Friday, July 29, 2011

éirígí Activists Among Four Injured By Shell Thugs in Mayo

éirígí Chairperson Brian Leeson has condemned the thuggish behaviour of Shell security personnel and Gardai who injured a number of anti-Shell activists in Mayo earlier today.  At least four protesters required medical attention for their injuries, whilst a number of other people suffered cuts and bruises.

One of the injured, éirígí’s Joe Keegan, required stitches to a head wound following an attack by a number of IRMS personnel (IRMS are the private security firm employed by Shell in Mayo).  Joe had gone to the aid of a female activist who was being manhandled by IRMS boss Jim Farrell.  Another activist, Gary Ronaghan, required stitches to his mouth after he was struck by a large piece of steel fencing which was pushed at him by IRMS staff.

Leeson said, “Today we have seen yet another example of violence from the Gardai and Shell’s hired thugs.  Those who are opposed to Shell’s operations in Mayo have a fundamental right to protest without fear of assault.  For years that right has been deliberately and systematically suppressed by the Gardai, a fact which they haven’t even tried to hide. Superintendent Joe Gannon has publicly declared that there is a ‘no arrest’ policy in relation to the Shell protests.  Instead of arresting people the state are using brute force to facilitate Shell’s robbery of the Corrib gas reserve.”

Leeson continued, “The oil and gas that lies off Ireland’s coast has the potential to secure Ireland’s energy needs for decades to come and to address many of the financial challenges we now face.  Corrib and the other oil and gas reserves belong to the people of Ireland, not to a handful of politicians in Leinster House.  They don’t have the right to give away that which is not theirs in the first place.  Those who took part in the protests and direct actions in Mayo today are acting in the interests of the people of this country.  For that they are to be applauded.”

Leeson concluded by re-committing éirígí to the battle for Corrib: 

“Through corruption, manipulation, bribery and brute force Shell have succeeded in tapping the Corrib reserve, in building their refinery in Ballinaboy and in laying their offshore pipeline.  But they have not  succeeded in laying the onshore section of that pipeline and without it they cannot extract the gas.  We in éirígí are committed to fighting the laying of every inch of that pipeline.  To fail to do so is to surrender countless billions of euro’s to Shell and the other private energy companies.”  

Shell to Sea Spokesperson Terence Conway also condemned the assaults on peaceful protesters.

He said:  "The injuries inflicted today indicate an expectation of impunity on the part of those assaulting Shell to Sea campaigners. It is clear that individual Garda and private security personnel feel confident that serious assaults on campaigners will not lead to them being prosecuted. The level of violence we have seen today against Shell to Sea campaigners engaged in civil disobedience is confirmation of how little has changed in the policing of the Corrib project."

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Newry Protest Against PSNI Harassment

Once again republicans have been forced to take to the streets to stand up against MI5/PSNI harassment in Newry.

Over 70 people took part in yesterday’s [July 2] protest at Ardmore PSNI barracks in Newry, in direct response to a relentless campaign of harassment and intimidation directed towards republicans in the area by the PSNI.

The protesters were met with a large presence of PSNI thugs in several cars, armoured landrovers and on foot around the barracks, obviously fearful of éirígí’s intentions. For the duration of the protest the PSNI videoed and recorded everyone, including children, some of whom were stopped and searched last weekend.

Protest against MI5/PSNI harassment

Speaking at the protest éirígí’s Stephen Murney thanked all those who attended.

“Just a few months ago we were forced to come to this barracks to protest against harassment, now here were are again with double the numbers. At a time when people are being persecuted by the PSNI and MI5 it’s heartening to see so many people, young and old coming here to confront the thugs responsible for harassing them. Last week we announced that we would intensify our Different Name, Same Aim campaign, this protest is only the start of things to come,” Murney said.

The main speaker at the protest was rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith.

Breandán Mac Cionnaith addresses the protest

In his speech Breandán highlighted the unchanged nature of the force.

“In November 2001, amid much fanfare, the British government re-branded the discredited Royal Ulster Constabulary with a new name. And with that new name, the occupying power promised ‘a new beginning’ to policing in the Six Counties.

“Almost a decade later, it is now abundantly clear that, instead of delivering a ‘new beginning’, the PSNI has simply continued with the same failed anti-working class and anti-republican agenda of the RUC and Royal Irish Constabulary before them. The lie of ‘community-based’ policing has been exposed by the reality of increased draconian legislation, harassment and brutality,” he said.

Protest against MI5/PSNI harassment

Mac Cionnaith continued, “éirígí activists in Newry are no strangers to Crown Force harassment. Our activists, along with other republicans are being stopped under the draconian British Justice and Security Act. It’s clear that our activists and supporters in the area are being singled out for special treatment because of their political activities.

“The PSNI are only proving by their own actions that they are an unchanged, unaccountable paramilitary force. The PSNI remains a British police force, enforcing British law in support of the British occupation.

“No amount of PSNI harassment, in Newry or anywhere else, will prevent éirígí activists from continuing the work of rebuilding the republican struggle.”


Breandán concluded, “Despite what those constitutional nationalist parties who sit in Stormont may claim, that move has neither affected the function or the form of the PSNI. Nor has it placed manners on them, as one prominent apologist for British policing once claimed.

“The PSNI remains a British police force, enforcing British law in support of the British state. Like police forces across the capitalist world its primary aim remains the protection of the state and the protection of the interests of the ruling class; interests which run in direct contradiction to the interests of the working class and of republicans.”

Republican Newry will be seeing a lot more actions in the coming weeks and months and we urge all those who oppose British policing to join us in our struggle.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We Only Want The Earth!

“...we declare that the nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nations soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation...”
Democratic Programme of the First Dáil 1919

éirígí - defending Ireland's natural resourcesWhen the women and men of the first Dáil Éireann adopted the Democratic Programme quoted above they could not have foreseen the rise of transnational corporations whose annual turnovers would dwarf the gross national product’s of all but the wealthiest of the world’s countries. Nor could they have foreseen how some of those same transnationals would trawl the earth for its natural resources with little concern for the wellbeing of the people or the environment of their target countries.

They did, however, understand the inherently predatory and anti-social nature of capitalism. They sought from the earliest days of the new thirty-two county Irish Republic to uphold the right of the people of Ireland to be the primary beneficiaries of the natural resources of Ireland.

éirígí believes this right to be inalienable and to be as relevant today as it was ninety years ago when the Democratic Programme was unanimously adopted by the first Dáil.

In the Ireland of 2008 an ever increasing portion of the ‘wealth and the wealth producing processes within the Nation’ are being concentrated in the hands of an ever smaller portion of the population. Ireland, both north and south, now ranks as one of the most unequal societies in the so-called ‘developed’ world.

éirígí launched its campaign for the nationalisation of Ireland’s natural resources in the summer of 2006. Named ‘We Only Want the Earth’ the campaign has primarily focused on the Dublin government’s oil and gas giveaway in the Twenty-Six counties and the London government’s attempts to introduce domestic water charges in the Six Counties.

‘We Only Want the Earth’ has seen éirígí activists take part in countless public protests and meetings, civil disobedience and non-violent direct actions. Despite the verbal threats, physical assaults, arrests and spurious legal proceedings that have resulted, éirígí activists will continue to campaign for public control of Ireland’s natural resources.

Click the link below to find out more about...

Oil and Gas
The price of energy has dramatically increased since the turn of the millennium. This pattern will continue over the coming decades as demand for hydrocarbons (oil and gas) increases while at the same time the supply of those same reserves run out.

The human cost of these increasing energy prices is already apparent. Billions of people across the world are suffering from the effects of the current global energy crisis. In Ireland hundreds of thousands are already struggling to heat their homes as the reality of ‘fuel poverty’ takes hold in post ‘celtic-tiger’ Ireland. Almost 3,000 people die each year in Ireland due to preventable, cold-related illness.

In recent years a number of substantial Irish oil and gas reserves have been discovered which are potentially worth hundreds of billions of euros. These reserves could guarantee much of Ireland’s energy requirement as the ‘oil age’ comes to an end. Despite the obvious strategic importance of these reserves the Dublin government has handed over the rights to all Irish oil and gas explorations to the private sector.

éirígí is calling for:
  • The ending of all ongoing negotiations in relation to further oil and gas exploration, pending the introduction of new terms for same
  • The renegotiation of all existing oil and gas exploration contracts on the basis of returning ownership of all oil and gas reserves to the Irish people.
  • The establishment of a new state-controlled oil and gas exploration company.
  • The development of a new set of terms for all future oil and gas exploration. Such terms would include the participation of the state-controlled oil and gas company as the major partner in all exploration projects. Where it is necessary to include private energy companies on such projects appropriate rates of taxation shall be paid.
Click the link below to find out more about...

The Great Oil and Gas Robbery

Water Charges

Water is chief among the fundamentals necessary for all life on planet Earth. More than light, food or shelter humans cannot survive without water for more than a short number of days.

The development of human society has been intrinsically linked with the provision of abundant, high-quality water supplies. From Roman times the provision of a public water services has been seen as a basic requirement of a ‘civilised’ society.

However, in the world of neo-liberal capitalism, water is just another commodity to be bought and sold to the highest bidder. Throughout the world private capital are replacing government as the provider of this most basic of services.

Recent years have seen attempts to introduce ‘stand-alone’ water charges in both the Six and Twenty-Six Counties.  The Fine Gael/Labour coalition have announced plans in install meters in every house in the twenty six counties and to re-introduce water charges once more.  Such charges are part of a broader strategy of ‘creeping privatisation’ which will ultimately lead to the imposition of domestic water charges and the privatisation of all the water services. In such a scenario the role of the state will be reduced to that of a ‘regulator’.

éirígí is calling for:
  • The immediate shelving of plans for the introduction of ‘stand alone’ domestic water charges.
  • The exemption of schools and other essential service providers from the payment of water charges.
  • State investment in the upgrading of water distribution networks to reduce the levels of water lost through wastage and leaks.
  • State investment in a major education programme to encourage end-users to practise water preservation.
Click the link below to find out more about...

Thirsting for Justice

Sunday, July 3, 2011

From Socialism Alone Can the Salvation of Ireland Come

éirígíWhen 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.
Back in December of last year, the party 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 on the image below

Friday, July 1, 2011

Say No to Water Tax – Keep Our Water Public!

Louise Minihanéirígí Dublin City councillor Louise Minihan has slammed the confirmation that the Dublin government intends introducing new water and family home taxes from early next year.

Minihan said: “The coalition's confirmation that water and family home taxes are to be introduced is yet another attack on hard pressed working people already burdened with privately accumulated banking debt."

“The diktats of the IMF/EU are being implemented with vigour by a Fine Gael/Labour coalition that promised change but is simply delivering more of the same neoliberal policies that created the economic crisis."

“The imposition of a water tax is simply the first step on the road to the full privatisation of the domestic water supply and will be resisted by working class communities across the Twenty-Six Counties.”

The water charges announcement was made last month at a conference in Dublin which discussed the installation of domestic water meters across the Twenty-Six Counties. It was addressed by Twenty-Six County environment minister Phil Hogan and representatives of private business interests seeking to profit from the installation of a water metering system and the inevitable privatisation the domestic water system.

Water supply has become a major global business, with multinational corporations amassing enormous profits from the privatisation of domestic water supplies.

Amongst those addressing delegates at the conference was Darren Bentham, director of universal water metering with the Southern Water Company in England. The recent history of that company demonstrates how global financial interests are profiting from the commodification and privatisation of domestic water supply.

The company has passed through the hands of various private investors since the Thatcher water privatisation programme in 1989. In 2007, Royal Bank of Scotland sold the utility company to a consortium of international investors for £4.3 billion. The Greensands consortium, made up of a fund advised by JP Morgan investment bank, bought a 32 per cent stake, the Australian Challenger Infrastructure fund took a 27 per cent stake, while merchant bank UBS took 18 per cent. The remaining share of the company is divided between an Australian pension fund and infrastructure investor Paceweald.

In 2010, Southern Water declared pre-tax profits of over £300 million, while domestic users paid an average of £330 in water charges per year.

In 2007, OFWAT, the water regulator in England and Wales imposed a £20 million fine on Southern Water for supplying false customer service data. The data supplied by the company suggested it was performing better than was actually the case and resulted in higher domestic water charges for its customers. In 2008, the British Environment Agency named Southern Water as Britain’s second biggest polluting water firm.

According to OFWAT, domestic water and sewage bills have increased on average 44 per cent since the privatisation of the domestic water supply and sewage treatment system in England and Wales in 1989. In 2008, the average household bill in England and Wales was £330. However, the water regulator has since approved increased tariffs and households in England and Wales will face higher bills this year.

According to Minhan, the experience of households in England and Wales will be repeated in the Twenty-Six Counties.

“Despite the establishment propaganda, the introduction of domestic water charges has little to do with water conservation and everything to do with creating a profit boon for global corporations and the privatisation of public services,” Minihan added.

“The 2008 Local Government Management Services Board on Service Indicators in Local Authorities revealed that two-thirds of local authorities in the state lost 40 per cent of water through leaking pipes."

“In order to conserve water, the Dublin government needs to invest in fixing the creaking water infrastructure and introducing genuine water conservation measures. Instead, householders now face the prospect of charges for their domestic water supply in order to pay off the debts of rich bankers and developers."

“While Phil Hogan claims that householders will get a free allocation of water before charges are imposed, a similar yarn was spun when Dublin City Council introduced the bin tax almost 10 years ago. Yet, from next year, low income householders in Dublin City Council face a charge for bin collection of €208. In addition, the household waste collection service is being increasingly privatised.”

Minihan concluded: “éirígí is part of the No Water Tax campaign and is committed to playing its part in building a vigorous campaign of opposition to water tax across the Twenty-Six Counties and to ensuring the domestic water supply remains in public hands.”