Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Labour Party’ Category

“Eamon Ryan’s sleep-in 💤 wasn’t a mortal sin” – Gene Kerrigan returns us to the Dublin Government’s real world – First on the agenda : gut low-paid workers

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Reviewing a week in the so-far short life of the Fianna Fáil/Fine Gael/Green/Gombeen (FFFGGG) government readers may have missed some interesting details. Twenty mini-ministers are behaving worse than piglets at a trough. RTÉ News did not notice a connection between human events at the Dáil (Leinster House and the Convention Centre) – and piglet events at a midlands farm.

The village of Moyne in Co Longford is celebrating the arrival of 20 piglets to a first-time mother. The bumper delivery is believed to be one of the highest ever recorded in the area. https://www.rte.ie/news/leinster/2020/0718/1154128-piglets-longford/

Only 16 of the Longford piglets out of 20 can feed from the mother. Special arrangements are needed for the remaining four.

In Leinster House three piglet mini-ministers out of 20 are demanding improved feeding facilities – even though they slurp from the same source as their colleagues.

One of the Government’s immediate priorities will be to rush through legislation to ensure that each of the super-juniors will be entitled to an extra €16,288 a year on top of the junior rate. This is not a joke.

– Gene Kerrigan

16 Piglets in Longford offer ecological example to Leinster House mini-ministers (especially Greens)
Green Party Leader Éamon Ryan

Eamon Ryan’s sleep-in 💤 wasn’t a mortal sin. In another life, I spent many an hour crouched on the Dáil press gallery. It can be difficult to listen to that stuff and stay awake. Ryan was one of at least two TDs seen sleeping during Thursday’s proceedings. – Gene Kerrigan

Gene Kerrigan’s complete article, July 20 2020 :

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Sanders-Corbyn: a consolatory daydream of a small begining rather than a not-so-big end.

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Corbyn and Sanders vow to crack down on fossil fuel firms ...

The Corbyn-Sanders phenomena has reached its conclusion. The road to socialism is not a short cut through the softer alternative ruling party firmly in the grip of well-connected politicians and apparatchiks.

But, you might say, what is the difference between these adventures outside the revolutionary stockade and Syriza’s in Greece, which I supported? This: the battle between those who wanted real change and those who didn’t was not decided in Syriza until Tsipras consolidated his capitulation to Brussels; the defeat of Corbyn in the blood-soaked and knighted British Labour Party and of Sanders in the blood-and-money-soaked Democratic Party was a forgone and foreseeable conclusion.

Corbyn and Sanders (good men and true) could begin in the autumn of their lives their great new historical contribution of founding and nursing new and groundbreaking independent socialist political parties. Could.

Des Derwin

Written by tomasoflatharta

April 8, 2020 at 8:20 pm

Words on Des Bonass (died 26th September 2019), commemorative evening, Teachers Club, 29th February 2020.

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Words on Des Bonass (died 26th September 2019), commemorative evening, Teachers Club, 29th February 2020.

Delivered by Des Derwin, on behalf of the Dublin Council of Trade Unions.

Des Bonass May 2019

Des Bonass, a constant campaigner in a long life of activity in the most stirring and also the most unproductive political times, is missing, just missing, the extraordinary outcome of this month’s general election. The upending of a century of duopoly by Tweedle Fail and Tweedle Gael, a surge for change at the ballot box, the development of a left-right configuration, however confused, and a crisis in mainstream, establishment politics. ‘Who would have thunk it’? An overflow crowd outside a political meeting in Liberty Hall [25th February 2020] addressed in the biting wind by one the speakers who has come out to speak to them too. In the 21st century.

Well, such is the lot of many a life-long political activist. Things happen just after you are gone. But that is not the way we think and its not the way Des would have thought. Because he worked and acted in the here and now; he did what could be done at the time. And because he helped set the present in motion, and a lot of other big steps too in the past. And because we are this evening giving Des his rightful place in whatever is happening now, because of his contribution, and because he would have been no less a part of the big things, and the small less-noticed things, than he ever was. And finally, what is happening this month is – if indeed it keeps up and develops – only a small proportion of the eventual historical events that will be needed, and that will follow, and will probably be missed by most of us here too, to bring about the really momentous social change that Des Bonass stood for, and worked for and carried a clear vision of in his head, throughout his long trade union, republican and socialist life. Read the rest of this entry »

Independent Left’s Useful Analysis of the February 2020 Irish General Election

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The author is Conor Kostick

independentleft.ie/dublin-bay-north-election-results/

In Dublin Bay North, as elsewhere, at first it seemed as though the socialist voice of the working class was going to also be swept away by the growth of the Sinn Féin vote. The Green vote too, might have been a challenge for socialists (although it was more of a challenge for Labour and other middle-ground and middle class parties). But as the counts went on, the transfers from Sinn Féin were strongly to the left, much more so than had been anticipated, although there were some losses to the presence of radical socialists in the Dáil and as activists with the advantages that being a TD brings to helping organise campaigns. We were sorry to see Ruth Coppinger and Séamus Healy lose their seats but delighted that after a difficult looking start, on the whole, the socialist left held their ground. In fact, we should have gained a seat in Dublin Bay North and at the expense of Seán Haughey of Fianna Fáil, who before the election had been a twenty-to-one favourite.

Result of the Irish General Election February 2020 – A Muddy Field Is Reviewed

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Notes on a muddy field

Des Derwin

There is a traditional and defining dividing line in Southern Irish politics between principled left politics (revolutionary, radical and left social democratic) and opportunist betrayal, and that is willingness to enter coalition with (or to support) a government of either of the two capitalist parties, Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. The radical and marxist left, including PBP, have remained unshakable in this. Labour, the Greens and others have gone into coalition with FF or FG and administered with them not reform but austerity. For years now, and before and after this election, the radical left has kept up a barrage of calls upon Sinn Fein not to follow its new willingness, and apparent ambition, to enter coalition with FF or FG. That remains the position of PBP and the radical left.

There have been several quick left-denunciations of calls on the Irish left for a left government including (effectively led by) Sinn Fein. Here are some quick thoughts in response if not necessarily in reply (for a couple of excellent introductions to the Irish political terrain, see two articles in Jacobin magazine by Daniel Finn and Ronan Burtenshaw).

Not enough left leaning TDs (members of parliament) were elected to provide a majority for ‘a left government’ even if all conceivable forces were pressed into service. So then People Before Profit (PBP) called for a minority left government, which is harder to underpin logistically. Sinn Fein has now declared that the numbers are not there for a left government and moved on to seeking one involving Fianna Fail (necessary for a majority).

But Fianna Fail have unexpectedly maintained, after the election results, as hard a line against coalescing with Sinn Fein as Fine Gael and themselves had before it. Joining an apparent ‘stop Sinn Fein’ heave (aided by new media-manufactured scares) they are backing Sinn Fein and themselves into a corner, with the only door exiting to another election, a very unattractive option, not least for the electorate.

The idea of a left government is a government led by Sinn Fein with a Sinn Fein Taoiseach (prime minister). The (now hypothetical) prospect of actual cabinet membership by the radical left is unclear. A few things need to be considered before comparing the proposal to Millerand and entry into a capitalist government. 

There is a traditional and defining dividing line in Southern Irish politics between principled left politics (revolutionary, radical and left social democratic) and opportunist betrayal, and that is willingness to enter coalition with (or to support) a government of either of the two capitalist parties, Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. The radical and marxist left, including PBP, have remained unshakable in this. Labour, the Greens and others have gone into coalition with FF or FG and administered with them not reform but austerity. For years now, and before and after this election, the radical left has kept up a barrage of calls upon Sinn Fein not to follow its new willingness, and apparent ambition, to enter coalition with FF or FG. That remains the position of PBP and the radical left. 

While part of the radical left in Ireland (including the Socialist Party, who have just been reduced to one TD) have always characterized Sinn Fein as outside the left, as the Catholic nationalist side in a sectarian war, the bulk of the revolutionary left, including the PBP-SWP-SWN (IS) tradition, have always regarded Sinn Fein (like most people in the Irish body politic) as left wing, part of the left, often involved in class issues and campaigns. This has been accompanied by varying degrees of socialist criticism of Sinn Fein and Republicanism and the dead end it must lead to, and has led to in Stormont.  

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“To all of them we say – Rule out coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael! – Sinn Féin should seek to lead an alternative minority government” – Interview with Paul Murphy TD, RISE

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“To all of them we say – Rule out coalition with Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael! – Sinn Féin should seek to lead an alternative minority government”

The Irish General Election to the 33rd Dáil, February 8 2020

Interview with Paul Murphy TD, RISE, Dublin South-West.

Paul Murphy is a member of RISE

RISE – Radical Internationalist Socialist Environmentalist

RISE was part of the Solidarity-People Before Profit (SPBP) Electoral Coalition.

Full Statewide results are here

Irish General Election February 8 2020 – Results

The Dublin South-West Result is here :

Result of the 2020 Irish General Election, Dublin South-West

The interview took place in Dáil Éireann on February 19 2020.

John Meehan asked the questions.

Dan Finn’s excellent analysis of the Irish General Election Results is here : Ireland’s Left Turn

Finn summarised the main features of the result :

“At a time when left parties in Europe have been losing ground to their rivals on the Right and Centre, the Irish election bucked the trend. Whatever Sinn Féin does next, this was clearly a left-wing vote. The exit poll showed that health and housing were by far the most important issues for voters. [1] Two-thirds wanted investment in public services to be prioritized over tax cuts. 31 percent agreed with the statement that Ireland “needs a radical change in direction”. It’s possible that this opportunity for change will be squandered. But right now, the momentum in Irish politics is with the Left, and the traditional conservative parties are on the back foot. An election that was supposed to call time on the political turbulence of the last decade has had the opposite effect.” Read the rest of this entry »

The English Solution to an Irish Problem

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The English Solution to an Irish Problem; Martyn Turner, the Irish Times Cartoonist, Tells it As It Is

Small and Big Steps

Small and Big Steps

“CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS in the UK have released statistics this morning on the number of terminations that were carried out in England and Wales last year, highlighting the incidence of women travelling from Ireland to avail of abortion services.

A total of 3,982 women gave addresses in the Republic of Ireland when attending clinics and hospitals during 2012. That made up the 68 per cent of the 5,850 abortions provided to women resident outside both countries. Women from Northern Ireland made up another 15 per cent of the figure.” The new restrictive X Case Law, which the Labour Party and Fine Gael ensured was carried by the Dáil last night, will not change this situation. Pro-Choice TD’s put down several amendments which were rejected; the defeated pro-choice amendments included a provision to allow women with fatal foetal abnormalities access to an abortion in Ireland. Another Savita Halappanavar type case is inevitable, sooner or later. http://www.thejournal.ie/at-least-21-women-from-every-county-in-ireland-had-an-abortion-in-the-uk-last-year-988359-Jul2013/

National Women’s Council of Ireland Director Orla O’Connor makes the current situation clear :

“Over 17,000 men and women wrote 77,428 emails to their TDs and Senators over the last few months to call for legislation to give full effect to the X case as part of NWCI’s campaign. This is evidence of the high level of public support throughout Ireland for access to safe and legal abortion in life threatening cases, including risk of suicide.”

“Yet what people were calling for has not been delivered in this Bill. Abortion remains a crime punishable by up to 14 years in prison and onerous and inaccessible procedures for women dominate the Bill. We urge the Government, as the Bill goes through its final stages, to take on board our proposed amendments so we have legislation that is fair, just and workable for women in Ireland.”

She continued,

“It is also critically important for us to acknowledge that with the passing of this legislation Ireland will continue to have one of the most restrictive abortion regimes globally.  It will provide no solution to women who are pregnant as a result of rape or incest, in the case of fatal foetal abnormalities or where there is a risk to the health of the woman. Women in crisis pregnancies, over 4,000 every year, will still be forced to travel abroad for abortions. Women in Ireland must be in a position to make personal decisions about their own bodies and health care free from coercion, discrimination and the threat of incarceration.  http://www.nwci.ie/news/2013/07/10/vote-on-abortion-legislation-a-historic-moment-for/

Here is Deirdre Conroy’s Account of the shameful Dáil Debate on foetal abnormality :

Minister’s contribution to debate on foetal abnormality was disrespectful to women

87 % are in favour of medical intervention for this condition  http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/minister-s-contribution-to-debate-on-foetal-abnormality-was-disrespectful-to-women-1.1460755?page=1

Ten Marks Out of Ten : Statement by Six Pro-Choice TD’s Who Will Vote No to the Government’s Pathetically Weak X Case Legislation

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Ten Marks Out of Ten : Statement by Six Pro-Choice TD’s who will vote No to the Government’s Pathetically Weak X Case Legislation

Statement – Abortion Bill – 10 July 2013 – immediate release

See also :

http://www.thejournal.ie/pro-choice-abortion-987669-Jul2013/#comment-1368450

Pro-choice TDs say they have been forced to oppose abortion Bill because it criminalizes women and is unnecessarily restrictive

Bill will not prevent another death like Savita Halappanavar

Restrictions will cause doctors to delay terminations – putting women at risk

Pro-choice TDs this evening declared their intention to vote against the Fine Gael – Labour abortion Bill.

Clare Daly said:

“In the absence of a referendum to repeal Art 40.3.3 of the Constitution – for which we call – we were willing to support legislation in line with the X Case Ruling of 1992. This Bill however, will put more obstacles in the way of access to life-saving abortions than are required by the Constitution.

This legislation is happening in the wake of the sad death of Savita Halappanavar. Yet the Fine Gael – Labour Bill, by defining and giving legal protection to ‘unborn human life’ from the moment of implantation until delivery, will not prevent similar deaths. It will make terminations illegal during an inevitable miscarriage while there is still a foetal heartbeat. If a woman gets an infection in such circumstances, doctors will have to delay a termination until her life is at risk. This was what happened to Savita Halappanavar – and the same could happen again under this Bill.”
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Leaders Questions Mayday; Clare Daly Challenges Enda Kenny on Abortion Bill

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http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=slFyQDyrcHY&desktop_uri=%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DslFyQDyrcHY

The leader of backward Irish Vatiban (Fine Gael) defends women-hating laws; pregnant women beware!

Deputy Kenny is out of step with popular opinion :

http://tomasoflatharta.com/2013/02/11/pope-benedicts-resignation-brings-end-to-paradoxical-papacy/

What is in the new government bill on abortion?  Will it make the current position better or worse?

In 2012 Clare Daly proposed a bill in Dáil Éireann to implement the Supreme Court X Case Judgment of 1992 – later endorsed in two referendums held in 1992 and 2002 – which would have legalised Abortion in Ireland in very limited circumstances.

Now the government has come forward with a new bill – following mass outrage at the death in a Galway hospital of Savita Halappanavar, who was denied an abortion which would probably have saved her life.

http://tomasoflatharta.com/2012/11/21/savitas-law/

The government is also under pressure from the European Court of Human Rights after the A, B, and C cases; the court instructed the Dublin government to legislate on abortion.

It is necessary, at this early stage, to carefully look at the contents of the government bill, and propose alternatives which will take forward the pro-choice cause in Ireland.

The statement below, issued by pro-choice TD’s Clare Daly and Joan Collins, is a contribution to this effort.

Clare Daly TD, Joan Collins TD

Statement – May1, 2013 – immediate release

Needs of despairing women ignored – lives will be put at risk

Expert Group recommendations ignored

Commenting on the government’s draft bill on abortion, Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD called for changes to deal with shortcomings in the Bill:

Clare Daly said:

Today, May Day, when women have fought for their rights as workers, we are still fighting for our rights as women. I welcome the publication of the government’s proposals for minimal legislation on abortion, but it contains restrictions that will continue to put women’s lives at risk.

There are neither medical nor social grounds for requiring the approval of three consultants to agree to abortion for a despairing woman, driven towards suicide because of unwanted pregnancy. A psychiatric emergency is no different to a medical emergency and is treated as such by clinicians. If one of the government’s panel of three says ‘no’, it is up to the woman to push for an appeal to another three. Most women would give up at the possibility of a second refusal and be driven further into despair, or forced overseas – if they can afford it. This must change: no more than two medical practitioners should be required to approve abortion for suicidal women.

Women who cannot face these obstacles, and induce abortion themselves, are threatened with 14 years in prison. They would be branded as criminals if they obtain abortions in Ireland – yet the government is happy to see it done in Liverpool. The ‘chilling factor’ of criminalisation referred to by the European Court of Human Rights has been transferred from doctors to women. This hypocrisy must end: abortion must be decriminalised.”

Joan Collins said:

The government has ignored Art 6.4.1 of its own Expert Group Report, which said that two doctors was enough to make a clinical decision on the risks to a woman’s life because of physical or mental health condition. They have also ignored the views of the majority, who support legislation for the X case, and organisations including SIPTU, Unite the Union, the National Women’s Council of Ireland and the Union of Students in Ireland – representing hundreds of thousands of people. They have called for no more than two medical practitioners as sufficient to approve abortion.

This Bill is a political compromise with Fine Gael backbenchers and the anti-abortion minority, which will compromise women’s lives rather than meet women’s needs. It also reinforces the distinction between a woman’s life and her health and welfare – where a woman who could be permanently incapacitated by pregnancy cannot get an abortion. The 8th Amendment must be repealed and women’s health needs and choices provided for.

We will be examining this draft Bill in the coming days and will table amendments to remove the unnecessary restrictions contained in it.”

Mr Gilmore’s Labour Party To Lose 27 of its 37 Seats?

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This analysis fits in very comfortably with the assessment published on this blog last Saturday February 9 following the publication of an Irish Times Opinion Poll.

A different related question which deserves attention is what to do about the construction of an anti-capitalist/anti-coalition akternative, both inside and outside the Dail.

The Cedar Lounge Revolution

I know we’re probably a few years away from an election but ….. with Labour now sliding in the polls , Paddy Healy made an interesting Comment on the recent Sunday Business Post Red C poll stating

When the Labour party vote declined to 10.4% in the 1997 GE following the Spring/Bruton/De Rossa government , it retained 17 of 33 seats. I believe that if Labour polled 11% in a general election to-day that it would retain far less seats. Traditionally, many Labour candidates were elected on transfers from independents and minor parties (in addition to benefitting from the surplus of coalition partner Fine Gael). The current poll indicates that Sinn Fein will be above the Labour Party on first counts in a large number of constituencies. Sinn Fein transfers will be unavailable in far more constituencies than was the case in the 2011 General Election. The decline in the…

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Written by tomasoflatharta

February 13, 2013 at 9:40 am