to be Distributed

No to Lisbon 2As part of éirígí’s No to Lisbon 2 campaign, the party has produced a leaflet detailing the reasons why the Treaty should be rejected by the electorate in the Twenty-Six Counties.

Over 100,000 copies of the leaflet will be distributed to homes across the four provinces, including in counties Dublin, Cork, Sligo, Wicklow and Donegal.

The leaflet highlights the fact that the current economic hardships faced by working class people were caused by the same business and political class that is trying to force the Lisbon Treaty down their throats.

While the Yes lobby, which includes magnates like Tony O’Reilly and Michael O’Leary, would have people believe that the Treaty is vital for economic recovery, as the leaflet points out: “Nothing could be further from the truth. The Lisbon Treaty is based on the same flawed capitalist economic model that caused the current recession. How can the disease also be the cure? It just doesn’t make sense.”

Similarly, the publication sets out five simple reasons why working people should again vote No.

  1. It promotes “greed over need”. Like the treaties before it, Lisbon aims to continue the current cut-throat capitalist agenda of the European political elite. If passed, it will lay the ground for further privatisation of essential public services, such as health and education.
  2. Over 1.8 million Irish people living in the Six Counties have no say in this matter. No decisions on European integration should be taken until a British withdrawal from the North of Ireland takes place.
  3. It paves the way for a United States of Europe. This treaty is simply an EU Constitution in a different guise, the same constitution, which was rejected by the peoples of France and the Netherlands. If passed, the EU can amend further treaties without referenda and EU law takes primacy over national law. It also creates the powerful positions of EU president and EU foreign minister.
  4. It undermines sovereignty and weakens Ireland’s voice in Europe. This treaty gives the EU increased powers over some areas of policy. It also halves the Dublin government’s voting power while increasing that of the larger states.
  5. The Lisbon Treaty further enables the process of creating a full-ledged EU army, with member states required “to make civilian and military capabilities available for the implementation of EU… defense policy”.

Daithí Mac An Mhaistír at the campaign launchThe fact is that the Treaty is, word-for-word, exactly the same as its predecessor. The so-called guarantees on Lisbon 2 are not legally binding. They are simply the empty promises of politicians.

éirígí spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, said: “This Treaty is the very same as the one that came before it. Not a comma on it has been changed. Instead, we have been given vague promises from discredited politicians dressed up in the form of guarantees.

“It is clear that the neo-liberal agenda currently being pushed by the EU establishment has failed; that same establishment is now attempting to enforce an agenda of cutbacks and privatisation. éirígí is confident that working people in the Twenty-Six Counties will again vote No on October 2.”

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey also claimed that the Lisbon Treaty will place business interests above the rights of workers and will further erode workers pay and conditions.

Casey said: “We are seeing massive cutbacks being imposed on essential health and education services. We have mass unemployment with hundreds of thousands of jobs lost in recent times. Yet the people who have led this country to this economic ruin, the establishment political parties and those representing the interests of big business, are telling us to trust them and to vote yes to Lisbon."

He added: "A vote for Lisbon will see the continuation of the discredited neo-liberal and privatisation policies that created the economic recession we are currently in. Lisbon gives priority to business interests over the rights of workers and will hasten a race to the bottom in terms of workers pay and conditions."

"Clearly that is the type of Europe that the political and business establishment, including the likes of Ryanair and Intel who have a vested interest, desire. However, that vision, which will result in further attacks on workers living standards and working conditions, is not acceptable to those of us interested in workers rights and a fairer more democratic society."

He concluded: "Despite all the lies and distortions from the Yes camp, the basic fact is that Lisbon is a fundamentally undemocratic Treaty that places business interests ahead of workers’ rights, puts privatisation and the ‘free market’ at the heart of Europe and seeks to build a more heavily militarised EU. For those very reasons it is essential we vote NO on October 2 once again."

Lisbon 2 Official Campaign Launch

The official launch of éirígí’s No to Lisbon 2 campaign took place yesterday (Saturday) in Dublin’s Belvedere Hotel. Close to forty éirígí activists were on hand for the event which began with a number of presentations relating the Lisbon Treaty itself and the éirígí campaign calling for a NO vote in the October 2nd referendum.

Party Chair Brian Leeson, General Secretary Breandán Mac Cionnaith, spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír, Belfast Ciorcal Chair Nuala McGurk and Councillor Louise Minihan all took part in a panel based question and answer session which followed the presentations.

éirígí’s main campaign leaflet entitled ‘500,000 UNEMPLOYED – EUROPE ISN’T WORKING’ was also revealed at the launch. 100,000 of these leaflets are to be distributed across the country during the course of the campaign. These leaflets are in addition to the 3,000 No to Lisbon posters calling for a No vote that éirígí has produced.

Following the launch thousands of leaflets were distributed to pedestrians across the city centre. Speaking after the launch éirígí’s Lisbon spokesperson Daithí Mac An Mhaistír said: “éirígí played a major role in the first Lisbon referendum, distributing tens of thousands of leaflets and erecting hundreds of posters and banners. Given the growth that éirígí has experienced in the intervening period our Lisbon 2 campaign will be considerably bigger. We will bring the message that the EU isn’t working to the doorsteps of tens of thousands of homes across the state.

“The establishment political parties, IBEC and big business – the very people who have led this country into economic ruin – are asking people to vote yes. éirígí is proposing a radical socialist alternative to the failed economic policies of the EU and the Twenty-Six County government. By voting NO to the Lisbon Treaty, people can express their support for the building of a different society build upon the principles of economic democracy and genuine equality. Saying No to Lisbon is to stand on the side of democracy and a vision of Europe wherein the people are sovereign.”

Friday, September 4, 2009

NO to Lisbon 2 Poster Campaign launched in Sligo

éirígí Sligeach launched the first phase of its poster campaign against the Lisbon Treaty earlier this week. Posters and banners opposing the Treaty and calling for a NO vote were erected throughout Sligo town and also in Ballisodare and Collooney.

éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey said that this was just the start of what he claims will be an intensive campaign by the party in Sligo and throughout the north-west.

He said: "While this is certain to be a very tough campaign, we in éirígí are more than confident that we can achieve a second NO vote in the upcoming referendum on October 2nd. For our part we will be stepping up our campaign in Sligo and the north-west in general over the coming weekend and in the weeks to come."

He added: "This is the exact same treaty we voted on and rejected last year. Every word, sentence and paragraph included in the Treaty is the very same as last time around."

"The so called guarantees which the political establishment is so intent to promote as being "legally binding" are nothing of the sort. They have no legal standing, are contrary to the actual content of the Treaty in many instances and do not override the content of the Treaty itself. As éirígí have pointed out repeatedly, these are no more than political promises from politicians at both Irish and European level who, on the basis of their records, are totally discredited and are not to be trusted."

"This Treaty, under its previous guise as the EU constitution, has already been rejected by the French and Dutch public. The EU have ignored those democratic decisions. Following our rejection of that re-named constitution, now called the Lisbon Treaty, once again the EU and the Fianna Fáil led administration have ignored that democratic vote also."

"This reveals the fundamentally undemocratic nature at the heart of the EU itself and how they will stop at nothing as they attempt to entrench their neo-liberalism and privatisation agenda, further deepen the democratic deficit of the union and move towards their desired EU super-state."

He concluded: " éirígí oppose this Treaty, as we did last time, as it undermines sovereignty, is fundamentally anti-worker, promotes greed over need and increases the militarization of Europe. We will also continue to challenge and expose the attempts by Fianna Fáil and the so-called "opposition" in Fine Gael and Labour to deliberately mislead and deceive the public with their bogus arguments about so-called legal guarantees that are in fact worthless."

Cruinnithe faoin spéir sa Chlochán Liath faoi Chonradh Liospóin

(English version follows.)

Ag labhairt ag cruinniú eagraithe ag éirígí sa Chlochán Liath ag éileamh ar vóta Níl sa reifreann i mí Dheireadh Fómhair, dúirt eagraí Cheardchumann Neamhspleách na nOibrithe Tommy McKearney nach bhfuil sé de ghustal ag Éirinn ligeant don Eoraip talamh slán a dhéanamh dá comhlíonadh.

“Le ceann de na daonraí agus eacnamaíochtaí is lú san Aontas Eorpach, ní féidir le hÉirinn cáil a fháil ó chomhlíonadh i gcónaí nuair a ordaíonn na stáit mhóra é sin a dhéanamh agus sin an rud a tharlóidh má athraíonn muid an cinneadh tógtha ag ár ndaoine in 2008,” dúirt sé.

Tommy McKearney agus Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig

Bhí an cruinniú sin ar cheann de sraith chruinnithe iarAifrinn curtha ar siúl lasmuigh de eaglasi chaitliceach an Chlocháin Liath oíche Dé Sathairn agus maidin Dé Domhnaigh [29-30ú Lúnasa]. Labhair urlabhraí éirígí Thír Chonaill Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig ag na cruinnithe freisin.

“Cuimhnigh,” lean McKearney, “dá mba rud é gur athraíodh an conradh seo go mór ó dhiúltaigh muid é in 2008, bheadh ar phobail an Aontais Eorpaigh vóta a chaitheamh air arís. Tá muid, mar sin, ag vótáil ar an chonradh céanna. Seo conradh a dhéanann leatrom ar oibrithe agus i bhfábhar na mbaincéirí, amhantraithe agus gnóthaí móra trí thacú le hiomaíocht roimh shaothar.

“Cén fáth, an dóigh leat, go bhfuil Michael O’Leary ag infheistiú €500,000 san fheachtas Tá?” arsa McKearney.

Dúirt sé go bhfuil páirtithe na bunaíochta atá ag tabhairt comhairle dúinn vótáil Tá ag tabhairt le tuiscint go gcuirfear amach as an Aontas Eorpach muid agus go mbeidh muid brúite amach ón Euro má theipeann orainn sin a dhéanamh.

“Tá sé seo bréagach amach is amach,” arsa é.

“Ní féidir muid a dhíbirt agus muid ag feidhmiú ár gceart daonlathach Níl a rá agus ní chaillfidh muid an Euro trí dhiúltú don chonradh seo.

“Breithnigh gur iad na páirtithe comhrialtais atá ag tabhairt comhairle dúinn ar vótáil, na daoine oll-neamhinniúlacha céanna atá i gceannas ar thubaiste ár ngeilleagair agus atá meáite anois ar reachtaíocht NAMA a thógaint isteach chun na baincéirí agus na hamhantraithe a tharrtháil agus iad tar éis an méad sin a dhéanamh chun muid go léir a scrios.”

Chríochnaigh sé ag rá gur bhain muintir na hÉireann úsáid as a ndea-chiall agus dhiúltaigh siad bulaíocht an uair dheireanach a vótalaíodh ar an chonradh seo agus gur chóir dúinn an rud céanna a dhéanamh i mí Dheireadh Fómhair.

Open Air meetings in Dungloe on Lisbon Treaty

Tommy McKearneySpeaking at a meeting organised by éirígí in Dungloe to call for a No vote in October’s Lisbon referendum, Independent Workers’ Union organiser Tommy McKearney said that Ireland cannot afford to allow the European Union take its compliance for granted.

“With one of the smallest populations and economies in the European Union, Ireland must not earn a reputation for meekly rolling over when ordered to do so by the bigger states and that is what will happen if we change the decision delivered by our people in 2008,” McKearney said.

The meeting was one of a series of after mass meetings held outside Dungloe catholic church on Saturday and Sunday [August 29-30]. Donegal éirígí spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig also addressed the meetings.

“Let us remind ourselves,” McKearney continued, “that if this Treaty had been significantly altered since we rejected it in 2008, the peoples of the EU would have had to vote on it again. We are, therefore, voting on the same treaty. A treaty that by endorsing the right of competition over that of labour, discriminates against workers and in favour of bankers, speculators and big business.

“Why do you think Michael O’Leary is investing €500,000 in the Yes campaign?” McKearney asked.

He said that the establishment parties advising people to vote yes are implying that if they fail to do so, the Twenty-Six Counties will be expelled from the EU and forced out of the Euro.

“That is simply untrue,” he said.

“We cannot be expelled for exercising our democratic right to say No and we shall not lose the Euro for objection to this treaty.

“Don’t lose sight of the fact that the coalition parties now advising us on how to vote are the same grossly incompetent people that have presided over the collapse of our economy and are now hell bent on introducing the NAMA legislation in order to rescue the bankers and speculators who have done so much to ruin us all.”

McKearney concluded by saying that people in the Twenty-Six Counties had used their good sense and refused to be bullied the last time the Treaty was voted on and they should do the same again in October.

Workers in Struggle

TEEU Says No to Lisbon 2

The electricians’ and engineering union in the Twenty-Six Counties, the TEEU, has called for a no vote in October’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

Announcing the decision, the union’s general president, Frank Keoghan, said that, if implemented, the Lisbon Treaty would place the interests of the market over the rights of workers.

The news comes after the UNITE trade union announced its decision to oppose the Treaty. Between them, the two unions have a membership of around 100,000 workers.

In a further indicator of where class interests lie on the issue, a number of business groups, including the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association and the Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies, today [Thursday] called for a yes vote in October.

Half a Million on the Dole

More than 440,000 people in the Twenty-Six Counties are singing on according to figures released yesterday [Wednesday].

Dublin government statistics revealed that 4,321 new people signed for social welfare payments in August.

The unemployment rate in the Twenty-Six Counties is now at 12.4 per cent, with at least another 50,000 claiming unemployment benefit in the Six Counties.

Responding to government inaction in the face of economic crisis, Irish Congress of Trade Unions assistant general secretary Sally Anne Kinahan said: “To date, their measures have been too little and always too late. Nothing introduced so far even grasps the scale of this problem.”

Some Lives Are Expendable

The number of work-related deaths in the Six Counties increased by nearly a fifth last year according to the Health & Safety Executive [HSE].

The organisation’s annual report also highlights how workers in the Six Counties are statistically more likely to suffer a fatal accident than workers in Britain, despite the two being ‘protected’ by the same legislation.

From April 2008 to the end of March this year, 19 people died in work-related accidents compared to 16 in the previous 12 months. All but three of the deaths occurred in either the agriculture, construction or manufacturing sectors.

The HSE’s five-year trend statistics, comparing the incidences of fatal injuries in the Six Counties with those in Britain, highlight how work conditions in the former are decidedly more dangerous. Workers in the Six Counties are up to twice as likely to suffer an injury at work as those in Britain.

Sasanaigh Amach as Fear Manach

(English version follows.)

Bhailigh cuid ghníomhaígh éirígí in Inis Ceathlainn Dé Domhnaigh [30ú Lúnasa] le teachtaireacht a thabhairt do láithreacht Arm Shasana sa bhaile – tógaigí oraibh as Éirinn.

Rinne na gníomhaígh a slí chuig an bhunáit RIR/TA sa bhaile i gcondae Fhear Manach agus chuir póstaeir in airde leis an mhana Britain Out Of Ireland – Saoirse Anois.

Tharla an agóid faoi chúlra an ardú i ngníomhaíocht mhíleata na Breataine i bhFear Manach, a chuimsigh eachtra le déanaí inar choinnigh aonad faoi cheilt beirt fhear faoi dhíriú gunna sular dearnadh ruathar ar thithe agus cuireadh an ceantar faoi smacht míleata.

Dúirt rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith: “Bhí an agóid seo oiriúnach go háirithe leis tuairimíocht iomadúil faoi láithreacht ardaithe arm Shasana sna Sé Chondae.

“Is ar chodanna de Fhear Manach a tháinig meáchan oibríochtaí arm Shasana ar na mallaibh, ag nochtadh na fírinne nach raibh i gcríoch Operation Banner in 2007 ach réiteach an bhóthair do láithreacht athnuaithe agus ghníomhach arm Shasana san oirthuaisceart.

“Tá seasamh éirígí sothuigthe: níl fáilte roimh arm Shasana in aon chuid d’Éirinn, is cuma an riocht agus an cúinse.”

Chríochnaigh Breandán: “Sna míonna le teacht, beidh éirígí ag cur dlús lena bhfeachtas in éadan riail na Breataine, téimid faoi bhráid an phobail bheith linn in atógáil frithbheartaíochta coiteann in éadan na forghabhála.”

Brits Out of Fermanagh

A number of éirígí activists gathered in Enniskillen on Sunday [August 30] to deliver a message to the British army presence in the town – get out of Ireland.

The activists made their way to the Royal Irish Regiment-Territorial Army base in the County Fermanagh town and erected posters bearing the slogan Britain Out Of Ireland – Saoirse Anois.

The protest came against a backdrop of increasing British military activity in Fermanagh, including a recent incident where two men were held at gunpoint by an undercover unit before homes were raided and the area was put under military control.

éirígí general secretary Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “This protest was especially pertinent given the increasing speculation about an increased British army presence in the Six Counties.

“Parts of Fermanagh have already borne the brunt of British army operations in recent months, exposing the fact that the ending of Operation Banner in 2007 merely facilitated a renewed and active British army presence in the North.

“éirígí’s position is simple: the British army is not welcome in any part of Ireland, under any guise, under any circumstances.”

Breandán concluded: “In the coming months, éirígí will be stepping up its campaign against British rule, we appeal for people to join us in rebuilding popular resistance to the occupation.”