Tomás Ó Flatharta

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“Thousands Expected at People-Power Protest in Dublin over the Cost of Living” – Interview with Eddie Conlon

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Des Derwin reports :

Something good, as well as Gene Kerrigan, in the ‘Sunday Independent’:

Sunday Independent interviews Eddie Conlon, Cost of Living Coalition and PBP activist

‘A ‘people power’ movement hopes to see thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of Dublin next weekend, in protest over the spiralling cost of living.

The number of rallies has increased around the country in recent weeks — but next Saturday’s planned demonstration is expected to be by far the largest.

Organised by the Cost of Living Coalition, which is supported by over 30 national organisations, it is sending a clear message to the Government: people cannot afford looming energy bills, and should not be forced to pay them.

The coalition was set up in March by Eddie Conlon, TU Dublin (formerly DIT) sociology lecturer and a long-time activist for People Before Profit.

The Crumlin native was previously involved in the anti-nuclear movement.
“I’ve been politically active since the 1970s, but I’ve never seen such unity in any campaign as this one,” he said.
“It has support from so many organisations and from every generation. This is a huge issue in society. People are frightened. People are worried about the bills that are due to arrive.”

In the UK, a movement called ‘Don’t Pay’ has urged people to cancel their gas and electricity direct-debits from October 1, with over one million people already pledging support. Is the Cost of Living Coalition poised to make the same call to people living in Ireland?
“The coalition is not at this point calling on people not to pay.
“But the reality is that some people just won’t be able to pay these bills. What we need from government is a clear ban on people being cut off for not paying a bills if they cannot afford it,” he added.

The coalition is supported by People Before Profit, with TD Paul Murphy recently throwing his weight behind it.
Sinn Féin and the Social Democrats are backing the movement, as are the Union of Students Ireland (USI) and the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, among many others.

“As people prepare to turn on their heating in the coming weeks, the cost of energy is about to become more critical than ever,” said Conlon.
“This is about people power. It’s about people coming together to say ‘enough is enough’. We expect thousands of people at the demonstration next weekend.

“I think, since Covid, people have really started to see the cracks in our society and need their voices to be heard.”

The extremist far-right in Ireland have recently tried to associate themselves with the Cost of Living Coalition, making occasional appearances at rallies.

“They have nothing to do with us,” Mr Conlon said. “We have nothing to do with the far-right. We are about unity. What they do is seek to divide people.
“People want to be able to lead a decent life and have their basic needs met without having to pay through the nose for it. The premise of this coalition is to give ordinary people the opportunity to say, ‘we can’t put up with this.’”

They’ll sit in the cold themselves — but they won’t do that when they’re minding the grandkids’

Sue Shaw, CEO of the Irish Senior Citizens Parliament, a member of the coalition, said she has “no doubt” that “momentum is building” around how unaffordable energy bills are becoming. She said older people are particularly worried about the cost of heating their homes in the coming months.

“Two-thirds of older people in this country are solely reliant on the pension. Over the past two years, we have already seen heating oil, coal and turf increase by 137pc.

“The Government is trying to pitch old against young during this situation. But we have decided to all come together in this coalition.

“The accommodation crisis is impacting younger generations more — students in particular, and people who can’t afford to buy their own homes because of high rents. This coalition is about bringing every generation together and being united in saying: ‘We will not put up with this.’”

Ms Shaw said her organisation has already begun to receive calls from worried older people, who have been buying warmer duvets in preparation for the winter, in the hope it will reduce the need to switch on the heat.

Others talk about plans to spend large parts of their days in the coming months in public libraries, as these facilities turn on the heating.

“The anxiety is building. Some older people who mind their grandchildren, because their own children can’t afford childcare, are worried about their bills. They’ll sit in the cold themselves — but they won’t do that when they’re minding the grandkids.”
Ms Shaw advised the Government to “start listening” to the public mood.

“The coalition is not right now advocating people should not pay their bills. But if people don’t have the money, what can they do?

“Older people might be retired — but let’s not forget how much we contribute to society. As well as childcare for their families, older people make up a huge part of our voluntary sector.

“And of course, the Government should also remember that older people are the generation who vote.”
Both Ms Shaw and Mr Conlon criticised “profiteering” by energy giants, who they say are making millions in the midst of this crisis.

“We need price controls on energy. There is major profiteering going on. The ESB are making a lot of money right now,” Mr Conlon said. “There needs to be taxes on the energy companies. The Government just need to start listening to the people. Because the people must be heard.”

The coalition’s protest is due to get underway in Parnell Square, Dublin, at 2.30 pm next Saturday.’


End of article. Note I’ve corrected the time for the march which the Sindo got slightly wrong – Des Derwin

Whiteys Mourn an English Queen at Buckingham Palace, London

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Whiteys gathered at a London Palace because the English Queen died..

“Throngs of mourners gathering outside Buckingham Palace on a rainy day saw a rainbow form over the palace. This is being taken as some kind of divine omen rather than a natural phenomenon related to rain. Some are crying & the crowd broke spontaneously into an off-key “God Save the King” even after it was announced she was dead. The whole scene would be touching if it didn’t signify that too many Brits have a dysfunctional relationship with a woman they only knew from her hand-waving on TV. It’s not surprising that as far as the eye can see that crowd is lily white, kind of Tory-like, way too many white people in a single location for anyone else to feel safe.”

Mary Scully

We can all do better than this.

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A Strange Policy is Reviewed – Support Ukraine’s Resistance Against an Imperialist Russian Invasion “Politically” – But Oppose Giving Arms to the Resisters – A Critique of Irish Left Evasionism

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International solidarity between socialists and anarchists in Ukraine and Ireland is growing. We are united in a desire to see Russia defeated, which will be a blow to the right everywhere. We are equally united in our opposition to Western imperialism and the global capitalists circling Ukraine ready to exploit the country after the war.

One of the disappointing developments of the war is that so many socialists in the West have failed to offer such solidarity. The group we are most familiar with is People Before Profit, and analysing the think piece published in August 2022 by John Molyneux explains why. We offer this critique of John’s article in the hope that there are members of People Before Profit who can save it from its current convergence with the ‘campists’. We hope this can happen in time to make a difference to the growth of practical solidarity between Irish and Ukrainian socialists.

 

Molyneux’s essay begins with an attempt to categorise the debates among the left into three positions:

1. the ‘campists’ in favour of a Russian victory, 

2. those who are for a Ukrainian victory without reservations about NATO and western imperialism, and

3. those who are neither for a Russian victory nor for one for Western imperialism (‘neutrality’)

 

This schema has been derived by working backwards from John’s understandable desire to portray People Before Profit as fundamentally different to the campists, while doubling down on their criticisms of the Ukrainian resistance. For a supposed Marxist analysis it has a deep and irreperable flaw: it has sprung from the head of its author and not from the reality of the situation. Frankly, the left doesn’t have time to ignore reality in this way any more.

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Ukraine and Palestine : “You don’t mean exactly peace talks. You mean capitulation, surrendering….That kind of conversation between the sword & the neck.”

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A correspondent, Mary Scully, explains an important difference.

Wonder why so many demand Ukraine negotiate surrender when it would be absolutely unthinkable to propose the same to Palestinians, Kashmiris, Rohingya & amoral to pressure them to reach an accommodation with their oppressors over their human, democratic, & national liberation rights? As Ghassan says, he has never seen such talks between a colonialist power & a national liberation movement. Under a different leadership, when Palestinians did sit down & talk with Israel & the US, it ended up with the Oslo Accords legitimizing occupation & expropriation & justifying genocide. It turned the Palestinian leadership against their own people. That’s what Ghassan meant about a ‘conversation between the sword & the neck’.

Lastly, we wonder how those who demand Ukrainians negotiate the terms of their surrender to Russia feel about holding the exact same position as Henry Kissinger? Do they believe that the Dr. Strangelove of international mass murder actually has peace & the best interests of the Ukrainian people in mind? Will they ask him to speak at their lilliputian rallies against that NATO proxy war?

Above all in politics, listen to the voices of resistance & human liberation like Ghassan Kanafani & Maqbool Bhat & shout down the monsters of war like Kissinger.

“You don’t mean exactly peace talks”

A correspondent, writing for the Cedar Lounge Revolution (CLR) Blog, dismisses shallow blather in Ireland and abroad following the publication of a Sabina Coyne-Higgins letter calling for a negotiated end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The CLR author points out that little effort has been made to engage with what was actually said.

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Does the Irish Times wins Typo of the Century Prize? : “Gourd of honour for visiting German president as Áras springs back to life”

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Gourd Versus Guard – what is the difference?

The Irish Times sense of humour : “Gourd of honour for visiting German president as Áras springs back to life”

The southern unionist Irish Times is bitterly opposed to the recent high-profile decision of President Michael D Higgins to reject a Christian celebration of Ireland’s 1921 Partition – but the newspaper may have bitten off more than it can chew.


See also :
https://tomasoflatharta.com/2021/10/08/michael-d-higgins-6-partition-0-two-opinion-polls-show-landslide-support-for-the-presidents-anti-partition-actions-irish-times-dampens-the-impact/

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

President Michael D Higgins Rejects Religious Invitation Issued by Men of God in Armagh – The Right Decision – The 1921 Partition of Ireland Created a Carnival of Reaction

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Eejit is a great word living within the English language spoken in Ireland. Author Mike Finn reveals the meaning in a sentence of nine words : “Those advocating Brexit are an awful shower of eejits”. Likewise, those who advocate “marking” the partition of Ireland are an awful shower of eejits. President Michael D Higgins is no eejit.

Michael D has become a spokesperson for the vast majority of people living in Ireland who hate partition. He will not attend a religious event in Armagh commemorating the 1921 creation of the Northern Ireland Orange State. An opinion poll on the issue shocked numerous pro-Unionist forelock-tuggers in Ireland – 81 per cent of people in the 26 County bit of Ireland agree with the President’s decision.

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

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President Higgins ‘will not allow’ Dáil to disband if programme for government fails – A SFFFSDLP Government lurches across the Phoenix Park horizon in Dublin

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Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael is doing well in current opinion polls, and is threatening a fresh Irish General Election if Green Party members reject coalition with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and several right-wing gombeens.

The President Michael D Higgins is entering stage left, and is refusing to play Varadkar’s game.

President Higgins says to lame-duck Taoiseach “Good riddance Leo, at last you’re sacked”

This means Fianna Fáil, which is doing badly in opinion polls, may act in its own interest and form a coalition with Sinn Féin, trying to also attract the Social Democrats, Labour and the Greens.

We can call this the SDLP option.

FF might need to replace its leader Mícheál Martin to complete this manoeuvre.

The opinion poll data is very persuasive in a situation like this :

Paddy Healy notes :

“Irish Mail on Sunday Poll June 21
FF At Less Than Half Sinn Féin Vote!!!
FG34 SF27 FF13 GRN8 LAB4 SD3 SOL/PBP2 IND10
In Comparison with poll in Irish Mail on Sunday in May
Independents up 4%, GP up 2%, no change for SF and FG and FF slightly down. All others as it was.
In Comparison with General Election 2020
FG +13, SF +2, FF -9, Gn +1 Lab NC, SD NC, Sol/PBP-1, Ind -2” Read the rest of this entry »

Dubai ruler organised kidnapping of his children, UK court rules | World news | The Guardian

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The ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, is an international criminal. Perhaps he will be the next monarch visiting President Michael D Higgins of Ireland in the Phoenix Park. It is time to stop grovelling to Royal Parasites. Read the rest of this entry »