Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘People Before Profit’ Category

Institutionalized Sectarianism in the North of Ireland – Ian Paisley, Prayers for Partition, Marching Feet in Derry

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Today’s Stormont Administration is controlled by the Democratic Unionist Party, founded by far-right religious rabble-rouser Ian Paisley. Despite the honeyed words of today’s peace process, the Northern state’s government is choked by institutionalized sectarianism. Paisley’s spiritual children will descend on Armagh City on October 21 reciting prayers for partition.

October 11 1988 – Ian Paisley heckles the “AntiChrist” Pope in the European Parliament

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Very bad news for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil – Sinn Féin secure a 10 point lead in a new Irish Times Opinion Poll

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www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/poll-sinn-féin-opens-up-10-point-lead-as-most-popular-party-among-voters-1.4693054

A new Irish Times opinion poll gives bad news to the Irish government parties Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil.

Note, however, that if these results occur at the next Irish general election, the present FFFGGG coalition (FF + FG + Greens + Gombeens) coalition will remain the government.

The numbers in this opinion poll are very similar to the February 2020 General result with one exception – the increased support gained by Sinn Féin :

http://irelandelection.com/elections.php?detail=yes&tab=summary&elecid=238&electype=1

“A sharp fall in support for Fine Gael has opened up a 10-point lead for Sinn Féin over its nearest rival as the party strengthens its position as the most popular party among voters.

The latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI opinion poll shows that Sinn Féin has the support of almost a third of voters at 32 per cent, far ahead of Fine Gael (22 per cent) and Fianna Fáil (20 per cent).

The poll also shows a drop in the satisfaction rating of the Government from 53 per cent in June to 46 per cent on Wednesday. Both Taoiseach Micheál Martin and Tánaiste Leo Varadkar also see their personal approval ratings fall, Mr Martin by eight points to 41 per cent and Mr Varadkar by a substantial 13 points, to 43 per cent.

The state of the parties, when undecided voters and those unlikely to vote are excluded, is as follows: Sinn Féin, 32 per cent (up one); Fine Gael, 22 per cent (down five); Fianna Fáil, 20 per cent (no change); Green Party, 7 per cent (up one); Labour, 4 per cent (up one); and Independents/others, 16 per cent (up three). All of the above figures are rounded which accounts for the total of 101%.

Among the Independents and smaller parties, the results are as follows: Social Democrats, 3 per cent (up one); Solidarity-People Before Profit, 2 per cent (no change); Aontú, 1 per cent (no change); and Independents, 10 per cent (up two). (Rounding of figures gives a total of 101 per cent.)”

Irish Police Boss Drew Harris and Two Unsolved Murder Cases – 1975 Miami Showband Massacre; 2007 Paul Quinn Murder

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The Masks of Garda Boss Drew Harris

If you knew nothing about Irish 6 County whataboutery you might think “Fair enough – Garda Boss Drew Harris is doing the decent thing”. Maybe there are better questions : What mask is the former Royal Ulster Constabulary / Police Service of Northern Ireland high-flier wearing? Is he a “fox in charge of the hen-house”? Or, should we trust a “warm and friendly” chap “committed to justice”?

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has visited the barn in Co Monaghan where Paul Quinn was battered to death by the IRA, and has pledged to help bring his killers to justice.

But, when you know about Harris’s obstructive behaviour towards survivors of the 1975 Miami Showband massacre, you correctly suspect the motives of a powerful state agent who shields British State killers.

Garda boss Drew Harris and his legacy – Stephen Travers, Miami Showband, Aftermath of a loyalist murder spree.

Miami Showband Massacre survivor Stephen Travers also criticised Mr Drew Harris’s appointment, describing it as “putting the fox in charge of the hen house”.

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The final tally, and Results Dublin Bay South By-Election, July 9 2021 – Easy Win for Ivana Bacik (Labour Party)

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Tallies showed Ivana Bacik (Labour Party) was very likely to win the Dublin Bay South By-Election.

Updates here :

https://www.rte.ie/news/regional/2021/0709/1234013-Dubliner-bay-south-by-election-live-updates/ Ongoing coverage continues.

A first count came in confirming predictions that Bacik would win the by-election.

Here is a brilliantly presented table of all the data :

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1YiEnNrYEFWirEiW7mmgxxnpM-MVxGrxqfkIjPx71I_Y/htmlview?pru=AAABeq5c0Lo*b9QSwf-x3ITRC9LswcJRDw

The counts came in :

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/elections/dublin-bay-south-byelection

Initial comments :

1. The Irish Times opinion poll was largely accurate.

2. This is a big defeat for Fine Gael.

3. Bacik is likely to keep the seat in a General Election, removing Green Party leader and government minister Éamon Ryan from the Dáil.

I think all activists should carefully look at the content of Ivana Bacik’s campaign, which was very successful.
Attacking party policies is fine – attacking an individual should not be a left-wing calling card – especially in the case of somebody like Ivana Bacik. Read the rest of this entry »

RTÉ, Censorship, and Irish Unity – Kieran Allen demolishes identitarian gibberish promoted by the Dublin Establishment

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In a recent Tomás Ó Flatharta Blog post – RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell – https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/22/rte-broadcaster-claire-byrne-censors-joe-brolly-who-criticised-the-reactionary-politics-of-dup-westminster-mp-gregory-campbell/ “Identitarian Gibberish” is targeted. This is part of a “distinct agenda” promoted by the management of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ. The inevitable result is censorship of people promoting a vision of post-partition Ireland which can destroy the “carnival of reaction” created by the 1922 Treaty ending the heroic 1919-21 War of Independence. Writing in “Rebel News” the author and activist Kieran Allen adds extremely useful context. His article is reproduced in full here.

When RTÉ puts on a special programme about a united Ireland, you know that big changes are underway. The partition of Ireland is now under question. RTÉ, however, has a distinct agenda and that was exemplified in one dramatic incident. http://www.rebelnews.ie/2021/03/23/rte-censorship-irish-unity/?fbclid=IwAR1vMTLrz5rsPP2awNgaLDDN1Qycb1Z1PtfpcNbHUgUOgB48vKgrvyBvcIY

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For a European shutdown in solidarity from below against the pandemic – For a ZeroCoVid Policy in Ireland

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Irish Action – German Action – European Action – ZeroCoVid is the way forward.

Promote the Call

The CoVid-19 virus does not recognise borders. Sign Circulate and Promote this Zero CoVid Call :

The appeal says: “We need a common strategy in Europe immediately to fight the pandemic effectively. Vaccinations alone will not win the race against the mutated viral variant – even more so if the pandemic fight continues to consist of actionist restrictions on free time without a shutdown of the economy.” Similar initiatives emerged a few weeks ago in other countries, notably the UK and Ireland, see for example Zero Covid The Campaign to Beat the Pandemic or the article “Covid is a Class Issue”.

https://zero-covid.org/language/en/

Paul Murphy is a RISE TD for Dublin South-West, part of the Solidarity – People Before Profit grouping in the Dáil. See below, one of many articles written and circulated by Paul Murphy promoting a Zero CoVid policy for Ireland and further afield.

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Free Julian Assange – Political Prisoner – International Human Rights Day in Dublin, December 10 2020

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TD’s from Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, RISE, Solidarity and left independents, including Leas Ceann Comhairle Catherine Connolly, gathered outside the Convention Centre where the Dáil was sitting on December 10 2020 – International Human Rights Day. They made a public call on the British Government not to extradite Julian Assange to the USA.

‘We condemn the detention of Julian Assange pending his extradition proceedings. We further condemn the attempted use of the US Espionage Act to prosecute Assange for his work exposing the war crimes committed by US service personnel in the Iraq and Afghan war logs. It is our view that the use of these judicial measures by the US constitutes a grave threat to free speech and a free press. It further notes that this attempted prosecution is without precedent in US law.

The TD’s, joined by Senate colleagues including David Norris, were supporting a call made by the National Union of Journalists in Britain that Boris Johnson’s government should refuse to extradite Assange to the USA on false charges of espionage. If sent to America, Assange would face a sentence of 175 years for doing the job of a journalist, where he published the lies told by the US government about the invasion of Iraq. The following statement has been signed by 24 members of the Oireachtas. It is fitting that on International Human Rights Day solidarity with the plight of Julian Assange is expressed. The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has endorsed this statement.

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Disastrous CoVid-19 Epidemic in the north of Ireland – Stormont Government Shambles, U-Turns and Half-Measures

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A CoVid-19 disaster is happening in the north of Ireland. It is spreading. This was preventable. And drastic measures are now necessary – the Stormont government’s latest measures are “too little too late”.

Zero CoVid Strategy Needed in Ireland https://www.facebook.com/PeopleBeforeProfitDerry/

Éamonn McCann, veteran socialist and People Before Profit Councillor (Derry-Strabane) reports from a state in Ireland which has one of the highest CoVid-19 infection rates in the world. The official name of that failed state is Northern Ireland.

Eamonn McCann’s alarming analysis is supported by the north’s doctors’ union, the British Medical Association (BMA [NI]).

The north’s BMA chairperson Dr Tom Black, warns :

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The Miami Showband Massacre – 45th Anniversary July 31 2020 : Files delay ‘appalling’, says judge – BBC News

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Readers are urged to examine the stark facts below.

The British State was caught running the loyalist sectarian murder of Miami Showband musicians returning in the wee small hours from a music gig at Castle Ballroom, Banbridge, County Down on July 31 1975, 45 years ago.

A survivor, Stephen Travers, tells the story to Yvonne Watterson . https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/music/miami-showband-massacre-i-heard-my-platform-shoes-click-against-each-other-i-still-had-both-legs-1.4318542

My friend Stephen Travers knows all too well about remembering. He was a member of the Miami Showband who survived that atrocity.

They were travelling home from a gig at the Castle Ballroom in Banbridge, Co Down, when they were flagged down at what appeared to be a routine British army checkpoint outside Newry. They were ordered to stand by the road with their hands on their heads, while the men in uniform checked their van.

Stephen recalls being concerned about what was taking so long. “My guitar was in there. I had a very unusual guitar, a transparent Dan Armstrong Plexiglas bass, and I was very protective of it. I was damned if I was going to let some awkward soldier manhandle it. I loved my guitar.”

Two of the uniformed men – later revealed as members of the Ulster Defence Regiment – were planting a bomb under the driver’s seat when it exploded, killing both of them. The other assailants opened fire, killing the band’s frontman, Fran O’Toole, its trumpet player, Brian McCoy, and its lead guitarist, Tony Geraghty. Read the rest of this entry »

Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020

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Guest post by Des Derwin

The period before and since the general election has produced a renewed interest in left unity. There have been many contributions on it from across a wide sweep of the left.
There are several direct proposals for unity, or more unity.
As a small assistance to all this I have compiled links to and extracts from most of the leading interventions, since the general election, in the new round of interest in left unity. The collection is below.
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Irish Left Unity: a new round of engagement in a year of change, 2020. 

Links to and extracts from selected articles, posts, podcasts and interviews.

 

1. Jacobin; Michael Taft: ‘This Month’s Elections in Ireland Are a Historic Opportunity’, 2nd January 2020

https://www.jacobinmag.com/2020/02/ireland-elections-fine-gael-fianna-fail

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2. Rise website: ‘Why a Combined Left Challenge in the General Election is Essential’, 6th Jabuary 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/why-a-combined-left-challenge-in-the-general-election-is-essential

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3. Paul Murphy TD, speaking at the ‘Stop the Stitch Up’ rally, Dublin 7th March 2020.

“We need to build a mass political party of the left which is open to different trends, to be organised within, and to represent working class people.”

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4. RISE website: ‘After Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, what next?’ by Diana O’Dwyer, 20th February 2020

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/after-fianna-fil-and-fine-gael-what-next

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5. From: RISE website: ‘We need a socialist government’, 7th March 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/we-need-a-socialist-government

“Build a new mass left-wing party

There is a desperate need for a mass political party of the left. Because of Sinn Féin’s acceptance of the capitalist market and its hesitancy to engage with people-power movements, it will not be that party.
None of the existing radical left parties are likely to grow directly into that mass left party either. Instead, we need a left party that is anti-capitalist, anti-coalition and anti-oppression, while being open for different groups to organise within it.
RISE and our TD, Paul Murphy, wants to work with others to build such a party. While fighting for every reform in the here and now, we are a revolutionary socialist group that sees the need to end the rule of the bosses and big corporations.”
Left Unity Needed for Socialist Green New Deal

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6. RISE website: ‘No going back, but what’s ahead’ by Cian Prendiville, 1st May 2020.

https://www.letusrise.ie/featured-articles/no-going-back-but-whats-ahead

“This new era will pose new challenges and opportunities for the socialist left.
The recent general election was a brush with fate. The fractured socialist left took blows, but kept on our feet, holding onto most of our seats. This shows that a certain base of support for socialist TDs has been built. A Sinn Fein surge squeezed our vote, and we struggled to respond in a positive and principled way. In too many places the left split its vote, costing perhaps two seats and putting a third at risk. We should learn from that, and strengthen the left for the future.RISE’s proposals for a combined left challenge are a good starting point.
The truth is, this isn’t a bad place to begin. Just before the 2008 crash, Sinn Fein had 5 Dail seats, now it is the largest party in the state. Crisis changes everything.
Back then the socialist left had no seats. Now on the cusp of another major turn, we are the ones with 5 seats. We are the ones with the ideas to change the world. A desire for a radically different and better world is growing every day.
Let’s make this the decade of that revolution.”

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7. Irish Broad Left blog: ‘Uniting the Left to fight for an ecosocialist united Ireland’ by Cian McMahon, 6th June 2020.

https://irishbroadleft.com/2020/06/06/uniting-the-left-to-fight-for-an-ecosocialist-united-ireland/?fbclid=IwAR22GKSsaXbJWoISzYkC5-m2H5MOzxXqrkF6Bp-FYTF-cZrSZ-tfteQDRWQ

oooOOOooo. Read the rest of this entry »