Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘CoronaVirus’ 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 :

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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!

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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A West Belfast Republican Funeral Breaches CoronaVirus Restrictions – Trouble Ahead

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The Sinn Féin organisers of Bobby Storey’s West Belfast funeral on June 30 2020 got plenty of advance warning – which they chose to ignore.

Suzanne Breen set the scene in the pages of the Belfast Telegraph :

Sinn Fein has adopted an uncompromising approach to fighting coronavirus in Northern Ireland. On school closures, workplace regulations and much more, the party has rightly insisted that health and safety trumps all else.

The funeral of Bobby Storey should be no different. No ifs, buts or maybes. It doesn’t matter that he was Sinn Fein’s northern chairman, spent 20 years in jail, or has heroic status for some in the republican community.

The same guidelines that apply when ordinary folk die apply to Bobby Storey, too. Just imagine the outrage there would be in the nationalist community if loyalists flouted the rules for a UDA or UVF funeral? https://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/opinion/comment/sinn-fein-should-set-example-at-bobby-storeys-funeral-but-its-a-case-of-do-as-i-say-not-as-i-do-39319738.html

Dominic Cummings moments in the six county statelet :

Sinn Féin  President and  Vice-President  Mary Lou McDonald and Michelle O’Neill
Bobby Storey’s Funeral in Belfast

PBP Belfast Councillor Matt Collins observes

At the risk of sounding repetitive I will make the point again….

The only people in Belfast who have been systematically targeted with fines, cautions and prosecution threats from the PSNI for breaching the regulations during this crisis have been BAME protestors taking part in safe, socially distant Black Lives Matter protests.

Such a fact— in a majority white city with tonnes of examples of proportionally different police treatment to other gatherings — is discrimination by definition.

People should be shouting loudly about this. Those in power keeping quiet about it are increasingly becoming part of the problem in my opinion.

The double standards were also highlighted by Vincent Doherty.

Read the rest of this entry »

Stupid American

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This is a savage witty attack on USA President Donald Trump.

Europeans, like North Americans, are resisting buffoonish and stupid racist leaders – Viktor Orban of Hungary, Boris Johnson of Britain – and outright leader of the pack, Arlene Foster from the north of Ireland.

“Europeans often look down on Americans and make fun of us. That in itself may be more of a stereotype and a joke than it is real…or at least it was before Donald Trump became president.
The idea of Donald Trump being president was a joke. The Simpsons had it as a joke in one episode because it was so ridiculous. Lisa Simpson was president, who is a cartoon and not a real person, and that’s less ridiculous than a Trump presidency. Though in that episode, Lisa had to rebuild the nation after a Trump presidency.
But yeah, Donald Trump is a joke. But Europe, like American liberals and the few Republicans who put their nation before a cult, recognize he’s more than a joke. He’s dangerous. However, as dangerous as he is, gatherings of world leaders are still caught on hot mics mocking the guy who claims he’s restored international respect to our nation.
Europe has done a much better job with the coronavirus than our nation. While we have 4 percent of the world’s population, we have 25% of coronavirus cases. The virus is spiking in the deep south and our more liberal states in the northeast are enacting quarantines for visitors from those states. Europe may take it one step further.
Europe looks at us and they see our president, the ultimate ugly, stupid, arrogant American. And what do they see now? They see an ugly American denying a virus isn’t as bad as it is. They see a stupid American telling people to drink bleach and take a medication that can kill them (Hey, if Europe is afraid of a drug, you don’t wanna go near it). They see an arrogant American mock people for wearing facemasks. They see an incredibly ugly, stupid, arrogant American president (sic) say we have fewer cases of coronavirus when we have fewer tests. They see an idiot who believes tests create cases.
And now, the entire continent is considering banning each of us from entering. What’s next? Stiffed by Canada? Will Mexico build a wall and make us pay for it (probably)?
Europe may not like us very much but they love our money and for us to come over and eat their snails. But when they see our leader (sic) exhibit the very worst of us, Europe is all like, “Nope!” They don’t want dirty Americans to re-contaminate their nations where people actually believe in science.
I don’t blame them.”

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“A Controversial Quarantine” – Cedar Lounge Revolution

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A big Thank You to the Cedar Lounge Revolution for this important story.

A couple of questions and observations are added here.

_____________________________________________________________

Main players in the Irish Airline and Tourism industry are seeking an end to many coronavirus restrictions.

https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/06/24/a-controversial-quarantine/

They are part of a “taskforce” established by unelected right-wing Government Minister Shane Ross, who lost his Dublin Rathdown Dáil seat in the February 2020 General Election.

And who are these worthies on this “taskforce”?

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, appointed the task force, whose members represent the industry, workers and Government.
Businessman Chris Horn chairs the group whose members include: Dalton Philips, chief executive of DAA, the company responsible for Cork and Dublin airports; Patricia King, general secretary of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions; Aer Lingus chief executive Sean Doyle; David O’Brien, commercial director at Ryanair; and Conor McCarthy, chief executive of aircraft maintenance group Dublin Aerospace.

Questions arise over the presence of ICTU General Secretary Patricia King on this “taskforce”, and her implied support for this committee’s woefully dangerous recommendations.

Irish Congress of Trade Unions General Secretary Patricia King

And a medical input? Why none at all. 

Professor Gabriel Scally

Read the rest of this entry »

American Biden-Democrat “Hostility” to Trump – Not the same as “Opposition” – A Highly Recommended Article

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At times readers of online political commentary despair going through useless drudge that can be found on the internet. But if you keep at it, watch for sources you know are usually solid and reliable, you find excellent material. This article came to the attention of the Tomás Ó Flatharta blog via an FB friend Suzi Weissman.

https://www.kpfk.org/on-air/suzi-weissman/

It is a devastating, withering, attack on the Biden-Democrat “hostility” to the Trump administration – which is not the same as opposition. A stunning catastrophe looms now in the USA as the Trump Government “opens up” this land to the Covid-19 Monster at the Door of New York. Now, more than ever, the USA radical left must look towards the November 2020 General Election, and attempt to offer a credible alternative to the Evil Biden-Trump Tweedledee Monster. Shame on Bernie Sanders. The article concludes :

Bernie’s consistent criticism falls flat these days as he loyally signs on to the party consensus while trying to push additions and improvements. AOC is a lone voice in the wilderness daring to cast the occasional no vote.

What’s left are endangered and desperate people daring to walk off the job and appealing to their peers for support. We the people are on our own and must find our own way forward without waiting for leadership that doesn’t exist. By shedding illusions to the contrary, we open up new possibilities.

Hostility Is Not Enough – Resistance is Not Futile

An internal government document circulating in the United States projects a surge in coronavirus cases and a sharp rise in daily deaths by June 1, the New York Times reported, even as President Donald Trump urged states to lift restrictions in place to quell the pandemic.

The document, based on modelling by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, projects that COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, will kill 3,000 Americans a day by the end of May, the Times said on Monday, up from a current daily toll about 2,000. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/model-projects-fold-increase-coronavirus-cases-200504185028572.html

Hostility Is Not the Same As Opposition – Resistance is Needed

There is hostility, which is not the same thing.

Opposition implies a critical analysis and an alternative program, that is, an examination of what is being done wrong, why this is so, and what should change. On all three points, the loudest non-Trump voices offer confusion, distraction, and hypocrisy, not leadership around which a movement could cohere.

What is wrong? Read the rest of this entry »

Unelected Irish Government signs letter to European Commission advocating legalized crime – Airlines Robbing Money – Cancelled Flights, No Refunds

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Airline companies collect money from passengers who book a flight, often months in advance. Like all other merchants, operators like Aer Lingus and Ryanair are supposed to refund customers when they cannot supply the service. That is the law.

Paul Murphy TD asks : “ It seems Ryanair may be using dirty tricks to delay refunds. This person was unable to get their refund as the computer said the CAPTCHA was wrong. It looks right to me though, what do you think? Are there others who have had trouble getting a refund from Ryanair?”

Ryanair’s Never-Ending Loop

A customer supplies the answer :

The CAPTCHA is not the problem. When I applied for the refund it said:  
“Sorry we can’t process your application at the moment. Please try  
again later.” When I tried it again I get the message about the  
CAPTCHA. When I clicked on OK, the CAPTCHA changed. I put in the new  
one, and the message appeared: “Sorry we can’t process…” You’re in a  
never-ending loop.

If you are in this position, don’t waste your time on one of these never-ending loops. Just like “Customer Information” Phone Services where you never get a refund – instead you are put on hold, asked to wait, told to press “One for Gibberish, Two for Garbage….” and so on. Read the rest of this entry »

Extend Health and Safety Authority powers on social distancing in Irish Workplaces – The Bad Example of Keeling’s Company

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Paul Murphy TD :

If you walk more than 2km from home you face a jail sentence.

Yet companies forcing workers to work shoulder to shoulder without PPE face no inspections, no enforcement, no fines.

The Health and Safety Authority must start investigating complaints of companies breaking the Covid-19 guidelines. They should start with Keelings.

The Irish Examiner Reports :

TDs have called for extended powers for the Health and Safety Authority (HSA) in order to ensure social distancing in work places.

There is currently no state agency which has the statutory authority to carry out workplace inspections to ensure that appropriate physical distancing measures to protect against the spread of Covid-19 are in place.

Confusion has arisen over who would monitor sites after Rise-People Before Profit TD Paul Murphy says he was “passed from Billy to Jack” while trying to ensure that fruit producer, Keeling’s workers in Co Wexford, who have been flown in to Ireland from other states in the EU for seasonal work, could adhere to guidelines for their own safety.

The HSA has said that currently it has no powers in overseeing the Covid-19 guidelines, despite Business Minister Heather Humphreys stating in the Dáil last week that she was “talking to her officials about it”.

Previously, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the HSE would oversee such guidelines.

However, the HSE Environmental Unit has reportedly stated to Mr Murphy that it is not their role either.

Mr Murphy written to Minister Humphreys to urge the Government to reconsider the issue as a matter of urgency, as a number of worksites, including 35 “essential” public housing construction sites, have restarted work with government permission, while others expect restrictions on other construction and other workplaces will be loosened when the current run of guidelines runs out on May 5.

— Read on www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/call-for-extended-hsa-powers-on-social-distancing-996293.html

Some people may be surprised that a government headed by Fine Gael Taoiseach Leo Varadkar is unwilling to take action against the Keeling’s Company – an explanation can be found in this image :

Taoiseach Varadkar Campaigning With Owners of Keeling’s Fruit Picker Company in 2015

The Fine Gael Government was lobbied in February 2018 by Keeling’s Boss, the Chief Executive Caroline Keeling, who wants tax laws changed so that her family’s personal profits can be dramatically increased. Read the rest of this entry »

Keeling’s Fruit Pickers’ Company Places 579 Workers in CoVid-19 Danger – Irish State Authorities Dawdle While Disease Gallops Out of Control

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  • Paul Murphy TD (RISE) “Passed From Billy to Jack” Over Keeling’s Fruit Pickers’ Company’s Failure to Protect its Workers
  • Keelings: Minister Humphreys must give HSA powers to protect workers’ health
  • Advice from two Ministers: go to HSE, yet HSE says it “has no statutory role”

“I have been passed from Billy to Jack in trying to get someone to inspect Keelings to ensure their workers are safe. The HSA has said that they have no powers in overseeing the Covid-19 guidelines, although Minister Humphreys said in a reply to me that she’s talking to her officials about it. The Minister for Finance explicitly said that it is the HSE which oversees them. However, now the HSE has said it is not their role. I have written to Minister Humphreys to urge the government to to urgently address this by extending the powers of the HSA, so Keelings workers and others can be protected.”

Video of engagement with Minister Donohoe in Dáil on 16 April:

https://www.facebook.com/paulmurphytd/videos/277643093252182/.

Keeling’s, Ryanair, Put Workers in Danger

Copy below of letter sent to Minister Heather Humphreys this morning:

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