Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Dublin Governments’ Category

Disastrous CoVid-19 Epidemic in the north of Ireland – Stormont Government Shambles, U-Turns and Half-Measures

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A CoVid-19 disaster is happening in the north of Ireland. It is spreading. This was preventable. And drastic measures are now necessary – the Stormont government’s latest measures are “too little too late”.

Zero CoVid Strategy Needed in Ireland https://www.facebook.com/PeopleBeforeProfitDerry/

Éamonn McCann, veteran socialist and People Before Profit Councillor (Derry-Strabane) reports from a state in Ireland which has one of the highest CoVid-19 infection rates in the world. The official name of that failed state is Northern Ireland.

Eamonn McCann’s alarming analysis is supported by the north’s doctors’ union, the British Medical Association (BMA [NI]).

The north’s BMA chairperson Dr Tom Black, warns :

Read the rest of this entry »

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!

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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Mary Toomey (Valarasan) : “I would consider every child born in this country as Irish”

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On August 12 2020 the Irish Times published an interview with a citizen who came to work study and live in Ireland in 1967.  Her name is Mary Toomey; she was born in Sri  Lanka.  I asked myself : was this the same woman who  got a job teaching in Sandymount High School (SHS), and was known by her pre-marriage surname, Valarasan? I did some searching, found out my guess was correct, and established direct contact. I was one of her SHS pupils, starting in September 1967.

Dr Mary Toomey, an Ecologist

A copy of the interview is at the link below :

https://www.dropbox.com/s/28f3db3uism75fa/Mary%20Toomey%20%28Valarasan%29.pdf?dl=0

See Also https://www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/people/once-you-are-not-lily-white-or-freckle-skinned-you-are-labelled-as-non-irish-1.4316508

A good description of Sandymount High School, which

was founded in 1947 and was initially controversial because, as a non-denominational school, it wasn’t owned by a church but by the Cannon family[1], who also provided the two headmasters the school had: father and son Patrick and Conall Cannon. Patrick’s wife Eileen Cannon also served as headmistress.

The school’s student body was arguably drawn from several distinct groups: those from a local council estate called Beech Hill, the offspring of parents disenchanted with denominational/same sex schools, students on the Malahide/Howth to Bray rail corridor and the 3 & 18 bus routes, and foreign nationals who paid tuition fees.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandymount_High_School?wprov=sfti1

In those days, unlike in 2020, very few people born outside Ireland lived and worked in a country famous for exporting its people. The Irish constitution stated that everyone born in Ireland (on both sides of the border dividing Ireland into two states)  automatically was a citizen of the state.

On June 12 2004 voters amended the constitution on a day of shame – the definition of “citizen” changed.

Mary Toomey observes

I would consider every child born in this country as Irish. But the problem is, once you are not lily-white or freckle-skinned, you are still labelled as non-Irish or a non-national.”

The protection of children – regardless of nationality, race, caste, creed, physical and mental disability or socio-economic status – should be Ireland’s primary focus, she says. But, 16 years on from the referendum, Dr Toomey says racism towards children of colour in Ireland has become noticeably worse.

I was an activist in the “Vote No” campaign.

Two items arguing against the new citizenship rules are below. Read the rest of this entry »

Too many FFFGGG piggies 🐷 🐷 🐷 slurping Euros 💶 from the trough? 18 ministers at Cabinet is ‘fairly obviously unconstitutional’ and politically ‘dubious’

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Bunreacht na hÉireann states: “The Government shall consist of not less than 7 and not more than 15 members.”

The FFFGGG coalition has a deserved reputation for letting ministerial piggies 🐷 loose to slurp at a trough stuffed with Euros 💶. Greed causes the party leaders to ignore clear and simple rules about how many ministers can be appointed – the constitution states the maximum number is 15 – and no other politicians can attend cabinet meetings. Three “super junior” mini-ministers – already in hot water for getting a pay 💰 hike – are attending cabinet meetings – according to the attached article this practice is probably unconstitutional and illegal. This might look like an obscure technical point – but it might be a gift 🎁 to radical left deputies denied 🙅 decent speaking rights in the current Dáil. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

FFFGGG super-junior ministers Chambers Naughton and Hackett

The legal side: ‘Crystal clear’ and confidentiality

“Most of the time with constitutional law, there’s a great deal of ambiguity and it’s really unclear what the constitutional answer is,” says David Kenny, Assistant Professor of Law at Trinity College Dublin and co-author of the leading text on Irish constitutional law.

“This is one of those ones where I think it’s very clear that there’s essentially no scope for having more than 15 members of government. The Constitution is crystal clear about that, there’s just no way to have more than that.”

Confidentiality is also enshrined in the Constitution, meaning that you can’t have non-Cabinet members involved in the deliberations of Cabinet.

Article 28.1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann states simply:

“The Government shall consist of not less than seven and not more than fifteen members who shall be appointed by the President in accordance with the provisions of this Constitution.”

Article 28.4 alludes to the confidentiality and collective responsibility of Cabinet:

“The Government shall meet and act as a collective authority, and shall be collectively responsible for the Departments of State administered by the members of the Government.

The confidentiality of discussions at meetings of the Government shall be respected in all circumstances save only where the High Court determines that disclosure should be made in respect of a particular matter.”

Kenny continues: “So the question is how are these junior ministers both allowed to be subject to these confidential discussions and involved in these meetings, where only 15 people are supposed to collectively wield the executive power of the State?”

So I think it’s fairly obviously unconstitutional.

https://www.thejournal.ie/government-more-than-15-members-at-cabinet-5163806-Aug2020/

Thanks to Raymond Deane who drew attention to this problem.

The Miami Showband Massacre – 45th Anniversary July 31 2020 : Files delay ‘appalling’, says judge – BBC News

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Readers are urged to examine the stark facts below.

The British State was caught running the loyalist sectarian murder of Miami Showband musicians returning in the wee small hours from a music gig at Castle Ballroom, Banbridge, County Down on July 31 1975, 45 years ago.

A survivor, Stephen Travers, tells the story to Yvonne Watterson . https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/miami-showband-massacre-i-heard-my-platform-shoes-click-against-each-other-i-still-had-both-legs-1.4318542

My friend Stephen Travers knows all too well about remembering. He was a member of the Miami Showband who survived that atrocity.

They were travelling home from a gig at the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge, Co Down, when they were flagged down at what appeared to be a routine British army checkpoint outside Newry. They were ordered to stand by the road with their hands on their heads, while the men in uniform checked their van.

Stephen recalls being concerned about what was taking so long. “My guitar was in there. I had a very unusual guitar, a transparent Dan Armstrong Plexiglas bass, and I was very protective of it. I was damned if I was going to let some awkward soldier manhandle it. I loved my guitar.”

Two of the uniformed men – later revealed as members of the Ulster Defence Regiment – were planting a bomb under the driver’s seat when it exploded, killing both of them. The other assailants opened fire, killing the band’s frontman, Fran O’Toole, its trumpet player, Brian McCoy, and its lead guitarist, Tony Geraghty. Read the rest of this entry »

Nice Try But Public Not Falling For Government’s 10% Pay Cut Bullshit – Waterford Whispers News

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Satire which is real news.

Irish FFFGGG coalition government ministers continue to fumble in the greasy till and get caught.

FFFGGG Ministers Line Their Pockets

THE PUBLIC has doffed its cap to the government in appreciation of its attempt to pull a fast one with its selfless decision to institute a 10% pay cut for ministers, but added ‘we ain’t falling for this bullshit’.

“It’s the sort of tokenistic gesture that I actually might have appreciated were it not for the fact Taoiseach Martin and some of his ministers will still actually be earning more than the previous government’s salaries,” explained one member of the public.

“Sorry, what was that? Could you speak up,” asked the Taoiseach when it was put to him his government have taken being tone deaf to new inaudible highs.

The Taoiseach had been hoping the 10% cut would have distracted from Junior Minister pay bumps, welfare hunters at airports and reemerging focus on the treatment of victims of the Cervical Check scandal among 400 other things, however, the move has gone down like a dozen lead balloons strapped with explosives.

“Fair play, only this clown car of a government could take a pay cut and still end up earning more money, and that’s before expenses even come into play,” shared one member of the public, who as a healthcare worker, will have to settle for saving up all the applause they received to pay the bills in lieu of any pay increases.

In a last ditch attempt to secure a positive PR win for his government the Taoiseach stated Jack Chambers is worth every penny of the €140,000 he is paid.

Elsewhere, Sinn Féin, a party who incorrectly claimed their TDs only take home the average industrial wage labeled the 10% pay cut ‘a disgrace’.
— Read on waterfordwhispersnews.com/2020/07/28/nice-try-but-public-not-falling-for-governments-10-pay-cut-bullshit/

Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020

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Guest post by Des Derwin

The period before and since the general election has produced a renewed interest in left unity. There have been many contributions on it from across a wide sweep of the left.
There are several direct proposals for unity, or more unity.
As a small assistance to all this I have compiled links to and extracts from most of the leading interventions, since the general election, in the new round of interest in left unity. The collection is below.
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Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020. 

Links to and extracts from selected articles, posts, podcasts and interviews.

 

1. Jacobin; Michael Taft: ‘This Month’s Elections in Ireland Are a Historic Opportunity’, 2nd January 2020

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/02/ireland-elections-fine-gael-fianna-fail

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2. Rise website: ‘Why a Combined Left Challenge in the General Election is Essential’, 6th Jabuary 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/why-a-combined-left-challenge-in-the-general-election-is-essential

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3. Paul Murphy TD, speaking at the ‘Stop the Stitch Up’ rally, Dublin 7th March 2020.

“We need to build a mass political party of the left which is open to different trends, to be organised within, and to represent working class people.”

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4. RISE website: ‘After Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, what next?’ by Diana O’Dwyer, 20th February 2020

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/after-fianna-fil-and-fine-gael-what-next

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5. From: RISE website: ‘We need a socialist government’, 7th March 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/we-need-a-socialist-government

“Build a new mass left-wing party

There is a desperate need for a mass political party of the left. Because of Sinn Féin’s acceptance of the capitalist market and its hesitancy to engage with people-power movements, it will not be that party.
None of the existing radical left parties are likely to grow directly into that mass left party either. Instead, we need a left party that is anti-capitalist, anti-coalition and anti-oppression, while being open for different groups to organise within it.
RISE and our TD, Paul Murphy, wants to work with others to build such a party. While fighting for every reform in the here and now, we are a revolutionary socialist group that sees the need to end the rule of the bosses and big corporations.”
Left Unity Needed for Socialist Green New Deal

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6. RISE website: ‘No going back, but what’s ahead’ by Cian Prendiville, 1st May 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/no-going-back-but-whats-ahead

“This new era will pose new challenges and opportunities for the socialist left.
The recent general election was a brush with fate. The fractured socialist left took blows, but kept on our feet, holding onto most of our seats. This shows that a certain base of support for socialist TDs has been built. A Sinn Fein surge squeezed our vote, and we struggled to respond in a positive and principled way. In too many places the left split its vote, costing perhaps two seats and putting a third at risk. We should learn from that, and strengthen the left for the future.RISE’s proposals for a combined left challenge are a good starting point.
The truth is, this isn’t a bad place to begin. Just before the 2008 crash, Sinn Fein had 5 Dail seats, now it is the largest party in the state. Crisis changes everything.
Back then the socialist left had no seats. Now on the cusp of another major turn, we are the ones with 5 seats. We are the ones with the ideas to change the world. A desire for a radically different and better world is growing every day.
Let’s make this the decade of that revolution.”

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7. Irish Broad Left blog: ‘Uniting the Left to fight for an ecosocialist united Ireland’ by Cian McMahon, 6th June 2020.

https://irishbroadleft.com/2020/06/06/uniting-the-left-to-fight-for-an-ecosocialist-united-ireland/?fbclid=IwAR22GKSsaXbJWoISzYkC5-m2H5MOzxXqrkF6Bp-FYTF-cZrSZ-tfteQDRWQ

oooOOOooo. Read the rest of this entry »

A New Publication from the Irish Radical Left – RISE launches Rupture

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You can pre-order RUPTURE now at http://rupture.ie

The publication is launched online on Wednesday July 29 at 8.00pm Irish Time. RISE is represented in Dáil Éireann by the Dublin South-West TD Paul Murphy. More here : https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/02/27/to-all-of-them-we-say-rule-out-coalition-with-fianna-fail-and-fine-gael-sinn-fein-should-seek-to-lead-an-alternative-minority-government-interview-with-paul-mu/

What is RUPTURE?

Rupture – [ruhp-cher]
noun

  1. A revolution i.e. a break with the capitalist system, as in “A conscious working-class movement is needed to organise a rupture with capitalism”
  2. A break with the past (especially with the failed methods of the old left, the reformism of social democracy and the sectarianism that has impaired the revolutionary left).
  3. Disrupting dogma, thinking again (and admitting we don’t know everything).
  4. Ireland’s new eco-socialist quarterly produced by RISE.

From all corners of the world, the working class will respond with explosive movements. Furious worldwide protests against racist police violence are a harbinger of things to come. We face an ideologically weakened, politically fractured, and debt-burdened capitalist class that will not hesitate to devour the earth and all life on it in its pursuit of profit.

How should Marxists respond? 

A new period demands new strategy, new tactics, and new forms of organisation. We must shake off the outdated schema and rid ourselves of ineffective and anachronistic methods. While working to construct a mass revolutionary party, we must strive to be more democratically organised and organically connected to all the real movements of workers and the oppressed.

So too with our theory and analysis. While developing Marxist methods, we must broaden the terrain upon which we apply them – from capitalist social relations to the metabolic rift that capitalism has forced between nature and humanity.

Rupture is a contribution to that effort from RISE. In each issue, we aim to analyse current trends in capitalist society, explore new ideas and research to expand our understanding, and attempt to answer the question facing all revolutionaries – what is to be done in the 21st century?

https://www.letusrise.ie/rupture

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 :

Read the rest of this entry »