Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Abortion’ Category

Sharon Graham Wins UNITE General Secretary Election – What Happens Next?

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Here is an interesting initial analysis of Sharon Graham’s UNITE election victory – the union has a new General Secretary. This is the source : https://www.rs21.org.uk/2021/08/25/sharon-graham-wins-stunning-unite-victory/.

Sharon Graham is the new General Secretary of UNITE, a British Trade Union that has a significant membership on both sides of the border in Ireland.

UNITE has a significant membership on both sides of the border in Ireland, where it operates with a large degree of independence from the British mothership. For example, UNITE in Dublin is a significant participant in the activities of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions, and it has been an active supporter of campaigns for Abortion rights in Ireland.

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RTÉ, Censorship, and Irish Unity – Kieran Allen demolishes identitarian gibberish promoted by the Dublin Establishment

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In a recent Tomás Ó Flatharta Blog post – RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell – https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/22/rte-broadcaster-claire-byrne-censors-joe-brolly-who-criticised-the-reactionary-politics-of-dup-westminster-mp-gregory-campbell/ “Identitarian Gibberish” is targeted. This is part of a “distinct agenda” promoted by the management of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ. The inevitable result is censorship of people promoting a vision of post-partition Ireland which can destroy the “carnival of reaction” created by the 1922 Treaty ending the heroic 1919-21 War of Independence. Writing in “Rebel News” the author and activist Kieran Allen adds extremely useful context. His article is reproduced in full here.

When RTÉ puts on a special programme about a united Ireland, you know that big changes are underway. The partition of Ireland is now under question. RTÉ, however, has a distinct agenda and that was exemplified in one dramatic incident. http://www.rebelnews.ie/2021/03/23/rte-censorship-irish-unity/?fbclid=IwAR1vMTLrz5rsPP2awNgaLDDN1Qycb1Z1PtfpcNbHUgUOgB48vKgrvyBvcIY

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Ireland‘s Banished Babies – Illegal Adoptions and Dr Éamon de Valera Junior

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According to an RTÉ Investigates documentary, broadcast on March 3 2021, Dr Éamon De Valera Jr – the oldest son of Éamon De Valera Sr, Taoiseach and President of Ireland between 1932 and 1973 – repeatedly facilitated illegal adoptions. This is not a new story. https://www.rte.ie/news/investigations-unit/2021/0302/1200520-who-am-i-the-story-of-irelands-illegal-adoptions/

Mike Milotte’s book “Banished Babies” was first published in 1997. A new and updated version appeared in 2012.

I picked the book from my shelves, and re-read the chapter about St. Rita’s Nursing Home, run by Mrs Mary Keating.

Milotte explores a 1965 cover-up prosecution of Mrs Mary Keating, who was supported by many powerful men : Declan Costello (son of ex Fine Gael Taoiseach John A Costello) was Mrs Keating’s lawyer. Declan Costello, a Fine Gael TD, was Attorney General in the 1973-77 Fine Gael-Labour Coalition Government. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/was-liam-cosgraves-1973-77-fine-gael-labour-coalition-the-worst-ever-dublin-government/?preview=true&preview_id=837&preview_nonce=2da4341dc4

In 1992 the High Court Judge Declan Costello ordered the internment in Ireland of a pregnant raped suicidal 14 year old girl, in that way preventing her from getting an abortion in England or some other country. This was the infamous “X Case”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attorney_General_v._X?wprov=sfti1

Joe Doyle was another strong supporter of Mary Keating – in 1965 Doyle was the sacristan at Donnybrook Church, where “Mrs Keating had her falsely registered babies baptised”. Doyle was in later years a Fine Gael Constituency TD colleague of Garret FitzGerald in Dublin South-East between 1982 and 1992. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Doyle?wprov=sfti1 Then Fianna Fáil Agriculture Minister Charles Haughey is reported saying “sure half the children born in St. Rita’s were fathered by members of the Dáil”. Haughey was Taoiseach of Ireland and the Fianna Fáil leader between 1979 and 1991. All these politicians – Doyle, Costello and Haughey – backed the 1983 constitutional Irish ban on abortion. Another supporter of Mrs Keating was the ex Rugby Star, the Consultant Karl Mullen – 30 years later he recalled, inaccurately, that the St Rita’s Nursing Home boss was prosecuted “for selling babies to America”. Mike Milotte accurately observes that although Mrs Keating was not charged with “selling babies to America”, many suspected “that was precisely what she was up to”.

An update after watching the RTÉ Investigates documentary, broadcast on Wednesday March 3 2021. I think everyone should zone in on the 1965 Mary Keating court case. A large cast of high-ranking politicians and Catholic Church bosses were terrified Keating would spill the beans and bring them all down. It would be a mistake to suggest Éamon De Valera Junior acted alone. I believe Éamonn Ó Cuív TD (FF Galway West) may have information which would assist up to 10,000 people in Ireland who have false birth certificates. In 1965 Mary Keating’s blackmail worked. Many politicians and bishops involved in the babies for sale “adoption” racket went on to infamously promote the 1983 Anti-Abortion amendment. The money trail is extremely important.

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“H-Block and Sectarian Civil War – Socialists Against Nationalism”- A Short Read from 1981

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Events have moved on since this pamphlet appeared. Many sections of the 1980’s Irish left, primarily from social-democratic and Stalinist streams, opposed the mass movement in favour of political status for prisoners of war locked up in the H-Blocks and Armagh Jail. People’s Democracy and Bernadette McAliskey, by contrast, advocated a polar opposite policy. https://irishelectionliterature.com/2016/06/06/make-h-block-the-issue-vincent-doherty-peoples-democracy-1981-general-election-dublin-north-central/

The long-term Socialists Against Nationalism (SAN) objective, deletion of Articles 2 and 3 from the Irish Constitution, was successfully achieved in a 1998 referendum on both sides of the Irish border. 21st Century Sinn Féin promotes power-sharing with the DUP. No legal end to the partition of Ireland is possible unless a majority of voters in the state called Northern Ireland vote for it. Now, as we enter the 2020’s, the partition of Ireland emerges again as a reactionary millstone crushing the neck of the Irish working class. Details tell us a lot : If we are to achieve an effective victory over a deadly virus, we need an effective all-Ireland Zero-CoVid policy – the Stormont Government is an obstacle. It was the same over abortion, when Westminster imposed a progressive policy while Stormont was suspended. The wheel of history is turning again. John Meehan January 26 2021

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Pat O’Connor 1948-2015, Limerick Socialist, Supporter of the Fourth International

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cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/12/07/left-archive-pat-oconnor-limerick-based-socialist-1948-2015-published-2015/

Recently, following prompts by Pádraig Malone, I forwarded material celebrating the life and political activities of the late Pat O’Connor to the Irish Left Archive site.

A 21 year old Pat O’Connor is holding the placard saying “PD [People’s Democracy] Opposes Racism”. 1970 demonstrations against the touring South African 
All-White Rugby Team.

Readers can find links to to that material in two PDF’s below. The pamphlet link includes the text of a speech I delivered at a 2015 memorial meeting for Pat. A second link is a copy of an obituary submitted to the Limerick Leader newspaper written by myself and Cian Prendiville.

John Meehan December 7 2020

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Nazi Rally Scheduled in Dublin – Don’t Go! Boycott!

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A correspondent highlights a tiny rally in Dublin next Saturday – Don’t Go!

“I see Justin Barrett’s National Party, who want a Catholic Fascist Dictatorship in Ireland, have organised a little protest for Saturday ‘against the lockdown’. Even if you don’t agree with public health measures, don’t be fooled by this shit. These people want young women and girls back in slave labour laundries, young men and boys back in industrial schools, an end to birth control and women’s bodily autonomy, all non-white-Irish people to be forcibly exiled, and executions of their political opponents. All under the jackboot of a paedophile-protecting Catholic dictatorship.”

Don’t Go!

Trump To Appoint Right-Wing Catholic Sect Member To Supreme Court – Handmaid’s Tale Fiction to Become an American Reality?

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As expected, it looks as if Trump is going to choose as his Supreme Court nominee, an anti-abortionist disciple of a cult that could have come …

Trump To Appoint Right-Wing Catholic Sect Member To Supreme Court

US President Donald Trump plans to nominate a woman, Amy Coney Barrett, to his country’s Supreme Court. Ms Barrett is a member of a very creepy Catholic Church cult called “People of Praise”. Amy Goodman, host of “Democracy Now”, investigates.

Amy Coney Barrett, husband Jesse, Handmaid’s Tale, People of Praise

We’re looking at Amy Barrett’s membership in a secretive Catholic group with rigid gender roles and a lifelong loyalty oath. We’re now joined by a former member of People of Praise who’s now speaking out against the group. Coral Anika Theill was a People of Praise member for five years, from 1979 to 1984, after being forced to join the organization by her then-husband. She documented her experience in her memoir titled Bonsheá: Making Light of the Dark.

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Conspiracy Anti-Vaxers against Covid-19 lockdowns blend with far-right fascists – Irish and British Examples

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No to Racism Defend Our Public Health Workers – Minorities, Migrants, Homeless, Asylum Seekers, LGBTQ+Solidarity for Real Change

12 September 2020 | 1 PM
Assemble: GPO | O’Connell Street Dublin United Against Racism is organizing this rally in partnership with others and co-hosted by all organisations supporting it. For support and endorsements please email: info@united-against-racism.net…

https://www.facebook.com/events/653860718566358?active_tab=about

Congratulations to United Against Racism for calling this event. It needs to be supported by other organizations across the left, and mass membership organizations like trade unions.

Mass action is badly needed to confront and crush the racist far-right.

Professor Dolores Cahill, leader of far-right Irish Freedom Party

In Dublin, across Ireland and internationally the racist far right are using anti-mask, anti-vaccine and other fears to promote themselves and their racist agenda. In Dublin they mobilised up to 2000 at the Custom House on 22 August. In London, with the aid of Dolores Cahill (pictured above) from the Irish Freedom Party they put several thousand in Trafalgar Square.

In Berlin they mobilized up-to 30,000 and in the US they have been holding armed demonstrations. In Dublin they also rally regularly at the GPO on Saturdays. This is very dangerous; they must be exposed and opposed. At the heart of these mobilizations are individuals and organisations whose core agenda is to attack people of colour, migrants, minorities, asylum seekers, Muslims etc. but at present they are focusing on other prejudices, bigotries and COVID-19 fears and doing so in the name of an utterly perverted version of Irish nationalism that is an insult to Connolly and Pearse and all they stood for. They mounted a vile homophobic campaign against Green Party government minister Roderic O’Gorman.

DON’T ENDANGER OUR FRONT LINE WORKERS

ANTI-MASK IS ANTI – WORKER!

We can trust our healthcare workers who have risked their lives and are telling us first hand to wear a mask and follow the basic health advice. We can mind our health and criticize the government at the same time without the lies and conspiracy theories of the far-right.It is urgent that their lies are exposed and their influence is countered.The far-right have zero policies or interest in protecting civil liberties, defending workers, ending the housing crisis, improving the health system or uniting people. These are the same people that campaign against asylum seekers and refugees. They simply want to divide us and scapegoat vulnerable sections of our society which lets the government off the hook.We therefore call on all progressive organisations and individuals – trade unions and trade unionists, migrants rights organisations , anti-racists, LGBTQ+ activists, feminist activists, progressive political parties, environmental activists, housing activists – everyone who wants to defend public health and see a more just and equal country – to unite and oppose the far-right and their growth in IrelandWe in United Against Racism like to organise this rally in partnership with others and co-hosted by all organisations supporting it. For support and endorsements please email info@united-against-racism.netWe are planning to call for an organisers Zoom meeting next week 8 September 2020, 6.30PMJoin us for a peaceful, socially distant rally to give your support to our front line heroes in hospital; shops etc who are being put in danger by those who think COVID-19 is a conspiracy – not a disease.’This is will be a socially distances rally. Please wear a mask to protect yourself and others around you. Thank You!

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Electoralism: a real and present danger for the radical left everywhere – in Ireland the Dáil SPBP bloc avoids the trap : unconditional opposition to coalition with the FFFG et al right

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A publication in India, the Radical Socialist, offers a timely warning to radical socialists in every part of the globe :

Unless the lessons of the repeated political collapses in Sri Lanka are learnt, not only Sri Lankan Marxists, but those elsewhere in South Asia, who have learned also from the achievements of the Sri Lankan Marxists, may suffer politically. There is a need to examine, not merely in terms of mid 20th century history, but in terms of today’s class struggle, why the politics of electoralism, and of alliances with bourgeois parties (under the disguise that they are petty bourgeois parties, or ‘democratic’ parties, etc) can only lead to damages for the Trotskyist forces. We urge the Fourth International leadership to take it up as a burning political and educational issue, and take firm action. Collaborating with bourgeois oppositions is hardly restricted to Sri Lanka, and serious political discussions will benefit revolutionaries in India, at least. http://www.radicalsocialist.in/articles/statement-radical-socialist/899-radical-socialist-statement-on-sri-lankan-elections

What is the story in Ireland?

Gaining significant electoral victories is a key achievement of the radical left in Ireland since 1997, when Joe Higgins of the Socialist Party won a Dublin West Dáil seat. This electoral victory significantly helped to defeat government water charges plans promoted by the then main capitalist parties Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, which were aided by their serial coalition partners, the Labour Party.

Ups and downs in Irish radical left electoral fortunes have occurred from 1997 to 2020. This was an open question in 1997 : could the Dublin West victory of Joe Higgins be a minor Trotskyist blip on a stable bourgeois election landscape dominated by FFFG? It turned out this was not a blip. Higgins was the first TD who openly promoted a “Women’s Right to Choose” Abortion policy. He himself and members of his party actively promoted various pro-choice campaigns. The election of numerous radical left pro-choice deputies in 2011 and 2016 eventually forced the main right wing parties to allow a referendum repealing the anti-abortion 8th constitutional amendment. The result : a landslide victory for the pro-choice movement in Ireland and abroad. Here is one report written by USA activist Sarah Jaffe : http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article5823

Today there is a 5 TD SPBP radical left bloc in Dáil Éireann. Three other deputies – Joan Collins, Catherine Connolly and Thomas Pringle – adopted the same anti-FFFGGG governmental policy as the SPBP bloc. This scenario was historic – it had never happened before, since the foundation of two partitioned states in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

Government Coalition with the Right? : Ghastly Results Revealed

The policy of the Irish radical left on coalition with right wing parties is clearly explained here by RISE Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy :

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“John Charles McQuaid Made Me a Socialist” – Mary Muldowney

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youtu.be/khWX_lMEZEY

I first met Mary Muldowney in the early 1990’s in pro-choice radical left circles, discovering both of us attended Sandymount High School around the same time – we did not personally meet then – we moved in different circles and (school) classes! We attended the same Dublin marches against the Vietnam War and the Apartheid South Africa Rugby Tour of 1970. https://comeheretome.com/2015/02/03/45-years-ago-the-controversial-visit-of-the-springbok-team-to-dublin/

Mary, a Dublin City Council Historian, vividly describes the late 1960’s and 1970’s – events which also made me a socialist, feminist, and pro-choice activist.

Muldowney’s talk offers the unlikely suggestion that arch-bigot John Charles McQuaid, then boss of the Dublin Archdiocese and the Catholic Church in Ireland, turned a teenage Sandymount High School pupil into a socialist. Recommended listening

Dublin Archbishop, Catholic Primate of Ireland, 1940-1972 John Charles McQuaid

Dublin City Historian Mary Muldowney – Socialist and Feminist

Mary Muldowney’s talk is part of the Sarah Lundberg Summer School 2020, an online event.

http://eastwallforall.ie/?p=4712

Here’s a good description of Sandymount High School, which Read the rest of this entry »