Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Fine Gael’ Category

Left Wing Excuses for Avoiding Solidarity with Ukraine

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In many parts of the world, including Ireland, a number of left wing activists and organisations favour a “plague on both houses” approach to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24 2022. These currents desperately seek any excuse to blacken the Ukraine government, peddling false information which justifies an irresponsible refusal to express solidarity with heroic Ukrainian resistance. This plays into the hands of the far-right Moscow ethnic-cleansing aggressor.

One current excuse, which has duped naïve leftists in Ireland, is the claim that Ukrainian President Zelensky “banned virtually all remaining opposition parties at the outbreak of war”. The articles below, which the Swedish comrade Jan Czajkowski has written, demonstrate these claims are false and misleading.

This is the source : http://www.europe-solidaire.org/spip.php?article63598

A related excuse popped up in Ireland when Sabina Coyne-Higgins wrote a public letter to the Irish Times – also published on the website of the Irish President Michael D Higgins. People Before Profit jumped to the defence of the Coyne-Higgins letter. The deployed excuse was that politicians from right-wing parties such as Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in Ireland criticised the author.

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Would a Sinn Féin Win at the Next Dublin Dáil General Election Guarantee the Formation of a Left Government?

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Some people are sure a Sinn Féin victory at the next Dáil general election – which must happen by February 2025 – will mean a shift to the left. A perspective is offered : a Left Government. There is no doubt that a left government is very badly needed, and that is the positive policy of People Before Profit.

Election of a left government is not guaranteed – especially if Sinn Féin enters a coalition with right-wing forces such as Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, or the assorted Gombeen-poltroon deputies such as the Healy-Rae’s of Kerry, Michael Lowry of Tipperary, or Verona Murphy of Wexford.

Sinn Féin is keeping its options open – that is clearly shown in the attached newspaper article from five years ago.

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Socialists and Coalition with Sinn Féin – Colm Breathnach, Independent Left

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Colm Breatnach makes an important contribution here

SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

Sinn Féin Oireachtas and Stormont Members on the steps of Leinster House, Kildare Street

Is a Sinn Féin controlled left government in the 26 County bit of Ireland possible or likely? Right now, a general election electing the next Dáil can be delayed until February 2025. The current FFFGGG coalition (Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, Greens and Gombeens) has a comfortable majority and will not voluntarily cut and run – unless it is forced to change course. Reliable opinion surveys show that, if a general election was held soon Sinn Féin is likely to increase its number of Dáil seats – but the current government would retain a majority. There is more detail on this important “technicality” in a note at the end of this article. John Meehan May 11 2022


SOCIALISTS AND COALITION WITH SINN FÉIN

The experience of Syriza, Greece warns against coalition with Sinn Féin

As the likelihood of a Sinn Féin led government grows, the prospect that the government might include radical left parties as coalition partners looms. But should socialists take up roles in government in coalition with Sinn Féin? Are there circumstances where this might prove to be necessary? Obligatory even? Now is the time to debate this issue, rather than being rushed into hastily made post-election decisions that could have a disastrous effect for the left in Ireland.

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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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Aggressive suppression and zero tolerance of Covid are crucial – Damning Attack on Irish Government CoVid-19 Pandemic Policy

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A number of medical experts and Zero-CoVid campaigners – notably Tomás Ryan – have published an Irish Times letter ((Monday January 17 2022) criticizing the “let it rip” pandemic policy of the Dublin government. The letter directly responds to an Irish Times columnist – Senator Michael McDowell, a former Attorney-General and Minister for Justice – who says the Leinster House administration “should err on the side of keeping society open”

We held up New Zealand and other countries as leaders. They were, and still are, better off than we are in the choices they made across every possible metric of success. The deaths per million in each country is evidence of this: China, four; New Zealand, 11; Taiwan, 36; Australia, 97; Iceland, 106; South Korea, 120; Norway, 251; Finland, 301; and Ireland, 1,205.

Paul Murphy TD warms :

The government seem to have adopted the Boris Johnson ‘let it rip’ strategy. With half a million cases a week, they should at least be providing FFP2 masks free in schools, public transport and other high-density settings, as well as proper HEPA filters and ventilation measures to bring this under control. Instead, they are gambling with peoples health by changing the close contact rules. Let’s not forget up to 1 in 10 people get long Covid according to some studies. The more cases we let spread, the more people could be permanently affected.

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Convicted Criminal Ghislaine Maxwell – Low Media Standards, an Irish Link, and a Prince of England

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A lot of public commentary about the convicted criminal Ghislaine Maxwell, her late boss Jeffrey Epstein, and an alleged client, Britain’s Prince Andrew, suffers from low media standards. An interesting exception is the reporting of a former BBC correspondent John Sweeney.

It is a horrific story. Known credible allegations should be highlighted.

Lazy speculation and lurid gossip should be avoided.

John Sweeney – a Blogger-Journalist who carefully assesses hard evidence

John Sweeney carefully assesses real hard evidence. The author avoids sloppy tabloid-gossip methods. He explains the serious evidence very well. The scandal is far from over in the courts – especially in the case of the British state’s Prince called Andrew.
John Sweeney explains no evidence was presented at the Maxwell trial implicating Bill Clinton in either trafficking or criminal sexual intercourse with underage women. Evidence was presented proving that Clinton, ex US President Donald Trump and other wealthy powerful men accepted freebie flights given by Epstein and Maxwell. Sweeney sarcastically observes at one point that men such as Clinton and Trump enjoyed having sex with 23 year old women – the Epstein/Maxwell gang assisted them.
Sweeney also explores very interesting connections between the criminal behaviour of Ghislaine Maxwell and her late father Robert Maxwell : a corrupt billionaire who died after he fell off his private luxury yacht “Lady Ghislaine” in disputed circumstances.

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Mandatory vaccination: much ado, red herring, or getting it wrong?

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Guest post by Des Derwin

If mandatory vaccination is a delicate issue then why is it being raised by the left (statements yesterday by Sinn Féin and loud blasts from People Before Profit)? Statements yesterday from the left assert that the government wants to bring this in, and the statements oppose it vehemently. The source of the idea seems to be a public health one, with apparently mixed and tentative views emanating from NPHET (the National Public Health Emergency Team). The government, or at least the head of the government, the Taoiseach, has said straight out that he is opposed to mandatory vaccination. The genesis of this issue could well be the main front page story in the ‘Irish Times’ (January 10 2021) and its typical and infuriating mode of creating stories out of unattributed sources to push a line or float a try-on (though in this case there are – suitably leaked – NPHET minutes as substance). If anything the same story indicates that the government might be considering the lifting of restrictions – mandates – on pub and restaurant times and cutting down isolation days for close contacts (to reboot the labour force).

It is said that mandatory vaccination would push a minority of the working class into the arms of the fascists. On the contrary, and quite apart from the existence of vaccination compulsions already and of a minority already in the mental clutches of the far right, supporting the ‘right’ of the unvaccinated and of anti-vaxxers to free access to wherever they want is encouraging them into the arms of the fascists by legitimising their position. And giving oxygen to the position of the fascists who have made this, and other anti-public health measures, their main and most successful appeal to a new audience. Socialists need to be clear and firm, to explain why vaccination (taken up by 94%) is safe and socially essential, and how the far right are misleading and deluding people through well orchestrated and well resourced disinformation campaigns.

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‘There’s a pandemic!’ Covid mandates, restrictions and the left

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Guest post by Des Derwin

We can all agree that a raft of things are required that the system is reluctant to give and that we must campaign for: vaccine justice towards the global south, wage support for closed jobs, real ventilation in workplaces, an end to deforestation and desertification and intensive farming leading to zoonotic crossovers, provision of personal protective equipment, decent health services, etc., etc.

I’m bending the stick and splitting from what seems a widely held miscalculation on the international left about immediately responding to this massively lethal pandemic.

I support mandatory and legally enforceable public health measures and restrictions when necessary, just like I support workplace safety legislation.

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Ireland’s Culture and History Wars – Che Guevara and the nation’s “stamp of the year” – Michael D Higgins Rejects Men of God Partition Pray-In at Armagh Cathedral

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Dateline October 9 2017.

Fine Gael politician Neale Richmond launched an ill-judged ambush on the Irish Post Office’s Ché Guevara stamp. Richmond’s sniping helped make this stamp one of the most successful products ever sold by An Post.

Four years on, Neale Richmond has moved up the ladder from the Seanad to Dáil Éireann – he is now a TD in Dublin-Rathdown. This Fine Gael bulldog may be set loose on President Michael D Higgins – currently much more popular than the FFFGGG coalition after rejecting Ireland’s “Carnival of Reaction” – partition.

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Michael D Higgins 6 Partition 0 – Two Opinion Polls Show Landslide Support for the President’s Anti-Partition Actions – Irish Times Dampens Impact

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Casual Irish Times readers may not have noticed an important story. A news item is presented in a tiny corner on the front of the October 8 2021 edition of the newspaper :

Poll: A majority approves of the decision by the President to refuse to attend a religious event in Armagh : page 2

Turning to page 2 alert readers might notice a headline on the bottom of the page :

Poll reveals support for Higgins’s decision to decline invitation to partition event

The stubborn facts :


A large majority of voters approves of the decision by President Michael D Higgins to refuse the invitation to attend a religious event in Armagh to mark the centenary of partition and creation of Northern Ireland, today’s latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll finds.

More than two-thirds of respondents (68 per cent) agreed that the President was “right to decline the invitation”.

This is a statistical landslide, proving that mass sentiment is against the political establishment on this issue

Support for the President’s decision is highest among older age groups, with 74 per cent of those over 50 agreeing with him, against just 54 per cent of those aged 18-24.

A higher proportion of Fianna Fáil voters (74 per cent) than Sinn Féin voters (72 per cent) backed the President’s position, though supporters of the Green Party (81 per cent) were most likely to say he was right to decline the p

Supporters of Fine Gael (19 per cent) and Labour (20 per cent) were most likely to say he should have attended the event.

A different media outlet, the Irish News, published details of another opinion poll with very similar numbers, and decided this headline worked

“Huge backing for President Michael D Higgins” – Irish News Headline

Practical Conclusions?

Boycott the October 21 Armagh Cathedral Celebration of Partition

The men of God have no right to summon the President of Ireland to anything – certainly not a Partitionist Pray-in.

John Meehan October 8 2021