Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Arts and Culture’ Category

RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell

with one comment

The Censor, RTÉ Journalist Claire Byrne

Media Alert!

The Claire Byrne RTÉ 1 Show on the Irish Border (March 22 2021) was incredibly bad, swamped in identitarian gibberish. The tone was set by Sinn Féin leader MaryLou McDonald and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar. The rest of us should focus on “the carnival of reaction”. Once Joe Brolly criticises the reactionary politics of a previous contributor, Gregory Campbell, he is censored.

Derry GAA Star Joe Brolly, Censored

Joe Brolly explains

I was taken off air and told it was because RTE could not risk me saying the DUP were homophobic, racist or sectarian. I must apologise to the DUP at once.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B : Mr Gregory Campbell MP (DUP) allegedly once described homosexuality as “evil” and claimed God sent AIDS as a homosexual “curse”.

He had claimed: “It’s an evil, wicked, abhorrent practice. My opposition to that is based on the Bible and also based on natural justice and I know many people who do not share my Protestant faith but who would share my opposition to homosexuality because they believe it is something which would corrupt society as a whole, and is something so radically awful as to merit total and utter opposition. You’re not even talking about someething which is a run of the mill sexual practice but something which is totally and utterly depraved.

“The AIDS scare which is currently running through America is proof that homosexual practice is something which calls upon the curse of God.

“I would see homosexuality as something which merited the curse of God.

“AIDS came about because of sexual contact between homosexuals. Now that to me is something which shows in a small way that there is more than just human opposition to homosexuality.

“In the Bible there is only one sin which called down literal fire and brimstone from God and that wasn’t murder, it wasn’t theft, it was homosexuality.” https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/12/meet-the-dup-homophobes-who-now-hold-the-keys-to-power-in-the-uk/

Exhibit C

John Meehan March 23 2021

Ireland‘s Banished Babies – Illegal Adoptions and Dr Éamon de Valera Junior

leave a comment »

According to an RTÉ Investigates documentary, broadcast on March 3 2021, Dr Éamon De Valera Jr – the oldest son of Éamon De Valera Sr, Taoiseach and President of Ireland between 1932 and 1973 – repeatedly facilitated illegal adoptions. This is not a new story. https://www.rte.ie/news/investigations-unit/2021/0302/1200520-who-am-i-the-story-of-irelands-illegal-adoptions/

Mike Milotte’s book “Banished Babies” was first published in 1997. A new and updated version appeared in 2012.

I picked the book from my shelves, and re-read the chapter about St. Rita’s Nursing Home, run by Mrs Mary Keating.

Milotte explores a 1965 cover-up prosecution of Mrs Mary Keating, who was supported by many powerful men : Declan Costello (son of ex Fine Gael Taoiseach John A Costello) was Mrs Keating’s lawyer. Declan Costello, a Fine Gael TD, was Attorney General in the 1973-77 Fine Gael-Labour Coalition Government. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2011/12/28/was-liam-cosgraves-1973-77-fine-gael-labour-coalition-the-worst-ever-dublin-government/?preview=true&preview_id=837&preview_nonce=2da4341dc4

In 1992 the High Court Judge Declan Costello ordered the internment in Ireland of a pregnant raped suicidal 14 year old girl, in that way preventing her from getting an abortion in England or some other country. This was the infamous “X Case”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attorney_General_v._X?wprov=sfti1

Joe Doyle was another strong supporter of Mary Keating – in 1965 Doyle was the sacristan at Donnybrook Church, where “Mrs Keating had her falsely registered babies baptised”. Doyle was in later years a Fine Gael Constituency TD colleague of Garret FitzGerald in Dublin South-East between 1982 and 1992. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Doyle?wprov=sfti1 Then Fianna Fáil Agriculture Minister Charles Haughey is reported saying “sure half the children born in St. Rita’s were fathered by members of the Dáil”. Haughey was Taoiseach of Ireland and the Fianna Fáil leader between 1979 and 1991. All these politicians – Doyle, Costello and Haughey – backed the 1983 constitutional Irish ban on abortion. Another supporter of Mrs Keating was the ex Rugby Star, the Consultant Karl Mullen – 30 years later he recalled, inaccurately, that the St Rita’s Nursing Home boss was prosecuted “for selling babies to America”. Mike Milotte accurately observes that although Mrs Keating was not charged with “selling babies to America”, many suspected “that was precisely what she was up to”.

An update after watching the RTÉ Investigates documentary, broadcast on Wednesday March 3 2021. I think everyone should zone in on the 1965 Mary Keating court case. A large cast of high-ranking politicians and Catholic Church bosses were terrified Keating would spill the beans and bring them all down. It would be a mistake to suggest Éamon De Valera Junior acted alone. I believe Éamonn Ó Cuív TD (FF Galway West) may have information which would assist up to 10,000 people in Ireland who have false birth certificates. In 1965 Mary Keating’s blackmail worked. Many politicians and bishops involved in the babies for sale “adoption” racket went on to infamously promote the 1983 Anti-Abortion amendment. The money trail is extremely important.

Read the rest of this entry »

Joe Biden President of USA – Donald Trump Departs – Extreme Right Criminals Celebrate

leave a comment »

One correspondent is not impressed with many displays of forelock-tugging on Irish mainstream media outlets. Joe Biden is an Irish-American, who frequently quotes Irish poets and writers such as Séamus Heaney WB Yeats and James Joyce.

Joe Biden is an incubator of Trumpism.

“I wonder did he read any poems written by Black men in American prisons, seeing as he was the main architect of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 which enforced mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. Due to that and other ‘catch-all’ crime laws, Black men (also women) make up about 15% of the population but 40% of the prisoners.”

President Donald Trump sent QAnon-style goons on their way to Washington DC’s Capitol Hill on January 6 2021 trying and failing to overturn a convincing Joe Biden General Election victory in November 2020. Trump lost by a margin of over 8 million votes, a gap of more than 4.5 per cent, and turnout reached record levels. Many of the QAnon-style Trump-goons so far arrested and charged over the Capitol Hill assault on the US Senate and Congress are serving or retired staff in the state repressive forces – Army, Air Force, Police, National Guard and so on. What protection is the US state offering to the people attending the Joe Biden Presidential inauguration on January 20 2021? It is a version of putting the fox 🦊 in charge of the chicken 🐓 coop – 25,000 members of the National Guard occupy the city of Washington DC, whose population is overwhelmingly non-white, politically and socially hostile to Trumpism, and supportive of the magnificent Black Lives Matter Movement. No wonder the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had to desperately “vet” the repressive forces instructed to “protect” the Joe Biden inauguration.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pat O’Connor 1948-2015, Limerick Socialist, Supporter of the Fourth International

leave a comment »

cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2020/12/07/left-archive-pat-oconnor-limerick-based-socialist-1948-2015-published-2015/

Recently, following prompts by Pádraig Malone, I forwarded material celebrating the life and political activities of the late Pat O’Connor to the Irish Left Archive site.

A 21 year old Pat O’Connor is holding the placard saying “PD [People’s Democracy] Opposes Racism”. 1970 demonstrations against the touring South African 
All-White Rugby Team.

Readers can find links to to that material in two PDF’s below. The pamphlet link includes the text of a speech I delivered at a 2015 memorial meeting for Pat. A second link is a copy of an obituary submitted to the Limerick Leader newspaper written by myself and Cian Prendiville.

John Meehan December 7 2020

Read the rest of this entry »

Who will be boss of the Northern Ireland Civil Service? Foster-O’Neill Deadlock, Frantic Piggies 🐷 in Queue for £182,272 top job

leave a comment »

Ugly scenes are visible at the highest levels of Belfast’s assembly government, rivalling FFFGGG coalition government jobbery in Dublin. Anything Fianna Fáil Fine Gael and the Greens can do in Leinster House is matched by the Democratic Unionist Party and Sinn Féin in Lord Carson’s Stormont.

🐷 Three piggies are slugging 🐌 it out, frantic to slurp alone at a very expensive trough – it is called Head of the NI Civil Service.

“In July, it was reported that the NI Civil Service was offering a salary of up to £188,272 for its top job.

The NI Civil Service employs about 22,845 staff and has a total annual budget in excess of £20bn.”

First and Deputy First Ministers Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill hold the keys 🔑 needed to unlock 🔐 a pot of gold, but can’t agree which of three piggies’ snouts 🐽 is the winner.

Sisters Grim Arlene Foster & Michelle O’Neill deadlocked at Stormont – who gets top job worth £188,272 a year?

“The First and Deputy First Ministers have failed to appoint a new Head of the Civil Service in Northern Ireland following a round of interviews.

It is understood that three candidates were interviewed on Wednesday, but were unsuccessful.

In a statement, an Executive Office spokesperson confirmed an appointment had not been made.

They said the “next steps are currently being considered”.

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said she hoped the Executive Office would be shortly able to appoint an interim Head of the Civil Service, until a new full recruitment process can take place.

The post has remained vacant since David Sterling stepped down at the end of August.

He had worked in the civil service for more than 40 years, joining in 1978.

It is understood the three candidates interviewed yesterday were Sue Gray who is Permanent Secretary with the Department of Finance, Peter May who is Permanent Secretary at the Justice Department and Richard Pengelly who is the Permanent Secretary at the health department.”

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’

leave a comment »

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.

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

leave a comment »

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/

Most FFFGGG Ministers are Male – Would Extra Green Party Females at the top table Improve Things?

with 2 comments

Green Party deputy leader Catherine Martin wants the job of current numero uno Eamon Ryan.

Her pitch looks blatant : do her quoted comments mean that, if elected Green Party leader, she will replace male Green Party Ministers and mini-Ministers with females? If so, Martin has a limited choice – the only available female Green TD who can be promoted is Dublin Central deputy Neasa Hourigan, who voted against coalition with FFFG. Martin could also give ministerial promotions to two female Green Party Senators.

12 Irish Green Party TD’s Elected in February 2020 – Scramble for Ministerial Promotion

This takes bribery and careerism in Irish politics to previously uncharted waters. The FFFGGG coalition is tainted because so many overpaid ministerial piggies are slurping at its trough, most of them male. The Green Party in coalition is careering downhill to the gutter inhabited by the likes of Willie O’Dea.

Limerick’s Willie O’Dea TD – Squeals from a piglet muscled away from the trough

Green Party opponents of the anti-woman FFFGGG coalition should prepare an exit strategy.

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/06/26/open-letter-to-left-greens-what-next/

Will a real problem of government misogyny be remedied if there are extra Green Party females at the top table? The answer is No.

“We should always seek to promote because young girls cannot aim to be what they cannot see. We should always be seeking to do that, to promote women.”

The Minister for Media, Tourism, Arts, Culture, Sport and the Gaeltacht said she congratulated all the male Ministers.

“They’re all able for the job, but I think there was a missed opportunity to promote women and from our side there was also a missed opportunity to unite the party as well, that nobody who voted no or advocated no to the programme for Government was promoted to ministerial position and I think that was a missed opportunity to unite.

“We are a party that respects and cherishes debate and challenge and having those voices inside and within government at the ministerial table would have been welcome.”

When asked about an accusation of misogyny within the party by Cork Green Party councillor Lorna Bogue, Ms Martin said: “I think we have to be seen to do more — as a party we talk the talk in relation to promoting diversity and inclusivity, but if we’re not acting on it I think that’s regrettable and that’s something I would like to see changed.”

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/eamon-ryan-missed-chance-to-promote-women-says-catherine-martin-1.4299071

Vietnam: 45 Years After the War Finally Ended – Country Joe McDonald’s Passionate Woodstock Anti-War Song Inspires Presidential Candidate Howie Hawkins

with one comment

How refreshing! Howie Hawkins, an eco-Socialist candidate in the November 2020 USA Presidential General Election, recalls a funny, sarcastic and moving Country Joe McDonald song which went worldwide in 1969 after a stunning live performance at the Woodstock Rock Music Festival. The biting realism spoke to hundreds of millions, motivating them to act in thousands of ways against the Washington War Machine.

Country Joe Rouses the Woodstock Audience in 1969:Against the Vietnam War

I can’t remember when, exactly, I first heard McDonald’s brilliantly sung call to action – probably before attending my first USA Embassy Demonstration in Ballsbridge Dublin against the Vietnam War.

I was shocked, and pleasantly impressed, to meet some some fellow school students at this venue – one of those “what are you doing here? moments” – and was even more stunned to see my teacher of Italian, Sydney-Bernard Smyth, reciting his own poems from the platform.

The anti-capitalist spirit of McDonald’s song is captured here :

Come on wall street don’t be slow
Why man this war is a go-go
There’s plenty good money to be made by
Supplying the army with the tools of its trade
Let’s hope and pray that if they drop the bomb,
They drop it on the Viet Cong

A strength of the Hawkins account is that the support he offered to the anti-imperialist cause is and was critical – the national liberation struggle led by the Vietnamese Communist Party and its leader Ho Chi Minh was a just cause, but it was not perfect or flawless. This practical intellectual framework is badly needed today. Many people outside Ireland watch the Donald Trump led horror story in America, and the honourable, but flawed, electoral left-flavoured opposition which was headed by Bernie Sanders. Sanders now takes sides in a useless reactionary contest between TweedleBiden of the Democrats and TweedleTrump of the Republicans, bringing to mind the dismal and barren electoral contest between Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey in 1968. Many enduring lessons were taught in the USA and across the globe by the mass movement against the Vietnam War. – John Meehan

“What are we fighting for?” – Country Joe McDonald
When I had to prepare for a 7th grade classroom debate on the Vietnam War in Spring 1965, President Johnson had begun escalating the war with the massive bombing of Operation Rolling Thunder and the deployment of a few thousand Marines to Da Nang, the first of what would become nearly 200,000 US troops by the end of 1965 and over 500,000 in 1968. I learned that the US had signed the 1954 Geneva Accords, which provided for an election in 1956 to unify Vietnam and establish an independent government. But I also learned that the US had prevented the election because it knew the winner would be Ho Chi Minh, the Communist leader of the Viet Minh, the nationalist coalition for independence that had defeated the Japanese and then the French imperialists. The Viet Minh controlled the North, but the French had retaken the South when the Japanese left with US military support from the Truman and Eisenhower administrations until the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu in 1954 and gave up their colonies in Indochina. I read the 1945 “Vietnamese Proclamation of Independence from Japan and France.” Ho had drafted and modeled the proclamation after the American Declaration of Independence in consultation with operatives from the OSS (predecessor of the CIA), who had been helping the Viet Minh fight the Japanese during World War II. None of this was on the nightly news, which broadcast Johnson’s justifications for the war. I was outraged at the hypocrisy of the pro-war US political leaders who talked of democracy and self-determination but were opposing it in Vietnam. What are we fighting for?
When the Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, all of these violations of America’s professed values were more thoroughly documented by internal Pentagon documents. What also became clear in those leaked documents is that US political leaders knew the whole time that the US could not defeat Vietnamese nationalism and win the war. Yet they continued to send young Americans to die in Vietnam so they didn’t appear soft on Communism in domestic politics. What are we fighting for?
When my draft number came up in 1972, I enlisted in the Marine Corps and in the GI resistance to the war. When I got to Quantico for bootcamp for officer candidates, I was training with a lot of Vietnam combat veterans now in college on the GI bill and coming back in the Marines to become officers—and most of them opposed the Vietnam War. They loved the anti-war anthem of the Navy veteran, Country Joe McDonald. His “Feel Like i’m Fixing to Die Rag” captured the hypocrisies of the US war in Vietnam and the spirit of the anti-war movement inside as well as outside the military. For the military rank-and-file, the song gave voice to their real feelings about how they were treated as expendable pawns by the military brass and the country’s political leaders. What are we fighting for?
It took 19 years after the 1956 election that the US prevented for the Vietnamese, with the assistance of the anti-war movement and the GI resistance, to finally expel the last US forces 45 years ago on April 30, 1975. US leaders said we were fighting Communism. Washington’s aggressive war the cost of lives of nearly 4 million Vietnamese. The Communists won and today preside over a predominantly capitalist economy. What are we fighting for?
Today multinational corporations from the US, China (Vietnam’s millennial-old colonial nemesis), Japan, South Korea, and other nations locate factories in Vietnam to exploit cheap labor and environmental laws so lax and unenforced that the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap, who had led the Vietnamese People’s Army in defeating the Japanese, French, and finally US occupiers, became Vietnam’s most prominent a environmental, pro-democracy, and anti-corruption dissident, criticizing Vietnamese state and party leaders on these issues until his dying day in 2013 at the age of 102. What were we fighting for?
And what are we fighting for now? It’s not for us regular people. We are not why the US now has over 800 foreign military bases. We are not why the US is officially engaged in 7 endless wars and covert special operations in well over 100 foreign countries. We are not why the US is continuing to impose economic sanctions on countries that need aid and trade right now to fight the coronavirus. The US war machine is not about defending Americans in our homeland. It is about making the world safe for profiteering by US-based global corporations.
What are we fighting for? We should be fighting to dismantle the US Military/Industrial Complex. Instead being the world’s military empire, we must demand that the US become the world’s humanitarian superpower. Let’s make the US use its wealth and knowledge in a multi-lateral Global Green New Deal that reverses climate change and provides for the basic needs of all. Let’s make friends, instead of enemies. Let’s make peace, instead of war.
— Read on howiehawkins.us/vietnam-45-years-after-the-war-finally-ended/

An accidental beginning :

The audience largely ignored his eight-song set. His tour manager said that since nobody was paying attention, why not do the number he was saving for tomorrow night? The singer walked back out, alone, and called to the masses, “Give me an F!”

That got their attention. They knew the routine. The crowd at Woodstock, half a million strong, rose to their feet and joined in Country Joe McDonald’s antiwar war cry, chanting along from the opening expletive all the way to the “Whoopee! We’re all going to die” capper. Captured in Michael Wadleigh’s Oscar-winning 1970 documentary “Woodstock,” the three rousing minutes of Mr. McDonald’s acoustic version of “The ‘Fish’ Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I’m-Fixin’-to-Die Rag” became the premier Vietnam War protest anthem.

“I never had a plan for a career in music, so Woodstock changed my life,” Mr. McDonald, now 75, said in an interview from his home in Berkeley, Calif. “An accidental performance of ‘Fixin’-to-Die,’ a work of dark humor that helps people deal with the realities of the Vietnam War, established me as an international solo performer, then the movie came out and the song went on to become what it still is today.” https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/10/opinion/country-joe-vietnam-woodstock.html

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

leave a comment »

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 »