Saturday, January 23, 2010

Fírinne Protest Against Section 44 in Enniskillen

Fírinne in Fermanagh, the group that campaigns on behalf of victims of British state violence, protested against the stop & search powers being used by the PSNI on Tuesday night [January 19].

Members and supporters of Fírinne gathered outside the Killyhevlin Hotel in Enniskillen where a District Policing Partnership meeting was taking place to highlight the recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights that the use of stop & search under the British government’s Section 44 and the Justice & Security Act is unlawful.

The PSNI displayed their usual disregard for the right to peaceful assembly by videoing the demonstrators and noting down the car registration numbers of local people.

Bernice Swift, the project manager of Fírinne and an independent republican councillor in Fermanagh, attended the protest.

“The Strasbourg court ruled it was unlawful for police to use the powers, under section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, to stop and search people without needing any grounds for suspicion, further adding that the way they were authorised, were ‘neither sufficiently circumscribed, nor subject to adequate legal safeguards against abuse’,” Swift said.

“Unanimous agreement by European judges said the power to search a person's clothing and belongings in public included elements of humiliation and embarrassment which was a clear interference with the right to privacy. One example in Fermanagh, where one young man was stopped and searched three times in two hours was wholly unacceptable, and has now been ruled as illegal.”

Swift continued: “The Human Rights court has shown that section 44 is an invasion of people's right to liberty and privacy. Therefore, Fírinne demands that the British government and the PSNI cease using it to harass and detain people. Anyone who is stopped under this repressive legislation should contact their solicitor as the PSNI are in violation of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

éirígí general secretary Breandán Mac Cionnaith commended the protestors.

“It is encouraging that Fírinne in Fermanagh have recognised the significance of this ruling when so many political parties and organisations have remained silent on its ramifications.

“The British government and the PSNI are clearly acting in contravention of the civil and human rights of Irish citizens – this fact must be exposed.

“éirígí is encouraging all organisations and individuals to put pressure on the British government to cease, with immediate effect, the use of stop & search powers in the Six Counties.”

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Boycott Israeli Goods – North West demonstrates for Palestine

On Saturday (Jan 16) éirígí activists engaged in a series of actions throughout the north-west in solidarity with the people of Palestine, calling for an end to the siege of Gaza and calling for an all-out boycott of Israeli goods.

The activities were part of a national day of action organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) in support of its campaign to boycott Israeli goods.

On Saturday morning éirígí activists erected large banners at various locations in counties Sligo and Donegal in support of the boycott demand. The banners read - “Boycott Israeli Goods – End the occupation of Palestine” and “Imir baghcat ar earraí Iosraelocha – Cuir deireadh le forghabháil na Palaistíne”.

On Saturday afternoon a 90-minute public demonstration was held on Main Street in Letterkenny. Up to 40 people took part in the protest. Palestinian flags were on display and hundreds of leaflets were distributed to passers-by, pedestrians and drivers alike.

In Dublin, éirígí activists joined an Ireland Palestine Solidarity Committee demonstration outside Marks & Spencer’s on O’Connell Street, while a large Boycott Israel banner was unfurled on the Ha’penny Bridge.

In Arklow, County Wicklow, éirígí activists handed out hundreds of leaflets highlighting the plight of the Palestinian people while in both Belfast and Cork, éirígí activists took part in pro-Boycott protests, distributing leaflets and engaging with members of the public.

Following the Letterkenny protest, Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey called for an all-out boycott of all Israeli goods, the expulsion of Israeli diplomats and a complete severance of ties with the Israeli state.

Casey said: “Israel continues to defy International law and commit widespread human rights abuses. They continue to detain, torture and assassinate Palestinians at will. They continue to impose a barbaric and illegal siege on the civilian population of Gaza and to deny the Palestinian people their right to freedom and an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.”

He added: “While the European Union (EU) has acted shamefully in retaining favoured trading status and upgrading links with the Israeli regime, the reality is that all such links and trade should be ended.”

“The Israeli embassy should be shut down and the Israeli ambassador and all their representatives should be expelled from this island. An all-out boycott of Israeli business and produce should be initiated. While the EU and what passes for government on this island refuse to do so, the people of Ireland have the power to make such a boycott effective.”

Tír Chonaill éirígí spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig also re-iterated the call for a boycott and accused the EU of complicity in Israeli war crimes.

MacGiolla Easbuig said: “We organised the erection of these large banners and this demonstration in Letterkenny to not just extend solidarity with the Palestinian people, specifically those suffering immense hardship within Gaza, but to also support the demand for a boycott of Israeli goods. It is important that we make people aware of the practical measures which we all can take against the Israeli state.”

He added: “Israel continues its illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the building of its illegal annexation wall. The inhumane siege of Gaza continues as the civilian population, particularly children and the elderly, increasingly struggle to get food and essential medicines to survive. ”

“The Israeli military continue to carry out military attacks on both Gaza and the West Bank, killing Palestinians and destroying the remnants of an already obliterated infrastructure and economy. During last years murderous assault on Gaza, Israel committed countless war crimes, deliberately bombing civilian targets, slaughtering 1400 Palestinians, 400 of whom were young children.”

He continued: “Despite all of this, the EU have refused to take action against Israel to defend the Palestinian people or to end the illegal and inhumane blockade of Gaza. Rather than cutting all ties with Israel, imposing sanctions on them and seeking to bring to justice those responsible for the war crimes committed against the Palestinian people, Israel has once again been shamefully allowed to retain favoured trading status with the EU. The EU are effectively bankrolling the Israeli terror regime and are complicit in Israel's war crimes and human rights abuses.”

He concluded: “We must now initiate an all-out boycott of Israeli business and produce as we did with South African goods in the 1980's. As consumers we must check the country of origin of all goods we buy and refuse to buy any that originate in Israel. We must also also put pressure on retailers to refuse to stock any Israeli goods. These are simple practical measures that we can all take to oppose the continued occupation of Palestine and to support the Palestinian people's right to justice and freedom. It's long past time we made Ireland an Israeli-free zone.”

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Letterkenny "Boycott Israeli Goods" demo on Saturday

This Saturday (Jan 16) éirígí Tír Chonaill are to hold a public demonstration in Letterkenny to show solidarity with the people of Palestine and calling for a boycott of all Israeli goods.

The protest, which will commence from 1.30pm at Market Square, Main Street, is part of a national day of action organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). All members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Announcing details of the demonstration, éirígí Tír Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig said the party were organising it to highlight the continued inhumane and illegal siege of Gaza, to show solidarity with the Palestinian people and to make people aware of the need to boycott Israeli goods.

MacGiolla Easbuig said: “Through a 22- day bombardment of Gaza twelve months ago, the Israeli murder machine slaughtered more than 1400 Palestinians, more than 400 of whom were children.”

He added: “They destroyed the entire social and economic infrastructure of Gaza. They deliberately targeted and destroyed the water and sewage systems, they attacked hospitals and schools and damaged and destroyed tens of thousands of homes."

He continued: “This savage campaign against the civilian population of Gaza did not end with the Israeli ceasefire last January. Israel continues to impose an illegal and inhumane siege of the area, preventing the re-building of essential infrastructure, including homes, causing immense hardship and sickness. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) last year, more than 10% of children in Gaza were suffering from chronic malnutrition. This is as a direct result of Israel's siege and their deliberate policy of preventing adequate supplies of essential medicines and foodstuffs into the area.”

“We are urging the public to attend Saturday's protest and to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who continue to be denied their freedom and in the case of Gaza suffer horrendous hardship due to Israel's siege. We are also specifically urging retail outlets not to stock Israeli goods of any sort and for the public to refuse to buy them wherever they are on sale.”

He concluded: “The Irish people contributed significantly to the downfall of the apartheid South African regime in the 1980's with their boycott of goods from that country. There is now an equally pressing need for a similar all-out boycott of Israeli business and produce to help bring about an end to the barbaric siege of Gaza and to secure justice and freedom for the Palestinian people. This is something practical that we all can do to assist the Palestinian people and help bring about an end to their nightmare.”

Monday, January 11, 2010

Big Increases in Dole Payments for Ireland’s Wealthy

IBEC director general Danny McCoyAlmost €350 million [£315 million] is to be paid out in 2010 to some of the wealthiest business people in the Twenty-Six Counties in ‘dole’ payments – an increase of over €100 million [£90 million] on last year’s figures.

You can slap yourself across the face but this isn’t a nightmare. The blind, those on social welfare, teachers, nurses and other public servants will all have their incomes cut but, at the same time, they and every other working person will have to pay taxes to subsidise the business class. After all, now is hardly the time to ask Ireland’s elite to abandon their SUVs, their trophy homes or their expensive tastes in clothing. They preach to us about their entrepreneurial spirit while keeping their hands out for our money.

The Irish Business and Employers Confederation [IBEC], the Small Firms Association [SFA] and the Construction Industry Federation [CIF] were cheerleaders for the recent budget cuts for everyone else while continuing to be the real scroungers in Irish society.

Recent media reports have highlighted the fact that the Twenty-Six County government has increased its harassment of members of the public receiving social welfare payments. Figures recently made available show that, by the end of September 2009, almost 900 cases were at various stages of the prosecution process. Another 20 cases were finalised in court, while a further 200 cases have been forwarded to the Chief State Solicitor’s Office to initiate legal proceedings. Now, plans have been announced to set up roadblocks to harass those on social welfare.

The Twenty-Six County state has also deployed its media wing in the form of RTÉ whose Primetime Investigates has tried to further demonise the poorest in Irish society. The advertising blurb for a recent edition claimed how “An undercover investigation exposes the increasing number of welfare cheats who are ripping-off the Irish taxpayer”. However, instead of any serious investigation or analysis, viewers were actually treated to a glut of tabloid-style sensationalist journalism.

The question isn’t whether one fifth of one per cent of all those on the Live Register in the Twenty-Six Counties are ‘defrauding’ the state but how any politician can stand over funding ‘private enterprise’ while ordinary taxpayers are seeing their incomes fall by up to 20 per cent.

Welfare line in DublinThe figures are there for all to see in the budget and, yet, the cosy consensus that is Irish politics has failed to even mention it. Irish capitalism isn’t about enterprise or job creation. It is really about transferring wealth from the majority who create it to the minority who spend it. In the current recession, some payments to business have actually increased; IDA Ireland provided €70 million [£63 million] in grants to privately owned firms in 2009 and the Budget 2010 plans to expand these payments to a whopping €85 million [£76 million] – an increase of 21 per cent.

Enterprise Ireland is another body which subsidises the captains of Irish industry. In 2009, the body paid out €100 million to the business class and, while this is to fall to €92 million [£83 million] in 2010, that is more than compensated for by the increases in other areas. The Shannon Free Development Airport Company Limited, which funds private business in the mid-west, has seen its funding jump from €700,000 [£630,000] to a cool €5 million [£4.5 million] for eager capitalists. Other bodies, such as County Enterprise Boards and Intertrade Ireland, are doling out tens of millions of euro to entrepreneurs in need.

The most shocking of all the proposals is the Temporary Employment Subsidy Scheme. This is a programme whereby private business has part of its wage bill paid by the exchequer. None of these state-funded capitalists offered to help the Dublin government by paying extra taxes during the boom years. Now, the tax-payer is expected to subsidise the same people who exploit workers all over the country.

The Twenty-Six County government introduced the Subsidy Scheme last year and paid out €20 million [£18 million]. In 2010, it plans to spend a massive €114 million [£102 million] in subsidising private businesses without any hope of recouping the money. The most frightening thing is that this surreal initiative isn’t being challenged by what passes for Ireland’s centre left alternative. The Labour Party and Sinn Féin have, respectively, proposed to expand this fund to last for a number of years and to cost either €700 or €600 million [£630 or £540 million].

This increase in the transfer of wealth to those at the top of Irish society has been greeted with glee by the business class.

The director general of IBEC Danny McCoy said: “This budget is a turning point as it stops the deficit rising and puts Ireland on a sustainable path. The right thing to do was the hard thing to do and the right thing has been done. Confidence can now be restored both to consumers and to international investors. To get the country back to work, the public finances need to be stabilised without further major increases in taxation. It is of critical importance that we make the necessary correction now, rather than dragging it out over many years.”

Patricia Callan with Brian CowenThe correction McCoy refers to is massive cuts in pay for civil servants while his members get money doled out to them.

In the lead up to the Twenty-Six County budget, McCoy’s bedfellow, the director of the Small Firms Association Patricia Callan said that, “The promised €4bn expenditure cuts will have to be delivered by government… there needs to be a decrease in pay and conditions of employment and a reduction in numbers employed in the public sector.”

Strong words indeed from a representative of a class that perpetually sponges off the very workers it exploits on a daily basis.

When the figures above are taken into account, it is clear that, if the political will existed, the Dublin government could have produced a budget that protected public services and the social and economic rights of working people. Instead, it chose to go to war on them.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Fianna Fáil Get Upset in Donegal

Fianna Fáil Goillte i nDún na nGall

(English version follows.)

Ag druidim leis an Nollaig sheol éirígí i nDún na nGall feachtas fógraí agus bileogaí in éadan na gciorruithe a leagtar síos i gcáinaisnéis is déanaí na Sé Chondae Fichead.

Ba é tógáil líon chlár fógraí in iarthar na tíre an chéad chuid den fheachtas, a léigh 21,000+ Dífhostaithe i nDún na nGall – Nollaig Shona Daoibh ó Fianna Fáil agus an Comhaontas Glas. Ina dhiaidh seo scaip gníomhaígh éirígí bileogaí ar thithe ag míniú na gciorruithe nua i bpá, leasa sóisialta, sláinte agus oideachas chomh maith leis an Ghaeltacht agus an Ghaeilge.

Fógra i nDobhar / Billboard in Dore

Ag seoladh an fheachtais, dúirt urlabhraí éirígí Thír Chonaill Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig go mbeadh méadú suntasach i leibhéil bhochtanais sna Sé Chondae Fichead mar thoradh ar na ciorruithe is déanaí.

“Do na deiche míle teaghlach in Éirinn a mhaireann ar phá íseal agus ar leasa sóisialta, anró agus cruatan atá i ndán dóibh agus na ciorruithe ag teacht i dtír orthu,” arsa é.

“Tá anois breis agus 20,000 duine gan obair sa chondae seo mar gheall ar shaint agus teipeanna an rialtais seo agus a gcomhleacaithe sna gnónna móra ach ní dhearna siad faic le cuidiú leis an daoine seo agus a dteaghlaigh. Ní dhéanann an cháinaisnéis seo dada chun postanna a chruthú. Muise, leanfaidh líon na dífhostaíochta ag méadú mar gheall ar an cháinaisnéis seo.

Lean Mac Giolla Easbuig: “Do na mílte daoine a chaill a bpost le bliain anuas agus a chonaic a n-ioncam ag socthumadh mar thoradh, tá an rialtas seo ag caitheamh a thuilleadh anró orthu trína rátaí leasa sóisialta a ghearradh.”

Bhí freagairt Fhianna Fáil ar fheachtas éirígí tapaidh agus sothuigthe. Mar a bheifeá ag súil leis i lár oll-dífhostaíocht agus ciorruithe fiáine ón rialtas, bhí uafás ar comhairleoir David Alcorn ó Ailt an Chorráin.

Níorbh é go bhfuil breis agus 21,000 duine gan post i nDún na nGall, go bhfuil ar dhaoine ar fud na tíre imeacht ar an bhád bán, go gcuirfidh ciorruithe fiáine i bpá agus i leasa sóisialta anró ar theahglaigh atá ag streachailt cheana féin nó go bhfuil imeachtaí a pháirtí sa rialtas ag scriosadh ár seirbhísí sláinte agus oideachas, níorbh é sin an rud a chuir uafás air agus ar a pháirtí áfach.

Níorbh é ná baol air. An rud a chuir uafás ar an chomhairleoir Fhianna Fáil, mar a dúirt sé leis na meáin áitiúla, ná gur tógadh na fógraí seo le linn seachtain na Nollag, rud a chuir sé síos air mar ‘dhrochmhianach’. Dúirt sé gur olc le neart daoine na fógraí agus gur thug siad ‘drochainm’ don áit. Bhí an chuma ar an scéal gur cheistigh sé fiú ceart éirígí le bheith i nDún na nGall.

Thug Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig freagra ar bhriathra Alcorn agus Fhianna Fáil.

Dúirt sé: “Bhí cuma dhaingean ar David Alcorn gan ligean do rud ar bith cur isteach ar a Nollaig dheas – fiú míchóngar na 21,000 daoine i nDún na nGall ag féachaint ar an Nollaig ar an dól.

“Do na mílte daoine, bhí an Nollaig ina hualach eacnamúil eile ar a bhfoinsí airgid atá teann cheana féin, ach tá níos mó imní ar David Alcorn faoi seo a bheith léirithe dó ná faoi dada a dhéanamh faoi.

“I bhfírinne, is é freagra David Alcorn ar na fógraí seo an t-aon rud atá drochmhianach. Is léir gur fearr leis go mbeadh an ghéarchéim dífhostaíochta i nDún na nGall as radharc na súl – b’fhéidir le cuidiú leis codladh san oíche.”

Lean Mac Giolla Easbuig: “Tá Fianna Fáil i nDún na nGall agus ar fud na Sé Chondae Fichead i gceannas ar chóras eacnamúil a d’fhág na ceádta míle ag maireachtáil i mbochtanas. Le cur leis seo, tá siad anois ag tabhairt faoi sheirbhísí poiblí agus leasaí stáit a ghearradh, agus iomaí oibreoir ata ag brath orthu ó lá go lá.

“Is páirtí frithshóisialta iad atá i mbun ghiorruithe frithshóisialta, nach bhfuil in ann chuig oifig ar bith sa tír.”

Chríochnaigh sé le dúshlán don dreach gur cheisnigh David Alcorn ceart éirígí le bheith ann i nDún na nGall.

“B’fhéidir go bhfuil sé buartha go bhfuil an leibhéal gníomhaíochais s’againn ag nochtadh theipeanna a pháirtí féin.

“Ba chóir go mbeadh a fhios ag an chomhairleoir Alcorn nach mbeidh éirígí ag dul ar shiúl. Beidh méadaú ag teacht ar ghníomhaíochtaí eirígí i limistéar Dhún na nGall sa bhliain le teacht – tá muid tiomanta bheith ionadaíoch agus troid ar son leas na ndaoine ar mhaith le Fianna Fáil a threascairt.”

Fianna Fáil Get Upset in Donegal

In the run-up to Christmas, éirígí in Donegal launched a billboard and leaflet campaign against the cutbacks imposed in the recent Twenty-Six County budget.

The first part of the campaign was the erection of a number of large billboards in the west of the county which read 21,000+ Unemployed in Donegal – Happy Christmas from Fianna Fáil and the Green Party. This was followed up by éirígí activists delivering leaflets to homes outlining the latest cuts in pay, social welfare, health and education as well as to the Gaeltacht and the Irish language.

Fógra sa Chlochán Liath / Billboard in Dungloe

Launching the campaign, Tír Chonaill éirígí spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said that the end result of the latest series of budget cuts would be that poverty levels in the Twenty-Six Counties would rise significantly.

“For tens of thousands of Irish families who survive on low pay and social welfare, the new year is set to be one of misery and extreme hardship as the effects of these cuts start to hit home,” he said.

“There are now more than 20,000 people unemployed in this county as a result of the greed and failures of this administration and their cronies in big business yet they have failed to take any action to help these people and their families. This budget does absolutely nothing to create jobs. Indeed, the jobless figures will continue to rise as a result of this budget.

Mac Giolla Easbuig continued: “For the thousands of people who have lost their jobs over the past year and who have seen their incomes plummet as a result, this administration has heaped yet more misery on them by slashing their welfare rates.”

The reaction of Fianna Fáil to éirígí’s campaign was swift and telling. As would be expected in the midst of mass unemployment and savage government cutbacks, Burtonport-based councillor David Alcorn was appalled.

However, what appalled him and his party was not the fact that more than 21,000 people are unemployed in Donegal, that many people from around the county are being forced to emigrate, that savage pay and social welfare cuts would impose real hardship on already struggling families or that our health and education services would be further decimated by his party’s actions in government.

Not at all. What appalled the Fianna Fáil councillor, as he told the local media, was the putting up of these billboards during Christmas week, which he described as in “bad taste”. He said that a lot of people resented the billboards and that they gave the area a “bad name”. He also appeared to question the right of éirígí to exist in Donegal.

Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig hit back at Alcorn’s comments and Fianna Fáil.

He said: “David Alcorn seemed determined not to allow anything to get in the way of him having a good Christmas – even the inconvenience of 21,000 people in Donegal facing Christmas on the dole.

“For thousands of people, Christmas was yet another economic burden on their already strained financial resources, yet David Alcorn was more concerned about this being pointed out to him than actually doing anything about it.

“In reality, the only thing in bad taste was David Alcorn’s reaction to these boards. Clearly, he would rather the unemployment crisis in Donegal was swept under the carpet – perhaps to help him sleep better at night.

Mac Giolla Easbuig continued: “Fianna Fáil in Donegal and across the Twenty-Six Counties has presided over an economic system that has left hundreds of thousands subsisting in poverty. To compound this fact, they are now going about the business of cutting the public services and state benefits that so many working people rely on in their daily lives.

“They are an anti-social party carrying out anti-social cuts that is not fit to hold any office in the land.”

He concluded by challenging what appeared to be David Alcorn’s questioning of éirígí’s right to exist in Donegal.

“Perhaps he is worried that our level of activism is exposing the failings of his own party.

“Councillor Alcorn should be aware that éirígí will not be going away. The party will be increasing its activities in the Donegal area over the coming year – we are determined to represent and fight for the interests of the people that Fianna Fáil want to drive into the ground.”

Sunday, January 3, 2010

éirígí 2009 Review

2009 marked another year of expansion for éirígí across Ireland. The video above captures a flavour of the campaigns-based activism that éirígí engages in. If you like what you see and are interested in joining éirígí please email

Saturday, January 2, 2010

éirígí New Year Statement 2010

At the beginning of a new year, éirígí takes this opportunity to thank its members and supporters for the commitment and energy they have displayed throughout 2009. Their sterling work across Ireland has inspired many others to become involved in the struggle for national, economic and social freedom.

éirígí rededicates itself to the achievement of a British withdrawal from the occupied Six Counties and the establishment of a 32-County Democratic Socialist Republic.

Opposing the presence of the SRR in Ireland

As we enter a new decade it is appropriate to review the first decade of the new millennium.

Just ten years ago, global capitalism was positioned in a seemingly impregnable position – with all alternatives being widely rubbished as historical failures. Within the first two years of the new millennium, the world’s only superpower, the United States, embarked upon a massive political, economic and military offensive under the shabby pretext of a ‘War on Terror’.

In truth, this ‘war’ was only an extension of the decades-old US policy designed to impose a single socio-economic model upon all the nations of the Earth – a capitalist model which would allow private corporations access to vast reserves of natural resources and expanding markets.

Eight years after the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq began, millions of human beings lie dead and the lives of tens of millions more have destroyed. For the people of both countries, the prospects for future peace, stability and justice remain bleak.

Opposing Britain's Armed Forces Day

By 2007, the first signs of a global recession which would engulf the world were appearing. For billions of people across the globe the last two years of the decade were dominated by fear, uncertainty and dramatic reductions in their standards of living, as the capitalist system entered an inevitable cyclical contraction.

In these darkest of times, however, the light of freedom continued to shine. In the opening years of the new millennium, the resistance of the Palestinian people during the second Intifada, the commencement of the Bolivarian revolution in Venezuela, the continuation of the Cuban revolution and the world-wide mass movement against the Iraq war demonstrated the unquenchable human desire for freedom and justice.

As the decade progressed, resistance to US-imposed political and economic systems spread across the globe. Nearly every country in South America rejected the calamitous economic policies imposed by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other US controlled bodies. For the first time in decades, the potential for a continent-wide revolution now exists. That it does so in the virtual backyard of the US is all the more inspiring.

In other parts of the globe too, in Europe, Asia, Africa and within the US itself there have been many positive developments as people have begun to organise multi-fronted opposition to twenty-first century capitalism.

Campaigning against the great gas and oil giveaway

Ireland has been far from immune from the global developments of the last decade. At the dawn of the millennium, it appeared that the British strategy of Ulsterisation, Normalisation and Criminalisation was as close to fruition as it had ever been. Through the framework of the Good Friday Agreement it appeared that the British government had succeeded in finally consolidating both partition and the British occupation of the Six Counties.

Ten years later, it is clear that the process of normalisation of the Six Counties has now peaked. Indeed, this process is now crumbling under the weight of its own contradictions.

The deployment of the Special Reconnaissance Regiment on Irish soil, the firing of plastic bullets, the use of 28-day detention, the widespread use of ‘stop and search’ powers, the continued use of non-jury Diplock courts and the increasing militarisation of the PSNI all demonstrate the completely abnormal nature of the Six County state.

In parallel to this overt abnormality, the fundamentally sectarian nature of the Six Counties also remains unchanged. Nationalists remain two-and-a-half times more likely to be unemployed than their unionist counterparts and, in some parts of the North, make up over 80 per cent of those on the housing waiting list. Stormont is today as incapable of delivering freedom, justice and prosperity as it was in 1921.

Campaigning against Lisbon 2

In the Twenty-Six Counties, the last decade has seen the myth of the ‘Celtic Tiger’ exposed for the artificial debt-driven bubble that is was. Within three short years the population in the Twenty-Six Counties have seen their standards of living and prospects for the future collapse.

After decades of a deeply-flawed ‘social partnership’ between the business class, the state and the trade union leadership, the prospect of class war is now openly back on the agenda.

In its most recent budget, the Dublin government has, in effect, declared war on workers and the poor. The establishment in the Twenty-Six Counties appear to believe that the young, the old, the disabled, the unemployed and working people should collectively pay for the greed of the wealthy and powerful.

In the Six Counties, Britain’s puppet administration at Stormont also appears to believe that most vulnerable should pay for the excesses of the most privileged. The Six-County executive has already agreed to cuts of tens of millions of pounds in public services. These cuts will be exacerbated as the British government reviews its stipend to the Six-County state in the coming year.

ICTU's Day of Action

Across Ireland, more than half a million workers are without work, while tens of thousands more face the prospect of forced emigration. This is the unpalatable reality of a society and a system that has been carefully designed to protect profit margins at the expense of its population.

But, as in so many other places, the working people of Ireland are beginning to realise that they alone can and will protect the interests of their families and communities. Workers at Visteon, Waterford Crystal, Thomas Cook and the Dublin docks have shown that workers have the means at their disposal to fight back.

2010 begins with a world in crisis environmentally, economically and politically. But the myths of the recent past have been exploded. No economic system can provide extreme wealth for the few without taking from the many. And the will of a people to be free cannot be contained by force, treaty, deception or bribery.

The last decade has also shown that there can be no decent future for the majority without struggle and a willingness to fight for that which is right – even when the price of that struggle may be high.

Break the Connection with Capitalism

As 2010 dawns Ireland, more than ever, needs a radical mass movement that will represent one class in society – the working people – and which will adopt but one attitude to the British occupation – that of uncompromising active resistance.

For its part éirígí remains fully committed to playing an active role in that mass movement for the achievement of justice and freedom in Ireland.