Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Unionism’ Category

Have British Tories Thrown Jeffrey Donaldson’s Democratic Unionist party to the Wolves? Is the”Windsor Framework” the “NI Protocol” in Different Clothes?

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Readers may wonder :

Has British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak thrown the Democratic Unionist party of British-occupied Ireland to the wolves? Early indications suggest the answer is Yes.

The cause? Brexit.

Sunak’s former boss Boris Johnson’s negotiated a 2019 “Oven Ready Brexit” which featured the “Northern Ireland Protocol” (NIP) in 2019. This facilitated a landslide Tory General Election victory in December of that year. Things were different in the six-county bit of Ireland (Northern Ireland) and Scotland. In both of these locations, the Brexiteer forces were soundly rejected by the voters. Sunak now claims the NIP has been replaced by the “Windsor Framework”.

Establishment media outlets are ecstatic, claiming the Third British Brexit Prime Minister of 2021 has “Done the Impossible”

https://www.irishtimes.com/politics/2023/02/28/windsor-framework-brexit-deal-what-the-papers-say/

There is one significant dissenting note, which is almost certainly closer to the truth. It comes from the outstanding British Guardian cartoonist Steve Bell :

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Memory Politics – 6 Belgrave Square, Rathmines, Dublin – Property was once owned by sinister reactionary Edward Carson – Decades later Brian Judge used the house to raise funds for the Birmingham Six – victims of a British Miscarriage of Justice

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Properties can be used for many different purposes. Brian Judge reported on his Facebook page :

I owned Number 6 Belgrave Square for several years. When researching the title I found out Edward Carson was the first owner of the property. He lived in it for 3 years. For obvious reasons I did not put a plaque on the wall.
It was a large house with a large rear garden which I used regularly to raise funds for Irish miscarriage of justice cases in Great Britain and Ireland.
During a fundraiser for the Irish Commission for Prisoners Overseas the police turned up and entered the house.They were confronted by Joe Costello TD (Teachta Dála, MP in Ireland). Joe asked by what authority they had entered the house, they claimed they were invited – something I disputed.They prosecuted me for having a bar at the function. I was represented by Michael Farrell a founder of People’s Democracy and a fellow member of the Commission. The case was thrown out on a technicality. Apparently in Irish law you can sell drink to your friends for the purchase price.
Post Script : Michael Farrell was interned in 1971. He was released after a 34 day hunger strike. One of Ireland’s foremost human rights activists down to the present day.

6 Belgrave Square, Rathmines, Dublin

This prompted some correspondents to ask why Brian was opposed to the erection of a plaque honouring Lord Edward Carson.

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Oh Ah, Up the Ra “One Song Two Reactions – Why is it different when the rugby boys sing Celtic Symphony?” – Joe Brolly, Derry All-Ireland Winner, Gaelic Athletic Association

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This story assesses three sporting activities in Ireland – Gaelic Games, Soccer, and Rugby. It shines a light on a misogynous (woman-hating) West-British media culture.

Thanks to the Dublin Council of Trade Unions for bringing this story to our attention.

See Also : https://tomasoflatharta.com/2022/10/12/double-standards-applied-to-irish-womens-soccer-team-song-author-derek-warfield-declares-dont-tell-that-you-cant-sing-celtic-symphony-but-you-can-sing-god-save-the-king/

Joe Brolly in the Sunday Independent, January 8 2023 :

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Irish Left Archive Podcast Number 44: Vincent Doherty: Official Sinn Féin, International Marxist Group, Troops Out, People’s Democracy, H-Block Committee, Sinn Féin – reblogged from The Cedar Lounge Revolution

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I first met Vincent Doherty in the late 1970’s via People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. Since then we travelled on different political paths, while remaining on very good personal terms. In 2022 Vincent and me – along with a group of left-wing activists who come from different but complementary streams of the Irish Left – have been working actively together in the Irish Left With Ukraine organization.

The comrades who publish the Cedar Lounge Revolution Blog come from a stream of the Irish Left which is different from Vincent Doherty and me. But we converge politically in 2022 on a very decisive issue – the genocidal imperialist Russian invasion of Ukraine.

On the left nothing stands still. There is a strong mistaken current dominant of the Irish Marxist left which does “what if” interpretations of historical events. This interview avoids that approach. It is much better to accept the past, warts and all. We cannot change the past, but we can with 20-20 vision learn from our history. We can apply that knowledge to the present day and the immediate future – which we can influence.

Rayner Lysaght Tribute – Irish Labour History Society Event

Rayner Lysaght RIP (January 30 1941 – July 2 2021) was a close comrade of Vincent and me for many years in People’s Democracy and the Fourth International. The Irish Labour History Society staged a commemorative tribute in honour of Rayner on May 14 2021. I delivered the speech below, which also deals with some of the events described by Vincent Doherty.

John Meehan January 2 2023

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Voters in the British State Reject Brexit – The Emperors Have No Clothes

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Lots of recent data tells us that voters in the British state – in the nations of England, Scotland, Wales (and in the statelet called Northern Ireland) – reject Brexit. Here is the latest graphic :

Rejecting Brexit – Well Outside the Margin of Error

The polling expert John Curtice publishes lots of interesting information on this and other related subjects.

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Local politicians Smile for the Camera with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in the North of Ireland – Don’t mention the Elephant in the Room – Brexit

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John Hurson brought this parody real picture to our attention. He chose a very appropriate James Connolly quotation to describe the scene.

“Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.”
James Connolly

“Yes, ruling by fooling, is a great British art with great Irish fools to practice on.”

James Connolly

John Hurson hits the nail on the head – this gaggle of politicians cannot agree a formula to restore Stormont. The reason is Brexit, which is opposed by a large majority of people living in Ireland.

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“Russian president Vladimir Putin held meetings with the Official IRA during two visits to Belfast in the 1980s.” – Intriguing Report on the Cedar Lounge Blog

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Are past events in Ireland a guide to current events?

From the Irish News.

Source :

Russian president Vladimir Putin held meetings with the Official IRA during two visits to Belfast in the 1980s.

The former KGB intelligence officer was part of two separate delegations from the Soviet Union that visited Ireland in 1986, sources linked to the Official movement have claimed.

On both occasions Mr Putin travelled north where he met with representatives of the republican paramilitary group.

Could it be true?

Did Vladimir Putin Meet the Official Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Dublin in the 1980’s?

How about this?

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‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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This blog is named after Tomás Ó Flatharta, the first known Irish supporter of the 1920’s Left Opposition which opposed the policies pursued by the Russian Bolshevik government headed by Josef Stalin. Ó Flatharta was a prolific writer, and wrote this fascinating article previewing the partition of Ireland in December 2021. Ó Flatharta looks at “official” Irish-American support for Ireland’s cause, and points out its limitations and hypocrisies. He endorses the policies pursued by the revolutionary marxist James Connolly, a leader of Ireland’s Easter 1916 Rising who was executed by the British imperialists.

Here is a flavour of Ó Flatharta’s analysis, which has a lot of contemporary relevance.

When Connolly led the revolt in Dublin in 1916 some of his comrades in other countries did not understand why he lined up with the Nationalist elements. They claimed that Connolly. lost his original Marxian purity. These elements could not see in the revolutionary opportunism of Connolly the tactic that is today the guiding star of every revolutionary party in the world. Connolly’s idea was to mobilize all the available discontent in Ireland and hurl it at the enemy. Out of the inevitable sacrifice which the Easter Week Revolution entailed would spring a new movement inspired by the example of the martyrs of Easter Week. Connolly knew quite well that national independence alone would never give Ireland independence until the Empire was overthrown, therefore every move made to overthrow the Empire tended to bring about the inevitable revolution. The Citizen Army composed of members of the Trade Unions was pledged not alone to strike for Irish freedom but for the Workers’ Republic. The Nationalist Volunteers had a certain contempt for the men of the citizen army. The former were carried away with their hostility to England into a feeling of sympathy with Germany. The citizen army, however, was just as much opposed to the Kaiser as to King Gorge and hung over its headquarters the banner with the inscription “We serve neither King nor Kaiser.”


When Eoin MacNaill, the leader of the Nationalist Volunteers, issued the countermanding order which kept the full force of the members of that body from participating in the Easter Week revolution, Connolly called out his citizen army. The army of the workers was the backbone of the rising and according to Seamus MacManus in his “Story of the Irish Race,” it was Connolly’s insistence on making a fight that ultimately carried the motion for the insurrection. But since Easter Week Irish labor has been relegated to obscurity and the Irish middle class have been given credit on American platforms and in the Irish journals for the great struggle that has been carried on against British tyranny.

Revolution’s Newsstand

‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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Double Standards Applied to Irish Women’s Soccer Team : Jack Charlton 1 Vera Pauw 0 – Oh Ah Up the Mná

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Irish Women’s Soccer Team Celebrate World Cup Qualification, October 11 2012

A gaggle of West-Brit politicians have denounced Irish Women’s Soccer Team Celebrations. Wolfe Tones songwriter Brian Warfield dismisses the reactionary chorus as “cranks and unionists or people who side with them”. Warfield is dead right.

Song Composer Derek Warfield Declares “Don’t tell that you can’t sing Celtic Symphony but you can sing God Save the King”

Jack Charlton was the best international soccer manager who ever worked for the Republic of Ireland – he encouraged his players to sing Irish rebel songs. Former kit-minder Charlie O’Leary recalls :

Sean South of Garryowen was his favourite.
It got to the stage where it had to be played. It’s a rabble rousing song full of life, if you forget about the words; it was lovely.

Charlie O’Leary, kit-minder for Jack Charlton’s Boys in Green https://www.balls.ie/football/jack-charlton-rebel-songs-350401-350401

“I had two tapes with me. One tape was all Luke Kelly songs and your man Moore [Christy Moore]. Going to Lansdowne, I’d come to around Haddington Road, and I’d stop that tape and I’d put on the other tape – Seán South of Garryowen. Just as we’d be arriving in the ground, we’d be at the crescendo of Seán South of Garryowen. So the lads would be really worked up by that time. They’d be singing at the top of their voices.”

Irish Times December 15 2014

In his book on the Charlton brothers and their relationship, Leo McKinstry recorded how there was hell to pay when news of the Republic of Ireland team playlist reached the English tabloids.

Teddy Taylor, the comically Eurosceptic right-wing Conservative MP from Glasgow, fulminated in public that Jack should be ashamed of himself for belting out such a ballad.

The FAI weren’t inclined to play up the fact that the Irish team used to sing songs celebrating the IRA’s 1950s Border campaign.

https://www.balls.ie/football/jack-charlton-rebel-songs-350401-350401

Jack Charlton 1 Vera Pauw 0

Public figures must stop bullying the Irish female soccer players. Manager Vera Pauw has a chance to follow in the footsteps of Jack Charlton.

Pauw’s game management strategy is a carbon copy of the Jack Charlton method “Yeah, of course,” Pauw says. “We need to develop further. We’ve got five clean sheets in a row. We’ve got four goals against, and that’s our strength. Because we always create chances, so we always score in a game. As long as you don’t get goals against and you score in a game you win, right?”

Charlton was a brilliant motivator, an extremely empathetic manager. He backed his players – even when they misbehaved – and bought into the Irish rebel ballad culture, our anti-imperialist culture, and sense of fun. After his team was eliminated from the Euro 88 tournament in Germany Charlton expected a barrage of criticism in Ireland. We did not win. Instead the manager and his team were greeted by hundreds of thousands of fans who did not give a toss about losing Euro 88 – we got to a major tournament for the first ever, and we beat England 1-0. The miner’s son from Ashington in the north of England, an unorthodox man of the left and the workers’ movement, understood this very profoundly.

Jack Charlton – “Proud to be Irish” – Dublin Airport after Euro 88 in Germany

Pauw failed to back her players – and appears to have no understanding of Ireland’s proud tradition of cultural resistance. She made a public statement which must immediately be withdrawn :

Pauw insisted that the release of the footage on social media by one of the squad was not the core issue, adding the player “was devastated and crying in her room”.

“I don’t want to hide behind that because it she hadn’t put it on social media and I had been notified about it and the significance, then I would have addressed it immediately.

“I’ve also told her that putting it on social media is not the biggest thing.

“The biggest thing is that it has happened. It doesn’t matter if you are in private room or a dressing room or if you are outside.”

European Soccer bosses in UEFA are threatening disciplinary sanctions against the Girls in Green. https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/63242412

Football Association of Ireland (FAI) blazers, assorted cranks and a talented soccer manager are profoundly wrong. Let’s hope Vera Pauw reflects on the successful methods of Jack Charlton, the miner’s son from Ashington who loved Irish rebel songs.

Jack Charlton, The Best Republic of Ireland Soccer Manager

John Meehan October 13 2022

An interview with song composer Derek Warfield :


Irish team being ‘persecuted and bullied’ for singing ‘ooh ah up the ‘Ra’, songwriter says

Article Source https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2022/10/12/irish-team-being-persecuted-and-bullied-for-singing-ooh-ah-up-the-ra-songwriter-says/

Wolfe Tones songwriter Brian Warfield has accused those who criticise his song Celtic Symphony of being “cranks and unionists or people who side with them” amid controversy over the Irish women’s football team singing along to it.

Warfield wrote the song, which includes the refrain ‘ooh, aah up the ‘Ra’, in 1987 for the centenary of Celtic Football Club, which occurred a year later.

He claims the line was taken from graffiti he saw on a wall in Glasgow around that time, which read ‘we’re magic, up the Celts, ooh, aah up the Ra’. He said he was not necessarily referring to the Provisional IRA in the lyrics.

No excuses

Celtic Symphony was playing in the dressing room while the Irish team celebrated qualifying for the World Cup after winning at Hampden Park on Tuesday night. Players were filmed singing ‘ooh, aah up the Ra’ and a clip was posted on social media.

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BBC limits TV Coverage of 2022 Orange Order July 12 Marches in Northern Ireland – welcome move does not go far enough

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The left-wing Irish organization Éirígí has issued a very clear statement about the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) decision to limit live coverage of 2022 Orange Order marches in the north of Ireland. The BBC decision has provoked a furious unionist reaction, which might force the broadcaster to back down. https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/twelfth-july-unionists-slam-bbc-24191452?utm_source=belfast_live_newsletter&utm_campaign=breaking_daily_newsletter2&utm_medium=email.

These events occur after a video emerged in the public arena celebrating the murder of Michaela MacAreavy (daughter of the high-profile Gaelic Athletic Association [GAA] Manager Mickey Harte of Tyrone). The Irish Times reported that footage of the ‘vile chant’ was “understood to have been filmed” at an “Orange hall in Dundonald, Co Down”. (June 3 edition). In fact, there is no doubt that the “vile chant” was performed during Orange Order celebrations. Damage limitation continues, as the Orange Order, numerous Unionist politicians, and weasel-word forelock-tuggers pretend


Éirigí Statement :

It has emerged today that the BBC will no longer broadcast live daytime coverage of the main Orange Order ‘parade’ in the Six Counties on 12th July. #OrangeOrder

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