Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘People Before Profit’ Category

Cash for Ash -Will the Stormont Sinn Féin-DUP Coalition be Incinerated?

leave a comment »

A BBC (Northern Ireland) news story offers a neat summary of the key issues in Belfast’s FosterGate : £400 million disappear into the pockets of Cash for Ash friends of the Stormont Peace Process Government.

Cash for Ash – Stormont Incinerated?

“It is estimated the way the scheme was set-up will cost taxpayers £400m over its 20-year lifetime.

Mr Bell told the BBC that top advisers from his DUP party stopped him from restricting the RHI scheme.

According to Mr Bell, the advisers, who deny the allegations against them, secretly tried to “cleanse the record” of references to Mrs Foster.

Those alleged attempts to alter the papers were made “without my knowledge, without my consent”, Mr Bell said, and were revealed to him by a senior civil servant at the department.

Read the rest of this entry »

In Derry, Pressure Mounts on Stormont First Minister Arlene Foster

leave a comment »

 

If Arlene Goes, so does her Deputy Martin McGuinness of Sinn Féin.

Goodbye Marlene?

Arlene Foster, First Minister, Under Pressure in Derry

Arlene needs to resign. Take to the streets! Demand her resignation!

People Before Profit have called a protest at the Guildhall, calling on Arlene Foster to resign over the Renewable Heat scandal. People are outraged because we’re told day in, day out that there is no money for benefits or for public services, but here we have £400 million wasted due to sheer incompetency.

Coming hot on the heels of the Social Investment Fund fiasco, it seems anything goes up on the Hill as long as DUP-Sinn Fein dominance is maintained.

The Coalition partners stage occasional sham fights to maintain credibility. But mostly they are watching and scratching one another’s back.

Sinn Fein goes easy on the DUP now, perhaps remembering how helpful the DUP was two years ago when Spotlight exposed a phoney “research” organisation which Sinn Fein had used to claim a staggering £700,000 in “expenses.”

In the last three years, the DUP has had involvement in the Red Sky affair, the Nama scandal, the SIF/Charter NI fiasco and now the bonfire of public-money that is the Renewable Heat scheme.

But the Assembly hasn’t laid a glove on either wing of the Executive.

None of this is accidental. The Stormont structures are designed to sustain a system based on the idea of communal solidarity. Bread and butter issues don’t figure when it comes to forming or getting rid of a government. In practice, it is permissible to plunder the public finances – but not to upset the Orange-Green balance.

Working-class people should take a hard look at the parties which have either been involved in or turned a blind eye to these events.

Arlene Foster is unfit for office. She should resign without further ado.

Join us at the Guildhall, 5pm – Friday December 16″

Gerry Adams and the Sons of former Portlaoise Prison Officer Brian Stack, Killed by the IRA in 1983

leave a comment »

Many of my friends may be surprised, but I think Gerry Adams is telling the truth about his encounters with the sons of Brian Stack, a Portlaoise Prison Officer killed by the IRA in 1983.

Austin Stack probably gave the names of alleged 1983 IRA killers of his father Brian Stack (a prison officer) to the Sinn Féin President, not the other way around. That explains the Gerry Adams email to Garda boss Nóirín O’Sullivan on this matter.

Read the rest of this entry »

Drowning The Kevin Duffy Water Charges Report

leave a comment »

Brendan Young, an anti water charges member of Kildare County Council, examines the Kevin Duffy Report Commissioned by the Minority Fine Gael Government

A Right 2 Water steering meeting with a full discussion on all aspects of the Report would be the best way to tease all of these issues out. Hopefully that can be arranged before Christmas.

The arguments in the Report for charges to penalise or supposedly reduce wasteful use of water are both a trap and a sham.

‘Trump victory: don’t mourn – organise!’ by Brendan Young

leave a comment »

Trump victory: don’t mourn – organise!

As the news of Trump’s victory sinks in, and is welcomed by the xenophobic right like LePen in France and presumably Farrage in Britain – who spoke at Trump rallies – the pattern of politics is becoming clearer. What has happened in the USA is an outcome of the failed promises of Obama; likewise in Britain where the betrayals of the Blairite-led Labour Party have created support for the xenophobic UKIP and Brexit; in France there is growing support for LePen due to the failures of Hollande and the French Socialist Party; in Germany, the racist AfD has growing support; and similar patterns can be seen in Austria, Belgium and Italy – not to mention support for the xenophobic right in Hungary and Poland.

To me the lesson is this: if those who claim to represent ordinary people don’t fight for a real alternative that will improve life for those suffering under austerity and marginalisation, a section of the working class and the poor will turn to the xenophobic right for a solution.

So far we in Ireland have escaped this. But the experience in the USA and across Europe is that only the fighting left can provide a real alternative. The failure of Ireland’s Labour Party to defend ordinary people has resulted in a collapse in support for Labour and growing support for the left. The AAA-PBPA alliance has gained support and there is continued support for for left Independents. And also for SF, which is seen as a left alternative but unfortunately appears willing to go into coalition with FF in the future.

To my mind, the Left in Ireland must now be much more politically ambitious. The AAA-PBPA groups should not sit on the laurels of increased support in opinion polls and carry on as at present – recruiting small numbers to their individual groups. It’s time to consider a broader initiative, based upon a commitment to mass action and a number of key demands – including repudiating the bank debt, taxing the rich and big business, breaking the EU rules and spending on housing and public services, legalising abortion and ending direct provision. This could draw together those who are willing to lead a fight for real change but who are not willing to join either the AAA or PBPA at present.

Likewise those who are involved in the discussions for a new initiative including Brendan Ogle, Joan Collins and others around the Independents for Change grouping – as recently reported in the Phoenix magazine. A political initiative for which the starting point is exclusion of and competition against the existing left groups – which are rightly criticised for competing against one another – does not bode well. At minimum there should begin a discussion on the possibility of a united left slate for the next general election, which is likely to be early in 2018.

In the USA, Bernie Sanders should now leave the Democrats. There is no solution to the crisis facing working class Americans in this party of big business and millionaires. It may be possible to launch a new party with Jill Stein of the Greens – although many who supported Sanders may now not trust him on account of his support for Clinton. But only a party that is independent of the politics of big business can lead a fight for a real alternative – either in the USA or in Europe.

The Socialist Party leaves the United Left Alliance

with 8 comments

Socialist Party leaves the ULA

by Henry Silke

Last Saturday the Socialist Party (CWI) posted an article on their website announcing the end their membership of the United Left Alliance. This was one of the least surprising political events of the Irish left as the Socialist Party had been steadily moving away from the alliance for over a year.

The SP have given two reasons for leaving the alliance firstly it’s unhappiness with ex Socialist Party TD Clare Daly’s continued political relationship with Mick Wallace, a left leaning populist who became embroiled in a tax evasion scandal. Clare Daly had been closely allied to Wallace in the promotion of an abortion rights bill and most recently in the exposure of a practice where privileged members of society were being cleared of driving charges, something brought to the TDs, by whistle blowing members of the Irish police force. Clare Daly herself had resigned from the Socialist Party (and re-designated herself as a ULA TD) some months ago citing the Socialist Party’s lack of enthusiasm towards building the ULA. Read the rest of this entry »

Dolours Price buried in Belfast – “A Liberator But She Never Managed To Liberate Herself” The Irish Times – Tue, Jan 29, 2013

with one comment

Dolours Price – “a liberator but she never managed to liberate herself”

Eamonn McCann’s tribute sums up this moving newspaper report – despite having major political differences, Eamonn McCann and Dolours Price remained close friends for forty years.

Bernadette McAliskey was applauded when she told shivering mourners:

“We cannot keep pretending that 40 years of cruel war, of loss, of sacrifice, of prison, of inhumanity, has not affected each and every one of us in heart and soul and spirit.

“We cannot keep pretending that the war did not hurt. It broke our hearts and it broke our bodies, it changed our perspectives and it makes every day hard.”

Carrie Twomey wrote this account of the wake and funeral for Dolours Price

Carrie Twomey : “Rest in Peace”

Clare Daly TD questioned Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore on the imprisonment without trial of Martin Corey and Marian Price in the Dáil recently.

Video Link Here :

Clare Daly TD Questions Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore about Internment Without Trial of Martin Cory and Marian Price

Daly points out that Martin Corey has spent almost 3 years in jail without being shown any evidence justifying his incarceration – Gilmore hides behind the fact that the case is subject to an appeal in the Belfast Supreme Court next February. Read the rest of this entry »