Monday, May 31, 2010

Sligo protest against Israeli slaughter on Gaza aid Flotilla

Up to 100 people took part in a demonstration in Sligo organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) today (31/5/10). The protest which took place at the GPO in the town centre was held to mark the assault and murder by the Israeli army of up to 20 civilians bringing humanitarian aid to the besieged people of Gaza.

Another demonstration is now to take place at 3PM on this coming Saturday in Sligo once again at the GPO.

One of the organisers of the event, éirígí activist and Sligo IPSC member Gerry Casey said he was heartened by the turn-out at such short notice and called for strong measures to now be taken against the Israeli regime.

He said: “The Israeli embassy in Dublin must be shut down immediately and the Ambassador and his staff expelled from Ireland. The European Union must as a priority have Israel expelled from the OECD and tear up the shameful trade agreement they currently have with Israel.”

He added: “The actions of Israel on Monday morning was an act of international piracy and state terrorism. They must be brought to justice for their war crimes, against the people of Gaza and against those civilians whom they murdered in cold blood. Anything less will be an insult to the Palestinian people and the people murdered by Israel on Monday morning.”

“There must also be a comlete boycott of the Israeli state and its goods. I would urge the public to refuse to buy such goods and complain to stores that supply them. Apartheid Israel must be boycotted until it is brought to its knees in the same manner that apartheid era South Africa was. In this way we can all help the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice and freedom.”

He concluded: “I also want to urge the stores that currently stock Israeli goods to cease immediately. It is unacceptable to be making profits on produce that goes to fund terrorist operations such as that carried out by Israel today. They must look at their conscience and beyond their profits and cease helping to fund Israel's rogue terrorist regime.”

To see more photos from the demonstration please click here

For more information on protests around the country click here

Sligo protest for Palestine today @6PM

Protest vigil for Palestine & murdered freedom flotilla passengers at GPO in Sligo at 6pm.

Organised by the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC)

Israel attacks and massacres civilians on Gaza aid Flotilla

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has demanded that the Israeli embassy in Dublin be shut down and their ambassador and staff expelled immediately. He said the European Union (EU) should immediately end their trade agreement with Israel and expel them from the OECD.

Casey was speaking following the attack and massacre of at least fifteen civilians on the Gaza aid flotilla in International waters.

The Flotilla was bringing much needed humanitarian supplies to the besieged people of Gaza. Amongst those taking part in the flotilla were a number of Irish people bringing supplies gathered in Ireland.

Fiachra O'Luain from Donegal, a candidate in the north-west constituency in 2009 European Elections is among those on board one of the boats in the flotilla. Currently there is no information as to his location or status.

Gaza remains blockaded and under siege by Israel in defiance of International law. The civilian population continue to live sealed off from the outside world, in what is basically an open prison.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed last year that more than 10% of children were suffering from chronic malnutrition. This arises from a deliberate policy of collective punishment against the people of Gaza by the Israeli Zionist regime by preventing basic necessities, including essential foods and medicines, from getting into Gaza in the required quantities.

Casey said: “This massacre was an act of terrorism. Israel have murdered more than fifteen civilians in cold blood. At least thirty more have been injured. Swift action must now be taken against Israel.”

He added: “The 26 county government must cut all links with Israel. They must shut down the Israeli embassy in Dublin and expel their ambassador and all their staff. The trade agreement between the EU and Israel must be torn up and Israel expelled from the OECD immediately. This act of International piracy, kidnapping and murder cannot be allowed to go unpunished.”

“Irish companies such as Cement Roadstone Holdings (CRH) must now divest completely from Israel and I would urge people to contact CRH, and politicians who are shareholders in CRH, insisting they do so immediately."

According to the Leinster House Register of Interests, Deputies Richard Bruton, Sean Haughey, Frank Feighan, Fergus O'Dowd, Rory O'Hanlon, Ned O'Keefe and Jim O'Keefe are among those with shares in CRH.

“I would urge all businesses that currently stock Israeli goods to cease doing so immediately. The public need to check all products they buy and refuse to buy any goods originating from Israel and challenge those stores doing so. Israel must be brought to justice for their terrorism today and their war crimes against the Palestinian people in general.”

Casey concluded: "Once again, Israel has shown the world the true nature of the zionist regime. The terror inflicted this morning on those in the aid convoy is what Palestinians endure virtually every day. The apartheid Israeli regime must be boycotted and shunned by the entire world. This odious regime must be destroyed and the people of Palestine must secure justice and their long awaited freedom and independent Palestinian state".

Protests (see below) have been organised in a number of locations around the country, including Sligo. Click here for more information and updates

Mon, 31 May 2010 (Belfast)
City Hall
Vigil for Palestine and the Freedom Flotilla

Mon, 31 May 2010 (Derry)
Guildhall Square

Mon, 31 May 2010 (Sligo)
Protest vigil for Palestine & murdered freedom flotilla passengers

Mon, 31 May 2010 (Waterford)
Waterford Bridge
Vigil in protest at Israeli murders of Folitlla passengers

Mon, 31 May 2010 (Cork)
Daunt Sqaure
Protest Vigil for murdered Freedom Flotilla members

Mon, 31 May 2010 (Dublin)
The Spire, O'Connell St
Protest the Flotilla Murders! March to the Israeli Embassy!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Spectre of Communism: A Latter Day Red Scare

CPSU members, among others, voted Croke Park downIt appears that the growing militancy of working people in the Twenty-Six Counties has thrown the establishment into paroxysms of indignation.

With increasing numbers taking to the streets and a number of public sector unions having rejected the Croke Park deal; the dangerous spectre of communism has risen. We have, it seems, been thrust into the midst of a latter-day red scare and an unholy alliance of trade union bureaucrats, Sunday Independent hacks and Fianna Fáil TDs has emerged to slay this evil beast.

First out of the traps was the newly installed IMPACT general secretary Shay Cody, ironically enough a former member of the Workers’ Party, who launched an extraordinary attack on what he described as left-wing ‘micro-groups’. Speaking at the IMPACT union’s biennial conference in Kilkenny, Cody asserted that IMPACT would be “resistant to manipulation by those who seek to manipulate and capture our organisation for narrow politically sectarian ends”.

The trade union bureaucrats, clearly worried that workers are revolting, have taken to doing their masters’ bidding. Rather than focus on the Dublin government’s attempts to undermine the pay and conditions of workers and on re-building a fighting union, the trade union leadership has chosen, instead, to turn its fire on those who are calling for a rejection of the deal. With the collapse of social partnership, the trade union leadership is obviously attempting to reassert control over the membership. It seems clear from a number of ballots to date that workers are refusing to be led blindly into a deal that would reduce their living standards and result in the loss of thousands of jobs in the public sector.

Over the last number of weeks, thousands of workers have rejected the Croke Park deal, including the membership of the ASTI, TUI, CPSU and IFUT. All of these unions returned overwhelming majorities against the deal, some in the region of 3:1. This, it would appear, represents quite a substantial ‘micro-group’.

INTO  members at conferenceThe deal, if passed, would represent a significant defeat for workers. It opens the way for significant job cuts, which, based on the McCarthy Report recommendations, would mean that over 17,000 jobs would be slashed. In addition, it will see the privatisation and ‘outsourcing’ of some services, the imposition of a three-year pay freeze, further restrictions on the right to strike and a longer-working day for less pay. It also confers powers on management to redeploy staff to within 45km of their current employment or home address and allows for the imposition of new contracts of employment that emphasise ‘flexible’ working arrangements. This is the type of deal that the hacks of the Sunday Independent have been baying for. That trade union leaders would seek to deliver this deal is remarkable; that they would line up with them to engage in a spot of red-baiting is truly astonishing.

The subtext to the Sunday Independent’s scare stories about ‘dangerous radicals’ is to scare people from coming out on to the streets to challenge the Dublin government’s war on the working class. The owner of the Independent Group of newspapers, Tony O’Reilly, a long-time tax fugitive and one of Ireland’s richest men, clearly has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo.

Meanwhile, support for all of this has been forthcoming from the highly excitable Fianna Fáil minister Martin Mansergh. Last week, Mansergh launched an attack on Labour Party leader Éamon Gilmore for his past membership of the Workers’ Party and that party’s links with the Soviet Union and North Korea. What all of that has to do with the current state of the economy in the Twenty-Six Counties in 2010 is not altogether clear, but then little of what Martin Mansergh says has any connection with reality.

That the main power brokers in Irish society are seeking to whip up a fever against any manifestation of radicalism should not surprise us in the least. That, after all, is the nature of class politics. Those in power will do whatever it takes to maintain their grip and, the greater the threat to their interests, the more vicious the attacks will become. Much of this is a throw-back to the 1930s when Catholic bishops fulminated from pulpits up and down the country in their denunciation of the increasing influence of left-wing organisations and trade unions.

Ireland in the 1930s was characterised by chronic unemployment, acute poverty and appalling living conditions. It was also a period in which socialist groups such as Saor Éire, the Republican Congress and the Irish Workers’ League emerged and agitated for a radical political and economic programme that would uproot capitalism and put power in the hands of the working class.

Break the Connetion with CapitalismIn 1934, the Republican Congress denounced the living hell that continued to be the Dublin slums. The Congress newspaper carried regular reports of the shocking living conditions that the working class of the country’s main cities were forced to live in. Hard as it might be to believe, living conditions had actually deteriorated since the time of the 1913 Lockout when one in 10 of the population in Dublin lived in conditions unfit for human habitation. In June 1934, the Congress newspaper Republican Congress strongly denounced this appalling degradation of humanity: “terrible indignation should burn up in the breast of every worker at a system that condemns our brothers and sisters to crawl to an unholy death in such cesspools of misery and death.”

The only option open to many thousands of working class people was the emigrant ship. Many who stayed began to listen to the radical ideas of various left-wing groups and to become actively involved in campaigns and strikes that sought, at a very basic level, to improve their working and living conditions.

Terrified that they might lose their grip on power, the Catholic Church embarked on a hysterical ‘red scare’. The Church had little to say about the hellish conditions of the slums, nor did it denounce the parasitic landlord class that imposed these conditions. Rather, the Catholic Church reserved its ire for the radical left, whose ideas and actions it feared might awaken a spirit amongst the working class that would sweep away the poverty and degradation of the capitalist system under which they toiled.

In October 1931, a Lenten Pastoral was read at all Catholic masses which fulminated that organisations such as Saor Éire were “prepared to impose upon the Catholic soil of Ireland the same materialist regime with its fanatical hatred of God that now dominated Russia and threatens to dominate Spain… materialistic communism, in its principles and actions, wherever it appears, means a blasphemous denial and the overthrow of Christian civilization. You cannot be a Catholic and a communist. One stands for Christ, the other, the Anti-Christ.” Simultaneous to denouncing the ‘dangerous’ and ‘anti-Christian’ ideas of radical left-wing groups, the Catholic Church was locking up working class children in industrial schools, using them as a cheap source of labour and systematically raping and abusing them.

While the power of the Catholic Church has dissipated over the last number of decades, the social and economic system which they so strongly supported back in the 1930s is still very much in place. The business class, as has been demonstrated throughout history, has no compunction about resorting to violence to maintain their class interests and uphold the capitalist system. That the upholders and supporters of capitalism denounce socialism and portray it as a dangerous and violent ideology is entirely predictable. That some trade union leaders would position themselves alongside these reactionaries is deeply regrettable.

The state under capitalism will, at all critical junctures, defend the interests of capitalism. The Garda treatment of peaceful protestors over recent weeks provides testimony to that.

The greater the numbers that mobilise, the more likely the state is to respond in an even more draconian fashion. This should not deter people, however much work remains to be done to build the type of revolutionary mass movement that will have the power to depose the business class and its government.

May Day message from GreeceAcross Europe and beyond, working people are taking to the streets, with mass demonstrations in Greece, Romania and Slovenia. While the radical left in Ireland remains relatively weak, it is important the momentum that has been built over recent weeks be maintained.

The Dublin government intends imposing a budget later this year that will slash a further €3 billion [£2.5 billion] from public spending, while, in the Six Counties, cuts of £128 million [€151 million] are on the way. Linking up all of the various struggles across the country over the coming months is a vital component of the work that must be done. The short-term challenge is to build such a momentum that the imposition of yet another austerity programme, this time across the country, becomes politically impossible for both administrations.

This month marks the 94th anniversary of the death of Ireland’s greatest labour leader, James Connolly and, over the last number of weeks, éirígí has been promoting his ideas. We do so because we believe the writings of Connolly continue to have relevance and have much to teach us in this contemporary class war.

In 1910, Connolly wrote Labour, Nationality and Religion in which he challenged Dublin priest Father Kane’s false assertions about socialism. In it, Connolly emphasised the violent nature of the capitalist system and the type of struggle required to overcome it. Again, we will leave the last words to Connolly:

“Therefore, the Socialists anticipate violence only because they know the evil nature of the beast they contend with. But with a working class thoroughly organised and already as workers in possession of the railroads, shops, factories and ships, we do not need to fear their violence. The hired assassin armies of the capitalist class will be impotent for evil when the railroad men refuse to transport them, the miners to furnish coal for their ships of war, the dock labourers to load or coal these ships, the clothing workers to make uniforms, the sailors to provision them, the telegraphists to serve them, or the farmers to feed them. In the vote, the strike, the boycott and the lockout exercised against the master class, the Socialists have weapons that will make this social revolution comparatively bloodless and peaceable, despite the tigerish instincts or desires of the capitalist enemy, and the doleful Cassandra-like prophecies of our critic. And if the capitalists do abide the issue of the ballot and allow this battle to be fought out on lines of peaceful political and economic action, gladly we will do likewise. But if not…”

– James Connolly, Labour, Nationality, and Religion, 1910

Friday, May 28, 2010

No place for private finance in health service

(Irish version follows)

éirígí Tír Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig has said that there is no place for private companies in the provision of health care in Lifford hospital or any other sector of the health service.

He was responding to comments from Fianna Fáil Senator Brian O’Domhnaill in which he claimed that Health Minister Mary Harney would consider the development of a new community hospital in Lifford as part of a Public Private Partnership.

He said: “The cutbacks and closures being carried out and planned for hospitals such as Lifford's are being taken on a budgetary basis and has nothing to do with the medical care they provide or the medical needs of the community.”

“These cuts are not only unjust, but they are completely unnecessary. They are being imposed by deliberate political decisions being taken by Senator O'Domhnaill's party, Fianna Fáil. They say they haven't the finance to properly fund our hospitals and health service, yet at the same time they have no hesitation in finding tens of billions of euros to bail out their cronies in the banks.”

He added: “Despite the economic recession, Ireland remains a wealthy country. The problem lies in that 1% of the population control 34% of the wealth. These people have escaped unsacathed while workers, pensioners, the unemployed, the ill and those with special needs have borne the brunt of the cutbacks. A hefty wealth tax imposed on these individuals would also bring in massive revenue making these cutbacks unnecessary. All that is lacking is political will.”

“The government could also, and should, nationalise our natural resources. More than 500 billion euros worth of oil and gas lies under the seabed off our coast, the rights to which they have given away to private multi-national giants like Shell. There is no legal impediment preventing them nationalising these resources. The vast wealth would leave no excuse for closing Lifford and other hospitals. They would have no excuse for bed closures, removing services, staff shortages and the litany of other cuts imposed by this uncaring administration. Once again, all that is lacking is political will.”

He concluded: “Lifford hospital needs to be retained and retained solely in public hands. There is no place for private companies or profit motives in the provision of health care, an essential public service. Our health care system must be completely under public control, must be truly free and equal, based solely on medical need, not ability to pay. Fund our hospitals, not the banks”.

Deireann éirígí nach bhfuil áit d'airgeadas príomháideach in ospidéal Leifir nó inár gcóras sláinte

Dúirt urlabhraí Thír Chonaill Mícheál Mac Giolla Easbuig nach bhfuil áit do chomhlachtaí príomháideacha i bhforáil an chórais shláinte in ospidéal Leifear nó in earnáil ar bith den chóras sláinte.

Bhí sé ag freagairt ráiteas ó Sheanadóir Fhianna Fáil Brian O' Domhnaill nuair a mhaígh sé go ndéanfadh an tAire Sláinte Mary Harney cíoradh ar fhorbairt ospidéil phobail nua i Leifear mar chuid de chomhpháirtíocht phríomháideach phoiblí.

Dúirt sé: "Tá na ciorraithe agus dúnadh atá á dhéanamh agus á phleanáil d'ospidéil ar nós Leifear, á thógáil ar bhunús buiséadach agus níl baint acu leis an chúram leighis a chuireann siad ar fáil nó le riachtanais shláinte an phobail."

"Ní amháin go bhfuil na ciorraithe seo éagórach, ach níl gá ar bith leo. Tá siad á fhorchuir trí chinntí polaitiúla réamhbheartaithe tógtha ag páirtí Sheanadóir O' Domhnaill, Fianna Fáil. Deireann siad nach bhfuil an t-airgeadas acu chun ár n-ospidéil agus ár gcóras sláinte a mhaoiniú i gceart, ach ag an am céanna níl leisce ar bith orthu teacht ar na billiúin euro chun dul i mbannaí ar a gcomhghuaillithe sna bainc."

Chuir sé leis: D'ainneon an meathlú geilleagrach, is tír rachmasach fós í Éire. 'Sí an fhadhb ná go bhfuil 34% de shaibhreas na tíre i lámha 1% den daonra. Tá na daoine seo tar éis éalú slán sábháilte fas is atá na ciorraithe fulaingthe ag oibrithe, pinsinéirí, daoine dífhostaithe, daoine breoite agus iad siúd le riachtanais speisialta. Thógadh cáin rachmais trom forchurtha ar na daoine seo ioncam ollmhór isteach ag déanamh na ciorraithe seo neamhriachtanach. An t-aon rud atá in easnamh ná toil pholaitiúil."

"D'fhéadfadh an rialtas seo chomh maith, agus ba chóir dóibh, ár n-acmhainní nádúrtha a náisiúnú. Tá níos mó ná 500 billiún euro d'ola agus gás faoi ghrinneall na farraige ónár gcósta, na cearta tugtha d'ilnaisiúnach ollmhór cosúil le Shell. Níl aon bhac dleathach ag cur coisc orthu na hacmhainní seo a náisiúnú. Ní fhágfadh an saibhreas ollmhór leithscéal ar bith do dhúnadh Leifear agus ospidéil eile. Ní bheadh leithscéal ar bith acu ar dhúnadh leapaí, baint seirbhísí, ganntanas foirne agus anliosta de chiorrathe eile forchurtha ag an rialtas fuarchroíoch seo. Arís eile, an t-aon rud atá in easnamh ná toil pholaitiúil."

Chríochnaigh sé: "Caithfear ospidéal Leifir a choinneáil agus é a choinneáil i lámha poiblí amháin. Níl áit ann do chomhlachtaí príobháideacha nó do spreagthachtaí an bhrabúis i bhforáil an chórais shláinte, seirbhís phoiblí riachtanach. Caithfidh ár gcóras sláinte a bheith faoi smacht an phobail, a bheith saor agus cothrom go fíreannach, bunaithe ar riachtanas leighis amháin, ní ar acmhainneacht chun íoctha. Maoinigh ár n-ospidéil, ní na bainc."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Shell & Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta

Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta is a tournament contested by Gaelic football clubs from Gaeltacht areas throughout the country. The finals of the competition, which began back in 1969, are hosted each year by a different club. This years finals are set to be hosted by Béal an Mhuirthead (Belmullet) in the Mayo Gaeltacht over the coming June Bank Holiday weekend.

The main sponsors of this years tournament are none other than multi-national giants Shell. This is a company with an appalling human rights and environmental record worldwide, including just down the road from Béal an Mhuirthead where the tournaments finals are scheduled to take place.

Shell's involvement and sponsorship has seriously tainted this event. They are using it and the GAA clubs who participate in it as a propaganda tool for their relentless drive to amass vast profits at the expense of the Irish people and of local communities within the Mayo Gaeltacht area.

It is an attempt to dilute opposition to their theft of our natural resources and their plans to force an unsafe pipeline carrying raw unrefined gas through a small rural community on the Erris peninsula. It is nothing more than another cynical attempt to portray themselves somehow as a generous and benevolent contributor to local events and causes and to the west of Ireland in general.

The reality is the complete opposite. Since Shell commenced their project in Mayo ten years ago, the local community have had their human rights trampled over by Shell. In this, they have been supported unconditionally by the political establishment and by all arms of the state, including the Navy, Air Corps, Gardai and judiciary, at massive cost, all at the tax-payers expense.

People have endured intimidation and assault at the hands of Shell's security and the Gardai, resulting in serious injuries and hospitalisation in many instances. Many more have suffered arbitary arrest and jailing at the behest of Shell, for simply trying to protect the environment and the health and safety of their families and the community at large.

The Rossport five were imprisoned for 94 days in 2005 for opposing the Dublin government decision to grant Shell permission to place their pipeline through their land without their consent. Maura Harrington has been jailed on a number of occasions as a result of her involvement in protests opposing Shell.

Regularly activists engaged in peaceful protests would be arrested, and either subsequently released without charge, or charged with minor and petty public order offences. The object being to disrupt protests being carried out at key times of the project and to divert protesters attention and resources away from campaign, tying them up with court cases. As subsequent court cases have shown (see here for previous article on this) people have regularly, and in large numbers, been illegally arrested and detained.

At the moment, two other prominent Shell to Sea campaigners and human rights activists Pat 'the Chief' O'Donnell and Niall Harnett are currently being held in Castlerea prison in County Roscommon. Like the Rossport five and Maura Harrington before them, Niall and Pat's only crime has been to stand up for their community and to refuse to be bribed, intimidated or beaten into submission.

Pat and his family have suffered enormously as a result of his refusal to accept financial compensation from Shell and to continue to insist on his right to fish in Broadhaven bay. Because of this both Shell and the Gardai have viewed him as a threat to their plans and have singled him out for special attention.

As a result, along with his son, he has suffered intense harassment, being repeatedly arrested while fishing for their living. He has had his boat impounded by the state and in June 2009, his boat was boarded late at night by men in wetsuits who held Pat and his fellow crew member at gunpoint while they sank his boat, leaving them just minutes to launch their lifeboat and get to safety. No-one has ever been arrested in relation to this incident.

And lest anyone be fooled into believing the myth of Shell's 'generosity', lets put it in its proper context. Shell has an annual turnover of more than £316 billion sterling. Their profits last year exceeded a staggering £35 billion sterlng, which translates into almost £100 million sterling profit every single day of last year.

Their sponsorship of Comórtas Peile na Gaeltachta, a drop in their ocean and a tiny fraction of the wealth of the Corrib gas which they are attempting to take from the Irish people, is basically hush money. Shell want, by splashing around some of their ill gotten gains, to buy peoples' and organisations' silence, so they will ignore Shell's appalling human rights and environmental record. Such is the extent of these abuses worldwide that Amnesty International have been scathing in their criticism of Shell.

Various other Human Rights observers and organisations have also condemned Shell's and the Gardai's abuses in Mayo. Amongst those who have investigated and reported on these abuses has been the Global Community Monitor, a San Francisco based human rights group which visited Mayo in 2007. They highlighted numerous instances of people being “pushed and beaten by Gardai without provocation” and of Gardai delaying and denying medical treatment. They said the Gardai behaviour was “endangering the safety of people participating in non-violent protests as well as consistently infringing on their civil rights.”

More recently, Front Line issued their 'Breakdown In Trust: A Report on the Corrib Gas Dispute'. They too highlighted similar issues relating to the policing of this dispute and allegations of abuses by the Gardai and Shell security. These include both the seizure and the sinking of Pat O'Donnell's boat and the vicious assault that led to the hospitalisation of Willie Corduff, one of the Rossport five.

On top of their involvement in assaulting and illegally detaining demonstrators, Shells security firm, the notorious Irish Risk Management Services (I-RMS), have also engaged in surveillance of local residents opposed to the pipeline. They have videoed and photographed people on their own property and in their homes. They have acted similarly with people walking and swimming at Glengad beach, including filming children and others undressing on the beach.

Amongst those whom I-RMS have recruited into their ranks and deployed against the residents of north Mayo were members of the Hungarian right-wing fascist organisation, the Szekler Legion.

Tibor Revesz, a commander in the Szekler Legion and owner of its websites, was just one of that organisation's members that was an employee of I-RMS at Glengad. Working alongside him was Tipperary native Micheal Dwyer. Dwyer became involved with Revesz and others including the notorious Eduardo Rosza Flores, a suspected war crimal from the Balkans Civil war.

They were secretly filmed training and plotting to carry out terrorist attacks to destabilise and overthrow the democratically elected government of Bolivia on behalf of the rich white elite in the Santa Cruz region of the country. Indeed, the previous year, Revesz website made an appeal for volunteers to engage insuch an insurgency campaign in Santa Cruz. Dwyer and Flores were killed during a police raid on the hotel where they were staying. A number of others were arrested for their part in the plot while Revesz remains at large, but wanted for questioning by the Bolivian authorities.

These are the sort of right wing thugs with fascist sympathies and a propensity for violence that the local community in Mayo have had to endure. These are the people keeping residents under surveillance in their homes and as they go about their business, threatening them, intimidating them and assaulting them at Shell's behest and with the active assistance of the Gardai.

Some will say that those opposed to Shell should not bring politics into sports. They haven't. The reality is that it is Shell who have brought politics into this event by their attempt to enlist the GAA as part of their propaganda campaign. For its part, the GAA should never have accepted Shell as a sponsor. The theft of our natural resources, hundreds of billions of euros that could be used to reverse pay & welfare cuts, create jobs, eradicate poverty and properly fund our decimated health and education services, and the human rights abuses being committed by Shell and the state in Mayo and worldwide, cannot just be ignored in the name of sport.

There comes a time when organisations, sporting or otherwise, need to stop turning a blind eye to injustice. They need to stand up for what is right, for the welfare of their communities and for the people on this island as a whole. The GAA, at local, county and national level, as a matter of urgency now need to make their way to to the north Mayo area and listen to the people living there under Shell law. It is not too late for them to act in the interest of the people on the Erris peninsula, to act in the long term interests of the GAA and tell Shell they dont want to be tainted by accepting their dirty money, money obtained by corporate greed and environmental and human rights abuses.

Prisoners Picket in Camlough

Around 70 republicans held a white line picket in Camlough, south Armagh on Friday [May 21] in solidarity with the protesting republican prisoners in Maghaberry jail.

Many éirígí members and supporters were in attendance, as were the families of political prisoners, former POWs and other republicans.

Support Republican Prisoners

The picket, which fell on the 29th anniversary of the death of south Armagh hunger-striker Raymond McCreesh, highlighted the inhumane conditions that political prisoners in Maghaberry have to endure, including:

  • 23 hour lock up
  • Degrading strip searches of themselves and their visiting families
  • Psychological torture
  • Controlled movement
  • Sniffer dog searches
  • Assaults
  • Criminalisation

During the picket, a banner was erected in the village calling for an end to the criminalisation of republican prisoners.

Remembering Ray McCreesh

Meanwhile, the family of Lurgan republican Colin Duffy have challenged the decision to ban them from visiting him in Maghaberry.

Duffy’s wife and brother were informed this week that they would not be allowed to attend visits in the jail. No explanation for the vindictive move was given to them.

The Duffys’ legal representative Kevin Winters described the visiting ban as “draconian”.

“What’s more, at the minute it seems totally indeterminate,” Winters said.

“We have written to the governor asking for a reinstatement of visits. As yet, we have not received a reply.

“Should the situation carry on as it is then we have no alternative but to go before the courts to seek access regarding visits.”

Protest Against British Armed Forces Day

Protest Against British Armed Forces Day

The British government and its supporters in Ireland will be attempting to glorify the role of the occupation forces when the British Armed Forces flag is raised at Belfast City Hall on Saturday, June 26. Be there to expose the truth.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Thousands march to demand retention of Lifford Hospital

Thousands of people took to the streets of the border town of Lifford in County Donegal on Sunday (May 23) for a march and rally opposing HSE plans to shut Lifford Community Hospital. In sweltering heat, the large crowd assembled at the grounds of the threatened hospital before marching to the Diamond in the town.

Amongst those who addressed the Rally at the Diamond were representatives of the Save Lifford Hospital group, local clergy and political representatives as well as speakers from IMPACT, SIPTU and the INMO trade unions.

Speaking after the rally, éirígí Tír Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig who had taken part in the march with other éirígí activists, said that the demonstration sent a loud message to the HSE and their political masters in Leinster House, that the hospital is not for closing, and that they must fund our hospitals instead of the banks.

MacGiolla Easbuig said: “This Fianna Fáil led administration are systematically dismantling and destroying the public health service. Not only must their savage cutbacks be reversed, but our hospitals and the essential services they provide must be upgraded and provided with the necessary staff and resources so sadly lacking at present.”

He added: “There is a a general policy of slash and burn by Fianna Fáil and the Green party towards public health services in this country. Hospitals are being downgraded and shut down completely. Services are being reduced and moved further away from local communities. There are ward closures, bed removals, staff reductions and cuts in home help to highlight just a some of the outrageous and unjust cutbacks being imposed.”

Make no mistake, the future of Lifford Community hospital is under serious threat. If we are to prevent its closure, then people power is the only way to do it. Todays march and rally was an excellent start but the momentum now needs to be maintained and intensified on the streets.”

MacGiolla Easbuig concluded: “The thousands of people who marched through Lifford today sent a loud and clear message to Fianna Fáil and the HSE. That message is to fund our hospitals, not the banks. As a community we have had enough of these savage health cuts and the closure or reduction of sevices in Lifford hospital will not be tolerated. We deserve a first class health service easily accessible and available to all based on a persons medical need, not their wealth.”

You can view more photos from Sunday's march & rally by clicking here

Saturday, May 22, 2010

éirígí welcome TUI & ASTI rejection of Croke Park Pay Deal

Sligo éirígí activist Gerry Casey has welcomed the rejection on Friday (May 21) by both the Teachers Union of Ireland (TUI) and the Association of Secondary Teachers of Ireland (ASTI) of the Croke park deal on pay and reform within the public sector. He also rejected comments by the Taoiseach Brian Cowen in Mayo today that rejecting this anti-worker deal was somehow not good for the country.

Casey said: “The fact that this deal was negotiated and agreed to in the first place by certain Trade Union leaders who claim to represent workers was appalling.”

“It offers public sector workers absolutely nothing. The TUI and the ASTI are to be commended for taking this stance and seeing through the propaganda being espoused by the Dublin government and the so-called Trade Union leadership who have attempted to coerce their members to endorse their sell-out.”

"Employers and the Dublin government are using the current recession as an excuse to drive down workers pay and conditions of employment. This deal is part of that process. It is designed to tie hands of public sector workers in their ability to take industrial action to defend their already rapidly diminishing pay and rights That the leadership of ICTU are colluding in this attack on workers is truly shameful and both they and the deal must now be vigorously resisted by all Trade Unionists and workers, both on the streets and in the workplace."

Reacting to comments by Taoiseach Brian Cowen on Mid west Radio during a visit to Mayo on Friday, Casey said: “It is ironic to see Cowen lecture workers to act 'for the good of the country' and to think of 'the bigger picture' considering the damage that he, first as Finance Minister and more recently as Taoiseach, has done to this country, and particularly to workers and the less well off.”

He added: “Those workers who voted to reject the Croke Park deal are the ones who clearly see the bigger picture and have acted in the national interest and in the interest of all workers. If Cowen wants people to act for the good of the country then he needs to take the first steps.”

He concluded: “ He needs to scrap NAMA, reverse the cuts in income and essential health and education services and nationalise our natural resources. In fact, considering the social and economic vandalism that he and his political and business cronies have caused, if he is serious about people doing what is good for the country, then he and his sidekicks should immediately retire from public life and ride off into permanent obscurity.”

Friday, May 21, 2010

Save Lifford Hospital – Fund our Hospitals, not the Banks

éirígí Tír Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig has called on the Fianna Fáil/Green party coalition to fund our hospitals and health service instead of the banks. He also called on the public to turn out in large numbers at Sunday's protest march and rally for the retention of Lifford Hospital.

MacGiolla Easbuig said: “The savage cuts that this administration have imposed on the health service must be reversed. Fianna Fáil are systematically dismantling and destroying the health service.”

He added: “Throughout the country, including here in the north-west, we have seen ward closures, bed closures, staff reductions and a downgrading of our hospitals and health service generally. Let no one be under under illusion, Lifford hospital is now firmly in the sights of the HSE and its future is under serious threat. The only way that we can prevent this government and the HSE and shutting this hospital is by people power.”

MacGiolla Easbuig concluded: “I would urge people throughout the north west to attend Sunday's demonstration in large numbers. We need to send a loud and clear message to Fianna Fáil and the HSE that as a community we are sick and tired of the savage health cuts being imposed on us, that we deserve a first class health service and that we wont accept the closure of Lifford Hospital or further reduction in services. The message is clear. Fund our hospitals, not the banks.”

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Smash the NAMA Republic

For the third time in eight days éirígí activists in Baile Átha Cliath were on the streets on Tuesday, May 18, in opposition to the right-wing economic policies of the Twenty-Six County government. Click here for more.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

éirígí challenge “gas campaigners” over refusal to support nationalisation

A delegation from a local campaign group seeking to have the gas network extended to Sligo and the north-west met with the Junior Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Conor Lenihan on Wednesday (May 19). Amongst those taking part in the delegation was Sligo/North Leitrim's three TD's, Fianna Fáil's Jimmy Devins and Eamonn Scanlon as well as Fine Gael's John Perry.

Also participating on the delegation were Fianna Fáil Senators Marc MacSharry and Geraldine Feeney, Labour party Mayor of Sligo Jim McGarry, Hugh McConville of Sligo Council of Trade Unions, as well as representatives from Sligo Chamber and Sligo Fair Dealers.

This meeting was originally due to take place four weeks ago but had to be postponed and re-arranged due to Lenihan's unavailability. In recent weeks, another delegation which included Senator Marc MacSharry and Deputy Eamonn Scanlon, met with the CEO of Bord Gais John Mullins on this very same issue.

Deputy Devins, who has repeatedly called for the Corrib gas to be piped to Sligo because of its close proximity, described the meeting as "positive". This is despite the fact that it was re-iterated to the deputation that a government subvention of €39 million was needed before the gas network could be considered to be extended to Sligo and that the government remained unwilling to fund such a venture. Devins said they would now seek a meeting with the gas regulator to press their case further.
The role of Jimmy Devins in recent months in organising delegations to meet with Ministers and with Bord Gais on the issue of the Corrib gas and bringing it to Sligo cannot have been missed by anyone who has been following these events. His enthusiasm and dedication to this campaign has not gone unnoticed. For those who think this is commendable, think again.

As éirígí have repeatedly pointed out, under the current arrangements, the only people who will benefit from the Corrib gas, will be Shell and their shareholders. So for those who believe Devins zeal to secure a new market for the Corrib gas in Sligo is just the public spirited and altruistic actions of a public representative keen to serve his electorate, nothing could be further from the truth.

According to the Leinster House Register of Interests published earlier this year, Devins is a shareholder in Standard Life. This is a company that holds over 46 million shares in Shell oil, who have been given the rights to the Corrib gas off the Mayo coast by Fianna Fáil and is one of its biggest shareholders.

So Devins and fellow shareholders, which includes other party colleagues and TD's in Leinster House, unlike the rest of the Irish people, will benefit financially from the Corrib gas being brought ashore, sold under current arrangements and brought to Sligo. It is in his financial interest to oppose any talk of nationalising the Corrib gas and all our natural resources.

It explains quite clearly his support for Shell to get their pipeline built in north Mayo. It also explains his enthusiasm to press the government for almost €40 million of tax payers money to be spent on a project that will benefit his bank balance and that of his fellow shareholders - not the people of Sligo, the north-west or the island as a whole.

However, his enthusiasm does have limits. It does not, for example, extend to preventing his party from imposing savage cutbacks at Sligo General Hospital, with cuts of €12 million to this years budget confirmed by the HSE. This comes on top of cutbacks in recent years which have decimated services at the hospital. More than 70 beds have been removed, wards have closed, waiting lists have increased for essential procedures like colonoscopies, cancer services were removed to Galway and front-line staff numbers have been reduced to what many believe are unsustainable and unsafe levels.

Perhaps the fact that reversing those cutbacks at Sligo General will not benefit Deputy Devins financially, and will only benfefit working people in need of decent health care, explains Devins' lack of enthusiasm for campaigning on this particular issue.

If he was genuinely interested in bringing the gas to Sligo in order to benefit everyone, as éirígí and others are, then he would be wholeheartedly supporting the nationalisation of ALL our natural resources and packing Shell out of Ireland with their tail between their legs. The fact that he has consistently refused to even discuss the issue tells its own story.

Following the meeting on Wednesday éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey challenged those involved in the deputation to explain why they refuse to publicly support the nationalisation of our natural resources despite being repeatedly asked to do so.

Casey said: “If these campaigners who met Lenihan today are serious about bringing natural gas to the north-west, then they need to publicly support the campaign to take back our natural resources. éirígí have already publicly and through correspondence requested that those who met with Lenihan, and previously met with Bord Gais CEO John Mullins, to publicly call for the nationalisation of our oil and gas. To date, they have refused to do so. They have also refused to explain why.”

He added: “Those on the delegation have been told that to extend the gas network to Sligo would require a once off subvention from the Dublin Government of €39 million, which to date has been ruled out. However, the simple solution is to nationalise these valuable resources, extract them safely and use that vast wealth to benefit all the people on this island, not just the shareholders of multi-national oil and gas companies.”

“Under the sea off our shores, lies hundreds of thousands of euros worth of oil and gas that rightfully belongs to the Irish people. By nationalising these resources, the vast wealth generated would make the cost of extending the network to Sligo and other parts of this island a non-issue. At the present time, lack of finance is the excuse. Nationalisation takes away that excuse.”

Casey concluded: “Once again, éirígí are challenging those delegation members to publicly justify their reasons for refusing to support such a simple and just demand that would benefit all the people of this island and not just the shareholders of oil and gas companies. At a time when savage cutbacks in income and essential public services are being imposed, if they are content with this giveaway to multinationals of hundreds of billions of euros that could instead be used to create economic prosperity for all then, let them explain to the public why that is so.”