Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Mobilising to Oppose Violence Against Women’ Category

For an Ireland Where Trans and Non-binary People are Equal Safe and Valued

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Both states in Ireland – formally independent in the South, controlled by Britain in the North – have a vile creepy history : child abuse, suppression of women’s rights, reactionary religious control of health and education. This “Carnival of Reaction” has deep strong foundations, built following the reactionary partition of Ireland in 1922. In recent decades, especially in the formally independent part of Ireland, popular rebellion has attacked the reactionary carnival – most notably when a constitutional abortion was repealed in a May 2018 referendum.

In days gone by a “Belt of the Crozier” firmly struck by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid was enough to kill Noël Browne’s 1950 Mother and Child Scheme. These days, after a tsunami of child abuse scandals and clerical criminal convictions, far-right causes such as transphobia are, at the popular level, rightly seen as a thin edge of the wedge. They remind us of dark periods we Irish experienced in the recent past.

A media outlet, the Joe Duffy RTÉ Liveline Show, have a mass audience. It is not directly associated with the religious far-right in Ireland. However, it has started to offer an often uncontested platform to government anti-feminist propaganda, targeting the publicly funded National Women’s Council of Ireland.

The broadcaster is not backing down : “I found it deeply disturbing after my 25 years of presenting here to be told that a debate on Liveline was ‘incredibly irresponsible’ in the context of increasing transphobic and homophobic attacks,” the presenter says, referring to a statement from the Irish Council of Civil Liberties, before adding that the censuring was “insulting” to his programme staff and, indeed, his listeners.” (Source Irish Times, June 17 2022).

A coalition Trans Equality Together led by TENI (Transgender Equality Network Ireland), BeLonG To and LGBT Ireland was launched last week with the aim of creating an Ireland where trans people are equal, safe and valued. Pictured: (L-R) Tiernan Arnup from AMACH! LGBT Galway, Jayson Pope, an LGBTQ+ youth activist and Matt Kennedy, of BelongTo. Picture: Julien Behal (Source Irish Examiner)

A number of human rights organizations have come together opposing the reactionary anti-trans offensive. In very measured language they state :

On 9th, 10th and 13th June, RTÉ Radio 1′s Liveline show discussed matters of gender identity. Trans Equality Together, and our members, share a common concern about these episodes, and we support Dublin Pride’s decision to terminate its media partnership with RTÉ and its consultation with Trans Equality Together about this decision.

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Poland – Ireland – Ukraine : Parallel Abortion Stories : Two-thirds of Poles Support Legal Abortion in 2022

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According to many reliable reports, a significant number of Russian invaders have raped and continue to rape Ukrainian women, many of whom flee to Poland, where abortion is illegal. The left wing political party Razem, which is represented in the Polish parliament, is taking legislative and grass-roots action. Like Ireland in the years of darkness created by the anti-abortion 8th Amendment to the constitution (1983-2018) – Women are forced to travel to obtain an abortion. The Polish state claims it is supporting the just resistance of the Ukrainian masses against the ethnic cleansing racist invader Putin. This claim is junk when we observe collaboration in action with the rapists in Russian uniform. International solidarity is required.

The left-wing Polish political party Razem reports :

Two-thirds of Poles support legal abortion! Right wing politicians, as usual, represent not citizens, but conservative concrete.

And Poles, just like Germans, Norwegians, Spanish or Ukrainians, have the right to decide for themselves! A right wing politician, priest or conservative should not decide about their bodies!

More than 200 thousand signatures of Legalna aborcja. Bez kompromisów have recently reached the Parliament and the bill will be proceeded before the holidays. It’s still going to be beautiful!

https://www.facebook.com/partiarazem

The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine ENSU) is a good information source :

https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/to-read/declare-it-to-a-doctor-and-its-over-ukrainian-women-face-harsh-reality-of-polands-abortion-laws

https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/703321b4901643b1bfd8b9e0793c6321

In Ireland – when abortion was illegal – numerous networks helped women to travel abroad to secure an abortion. Today in Poland, women from Ukraine – often raped by Russian President Putin’s brutal invading soldiers – are accessing clandestine pro-choice networks.

Imagine stepping across a border and discovering that reproductive rights you once took for granted are now a crime. For millions of Ukrainians, that discovery happened when they fled the war in their home country and set foot here in Poland. Ukraine has very liberal abortion laws. In Poland, it’s almost entirely illegal. But while Poland’s anti-abortion effort has the weight of the government behind it, there is another movement, one that’s secretive, underground and punishable with prison time. You see it right here on the border if you know where to look.

http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62574

See also from Razem :

Razem : https://partiarazem.pl/2022/02/resolution-of-the-national-council-of-lewica-razem-regarding-the-russian-federations-invasion-of-ukraine/?fbclid=IwAR2_F6lB9LOqDG5-2qpcbD6PuRnFkLE_vLnT_7AeGO_QkF31uIMr_pCZFLo

‘Declare it to a doctor, and it’s over’: Ukrainian women face harsh reality of Poland’s abortion laws

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This article from the British Guardian Newspaper can be read here : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article62437. The reporter, Weronika Strzyżyńska, advises :

Leftwing politicians recently suggested amendments to a recent bill passing through the Polish government on the reception of Ukrainian refugees, which would force prosecutors to issue the necessary documentation within a seven-day period. The proposal was rejected by the Sejm, the lower chamber of the Polish parliament.

Solidarity with refugees includes allowing women to access an abortion, especially when a woman reports she has been raped by members of an invading army. Ukrainian women do not have access to this service in Poland. Pressure must be put on the Warsaw government to change itds restrictive anti-abortion laws. The European Network for Solidarity with Ukraine is raising this issue, in conjunction with the polish political party, Razem. Links: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left_Together https://ukraine-solidarity.eu/

Women turn to aid groups for help, with many unaware their rights to reproductive healthcare have vanished upon crossing the border

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Delegation from the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine Visits Lviv

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A Ukrainian Correspondent Yuliya Yurchenko – https://www.facebook.com/yuli.yu2010 – reports on a delegation of left wing parties that is visiting Ukraine.

May 5 and 6 2022 : A conference dedicated to the construction of the European Network of Solidarity with Ukraine was held in Lviv.

Words of support were expressed by representatives from Denmark (Red-Green Alliance), Poland (Lewica Razem), Finland (Left Union), France (New Anticapitalist Party, Ensemble), Switzerland (Ensemble à Gauche) and Argentina (Left Front Workers – Unity FIT-U ), as well as an activists from the UK, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Belgium.

Reports from the Ukrainian side were presented by representatives of leading trade unions (medical, railway, mining, energy and other sectors), as well as public initiatives (including feminist, ecological, human rights). Attention was given to the threats of neoliberal reforms and the war of humanitarian problems.

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Ireland’s National Maternity Hospital – Questions over “murky” new company’s role

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Doctor Peter Boylan – a former master of the National Maternity Hospital – and Róisín Shortall TD – co-leader of the Social Democrats party – are leading voices in a chorus of criticism directed against a proposed new Irish National Maternity Hospital. Their detailed policies on this issue are below. The source is the Irish Examiner newspaper, May 2 and 3 2022 issues. https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/politics/arid-40864076.html

These two relentless campaigners have focussed on “murky” Vatican plans to control women’s healthcare in Ireland. A number of Dáil political parties positioned on the left have aligned themselves with Shortall and Boylan’s critical campaign – Sinn Féin, the Labour Party, Social Democrats, Solidarity-People Before Profit, plus others such as Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly. A political firestorm erupted this week, which has frightened the Green Party, a junior partner in the ruling FFFGGG coalition headed by Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin. A government plan to finalise Holy See control of the new Maternity Hospital is currently “paused” for two weeks after Green Party TD’s such as Neasa Hourigan (Dublin Central) responded to growing public opposition.

John Meehan May 5 2022

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“Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go” Is British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the way out?

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I asked an interested comrade living in England – how long will Boris Johnson last? The first reply :

He’s clearly in serious trouble, and the Tories are scouting around their stable of horrors for a replacement.

Oscar Wilde’s Verdict “Some cause happiness wherever they go. Some cause happiness whenever they go”

The drama is receiving continuing attention in the Irish mass media. The RTÉ Morning Show hosted by Claire Byrne covered the Downing Street Pantomime. First boxer on the stage was Mr Andrew Bridgen (MP for Hard Brexit) [Bridgen is a competent anti-Johnson backbencher who may ascend to ministerial ranks if Johnson resigns]. Sir Tony Blair’s ex handler, Alistair Campbell (Iraq Dodgy Dossier) was in the opposite corner. Campbell started OK, concentrating on Boris Johnson’s CV – saying partygate is predictable once you knew the CV. Campbell went all Roy Keane after that – take out the player, never mind the ball – once Bridgen mentioned Campbell’s Iraq War Deadly Dossier. Lies about Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction” helped cause a hideous imperialist war – millions of innocent civilians dead and injured. Campbell’s behaviour contributed to the hounding of a courageous whistleblower, Doctor David Kelly, who died via suicide. Prime Minister Johnson lies about partying while the mother of a likely child abuse criminal (Queen Elizabeth and Prince Andrew) was grieving over the death of a dangerous driver husband (Prince Philip). Is this an episode in an ongoing drama – the strange death of Brexit Hard Right Britain?

Sources and Images :

Sir Jeffrey Donaldson’s Stormont-Westminster Double-Job Stroke Shot Down

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Ashling Murphy – Vigils All Over Ireland

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Vigils all Over Ireland, 4pm, Friday January 14 – plus photos of the large gathering outside the gates of Dáil Éireann, Kildare Street

She was going for a run

Dublin, Called by the National Women’s Council of Ireland

RTÉ reporter Samantha Libreri interviews a protester

Kildare – many venues – thanks to Brendan Young for the information

Derry Vigil, called by the Alliance for Choice

RTÉ News Report :

Gardaí investigating the murder of Ashling Murphy have renewed their appeal for information.

Ms Murphy, a 23-year-old primary school teacher, was attacked and killed on the banks of the Grand Canal in Tullamore, Co Offaly on Wednesday afternoon.

Gardaí said they are particularly interested in knowing more about a Falcon Storm mountain bike with straight handlebars and distinctive yellow/ green front forks.

https://www.rte.ie/news/2022/0114/1273607-tullamore-murder-investigation/

Images, Ashling Murphy Vigil, Dáil Éireann, Kildare Street, January 14 2022

Ailbhe Smyth addresses the crowd