Monday, January 31, 2011

Alternative Community Cinema in Donegal

This Friday February 4th the Alternative Community Cinema (ACC) presents an evening of awareness and discussion about the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and their presence in Ireland. The event, which takes place in Annagry Hall in West Donegal will include the screening of the film 'Shock Doctrine' and there will be a number of guest speakers, food and live music.

The ACC initiative was launched at the end of October last year by éirígí activists in County Donegal. Their intention is to show various films and documentaries over the next several months with the aim being to educate through the medium of film screenings and subsequent discussions and debate surrounding the issues raised in these films.

The first screening on October 29th last was a Cuban film entitled 'Kangamba' which drew a crowd of over 130 people to the small Annagry Community Hall in west Donegal. The film told the story of how Cuban internationalists fought along side the Angolan Liberation Armed Forces during the war against the apartheid forces of South Africa. Those gathered also enjoyed a selection of food and live music by the Afro-Caribbean band 'Talking Drums'.

Attending the launch and guest speaker on the night was the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland Teresita Trujillo, pictured below receiving a presentation from Adrian Begley of éirígí Tír Chonaill.

Outlining the reasons for establishing this initiative éirígí Tir Chonaill spokesperson Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, co-ordinator of the ACC said that the aim of this new project was to “show the possibility of using cinema as an educational tool, rather than just the sole aim of entertainment that you tend to find with mainstream cinema today.”

He added: “ The aim is to hold a series of different events during which a film or documentary will be shown as a way to educate those who attend and inform them of various stories and issues from around the world, while also helping them to understand and appreciate other cultures.”

“We also hope that it will help build international solidarity and an appreciation and understanding of other cultures” he concluded.

Friday's event will commence at 7.30pm in Annagry Community Hall.  Guest speakers include Dr Andy Storey (Action from Ireland - AfrI), Shane O'Curry (Latin America Solidarity Campaign - LASC) and Independent Cllr Thomas Pringle (Donegal County Council).

Solidarity with Bil'in – Remembering Jawaher Abu Rahmah

The small village of Bil'in has been a focal point and a symbol of resistance in recent years against the construction of Israel's illegal Apartheid Wall and against the occupation of Palestine in general.

Located just over 10 km from Ramallah in the West Bank, since 2005 this village of less than 2000 residents has been the scene of weekly peaceful protests against the 700km long wall which the International Court of Justice has ruled is in violation of International law.

The response of the Zionist regime to these protests, despite their non-violent nature, has been to unleash lethal force against those participating in them. Their violent repression using tear gas, rubber bullets and live ammunition has resulted in countless serious injuries and deaths.

The latest casualty was 36 year old Jawaher Abu Rahmah who was killed on new years day as the Israeli Occupation Forces attacked the weekly demonstration once again. She died after inhaling toxic tear-gas fired at demonstrators by Israeli troops becoming the first Palestinian casualty of the occupation in 2011.

Jawaher is not the first member of her family to be injured or die at the hands of the occupation troops at these weekly demonstrations. 

In July 2008 her brother Ashraf Abu Rahma was deliberately shot and wounded with a rubber bullet by an Israeli soldier standing right next to him.  This was despite  the fact that the military had cuffed and blindfolded Ashraf after detaining him for taking part in part in protests against the wall in the nearby village of Ni'lin.

In April 2009 another brother Bassem Abu Rahmah was shot dead by an Israeli soldier who hit him in the chest with a high velocity tear gas canister.

Less than 3 months earlier in January 2009 their cousin Khamis Fathi Abu Rahmah was shot in the head with a similar high velocity tear gas canister also while attending the weekly protest. He was hit as he held his hands above his head to show he was unarmed. Despite being seriously wounded and remaining in a coma for 12 days, Khamis was lucky to survive though his injuries still cause him to suffer to this day.

Local protest organisers and leaders have also being singled out by the Israeli authorities for arrest and imprisonment in an attempt to quash the protests and intimidate those taking part.

On the night of December 12 2009 Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the co-ordinator of the Bil'in Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements, was kidnapped by Israeli forces who raided his home at 2am in the morning. He was taken blindfolded from his home and remanded in Israeli custody. After an eight month long trial before a military court and despite the absence of any evidence against him, Abdallah was found guilty of “incitement” and “illegal protest” and sentenced to twelve months in jail.

 According to Amnesty International Abdallah is a prisoner of conscience, “jailed solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression and assembly.”

He was due for release on November 18 last year but was kept imprisoned as Israeli authorities sought to have his sentence extended. Earlier this month, an Israeli Military Court of Appeals at Ofer increased his sentence from twelve to sixteen months.

Abdallah's real 'crime', and that of the population of Bil'in, has been that they have refused to allow themselves be intimidated into submission. They have stubbornly resisted everything the state of Israel has throw at them and have fought tooth and nail in defence of their rights, against the construction of the wall, against the theft of their land, against the illegal settlements and against the occupation of Palestine itself. 

Tomorrow Tuesday February 1st demonstrations organised by Queens University Belfast (QUB) Palestinian Society and the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) will take place in Belfast and Dublin. They are being held to honour the memory of Jawaher exactly one month on from her killing and to express solidarity with the people of Bil'in in their ongoing struggle against the might of Israeli occupation and repression.

The Belfast demo commences tomorrow at 12 noon at Queens University Student Union with the Dublin event commencing an hour later at 1pm outside the Israeli Embassy in Ballsbridge, Dublin 4.

Click here for more information on the protests

Click here and here for more information on Bil'in and the campaign against Israel's Apartheid wall

Friday, January 28, 2011

éirígí Ard-Fheis Videos

Below are a number of videos comprising of speeches delivered to the recent éirígí Ard-Fheis. Among the speeches are the main address by Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson and that of Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith.

Also included below are the speeches delivered by a number of guest speakers to the Ard-Fheis representing the Independent Workers Union (IWU), the Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC), the Free Education for Everyone (FEE) and the Latin American Solidarity Campaign (LASC)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Gallagher Job Losses will Lead to Fresh Wave of Emigration from Donegal

The socialist republican party éirígí has condemned the owners and management at Gallaghers Bakery in Ardara following the announcement of the loss of 124 jobs with the remaining 65 jobs also at risk. Party spokesperson for Tír Chonaill Micheál Cholm MacGiolla Easbuig said the job losses would devestate the economy locally and lead to a fresh wave of emigration from the county.

The job losses come as the parent company Aryzta, which also owns the Cuisine de France brand, have decided to shut down their frozen bread production line at the Ardara bakery and move it to Dublin.

MacGiolla Easbuig said: “These job cuts have been imposed, not to protect the company, but to maximise and increase the profits for the shareholders. It is just the latest in a long line of examples of the greed and callousness with which multi-national companies operate. They amass vast profits created by the labour of their employees, who are then cast aside as expendable commodities once the multi-national decides they can secure a few extra euro's profit for themselves somewhere else.”

He added: “The job losses are a devestating blow to Ardara and the entire south west Donegal region. This is a region that is already reeling as a result of mass unemployment and forced emigration, something we were led to believe was a thing of the past. Workers and their families who are already suffering hardship as a result of the savage cutbacks imposed by Fianna Fáil and the Green party in recent years, are now being thrown on the scrapheap with no opportunities for employment in the region. The end result will be ever lengthening dole queues and a fresh wave of emigration from the county.”

Gallagher's Bakery Ardara

Responding to the manner in which workers were informed of the job losses, MacGiolla Easbuig said: “The contempt with which the owners and management treated their workers is astonishing. Workers were informed by journalists outside the plant as to how their jobs were going to be dealt with. This is disgraceful behaviour and exposes the callousness of the company who care nothing about the impact their decisions will have on the very people who have created their wealth for them.”

He concluded: “ The decision by management not to take questions from the assembled workers and to only talk to them individually is an attempt at the age-old tactic of trying to divide and weaken the workers resolve. It is now essential that the workers, those who have lost their jobs and those whose jobs are under threat, unite and organise to protect their rights and that of their families and wider community. ”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

éirígí announce Leinster House Finance Bill Protest for Saturday

The socialist republican party éirígí are to hold a demonstration outside Leinster House in Kildare Street this Saturday January 29th.  The protest which will commence at 5.30pm has been organised in opposition to the Finance bill which is currently being fast-tracked through Leinster House.

Announcing the demonstration Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said that people need to take to  the streets to resist the savage cutbacks being imposed from Leinster House on behalf of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Central Bank (ECB).

Leeson said:  “The Finance Bill which is currently being fast-tracked through Leinster House is set to be the final shameful piece of legislation enacted by this Fianna Fáil led administration.  It will give a legal basis to last November's blood budget.  This will enable the continuance of the policy of making working class  families and communities pay for the greed and corruption of bankers, developers and property speculators.”

“The true cost of this Finance Bill and the grubby deal arranged  with the IMF will not be measured in euros and cents.  Rather, it will be measured in levels of homelessness, in the severe decline of educational standards and in the massive increase in ill-health and ultimately unnecessary deaths of working class people that will inevitably result from it.”

Leeson concluded by urging people to take to the streets:

“We have an obligation, not just to this generation but to future generations to resist and fight back.  We need to drive the IMF from our shores, to burn the bondholders, to reverse the cutbacks and to establish the sovereignty of the people.  éirígí are urging people to take to the streets on Saturday to send a clear message to the IMF that their dictatorship will be resisted regardless of what puppets are implementing their dictats in Leinster House.”

Sligo Shopping Centre gives Commitment on Dead Sea Products

The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) North-west have cancelled a planned demonstration that was to take place today (Wednesday Jan 26) outside Johnstons Court shopping centre in Sligo.

The protest had been called as a result of a company 'Premier Dead Sea Cosmetics' trading from a stall in the shopping centre. An impromptu protest was held on Saturday by a number of local IPSC activists who became aware of the stall which was selling Dead Sea Cosmetics product, the sale of which helps fund the Israeli apartheid regime, its brutal occupation of Palestine and its illegal settlements in the West Bank (click here to read news coverage of that protest).

The cancellation of the protest comes as 'Premier Dead Sea Cosmetics' have ceased trading there yesterday (Jan 25). The Management of Johnstons Court also gave a commitment today that this company and their Dead Sea Cosmetics would not be allowed to return and trade in the shopping centre.

Welcoming this commitment local IPSC activist Ciaran Adams urged other shopping centres to follow suit:

Mr Adams said: “The products being sold on these stalls help to fund Israel's war economy and their brutal and illegal military occupation of Palestine. It is also highly likely that these goods come from illegal settlements on Palestinian land, although it is routinely mislabelled as coming from within Israel's borders.”

The IPSC in this region will now be stepping up our campaign in support of the call by Palestinian civil society for a Boycott of all Israeli goods, similar to the campaign that helped bring about an end to apartheid South Africa. We would now urge other shopping centres in the region to give a similar commitment to not allow this company, or similar ones selling Dead Sea products, to trade on their premises.” 

He concluded: “By taking this stand and boycotting Israeli goods, businesses and shopping centres can play a positive role in helping to bring an end to Israeli apartheid and secure the long overdue freedom that the people of Palestine both desire and deserve.”

Also welcoming the news was éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey who urged the public to refuse to buy Israeli products, to complain to the management in stores that stock these goods and to contact the IPSC to let them know where these products are on sale.

Casey said: "This year has started like any other year for the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people continue to endure terrible suffering and brutal repression at the hands of the Israeli regime on a daily basis."

"The illegal occupation of the West Bank, theft of Palestinian land and resources, the continued expansion of illegal settlements and the construction of their apartheid wall continues unabated. Israel continues to kill Palestinian people, kidnap children and jail those who dare resist this brutal occupation. Israel's illegal and inhumane siege of Gaza, a clear violation of international law, also continues."

Referring to the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, Casey continued: "The Boycott campaign is an opportunity for every individual to express their abhorrence at the crimes committed by the Israeli state and to express solidarity and support for the rights of Palestinian people to secure peace, justice and freedom."

"More importantly, it is an opportunity to take practical measures that can have a positive effect, similar to what happened with the South African boycott which helped bring about an end to the apartheid regime in that country. So too all of us can play a role in helping to bring about an end to the apartheid Israeli regime and the occupation of Palestine."

Casey concluded: "Where people become aware of Israeli goods being sold, they should refuse to buy them, complain to management and contact the IPSC to make them aware of where these goods are being sold. While the EU and what passes for government on this island refuse to impose sanctions against Israel, the people of Ireland themselves have the power to make such a boycott effective.”

For more information on the activities of the IPSC and the BDS campaign click here or e-mail

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Legacy of Mary Harney

Take an example of a surgeon or nurse who takes a deliberate professional decision knowing it will result in serious injury and deaths, that individual will in all likelihood lose their job, their pension rights and face criminal prosecution and possibly jail for their actions. One would assume this to be the norm in all professions but as events in the past week have shown once again, it is not the norm at all.

Over the past week we have witnessed the rush by Ministers in the Fianna Fáil/Green party coalition to abandon the sinking ship of an administration that has brought the economy of this state to its knees.  Minister after Minister including such 'luminaries' as Dermot Ahern, Noel Dempsey, Micheál Martin, Tony Killeen and Batt O'Keefe all handed in their resignations as the final collapse of the administration draws ever closer.

The resignation of Mary Harney as Minister for Health however was probably the most talked about among communities the length and breadth of island.  While all those who served as Ministers in the coalition and their party colleagues that voted through their legislation collectively bear responsibility for the actions of this administration, Harney was the inspiration and driving force behind the deliberate run down of the public health service and the relentless push to privatise it.

The unfortunate reality is that there probably isn't a working class family throughout the state who has not been directly effected and who have not suffered as a result of decisions initiated and forced through by Harney regardless of the suffering they would cause and the lives they would ruin.

As éirígí Dublin City Cllr Louise Minihan said  in the immediate aftermath of Harneys resignation, she will be remembered "for her extremely callous and uncaring attitude and the unnecessary hardship, suffering and death caused as a direct result of policies implemented by her."

She added:  "Far too many families have mourned their loved ones who died because of delays in diagnosis and treatment as a result of policies she implemented. Few will mourn the resignation of Harney the minister for death.”

As Minister for Health Mary Harney planned and overseen the dismantling of our hospitals and public health system at the same time as she and her colleagues were pumping tens of billions of euro into bailing out the banks.

She has slashed hospital budgets as well as the numbers of nurses, junior doctors and other essential front line staff. She has closed more than 1600 beds, shut down wards and accident and emergency departments and reduced and removed essential services, including vital diagnosis procedures and cancer care facilities.

Hundreds of sick patients every single day are forced to lie on trolleys in Accident and Emergency departments awaiting a bed.   An all-time high was reached earlier this month when the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) revealed that there were 569 ill patients lying on trolleys awaiting a bed in public hospitals around the state on the 5th of January.

There are massive waiting lists and ill people are forced to travel longer distances to receive vital treatment, as local services are reduced significantly or shut  down completely.  People are having to endure unnecessary suffering and are ultimately dying, and will continue to die, as a direct result of Harney's decisions. 

Make no mistake about it, she was fully aware of the consequences of her actions.   Her decisions were not knee jerk reactions or decisions forced upon her.  All were carefully thought out, planned. and implemented.  And all the while the medical professionals, trade unions and patient support groups had all made clear to her on an ongoing basis the effect her policies were having on patients and staff alike including the huge risks placed on patient safety. 


But, unlike the example of the surgeon or nurse we mentioned at the start of this article, Harney and all her other colleagues who have wreaked havoc on our health service and the economy now walk away with a massive pension and without fear of criminal prosecution. 

The fact that she has not been forced to hand back her pension and will not face justice for her actions exposes yet again the two tier nature of this state. It is fundamentally corrupt.  The justice system is designed, not to dispense justice, but to protect the interests of the wealthy political and business class.

In the same week as Harney resigned, peaceful protesters went on trial and were convicted  for demonstrating against the bank bailouts, while not one banker or politician has faced justice for their role in the collapse of Anglo Irish Bank and the complete banking sector.  Now despite the massive unnecessary suffering and death she was responsible for, along with her ministerial colleagues and the Sean Fitzpatrick's and Micheal Fingleton's of this world, she is allowed to evade justice and is simply allowed to walk off into the sunset to continue to live a lavish extravagant lifestyle at our expense. 

That is the reality of the state we live in - fundamentally corrupt and rotten to the core.  Talk of reforming the system is meaningless.  What is needed is the complete dismantling of the system and the creation of  a new one, a socialist one - Revolution, not reform.

Monday, January 24, 2011

éirígí Ard-Fheis Jan 2011 – Full Report

éirígí’s fifth Ard-Fheis took place on Sunday [January 23] in Culturlánn
McAdam Ó Fiaich on Belfast’s Falls Road. Up to 200 people from
across Ireland attended the all day conference.The morning session
focused on organisational and policy matters while the afternoon session
saw a range of guest and éirígí speakers address the packed venue.

éirígí Ard-Fheis 2011

Organisational Reports
Following the adoption of standing orders and the election of a steering
committee for An Ard-Fheis, a number of organisational reports were
delivered by a the outgoing elected party officers, Runaí Ginearálta
(General Secretary) Breandán Mac Cionnaith, Pádraig Ó Meiscill
(Publicity), Daithí Mac An Mháistir (Membership) and Ciarán Heaphey
(Finance). These reports were followed by a question and answer session.


The next item on the clár were motions on a wide range of issues
including the British occupation of the Six Counties, the economic
crisis, cutbacks to public services and the treatment of political
prisoners. There were also motions mandating the incoming Ciorcal
Náisiúnta to perform specific organisational and policy tasks as well
as motions sending solidarity to struggles around the world.

A significant portion of the available time was given over to a
discussion on the upcoming localelections in the Six Counties
and the merits of éirígí putting forward candidates in same. This
discussion was the latest stage in a process of internal debate
about elections which began in earnest in the spring of 2009.
At the end of the debate delegates voted in favour of éirígí
running candidates in the May election.  
Click here to read all motions adopted by An Ard-Fheis >>

Election of National Officers
Before breaking for lunch An Ard-Fheis elected seven individuals
to An Ciorcal Náisiúnta. These were
An Cathaoirleach (Chair) Brian Leeson 
Leas-Chathaoirleach (Vice-Chair) Rab Jackson 
An Rúnaí Ginearálta (General Secretary) Breandán Mac Cionnaith 
Cisteoirí (Treasurers) Micheál Mac Neighill and Ciarán Heaphey 
An tOifigeach Caidrimh Phoiblí (Public Relation Officer) Pádraig Ó Meiscill 
An tOifigeach Ballraíochta (Membership Officer) Daithí Mac An Mháistir
    Daithí Mac an Mháistir speaks about the party's socialism paper

    Official Launch of From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come
    After lunch the numbers in the Culturlánn swelled as a series of speakers
    took to the podium to address An Ard-Fheis. The first to do so was éirígí’s
    Daithí Mac An Mháistir who formally launched the party’s most recent
    policy paper From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come.
    Daithí not only gave a flavour of the content of the paper, he also explored
    the political context of its adoption and the process which was used to adopt it.

    Guest Speakers

    The first of four guest speakers, Patricia Campbell, President of the Independent
    Workers Union congratulated éirígí on the production on From Socialism 
    Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come before condemning the attacks on
    public services on both sides of the border. Patricia singled out the cutbacks in
    the areas of health and education for particular attention.

    Patricia Campbell of the IWU

    Donal Fallon of the student organisation Free Education for Everyone gave
    the assembled crowd a brief rundown on FEE’s campaign of resistance to
    student fees. He explained that the recent student protests in Dublin, Belfast
    and Derry had led to FEE setting up new branches in a number of third
    level institutions across the country. Donal finished by expressing his hope
    that these developments may signal the emergence of a new radical
    student movement.

    The chairperson of the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign Freda
    Hughes impressed upon the Ard-Fheis the importance of developing
    an international grassroots campaign of opposition to Israeli oppression
    of the Palestinian people. She highlighted the role that everyone has
    to play in boycotting Israeli goods and building pressure for divestment
    from Israel.

    The last of the guest speakers, Pepe Gutiérrez from the Latin America
    Solidarity Centre, provided a unique perspective of the current
    economic crisis, proposing that the Latin American experience of the
    IMF in the 1980s and 1990s could prove useful to Irish activists today.
    This theme of mutual solidarity and co-operation was repeated throughout
    his contribution. Pepe concluded by encouraging people to have hope
    and belief in their ability to win through in the end. Other guests
    who attended the Ard-Fheis included representatives from the
    Communist Party of Ireland, the Workers Solidarity Movement, Kurdistan
    National Congress, and the Cuba Solidarity Group.

    Solidarity Greetings

    Louise Minihan reads a message from Cuban Ambassador Teresita Trujillo

    Following on from the guest speakers Leas-Chathaoirleach éirígí Rab
    Jackson read aloud a message of solidarity from the Popular Front for
    the Liberation of Palestine. éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan
    then read out a message from the Cuban Ambassador to Ireland, Teresita
    Trujillo. Solidarity greetings were also sent to An Ard-Fheis by the
    Workers Party of New Zealand, Izquierda Castellana and the Peace And
    Neutrality Alliance.  
    Click here to read the full text of all solidarity greetings >>

    Cathaoirleach Address

    Following the showing of a short éirígí video, Cathaoirleach éirígí Brian
    Leeson gave the main address of the afternoon. In a wide ranging speech
    Brian paid tribute to the sacrifice of the republican community in Belfast,
    rejected sectarianism and highlighted éirígí’s achievements over the last five
    years. He also outlined the backdrop to the next ten years of struggle
    which will witness a number of centenary anniversaries including the
    1913 Lockout, the 1916 Rising and the partition of Ireland.  Brian
    went on to urge activists to emulate the examples of those who fought
    for Irish freedom a century ago, before telling people that the time had
    come for the poor to declare war on the rich and committing éirígí to
    playing its part in that war. When Brian finished his speech, folk singer
    Pól Mac Adaim brought An Ard-Fheis to a close with a rendition of
    Amhrán na bhFiann.

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    éirígí Ard Fheis Decides on Electoral Intervention

    éirígí held its Ard Fheis [annual conference] on Belfast’s Falls Road earlier today [Sunday], at which the membership voted in favour of contesting upcoming local elections in the Six Counties.

    The Ard Fheis which was held in the Cultúrlann McAdaim Ó Fiaich cultural centre was attended by more than 200 people and was addressed by speakers from the Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Committee, the Latin American Solidarity Centre, the Independent Workers’ Union, FEE, as well as éirígí chairperson Brian Leeson and general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith.

    Messages of solidarity were also sent by the Cuban ambassador to Ireland Teresita Trujillo and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

    Regarding the decision taken by the party membership on the Six County local elections, Brian Leeson said: “Five years on from the formation of éirígí, the party feels the time is right to make an electoral intervention in order to further promote a resurgent socialist republicanism.

    “éirígí has no illusions about the nature of electoral politics in the Six Counties and, indeed, across Ireland.  The Six Counties is an irreformably corrupt, sectarian state.  No amount of elections to local councils, assemblies or foreign parliaments can change that fact.

    “We believe there is a real appetite for a radical voice to emerge from working class communities that will forcefully challenge the British occupation and economic exploitation and deprivation.

    Leeson added: “Ultimately, the cuts that are being implemented by the British government and its puppet administration at Stormont will have to be defeated on the streets, in our communities and in people’s workplaces.  éirígí will be making the case for this course of action throughout the forthcoming election campaign.”

    éirígí Ard Fheis takes Place in Belfast Today

    éirígí's re-convened Ard Fheis takes place today in Belfast [Sunday January 23].

    The annual national conference was set to take place in Belfast on December 4 last but had to be postponed due to the treacherous weather conditions then prevailing across the country.  The Ard Fheis will now go ahead at the same venue, the Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiaich cultural centre on Belfast’s Falls Road.

    éirígí general secretary Breandán MacCionnaith said: “It was unfortunate but absolutely necessary that we had to postpone the Ard Fheis last month.  However, the format and matters to be discussed on Sunday today will be the same."

    “It is significant that éirígí is holding its Ard Fheis in Belfast.  The birth of Irish republicanism was announced in June 1795 on Cave Hill above the city by Wolfe Tone, Henry Joy McCracken, Thomas Russell, Samuel Neilsen and a number of other United Irishmen."

    Today, the struggle against partition and for Irish independence and reunification continues to be a 32-county one.  Equally, the struggle against economic injustice and for socialism in Ireland must also be a 32-county one."

    “Our objective is a sovereign, democratic, socialist republic for all of Ireland.  The current crisis within capitalism in the Twenty-Six Counties demonstrates yet again the inherently unjust and anti-working class nature of that failed system throughout Ireland and elsewhere.  Equally, the budget adopted at Stormont at the behest of Westminster demonstrates the subservient, colonial nature of that administration."

    “At the Ard Fheis, éirígí will be putting forward our alternative vision for a new independent country with the formal launch of the party’s major policy paper on socialism in Ireland."

    “When éirígí was established in 2006, it based its project on building a solid foundation for socialist republicanism in Ireland.  The task ahead of us is to bring others to the view that cosmetic tinkering with the two partitionist, economic, social and political systems in this country cannot bring about meaningful change to the lives of working people."

    “We firmly believe that that, by launching this document, many others will see that the basis for equality lies in the establishment of a completely new social, economic and political order throughout Ireland.”

    MacCionnaith continued: “éirígí will be also laying out its plans for the time ahead and encouraging all republicans and socialists to get actively involved in a rejuvenated struggle for national independence and socialism.”

    Saturday, January 22, 2011

    From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come

    Following months of discussion, éirígí recently adopted its position paper on socialism - From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come. This is a critical development for the rebuilding of socialist republicanism in Ireland.

    When éirígí was established as a campaigns group in April 2006 it did so as an avowedly socialist republican organisation, founded upon the principles of that champion of revolutionary socialism in Ireland, James Connolly.

    The activists who ultimately founded éirígí had first asked themselves two questions: Was the objective of a socialist republic still relevant in today’s world? And if so, was there a need for a new political organisation to fight for the creation of that republic? With the answer to both these questions being a definitive yes, éirígí came into existence.

    Four and a half years later, the party has reached another significant milestone with the publication of a major ideological policy paper. From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come is not only an important development for éirígí as a political party; it is also an important for the development of socialist republicanism in Ireland.

    From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come does not simply reject capitalism in all of its forms; it also sets out éirígí’s vision of an alternative society based upon the public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange.

    Over the course of the last century many Irish republicans have come to the conclusion that an Ireland which remained capitalist post a British withdrawal would not really be free at all. And éirígí is proud to follow in that tradition, to follow in the footsteps of organisations such as the Irish Socialist Republican Party and the Republican Congress and of individuals like Peadar O’Donnell, Liam Mellows, Constance Markiewicz, Frank Ryan and Mairéad Farrell.

    However, From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come is not just about éirígí taking its place in Ireland’s revolutionary tradition. It is also about changing the parameters of debate in republican Ireland and beyond. It is about building the theoretical foundations for a powerful movement in Ireland that will be uncompromisingly republican and socialist. A revolutionary republican movement that has class politics at the core of its analysis, a movement that will never again commit the mistakes of militarism, constitutionalism or the pernicious notion that labour ‘must wait’.

    The process by which éirígí developed and adopted From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come was itself an example of the type of participative democracy that éirígí wishes to see at the heart of a new socialist Ireland. This process saw an initial draft debated by the entire membership within their respective local Ciorcail (branches). Each individual member was afforded the right to suggest deletions, additions and amendments to the document.

    Once the first round of discussion had been completed a second draft of the paper, based upon the feedback received from the membership, was drafted. This second draft was then circulated to the entire membership and again debated within the local Ciorcail. The feedback from this second round of discussions informed the drafting of the third and final draft of From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come.

    For the first time a dispersed voting procedure was used which saw members voting at meeting of their local ciorcal on whether to adopt or reject the paper. As with all major strategic and policy issues each member of the party had an equal vote. The result of this vote saw the paper being unanimously adopted.

    While the process of developing and adopting From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come took a number of months to complete, it was time well spent. éirígí’s unique decisions-making process, as contained within Bunreacht éirígí, places consensus building at the heart of a process of decision making.

    Many Irish republican and socialist organisations are based upon outdated and anti-democratic ‘top-down’ models of decision-making. Such models are inherently unstable, leading to leadership cliques and internal divisions. Organisations which use delegate based organisational models, pressure cooker conferences and artificial deadlines to make decisions are invariably corrupted by leaderships who think they know better than their memberships.

    Announcing the public launch of From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come, cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said: “Ireland today is at a crossroads. We can continue down the path of capitalism and imperialism that has partitioned our country, exploited our population and impoverished our communities or we can strike out for a better future based upon national independence and socialism.

    “From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come correctly asserts that the only option that will work for the vast majority of the Irish people is that of independence and socialism.

    “There can be no compromise between the exploiter and the exploited. It is a matter of their prosperity or ours – the slave owner and the slave cannot be prosperous together.

    “éirígí is under no illusions as to the mammoth scale of the task that has been set out in this document. It is the same task that confronted the men and women of 1916 and it is the same task that confronted the thousands of republicans who fought the struggle over the last 40 years – it is about nothing less than the re-conquest of Ireland by the working people of Ireland.

    “We need to start small while thinking big. We need to organise in our communities, in our workplaces, in our places of education, in our homes and on our streets. We need to make the argument with every single person who has no vested interest in the current rotten system that there is a better way and a better destination. There is a system that the working people of Ireland can have a stake in – that system is socialism and the time to start fighting for that system is now.”

    To read From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come click here

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Resistance to Shell Pipeline in Mayo set to Continue

    Despite the decision by An Bord Pleanala yesterday (Jan 20) to grant permission to Shell to proceed with laying their onshore pipeline in north Mayo, campaigners against the plan have vowed to step up resistance in the weeks and months ahead.

    This latest application by Shell, which follows two previous applications which were rejected on safety grounds, will see them construct a high pressure pipeline to carry raw unrefined gas from the landfall site at Glengad through Pollathomais, Aughoose and Leenamore to their refinery at Bellanaboy. Shell's application for a foreshore licence to construct a tunnel through Sruwaddacon estuary is still awaiting a decision by Green Party Minister John Gormley.

    Reacting to the decision, Terence Conway who is a spokesperson for the Shell to Sea campaign group said it came as no surprise since An Bord Pleanala had moved from being adjudicators of this project into co-designers of it. He also flatly rejected their claims that the people of Mayo and Ireland would benefit from this decision.

    Mr Conway said: “An Bord Pleanala commented in their report that this decision would benefit the people of Mayo and Ireland. However, the only people to benefit from this decision will be the shareholders of Shell, Statoil and Vermillion. The Government’s own estimates are that there is at least €600 billion worth of oil and gas off Ireland’s coast, but it seems hell-bent on ensuring none of the benefits go the Irish people.”

    He added: “An Bord Pleanala recommends that Shell create an €8.5 million community fund. The board still seems to to think our community can be bribed into accepting a project that places us in danger. This bribery fund would also be fully tax deductible for Shell under Ireland’s current oil and gas exploration licensing terms.”

    In conclusion Mr Conway pledged a continuance of protests against the plan. "In November 2009” he said “An Bord Pleanala turned from adjudicator into co-designers of this project, so it's no surprise they approved the suggestion they made to Shell. Of course protests will continue and given the current economic situation we see our support growing everyday”

    According to the environmental protection group An Taisce, the decision to grant permission was “fundamentally legally flawed”. They said it was totally contrary to EU law and completely ignored the legislative requirements of the EU Habitats, Birds and Environmental Impact Assessment directives.

    Also reacting to the decision was éirígí Sligeach activist Gerry Casey who said that the twenty six county governments stubborn insistence on giving away to Shell hundreds of billions of euros worth of natural resources amounted to economic treason.

    Casey said: “We are currently in the midst of probably the worst economic crisis ever endured by the Irish people. What passes for government in Leinster House have set about slashing the living standards of working class people. They have cut child benefit, social welfare and wages including the minimum wage, imposed new taxes and levies, increased the cost of fuels including electricity and slashed budgets for public hospitals and schools.”

    “The lie repeated by Fianna Fáil and the Greens is that there is no option but to impose savage cutbacks that have resulted in widespread poverty, mass unemployment and the emigration of thousands of our brightest young people, the very people that should be the future of this island.”

    He added: “Despite all this, the coalition insist on pressing ahead with giving away to Shell, and other large multinationals, the right to exploit our natural resources. The vast wealth located under the seabed off our shores could help eradicate poverty, make any excuse for cutbacks redundant and would ensure that essential public services such as health and education could receive proper investement enabling the creation of the first class public services that people deserve. It would also enable investment in creating long term sustainable employment, to cut the dole queues and reverse the flow of emigration from our shores.”

    “The only people to benefit from this latest decision by An Bord Pleanala to allow this experimental pipeline to proceed, despite the obvious dangers it poses to the environment and the local community, will be the shareholders of Shell. It also condemns the people of the Erris peninsula to continued suffering under the reign of terror imposed on them by Shell and the state for the forseeable future.”

    Casey concluded: “This is economic treason and must be resisted at all costs. For our part éirígí will continue to support the people of north Mayo in their struggle to prevent this monstrosity being imposed upon them without their consent. We will also continue to highlight the need to send Shell packing and take back our natural resources, refine the gas at sea and use the wealth produced for the public good and not to line the pockets of the shareholders of multinational companies.”

    "The Pipe" showing in the Model Cinema Sligo Tonight (Jan 21)

    Risteard O Domhnaill's film "The Pipe" about the conflict over Shell's plans to construct a highly dangerous pipeline carrying raw gas through a small community in north Mayo returns to Sligo due to popular demand.


    This follows a number of successful screenings before Christmas.  The one-off showing commences tonight (Jan 21) at 7PM in the Model Cinema, the Mall, Sligo.



    For ticket information click here

    For more information on the film and its background click here

    Thursday, January 20, 2011

    éirígí welcome resignation of Harney - Minister for Death

    éirígí Dublin City Councillor Louise Minihan has welcomed Mary Harney's resignation as Minister for Health and said that working class communities throughout Ireland would rejoice at her departure. She also said that Harney must be made to hand back any pensions she is now due to recieve.
    Cllr Minihan said: “Harney has overseen and implemented the systematic dismantling of our hospitals and the public health care system in order to pave the way for the full privatisation of  it. The end result has been increasing numbers of hospital patients on trolleys, longer waiting lists, ill people having to travel long distances to receive treatment, prolonged suffering, lives being placed unnecessarily at risk and avoidable deaths.”

    “At the same time as she was slashing hospital budgets and essential services, along with her cabinet colleagues, she was happy to protect the wealth of the bankers and developers by pumping tens of billions of euros of taxpayers money into bailing out the banks and paying off their private gambling debts. This was money that could have, and should have, been spent creating a first class health service accessible to all based on medical need and not on a persons wealth.”

    “Harney will be remembered for her extremely callous and uncaring attitude and the unnecesary hardship, suffering and death caused as a direct result of policies implemented by her. Far too many families have mourned their loved ones who died because of delays in diagnosis and treatment as a result of policies she implemented. Few will mourn the resignation of Harney the Minister for Death."

    Cllr Minihan concluded: “Considering the appalling legacy she leaves behind her and the enormous suffering she is responsible for, it is inconceivable that she could be allowed to feather her own nest and benefit financially from her time as Minister for Health. She must be forced to hand back her very substantial pensions and be brought to account for her actions and the unnecessary hardship and death she has caused.”