Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Mass Action’ Category

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.”

Property Tax – New Tactics Needed

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tomasoflatharta:

What tactics can be used to defeat the property tax? That is a very pressing question because the boycott weapon, used pretty effectively against the bin and house taxes, will not work. No taxpayer can “boycott” tax increases deducted at source from pay by the state.

Originally posted on The Cedar Lounge Revolution:

The SBP notes that:

Self-employed workers will not be able to get tax clearance certificates if they do not pay the new property tax, it has emerged.

This had been the general analysis from those involved in the CAHWT, but it is interesting to see it now confirmed. And it is, naturally, yet another salvo in the on-going campaign the government is waging on the issue – particularly since the first of the 1.6 million letters to householders with estimates of their tax liability are going to be sent out in the next week or so.

In many respects the government has played this quite cleverly, clearly learning from the property ‘charge’ debacle. The room for movement is now extremely circumscribed, at least in terms of refusing payment, given, as the SBP notes…

The tax authority has been granted a range of new powers to secure payment of the new…

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Written by tomasoflatharta

February 26, 2013 at 4:38 pm

Pope Benedict’s Resignation Brings an Awful Papacy to an End – On the Same Day Irish People Show They Want Abortion Legalised Now

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http://m.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/feb/11/pope-beneditc-resignation-paradoxical-papacy

Shed no tears in Ireland for a Pope whose record on Catholic Church child abuse is awful. His successor is unlikely to be an improvement, and his loyal laity in what used to be called “the land of saints and scholars” swim against the tide of pro-choice popular sentiment on the abortion issue.

All out on March 4 to insist on the legalisation of Abortion in the Irish state – tell the Dublin Government to abandon Rome Rule!

On the same day a new Irish Times Opinion Poll showed huge majorities in favour of legalising abortion in Ireland  :

There is strong public support for the Government’s plan to legislate on abortion, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

It also shows that a substantial majority of voters back much wider access to abortion than that being proposed by the Government.

Asked if the Government should legislate for the 1992 X case to allow abortion where a mother’s life is in danger, including the threat of suicide, 71 per cent said Yes, 11 per cent said No and 18 per cent had no opinion.

Pro-Choice Sentiment is now very strong in Ireland :

In regional terms Dublin was strongest in favour, with the rest of Leinster the least supportive of legislation.

Nonetheless, there were big majorities for legislation in all regions, social categories and age groups

Web link :

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2013/0211/1224329906498.html?via=rel

However the government is still putting necessary legislation on the long finger – and that is totally unacceptable.

Put Kenny and Gilmore Under Pressure :

Action on X – Legalise Abortion Now – Women’s Lives Matter – Rally for X March 4 2013; Assemble 6pm Central Bank; March to Dublin Castle

http://tomasoflatharta.com/2013/02/08/action-on-x-womens-lives-matter-rally-for-x-march-4-2013-asssemble-6pm-central-bank-march-to-dublin-castle/

Action on X – Women’s Lives Matter – Rally for X March 4 2013; Assemble 6pm Central Bank; March to Dublin Castle

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Action on  X Rally 4.3.13

X Case – Anti-abortionists restrictions must be rejected

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Joan Collins TD, Clare Daly TD

Statement – 4 Feb 2013 – immediate release

 

Legislate for X Case

Anti-abortionists restrictions must be rejected

 

The delay of a memo to Cabinet regarding the forthcoming legislation on abortion shows that pressure from the anti-abortion minority must be rejected, said Clare Daly TD and Joan Collins TD.

Joan Collins said:

“The suggestion that the opinions four or five medical practitioners should be required to approve a medical treatment – in this case abortion – to remove a risk to a woman’s life, is an attempt to make abortion inaccessible in practise.

The idea that a despairing woman or girl, driven to consider suicide as a means to escape the trauma of continuing a pregnancy she truly cannot face, would be able or willing to go through four or five medical assessments is a cruel denial of the reality of such a situation. Confronted with such restrictions, any woman who could afford it would travel abroad for an abortion. Poorer women, girls, or those too ill to travel would face obstructions that could drive them over the edge.”

Clare Daly went on:

“A maximum of two medical practitioners, and in an emergency one – should be enough to approve abortion when it is necessary to remove a threat to a woman’s life. And such a threat, as the Chief Justice said in X Case ruling, should not need to be ‘immediate or inevitable’ in order to approve an abortion. The anti-abortion minority must not be allowed continue to impose other restrictions – which could put women’s lives at risk.

Delays in the introduction of legislation for X – which is very restrictive and would only apply in the few instances where lives are threatened – shows the need to repeal Art 40.3.3 from the Constitution to make abortion an issue of medical treatment to be decided by a woman in consultation with her doctor.”

—————————

More on the Government’s Foot-Dragging Here :

What Do We Not Talk About When We Do Not Talk About Abortion?

http://www.claredaly.ie/what-do-we-not-talk-about-when-we-do-not-talk-about-abortion/#more-1333

if it were finally accepted that the old Church-State complex was no longer the dominant force in Ireland, the way would be paved for a very awkward discussion; what should be the dominant ideology in Ireland? How should the state relate to class and gender? Who should hold power and, more importantly, who should have power taken away from them?

And so we get Lucinda Creighton, Enda Kenny, and many other politicians who ordinarily are full supporters of free-choice (as long as it is the limited neo-liberal kind of free choice in the market place) clamouring to strictly control this debate, to not pass legislation for as long as possible, and, whenever they do finally pass legislation, to make sure it is as limited in scope as possible.  This practiced silence and inactivity is a conscious strategy, based on the idea that by not talking about abortion, they might be able to also prevent us all from talking about all these other issues, of power, class and sex.

 

Bernadette McAliskey’s Speech to the January 2013 Bloody Sunday March for Justice – We Have Got to Get Our Act Together or We Are In for One Hell of a Hiding

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Bernadette McAliskey addressing the rally at this year’s Bloody Sunday March For Justice which had the theme ‘End Impunity’. Despite a wet, windy, wintry day around 3500 people braved the elements to march in solidarity with the victims of Bloody Sunday and other injustices

Link to a Video of Bernadette McAliskey’s Speech :

End Impunity! on Vimeo on Vimeo

via End Impunity! on Vimeo.

Some Key Points from the speech :

Is the state of Northern Ireland governed according to the principles of openness, transparency and accountability?

Lawyers and human rights campaigners had to spend a whole day in court to force the Northern Ireland Justice Minister, Alliance Party Leader Mr David Ford, to allow Marian Price spend four hours grieving beside the coffin of her dead sister Dolours. 

Nobody read about this because Mr Ford asked the judge to prevent public reporting of the case in the media.

But Bernadette McAliskey is not reporting; she does not work for the media; so she was only telling us :

The judge told Mr Ford  that his behaviour was “unlawful, unreasonable, and irrational”.

“We are not supposed to say this” advises McAliskey. Read the rest of this entry »

The Socialist Party leaves the United Left Alliance

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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 »

Legislate for X – Repeal 1861 Act now – Repeal 8th Amendment to Constitution

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An Irish Government finally agrees to legislate for abortion – a very significant victory for women, a practicfal example of the power of mass mobilisation politics – NEVER AGAIN

United Left Alliance Statement :

Legislate for X – Repeal 1861 Act now

Repeal 8th Amendment to Constitution

The ULA welcomes the government’s declaration that legislation for the X Case ruling of the Supreme Court in 1992, despite a delay of twenty years, will finally be brought in next year. There is no need to delay however, in the repeal of Sections 58 and 59 of the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act. This piece of repressive law, retained from the time of British rule, makes abortion a criminal act with severe penalties for women and doctors. We call for the immediate repeal of this legislation. Read the rest of this entry »

Good Days for Financial Parasites, Friends of the Fine Gael-Labour Government

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In case you were wondering where the €427 million to be ‘saved’ by the cuts in welfare spending in 2014 (€390 million in 2013) is going (childrens allowance, respite care grant, PRSI increases for low earners, etc) or where the household and ‘property’ tax money is going – here’s a snapshot of today’s activities: payments to bondholders on Dec 17.
Check out who’s paying out, by hitting ‘A good day’ below.
http://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2012/12/17/a-good-day/
BoI (Bank of Ireland) and EBS (now merged with AIB). They are paying ‘Senior Unsecured’ bondholders – rich people who bought bonds from the banks with no associated collateral to guarantee repayment – and therefore a higher rate of interest. The banks used the money raised from these bond sales to fund the developers – and together they drove up land and house prices. Since the crash, these bonds have been trading on the bond markets for anything up to a 50% discount – but the banks are paying out full listed price to current bondholders.
There again, let’s not think the bankers are losing too much sleep over giving a euro for a bond bought for 50 cent: the money they’re using to pay the bondholders is state / your money (the state is the payer of last resort, because it can raise the money by taxing you and me), or money borrowed from the ECB with the state / you standing as guarantor. And the state, Labour and Fine Gael, the EU and the ECB, are all insisting that full payment is made on what are otherwise almost worthless bonds.
As to who decides these matters, you might think that the state would act in the interests of citizens. It does indeed do that – but for the wealthy citizens. So when you hear that well-hackneyed phrase ‘protecting the most vulnerable’, have a think about how vulnerable those bondholders must be – coz they’re sure getting a lot of protecting.
The state put €5,000 million into BoI since 2008 (when it was bankrupt and nobody else would give any money) and got 50% of its shares in return. 35% of those shares were sold earlier in the year by Michael Noonan to billionaire Wilbur Ross for €1,000 million. In doing so the government agreed to give him a little prezzie of €2,500 million: he only paid €1,000 million for shares the state paid €3,500 million to the bank for. The state still owns 15% of the bank and has a ‘public interest director’ on the board. But he hasn’t met the minister for finance for over a year (he’s been busy working out the bonus payments for the other directors).
That €2,500 million discount to a billionaire is an interesting contrast to the respite grant cut to the full-time carers of people with disabilities – at a ‘saving’ to the state of €26 million.
As to AIB-EBS, the state owns 99.9% of it. And put in over €20,000 million. So the bondholders are getting the whole whack from state ‘injections’ of capital; or from borrowings made with the state as guarantor. The Irish banks have been ‘recapitalised’ (given money or had borrowings guaranteed by the state) with €17,400 million set aside for next year’s bond payments alone. And more again for the following years.
Did I hear you say ‘child benefit’?
The €500 million Labour and Fine Gael hope to get from ye through the ‘property’ tax in 2014 will help out with the €9,100 million interest payments on the money borrowed by the state to fund the banks and their debts to speculating bondholders.
So as you can see, your money’s going to good use – sure wouldn’t ye only waste it on food or drink or keeping warm if it didn’t go to ensure payment to those ‘most vulnerable’: bondholders – the people who are really being protected. Check out the Indo a while back for the wages and expenses of Ireland’s bank directors. And as you may have heard, the Financial Regulator (state employee) has told the banks that they must increase their charges and interest rates to get back into profit asap. So you’ll be helping the ‘most vulnerable’ in multiple ways: cuts, taxes, and bank charges. Mother Teresa couldn’t do more!
If all this has you feeling a bit irritated, put Saturday, Feb 9, 2013, in your diary – it’s the day of protest being convened by ICTU against the austerity required to keep the rich well provided with Prada bags (running out the door of Brown Thomas at €900 a go). And tell your friends. If we don’t have a big turnout in Feb – and another big demo before the €3,060 million ‘promissory note’ payment for Anglo on March 31, we can kiss goodbye to any hope of stopping the home tax – or repudiating debts which are not ours (or our children’s).
Brendan Young

DCTU: Budget Day Demonstration

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Dublin Council of Trade Unions,

Mandela House,

44, Lower Gardiner Street, Dublin, 1

 

Dublin Council of Trade Unions

 

‘Budget Day Demonstration’

 

 

As a first follow up to the marvellous show of unity and determination on Saturday 24th November the Dublin Council of Trade Unions is asking all those who came out to reconvene on Budget Day, Wednesday 5th December, at the Dáil at 4 pm.

 

Come along with your banners.

 

Mick O’Reilly

President

Tom Simpson

Vice President

Sam Nolan

Secretary

 

Contact: 087 2101370 or dctuforum@gmail.com or the above address.

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