Irish Blog Whacked

Thursday, February 28, 2013

THE PENSIVE STALINIST ICE PICK

Trotsky had been forced to leave the Soviet Union in 1929. It is now 1940 and he is living in Mexico. He has been censored by Stalin, who sends out an assassin named Frank Jackson to censor Trotsky permanently. The killer decides with the help of western counter revolutionaries to infiltrate Trotsky's house by befriending one of the young socialists in Trotsky's circle.



  
  
To Leon Trotsky

11 December 1938
New York City

Leon Trotsky
Coyoacan
Mexico DF

My Dear Leon Trotsky:

We were both very pleased to receive your note. Hortense, jokingly, says that it must all be a Stalinist plot. While she is not disinterested in politics, she is, in no sense, a political person. However, she is no bitter foe. And in her own profession, the theatre, she must pay a price for her attitudes and the stand that she has taken. Stalinist influence is permeating the American theatre, and Hortense is automatically excluded from even being considered for roles in plays by certain managements because of this fact.

Concerning ‘the mysteries of my style', you may be amused to know that one Communist Party functionary described it, once in The Daily Worker, as ‘Trotskyite.’ And one of the most current criticisms of my writing in Stalinist sources is that ‘the rationale of Trotskyism’ has given a basis for his ‘despair,’ and through that means he is degenerating.

This summer I was in Ireland, and I saw Jim Larkin. All men have weaknesses, but all men are not the victims of their weaknesses. Jim Larkin is a victim of his own weaknesses, and his own temperament. Now, he is embittered and envenomed. He feels that the Irish working class has sold him out. He was not returned in the last elections for the Dáil, and he ran in a working class district. He defended the trials, but thought that Bukharin could not be interested. But Larkin's formal attitudes do not have much meaning. He is untheoretical and unstable intellectually. He is always a direct actionist, and his direct actionism takes whatever turn that his impulses lead him toward, In the midst, for instance, of a severe fight, he might be walking down the street and see a sparrow trapped in some electric wires where it might die. He will become incensed, and will telephone important members of the government and demand that they have men sent down to release the sparrow immediately, and then this will loom more important than the fight in which he is engaged. He is very garrulous, human and humane, witty, vindictive, vituperative, and he is Irish. At times, he is almost like an embittered version of the stage Irishman. In Ireland, there has never been much theory, and in consequence, never been many men with a rounded view of the reasons why Ireland was struggling. Before the war, the Irish labor movement was very militant and well toward the forefront of the European labor movement. It was defeated in the great Dublin transport strike of 1913, and out of this crushing defeat, the Irish Citizen Army was formed. Larkin left for America, and Larkin says that one of the last things that he said to Connolly was not to go into the National movement, not to join the Irish Volunteers, which was the armed force of the nationalist movement. Connolly did go into the Easter Rebellion, and there is the disputed question as to whether or not he made a mistake. Sean O'Casey, the Irish playwright, in a pamphlet he wrote on the Irish Citizen Army, declares baldly that James Connolly died not for Irish socialism but for Irish nationalism. Others maintain that Connolly could not have remained out of the rising. At all events, the Irish Citizen Army was decimated, and crushed by the Easter Rebellion. There were no leaders left to carry on the social side of Connolly's doctrines. The entire movement was swept along in a frenzied rise of Irish patriotism and Irish nationalism. Sinn Féin was in complete control of the movement. The leaders of Sinn Féin had only the most vague notions of what they wanted – an Irish Ireland speaking Gaelic, developing its own Irish culture, free of the British crown, and some were not even fighting them for freedom from the crown. In 1921, when the treaty was negotiated in England, there was this same unclarity. Following the treaty, there was the split in the Irish ranks. The record of that split is most saddening to read. It was not a split on real issues. There were two or three documents with different wordings, and they all meant much the same thing. Instead of discussing social programs, they discussed Ireland, and they insulted one another. Out of this split the bitter civil war developed, and the comrades in arms of yesterday assassinated one another. The treatment which the Free State government meted out to its former comrades matches almost that which Stalin has meted out. The bravest fighters of the Irish Republican Army were taken out and placed up against a wall and butchered without any formality. And now, after all the trouble, the Irish people have changed masters, and a new Irish bourgeoisie is developing and coagulating, and the politicians of Sinn Féin are aligned with them and the Church, with reaction rampant, poverty to match even that of Mexico, progressive ideas almost completely shut out, a wall of silence keeping out the best Irish tradition – that of Fintan Lalor, Davitt, and Connolly, and poor Ireland is in a hell of a state. Larkin returned in the early twenties. After defeat, the Irish labor movement needed someone to lead it who could remould a defeated class. Larkin was a great and courageous agitator, but not a leader of a defeated army, and he could not work with any one. Gradually, he lost influence, and now he is old and embittered. Of course, Catholicism plays a strong role in Ireland, and Larkin is a Catholic and talks of the virtues of the Christian home. And suddenly out of his garrulous talk, a flash of his old fire comes through. Perhaps you are riding through the Dublin slums with him, and suddenly, seeing the poor in their filth, standing in front of the filthy buildings in which they are forced to live like animals, and a strong denunciation comes, and there is something of the Jim Larkin who defied the British Army, and at whose words the poor of Dublin came out into the streets in thou-sands, and flung themselves against the might of Britain and that of the Irish bourgeoisie. Human beings are social products, and Larkin is a product of the Irish movement. The principal instrument of the Irish revolutionaries was always terrorism and direct action, and when Larkin was unable to function with these methods on the wave of a rising and militant movement, he was lost, and the labor bureaucrats outmaneuvered and outsmarted him. When he returned to Ireland from an American jail, he got his following together, and marched on the quarters of the union he had formerly led. He took the building, but later lost it in the law courts, and he is no longer the leader of the transport workers. He has union following, and among his strongest support is that of the butchers and hospital workers.

He showed me something in Ireland that few people in Dublin know about. In the Parnell days, a terrorist organization, composed almost exclusively of Dublin workingmen was formed and named the Invincibles. The Invincibles committed the famous Phoenix Park murders in front of the vice-regal lodge, and were denounced by the Church, by Parnell, and by almost the entire Irish nation. There are no monuments in Ireland to the Invincibles. They died in isolation, some of them defiant to the end in their utter isolation. At the spot across from the vice-regal lodge in Phoenix Park, where the murders were committed, there is a patch of earth alongside of the park walk. No matter how often grass is planted over this spot the grass is torn up by the roots, and this spot of earth is left, and always, there is a cross marked into the dirt in commemoration of the Invincibles. Every week, someone – principally, I believe, one of Larkin's boys – goes there and marks that cross. This has been going on for a long time.

In Larkin, there is something of that characteristic of defiant defeat that runs through so much of Irish history, and with it, never any real investigation of causes. But even up to today, he remains the only figure of commanding proportions in the Irish labor movement. The rest is pretty nearly all bureaucracy, tied to the tail of nationalism, enfolded in the cassock robes of the priestcraft, seeing the problems of Irish labor as an Irish question. Ireland is having something of an industrial boom. Certain sections of the Irish working class, the most advanced trade unions – which have been in existence some time – these are better paid than corresponding trade unions in England. But the country is partitioned between an industrial north and an agricultural south. In the south, de Valera is engaged in a program of industrialization. The Irish market is small, and that means that monopolies must be parcelled out to various groups or persons. When these monopolies get going, there will be resultant crises, because they will be able to supply the Irish market with a few months work and production. Also, the new factories are being spread over the country – a program of decentralization – and in many instances, factories are being set up in agricultural areas where there is no trade union strength. It is necessary to further industrialization in Ireland to have, as a consequence, sweat shop conditions. There is a small labor aristocracy and even this lives badly. And below it, poverty that reduces thousands upon thousands to live like animals in the most dire, miserable, and inhuman poverty. I saw some of this poverty. One family of eleven living in one room. The family has lived in this same room for twenty-four years. The building is crumbling, walls falling, ceiling caving in, roof decaying. The oldest in the family is nineteen, the youngest is an undernourished infant of eight months. Six sleep in one bed, three in another, two on the floor. The infant was born last Christmas eve in the bed where six sleep. The role of the Church is important. The Church tells the Irish that they are going to live for ever and be happier in heaven, and this engenders patience. There is a mystic fascination with death in Ireland. In all the homes of the poor, the walls are lined with holy pictures, those of the Sacred Heart predominating. The poor live in utter patience. They have lived in this patience ever since the heyday of Jim Larkin. In those days, at his word, they thronged the streets and threatened the power of England, and of the Irish and Anglo-Irish bourgeoisie. But no more. How-ever, with the industrialization program, there is likely to be some enlargement of the Irish working class, and the economic factors of proletarianization, plus the resulting effects of factory work and familiarity with machines is likely to cause some changes in the conscious-ness of Irishmen. Familiarity with machines is likely to rub off some of the superstition, and the economic conditions will pose their problems to the Irish workers. There is possibly going to be a change in Ireland because of these factors, and some of the eternal sleep and mud-crusted ignorance is likely to go. But being an agricultural country, a poor country, a country ridden by superstition, it now sleeps, and there is a lot of talk about Ireland, and little is done about Ireland, and a characteristic attitude is sure and what is the bother. Ireland is no longer merely a victim of England, but of world economy now. Irish nationalism correspondingly has altered from being a progressive movement to a reactionary movement. Fascism could easily triumph in Ireland were fascism vitally necessary to the new rulers of Holy Ireland.

The Irish Republican Army is split into factions, some demanding emphasis on a social program, others on a national program. Stalinists are in the former group, but Stalinism is very weak in Ireland, practically inconsequential. It amounts to a few pensionaries. Ireland does not need Stalinism. It has Rome. Rome handles these problems with the necessary efficiency. Rome confuses the struggles, poses the false questions, sidetracks protests as Stalinism now does in advanced countries.

As a kind of compensation, Ireland a defeated nation has developed a fine modern literature, just as Germany, defeated and still un-unified at an earlier period, developed German philosophy. But the moral terrorism in the name of the Church and the Nation, and the parochial character of the life and of intellect in Ireland might choke the literature now. So backward is Ireland that even the American motion pictures have a progressive influence in the sense that they make the youth restless, that they produce freer and less strained relationships between the sexes, and that they give a sense of a social life of more advanced countries that is not permitted because of the state of economy in Ireland. Ireland impresses me as being somewhat parallel to Mexico, except that in Mexico there are progressive strains in the country, and in Ireland these are weak and morally terrorized. In part, this is undoubtedly because of Ireland's lack of mineral resources and wealth, the backwardness and sleep of its labor movement, and the role of the Church. In Ireland, the Church was not the feudal landholder. Behind the scenes, the Church always fought against the Irish people, and spoke for law and order. But at one time, the Church itself was oppressed. The Church and the people became entangled in the consciousness of the Irish, and the religion question befogged the social and economic one. In Mexico, Spain, France, and Russia, the Church was more openly a part of a feudal or pseudo-feudal system. The peasants became anti-clerical because they wanted land. This did not happen in Ireland. In consequence, anti-clericalism did not take the same form. Anti-clericalism amounts to jokes at the priesthood, dislike of the arch-bishops, and so forth. In earlier days, it was stronger, particularly among the Fenians. But it never took the real form it took in France, Spain, etc. And so the Church has great power in Ireland today. In the most real, vivid, and immediate sense it gives opium to the people.

Poor Ireland! She is one of the costs demanded by history in the growth of what we familiarly call our civilization. There is an old poem with the lines – They went forth to battle And they always fell. And today, after having fallen so many times, Ireland is a poor island on the outpost of European civilization, with all its heroic struggles leaving it, after partial victory, poverty-stricken, backward, wallowing in superstition and ignorance.

My favorite Irish anecdote is the following. The last castle in Ireland to fall to Cromwell's army was Castleross on the lakes of Killarney. At that time, the castle was held by the O'Donoghue. For several months, the British could not take the castle. The Irish infantry was more lightly clad than the British, and would always lead the better armored and more heavily clad British down into the bogs where their armed superiority became a handicap, and then the Irish would cut them to pieces. There was an old Gaelic prophecy that Castleross would never fall to a foreign foe until it was attacked by water. There was a proviso in this prophecy. For the lakes of Killarney empty into Dingle Bay, where the water is so shallow that foreign men of war from the sea cannot enter it. The British general heard of this prophecy. He went to Dingle Bay and built flat-bottomed boats and floated them up the lakes of Killarney. He fired one cannon shot at Castleross. And the O'Donoghue, thinking that the prophecy had been fulfilled, surrendered without firing a shot in return.

I took the liberty of writing in such detail about Ireland because I thought you might be interested in modern Ireland. They call it the ‘new Ireland’ these days.

Hortense joins me in sending our warmest greetings to you and Natalia.

Yours,

Farrell

This summer I saw Alfred and Marguerite Rosmer a number of times, and they were very well. Madame Rosmer talked very often of you and Mrs Trotsky.
1 In earlier correspondence, Trotsky had used this phrase referring to baseball terminology used in A World I Never Made, a copy of which Farrell had sent him. Farrell had first met Trotsky in Mexico at the inquiry of the Dewey Commission into the Moscow trials. See ‘Dewey in Mexico,’ in Reflections at Fifty and Other Essays(New York: Vanguard Press, 1954), pp.97-123; and ‘A Memoir of Trotsky,’ University of Kansas City Review 23(1957): 293-98. In his reply to this letter of 11 December, Trotsky encouraged Farrell to publish his views on Ireland.






BATES AND WILKES CENTRAL




Occasionally The Pensive Quill, like most other blogs and websites probably, gets visits from racists, Nazis, cranks, crackpots, fetishists, trolls, sockpuppets, hate merchants, obituary defacers, obsessive stalkers and a sundry of others whom we generally ignore, just hitting the delete button the minute a comment from them appears without even reading the content. TPQ hosts a wide range of discussion which is sometimes heated as perspectives and opinions clash. It is not a gable wall where the parade of the pariahs is asked to assemble with a licence to spray hate grafitti.

We already have a page, In the Sewer With Der Stürmer, to where we re-direct the racists and Nazis. There, visitors can observe them thrashing around in their own muck. Now we have decided to create a new page, a sort of Crank's Corner where the rest who, whatever their hatreds, don't necessarily fit into the Der Stürmer category.

We have named it Bates and Wilkes Central. Norman Bates and Annie Wilkes were two obsessive stalkers created by Alfred Hitchcock and Stephen King respecively. The older film buffs amongst us should have little difficulty in recalling the films Psycho




and Misery.





All comments from the Cranks Contingent will be re-directed to this page. A word of advice to our normal readers who might come along for the fun: treat it like a visit to the zoo - look but feed at your own risk. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

SOLIDARITY MARCH MARIAN PRICE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY




End Impunity! from Spartacus on Vimeo.

IRISH AMERICAN PRIEST VISITS MARIAN PRICE


I don’t think anyone has ever made a greater impression on me than Marian Price. 



She and her late sister Dolours are, of course, iconic figures in the Irish freedom 

struggle. 



Indeed, there are probably no two women or men to match their heroism.

And, yet, it was not Marian’s heroic stature that so deeply moved me.



It was, rather, her gentleness, soft-spokeness and loveliness… That despite all the outrageous, vengeful, cruel and vicious treatment by the British-Northern Ireland Government, she remains a dignified, gracious and beautiful human being.



I visited Marian in her prison-hospital in Belfast on Friday, February22, 2013. Along 
with her attorney and husband, I spent ninety minutes with her.



I had gone back to Ireland for a family funeral. And the first thing Marian did was to 
express condolences to me.



There she was almost two years in prison, six months gravely ill a prison hospital, just 
trying to recover from the death of her beloved sister and she the takes time to comfort me !



The British-Northern Ireland Government is criminal in its treatment of Marian. 



Anyone in a position of power in Ireland – North or South – who has turned their back on Marian is criminally irresponsible. 



Shame on them, and shame on former colleagues who have deserted her.

This is on of the most shameless incidents in the sad history of the Irish struggle.



How can one have confidence in a government that treats Marian Price in 

such a vicious way? Is this what we were promised by the peace-process? 


Is this what the political Parties, North and South, are asking Irish-Americans to support? 



Fr McManus

Eire Nua - A Discussion Document




"Is amhlaidh atá Gaeil na haimsire seo agus a bhformhór ceannaithe ag Gallaibh. Ní heol dóibh gurab amhlaidh atá, ach is ea. Táid tar éis a díolta féin ar ór agus ar airgead nó ar luach óir agus airgid. Tá an fear saibhir tar éis é féin do dhíol ar mhórán, agus tá an fear daibhir tar éis é féin do dhíol ar bheagán".Sin mar a scriobh an Piarsach sa bhliain 1912. Ach ní raibh sé gan dóchas, mar san alt céanna dúirt sé:
"Tá drong bheag de Ghaelaibh nach bhfuil ceannaithe agus is chucu sin atáimid".
Ní bhfuair Gaeil a saoirse i 1922 ná ó shin. Táid fós faoi cheannas Gall agus tá comharthaí agus torthaí an éigirt sin go follasach in Éirinn an lae inniu.

Le foilsiú an pholasaí seo ÉIRE NUA tá an Barr Bua á sheinm arís agus tá an meirge á ardú. Tá idir anailís agus treoir sa cháipéis seo. Déanaimis staidéar uirthi agus gríosaímis clanna Gael chun misnigh agus chun saohair 

A New Beginning

Ireland in its national experience is unique in western Europe. The country's history as a colony of England has left its mark on Irish political, social, economic and cultural life.
Though the Ireland we have inherited has all kinds of resources and great potential for national achievement, it is far from realising that potential. Ireland is marked by underdevelopment, unemployment, emigration, poverty on a large scale, and a huge national debt. These problems, serious enough in themselves, are magnified by the continuing conflict in the Six Counties, which also has its origins in Ireland's colonial history.
A realistic assessment of Ireland's condition in 2000 shows that we have enormous problems, two failed states, and a political system that perpetuates our plight. One great obstacle to changing all that is our lack of hope. Another major obstacle is the slave mentality engendered in many of our people by centuries of conquest.
Yet the ideal of an independent Irish republic -- the ideal proclaimed by the leaders of the 1916 Rising 80 years ago -- still inspires those who continue the struggle for national unity and freedom. From the wellsprings of that ideal we can draw hope, inspiration and determination to forge a New Ireland -- making a new beginning, based on sound principles and a realistic plan, through the Éire Nua programme.
This programme can be our instrument to build a sound future for our nation. The programme embraces all the people of Ireland; it provides for a system in which all creeds and traditions can be represented and all citizens can exercise real power, without any group infringing on the rights of others. The alternative to the forging of a New Ireland is to endure the present affliction -- perhaps in the blind hope that our politicians and their EU friends will somehow magically find ways to transform our present debilitated, impoverished and undemocratic society into a nation that is strong, prosperous and democratic. But what makes that a wholly unrealistic expectation is that these politicians, the system they sponsor, and the policies they sustain and operate, are themselves at the core of the problem that confronts us. We know from bitter experience that Ireland has no real future under the direction of such politicians.
The system of partition government in Ireland has been maintained since 1922, and since 1973 under the growing influence of the EU. It is an inescapable fact, on the supreme test of results, that this system has failed. It is time to think of radical change.
The Éire Nua programme provides for a strong provincial and local government in a federation of the four provinces, designed to ensure that every citizen can participate in genuinely democratic self-government, and to guarantee that no group can dominate or exploit another. Under this programme all traditions in Ireland can make a valuable contribution to the nation. The programme and its structures will make it possible to bring together all the positive forces in the country. Éire Nua will provide the basis for implementing progressive social, economic and cultural policies.
Like other peoples, the Irish have their virtues as well as their faults. Irish men and women have made their mark throughout the world in many fields of endeavour. They have contributed in great measure to the development of America, Canada, Australia, and other countries. The Rising of 1916 and the Irish War of Independence inspired whole nations, particularly in Africa and Asia, to throw off the yoke of colonial oppression. In the light of these achievements, and of the spectacular recent advances of national rights and democracy in eastern Europe, it is tragic that the shackles still binding Ireland to its colonial past have prevented us from developing our nationhood.
So we must work to liberate the Irish people and establish a democratic system, based on justice and equal rights -- to build Éire Nua: a New Ireland . In that Ireland, Irish people will begin to experience real power in their own communities, with those communities serving as the foundation for a modern, pluralist Irish republic.
The programme is available for wide distribution, study and debate throughout the country and among our exiled children.

Éire Nua -- A new Ireland

Introduction

Irish people have demonstrated a native talent for formulating unusually effective policies for government and social administration. We have seen this, for example, in the Brehon Laws, which were in force in Ireland from the eighth to the sixteenth century, and in the dramatic influence exercised by the emigrant Irish on the constitutions and politics of the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Burma, and various African states.
The creative political genius of the Irish has flourished abroad; sadly the same cannot be said for Ireland itself, especially during the years since 1922.
There is an Irish nation which is based on an organised society and distinctive culture, with roots stretching back more than 1,500 years. This Irish nation has long endured invasion and colonisation by a more powerful neighbour. For more than 800 years the Irish people have heroically resisted this aggression and each generation handed on the torch of liberty to the next. Over the centuries the descendants of many of those who came as conquerors were assimilated and were accepted as Irish. Some of the Anglo-Norman families, for instance, became "more Irish than the Irish themselves" and have made an enormous contribution to Irish life, including the struggle for freedom.
Irish Republicanism has its roots in the desire for separation from England and the right of the Irish people to the ownership and control of their own country. Since the 1790s it has developed and evolved on the basis, not merely of separatism, but also of democracy and inclusivity based on the Rights of Man.
In the great Rising of 1798 large numbers of Protestants, Catholics and Dissenters fought side by side as United Irishmen to break the connection with England and establish an Irish Republic. That effort to achieve freedom and equality was brutally suppressed and the Act of Union creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was enacted in 1800. Throughout the nineteenth century it was a deliberate policy of English governments to cultivate loyalty to the Crown as well as bigotry and Orangeism among the mass of the Protestant people. They found allies also among some of the emerging Catholic professional and merchant classes. The unionists of Ulster (nine Counties) were allowed to exercise a veto over the demand of the majority of the Irish people for Home Rule and later for an Irish Republic.
From 1798 on the Republican non-sectarian position was resolutely maintained by men and women of vision and courage. The Irish Republic proclaimed in arms in 1916 was endorsed by a solid majority vote of the Irish people in 1918 and the first Dáil Éireann, embracing all 32 Counties, was established in 1919. England's response was to declare the Irish parliament illegal and to unleash forces of terror on the Irish people and their institutions.
The Republic guaranteed "religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all its citizens . . . cherishing all the children of the nation equally, and oblivious of the differences carefully fostered by an alien government, which have divided a minority from the majority in the past" (1916 Proclamation).
From 1916 to 1921 the Irish Republic was stoutly defended against English forces and a civil administration was organised. Under threat of "immediate and terrible war" and with the compliance of a section of the Republican Movement, Ireland was partitioned and Ulster was divided in 1921-22.
The legal instrument used to achieve this was the Westminster Government of Ireland Act 1920. The two States which exist in Ireland today date from that time. The Six-County State was created by arbitrarily dividing the historic province of Ulster, based on a sectarian head-count, designed to produce a permanent unionist majority within the 'United Kingdom' -- now "of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Thus was the Irish Republic proclaimed in 1916 and democratically endorsed in 1918 overthrown and two Partition States established to supplant it.
As we enter the twenty-first century, Ireland is a divided country. Six counties, containing nearly one-third of the total population of Ireland, are under an English administration whose power in Ireland is maintained by heavily armed forces of occupation. These two Partition States have been marked by emigration, poverty and economic imbalance over the decades since 1922. Normal democracy has been impossible in the artificial Six-County State. Political instability and repressive laws, a paramilitary police force, gerrymandering of electoral boundaries and discrimination in employment and housing have all been used to ensure that this part of Ireland remains within the 'United Kingdom'.
During the many centuries of English rule Ireland was administered as an integral political unit. In 1918, in the last all-Ireland election, the Irish people voted overwhelmingly for the political unity and sovereignty of Ireland. The rejection of unionism by the vast majority of Irish people is again clearly shown in the map, based on the results of the 1997 Six-County local elections.

A new electoral map of the Six Counties

This map gives a visual impression of the very extensive nationalist rejection of union with Britain. Even within unionist majority areas there is a considerable and often strong anti-union vote -- in the region of 39 per cent in Belfast and Craigavon and as high as 45 per cent in Armagh.
When this map is placed where it belongs -- within a map of the thirty-two counties of Ireland -- the unionist enclave is revealed for what it is: a small area in north-eastern Ireland.
Yet from its north-eastern redoubt the unionist minority has exercised for nearly eighty years a sweeping veto over the political will of the overwhelming majority of the Irish people. This anti-democratic faction is underpinned in its power in the north-east by the guarantees of the Westminster government. In the Hillsborough Agreement of 1985 and again in the Belfast Agreement of 1998 this minority veto was guaranteed by the Dublin administration as well, in further violation of Ireland's 32-County sovereignty.

A failed arrangement

The failure of the Partition arrangement is evident from nearly eighty years of "the nationalist nightmare" in the north-east -- occupation, repression, thought control, economic stagnation and emigration and from the British government's abolition of the Six-County Stormont parliament in 1972. Subsequent solutions, such as the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement and the 1985 Hillsborough Agreement, have underlined the failure of Partition.
The current policy, based on the Belfast Agreement signed at Stormont on April 10, 1998, seeks to make the artificial Six-County State work within the 'UK' by an elaborate and convoluted system that has been labelled "power-sharing". Since this agreement did not address the basic problem of English rule in Ireland it was flawed from the start. It was sold to the electorate as a basis for a permanent peace, which it could not deliver. It was dishonest, in that it was sold to unionists as a deal to consolidate the union with England and simultaneously urged on nationalists as something which would weaken the union and lead to a united Ireland. And the unionist veto was endorsed, allowing 18% of the population of Ireland to dictate the political progress of the other 82% and therefore of the nation as a whole. As in the case of the Treaty of Surrender in 1921 this Agreement was put to the people as a question of war or peace. Accordingly it was not a free vote; also, a majority in the Six Counties was stated to be decisive for all Ireland.
English rule in Ireland is an injustice, an infringement of Irish national sovereignty, which can be ended only by an administration in Westminster which decides to disengage and withdraw from Ireland. Anything less than such a disengagement will only prolong the political instability and lead inevitably to further armed resistance.
The 26-County State has cooperated in the deception of the Belfast Agreement and has thus sought to legitimise foreign rule in Ireland. Some 26-County politicians hanker after a return to membership of the British Commonwealth. In all of this they are aided and abetted by individuals of wealth and influence, and by some people in the media. These same politicians operate a "clientelist" system; public office is achieved and maintained by buying people's allegiance, trading favours for votes. Corruption in finance, politics and physical planning is rife and the resultant public cynicism has led to a decline in the exercise of the franchise by citizens who feel increasingly powerless.
This culture of corruption is a consequence, not merely of personal dishonesty on the part of certain individuals, but also of the highly centralised nature of the 26-County State, whereby decisions affecting the everyday life of communities are placed in the hands of an elite cadre of politicians and bureaucrats.
Enormous sums of money have been borrowed to perpetuate this system and this has created one of the highest per capita debts in the world. There has also been a deterioration in the Irish public services -- health, education and social welfare. Disillusion and frustration with the prevailing conditions have led in some sectors to a near-breakdown of social order, particularly among young people in urban areas. The Irish people deserve better government than this. They deserve leaders who are imbued with sound moral values and who are interested in genuine public service, rather than self-aggrandisement and power for the sake of power. Our long struggle for freedom provides us with endless examples of selfless men and women who dedicated their lives to the welfare of our people.

Cultural and economic consequences

These problems have been compounded by policies of cultural deprivation, with Irish identity and the Irish language deliberately downgraded. The only culture many young Irish people know is a commercialised Anglo-American pop culture, and they are denied access to any real knowledge of Ireland's long history of struggle for freedom. For years now the people of the 26 Counties have been paying more per capita for the maintenance of the Six-County Border than have the people of Britain. Yet the continued British presence in the North, and British influence in the South, have brought only tragedy and a scandalous waste of resources.
The Partition of Ireland led to a dissipation of scarce resources north and south. There has been no unified long-term capital investment in areas like energy, education, health and industry; there has been great duplication of expenditure. The impact of Partition on areas of Ireland along the British-imposed Border has been particularly injurious.
British systems of government and economic management, inappropriate for a country of our size and economic condition, have been slavishly perpetuated, north and south, since Partition. Other small countries in Europe, some with fewer natural resources than Ireland's, have made great economic strides in modern times, particularly since WWII, and have achieved high standards of living for their people. The unemployment, poverty and emigration the Irish have experienced would be completely unacceptable in Sweden, Switzerland or Finland; they should also be unacceptable here.

EU membership

Our problems were magnified when both states were led into full membership of the so-called "European Community". Such membership was unsuited to a country at our early stage of economic development -- the result of Ireland's being a British colony for centuries. No modern nation has managed to bring itself from underdevelopment to full development in circumstances of unrestricted free trade -- a situation that in Ireland's case is compounded by continued foreign occupation.
Under the Act of Union of 1800 Ireland lost half its population and suffered dire poverty and stunted growth. In the early twentieth century Ireland attempted to break entirely with Britain; but under the Partition arrangement the malign influence of British power has persisted for nearly eighty years. This influence persists within the neo-colonial framework of the EU.
Since 1972, when we were promised "markets in Europe and jobs at home", native manufacturing industries, never designed to withstand competition from heavily bankrolled multinational European industries, have been shut down. EU agricultural policy has resulted in elimination of family farms, with detrimental social consequences for rural communities.
Agricultural policy is almost totally dictated by Brussels. It has favoured the wealthier farmers and has even ordered Irish citizens to take some of their land out of production. So many have now left the land that schools and post offices are being closed down and some rural parishes even have difficulty in fielding a sporting team. This has all undermined people's idea of self-sufficiency, and the resultant movement to urban areas has increased the culture of dependency, creating new problems in the towns and cities.
Sinn Féin Poblachtach regards the European Union, as it has developed and continues to develop, as a modern form of imperialism.
It serves the interests, above all, of big business and the super-rich. Corruption is rampant there also as we saw in 1999 when the whole EU Commission had to resign. It is undemocratic in its institutions and it is overcentralising; in this it runs counter to the Republican aims of increasing the democratic power of citizens and decentralising decision-making to manageable units where all citizens can participate in a meaningful way.
It is sometimes remarked that the EU has promoted progressive policies in Ireland, like equal pay for equal work and protection of the environment. These are steps which any Irish administration could have taken at any time. Our standards should be even higher than those imposed by Brussels.
The Celtic Tiger economy has served to provide more jobs, but those who benefit most from it are those who are already rich. In recent years the gap between rich and poor has widened. There is more social exclusion and rates of real poverty and illiteracy are actually getting worse. A crisis in housing our people is with us.
Whatever economic improvements we have witnessed have been brought about by the transfer of structural and other funds by the EU and by the driving force in economic development which is based on encouraging multinational companies to locate in Ireland. This is not the solid foundation on which to build a national economy.
Too many people have been left on the margins of society and a sub-culture of poverty has been generated. Economic development based on inward investment by multinational companies means that there is no indigenous input and there are no roots in the communities. The factors which sustain such an economy are totally beyond the control of the Irish people.
(The Sinn Féin Poblachtach perspective on social and economic questions is presented in our policy document SAOL NUA.)
Sinn Féin Poblachtach recognises the enormous influence of modern technology, especially mass communications which have made the world smaller. We also recognise the interdependence of peoples and our duty to play a positive role in international affairs. But an over-emphasis on economic development, based on a rapacious exploitation of the world's finite resources and measured by growth in GNP, is inadequate. Recent United Nations Human Development Reports on Ireland have shown just how deficient such an approach is, resulting in social exclusion, poverty and illiteracy, which in turn denies many thousands of people the rights of full citizenship and leads to escalating crime.
Both states in Ireland boast of increasing the number of police and building new prisons. The suicide rate has been growing at an alarming rate. These are hardly the signs of a healthy community.
Ireland, with its historic experience of English colonisation and exploitation, has much in common with former European colonies in the Third World. We can best serve the interests of our own people and of humankind by maintaining a principled non-aligned stance in international affairs, avoiding military alliances and promoting the cancellation of Third World debt. Our democratic and egalitarian principles and our own long struggle for national independence should lead us to promote human rights and the liberation of people everywhere.

A new beginning

The following proposals indicate ways to remedy Ireland's weakened and wasted conditions and gradually bring the nation to its full health. These proposals aim to abolish the failed, undemocratic system of Partition rule, and to replace this with a democratic system based on the unity and sovereignty of the Irish people, as well as on their right as free citizens to equal treatment and equal opportunity. After decades of armed conflict and political turmoil -- and given the clear failure of the British-model systems now in operation to provide adequate and improving standards of living -- there is an obligation on all Irish people to work together to find a new, constructive way forward. Our nation is made up of diverse traditions, each of which can make a valuable and positive contribution to the community as a whole.
The structures which we propose are designed to embrace and include all the people of Ireland, on the basis of "cherishing all the children of the nation equally". Dáil Uladh and the regional and local structures in Ulster will ensure that both unionists and nationalists can have access to power -- real power.
A federal structure involves a sharing of sovereignty, and Dáil Uladh would have more power than the old Stormont ever had. Similarly in the other three provinces, all communities and citizens would have access to real power.
What we seek to establish is a pluralist participative democracy with appropriate structures at every level in society. When the malign influence of Westminster rule is removed at last a New Ireland can be fashioned by the Irish people themselves, of all persuasions. A federal system, with strong regional and local government, will make it possible for unionists and nationalists to co-operate in the common interest, pooling the talents of all and working together to build a new and prosperous Ireland.
As we enter the twenty-first century it is finally time for the Irish people to apply their undoubted creative genius, and the talent for government that they have so often demonstrated abroad, to the needs of the Irish nation at home.




Proposed Governmental Structures

The object of Sinn Féin Poblachtach is to establish a new society in Ireland: Éire Nua. To achieve that, the structures of undemocratic partition rule must be abolished; they must be replaced with entirely new structures based on the unity of the Irish people as a whole. The new system would embody two main features:
  1. a new constitution;
  2. a new government structure.


A new constitution

The new constitution would provide for;
  1. a Charter of Rights, to secure for citizens effective control of their conditions of living, subject to the common good;
  2. a structure of government designed to provide the maximum distribution of authority at provincial and subsidiary level;
  3. the right of Ireland to join international organisations -- eg the United Nations, the World Health Organisation -- so long as such organisations do not subvert Irish sovereignty or neutrality.


Draft Charter of Rights

A Charter of Rights would be formulated, along these lines:

We the people of Ireland are resolved to establish political sovereignty, to secure human justice and social progress in this island, to achieve a better life for all, and henceforth to live in peace with one another. And so we declare our adherence to the following principles:
  • Article 1. Every citizen is born free and equal and shares the same inherent human dignity. Everyone is entitled to the rights of citizenship without distinction as to race, sex religion, philosophical conviction, language or political outlook.
  • Article 2. Every citizen has the right to life, liberty, and security of person. No-one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest of detention.
  • Article 3. Every citizen has the right to freedom of conscience, to free choice and practice of religion, and to the free and open teaching of ethical and political beliefs. This includes the rights to freedom of assembly, the right to peaceable association, the right to petition, and the right to freedom of expression and communication.
  • Article 4. Every citizen has the right to participate in the government of the country, and to equal access to its public service.
  • Article 5. The basis of government is the will of the people. This is expressed in direct participatory democracy and free elections by secret ballot. The right of every citizen to follow his or her conscience, and to express his or her personal opinion, stands against any demographically contrived attempt at repression.
  • Article 6. Every citizen has the right to education according to personal ability, the right to work, and the right to a standard of living worthy of a free human being. This right extends to food, housing and medical care, and to security against unemployment, illness, and disability.
  • Article 7. Every citizen has the right to marry and found a family. Mothers, children, the aged and infirm deserve the nation's particular care and attention.
  • Article 8. Every citizen has the right to equal pay for equal work, and the right to join a trade union for the protection of workers' collective interests, and these rights must be acknowledged by all employers.
  • Article 9. In the exercise of their rights, citizens shall be subject only to such constraints as may be necessary to ensure recognition and respect for the rights of others and the welfare of the larger community.
It is intended that the European Convention on Human Rights, promulgated on November 4, 1950 in twenty-one countries, be made part of the internal domestic law of the New Ireland.


Governmental structures

The system outlined here envisions a federation of the four provinces of Ireland under the co-ordination of a national parliament, with powers devolved through regional administrative councils to local bodies, so that at all levels citizens may have an effective voice in their own governance.

Dáil Éireann

The New Ireland will have a national parliament, to which all citizens of the thirty-two counties will give common allegiance, and which will embody the unity and sovereignty of the nation as a whole. This parliament -- a true Dáil Éireann -- will have the responsibility of protecting the nation's interests at home and abroad. All its actions will be governed by a constitution freely adopted by the majority of the people of the country.

Provincial government

Decentralised local government will be fundamental to the new system.
The four traditional provinces -- Ulster, Munster, Leinster, and Connacht -- have emerged as definite regions within the island of Ireland, with distinctive characteristics. Irish people in any region will be found to have a natural affinity -- in culture, sport and economic interest -- with those of their own province and county.
Uniting the historic province of Ulster will help eliminate the sectarian divisions of the past and realise the full potential for development of separated counties -- especially Donegal, Derry, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, and Monaghan. The people of the long-neglected province of Connacht will find power to escape from their isolation. The people of the provinces of Leinster and Munster will be able to pursue policies that will secure them a more equitable and balanced form of development.

Regional boards

Regional boards will plan and oversee the economic, social and cultural development of areas within their jurisdiction. They will be served by secretariats employing modern means of administration while ensuring attention to and care for the problems of all the people of the region.

District councils

District councils will give people a direct voice in their own local governance, ensuring that their public representatives are more closely accountable to the electorate.

Community councils

Community councils will give people the opportunity to improve conditions at parish level.
It is proposed that -- to signify the beginning of a new era and the unity of the country around its geographic centre -- Athlone be made the capital city of the New Ireland.

National or federal parliament

The national parliament, Dáil Éireann -- which will also be a federal parliament in that it will be drawn from the federation of Ireland's four constituent provinces -- will consist of a single chamber of about a hundred deputies, elected 50 per cent by direct universal suffrage according to the proportional representation system and 50 per cent in equal numbers from each provincial parliament. Each deputy (TD) would represent about 25,000 voters. The precise figure would be based on the ratio between the density of population of an electoral district and its geographical area.
Dáil Éireann will be representative of the whole of Ireland and elected by the suffrage of all its citizens. It will be the supreme national authority, acting in trust for the people. Its primary duty would be to uphold the Constitution and Charter of Rights adopted by the Irish people.
The national parliament, Dáil Éireann, will have the following special responsibilities:
  1. defending the nation, physically and politically;
  2. upholding the interests of the Irish people, and representing their concern for other people, in any international forum;
  3. formulating Irish foreign policy, maintaining Irish neutrality and independence from all power blocs, including the EU, and seeking to secure a nuclear-free world; and
  4. protecting and promoting Irish culture, language and literature.
Functions of the national parliament:
  1. the national parliament will control all powers and functions essential to the good of the nation;
  2. the national parliament will elect a President, who will serve as both Prime Minister and head of state;
  3. the national parliament will elect a Government, consisting of a limited number of ministers nominated by the President;
  4. the national parliament will secure the independence of the Supreme Court and of the judicial system as guardian of the Constitution;
  5. the national parliament will initiate national legislation, through any of the following agencies:
    • its own deputies,
    • the central Government,
    • a provincial parliament, or
    • an initiative;
  6. The national parliament will adopt national legislation, either
    • directly, through its own deputies, or
    • by initiative in specified cases;
  7. the national parliament will oversee collection of the federal revenue.


Provincial parliaments or assemblies

Assemblies or parliaments will be established for each of the four provinces. The representatives will be elected by the people of each province according to a system of proportional representation.
The functions of the provincial parliament will be:
  • to co-ordinate activity and development in the various regions in the province, with particular care for the unique character of the Gaeltacht areas;
  • to initiate and promote legislation for the social, economic and cultural development of the people within the region, with the right to initiative; and
  • to co-ordinate the development and expansion of third-level education;
  • to collect provincial revenue.

Regional boards

Regional boards will be established to promote and co-ordinate the economic, social and cultural affairs of clearly defined regions. The regional development board would be a single chamber consisting of:
  1. representatives of district councils within the region concerned, elected according to a system of proportional representation, and
  2. expert representatives appointed by the provincial parliament.
The regional board would have the following responsibilities:
  1. to assess and co-ordinate the work of district councils in their regions;
  2. to provide for hospitalisation and care of the young, aged and infirm;
  3. to supervise regional planning;
  4. to plan for economic growth;
  5. to provide for cultural development.
The following regions are suggested:
  • Connacht -- two regions: North Connacht, consisting of Sligo, Leitrim, Mayo and the Boyle and Ballaghaderreen county electoral areas of Roscommon; and South Connacht, consisting of Galway, the remainder of Roscommon and the Claremorris/Ballinrobe area of Mayo plus the Gaeltacht are of Tuar Mhic Eide in South Mayo.
  • Munster -- four regions: Cork city and environs, South Munster, consisting of Kerry and North and West Cork; East Munster, consisting, consisting of South Tipperary, Waterford and East Cork; and North Munster, consisting of North Tipperary, Limerick and Clare.
  • Leinster -- four regions: Midlands, consisting of Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly; East Leinster, consisting of South Louth, Meath, Kildare and Wicklow; Greater Dublin; and South Leinster, consisting of Wexford, Carlow and Kilkenny.
  • Ulster -- four regions: East Ulster, consisting of Antrim, East Derry, East Tyrone, North Armagh, and North and East Down; South Ulster, consisting of Cavan, Monaghan, part of Fermanagh, South Down, South Armagh and North Louth; Greater Belfast; and West Ulster, consisting of Donegal, Derry City and the Faughan and Limavady districts of County Derry, the Strabane and Omagh districts of County Tyrone, and most of County Fermanagh.
  • All Gaeltacht districts would constitute a Gaeltacht Region.
Each region will be served by a fully staffed secretariat.

District councils

A district council will consist of a single chamber elected by the people of a clearly defined area covering a population of 10,000 to 40,000 people.
District councils will have the following areas of responsibility:
  • the welfare and security of the community and the application of the law in a humane and just manner;
  • primary and secondary education;
  • job creation, regulations governing employment and standards of work, trading practices, etc;
  • local planning and environmental development;
  • agriculture, fishing, and small industry;
  • health centres, youth and recreational development;
  • housing and control of rented accommodation;
  • social welfare and social services.
Each district council will have a secretariat, where all services would be provided under the same roof.

Community councils

Community councils will be voluntary bodies, representing close-knit communities based on parishes or other suitable centres, such as a district electoral area. To ensure the welfare of their people and the good of their communities, community councils will have the right of audience at all district council meetings.
Please note: The above proposals are not definitive; they can and inevitably will be modified. Sinn Féin Poblachtach would in fact welcome constructive criticism of these proposals.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Enda Kenny to Raise Internment Issue with Cameron







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The 26-County Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he will raise Marian Price’s plight in Maghaberry prison when he meets the British Prime Minister David Cameron early next month.
Mr Kenny said he would study the report of the all-party delegation from the Dublin parliament that had visited the prison and met and spoke to the veteran republican, who remains interned without trial.

“I am aware of the circumstances of Ms Price going back into Maghaberry and of the medical reports regarding her state of health,” the Taoiseach added.
In May 2011, Marian Price was arrested after she held up a piece of paper on a windy day, at a traditional Easter commemoration from which a masked man read. She was taken to Maghaberry high security prison (an all-male prison) and was placed in solitary confinement, where Marian was accused of, ‘encouraging support for an illegal organisation’.
Marian has now been in prison for 16 months, during which time neither her lawyers or Marian have been allowed to see any of Britain’s ‘alleged’ evidence.
Despite having been previously force-fed 400 times by the British in an English prison and in considerable ill health and pain, she was initially kept in solitary confinement in a ‘male’ high security prison, before her deteriorating health required her to be hospitalised.
Although her release has been ordered on two occasions by judges, she remains interned without a trial, sentence, or release date by British decree.
Two British Direct Rulers have claimed Marian’s prison release license was “revoked” -- even though she was never released on license. Last month, she was refused permission to attend her sister’s funeral.
Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said a major issue surrounded her continued imprisonment and that of another veteran republican, Martin Corey.
In the Dublin parliament on Tuesday, he called on the 26 County government to “unequivocally call for the release of these two individuals.”
“They are held without charge or trial,” he said. “There is no due process whatsoever.”He said a delegation from the Dail had found Marian to be very ill.
“Obviously, she is also grieving for her sister, Dolours, who died just a short time ago. She is confined. The government needs to raise these issues.
“I would like to know when was the last time the matter was raised and whether the government will unequivocally call for the release of these two individuals.”
The Taoiseach replied that he would raise it with the British Prime Minister and that it ‘is not easy to decide what is the best thing to do’.
Responding, Gerry Adams said it was “straightforward”.
“If a citizen is to be accused of an offence, that citizen should be brought forward and subjected to due process - sin e,” he said.
“Ms Marian Price has not been subjected to due process. Whatever has been said against her has been said in secret -- she cannot even hear it. It is back to the old days of internment, commissions and all the rest of it.
“It is easy to know what to do, with respect. If they want to keep these individuals in prison, let them go through due process or let the rest of us demand that they be released forthwith.”
BANNERMeanwhile, republican activists in Belfast this week erected a banner on the Belfast motorway to mark Marian Price’s internment, now almost two years old.
The 32 County Sovereignty Movement in Belfast said the banner was to mark that she has been interned 650 days “on the say-so” of the British government.

ORANGEMEN ‘CAN MARCH AT WILL’

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The Protestant marching orders have said they can simply bypass the Parades Commission in the future after loyalist flags protestors held scores of parades last month without any approval.
The Parades Commission was established in 1997 in the wake of loyalist violence linked to the highly contentious Drumcree parade during the mid-1990s.
However, the body has become increasingly irrelevant in recent years as marchers and the PSNI police have routinely ignored their rulings.
The issue became undeniable last month when loyalists protesting against a change in Belfast City Hall’s policy on flying the British flag were allowed to hold over a hundred marches without even informing the Commission.
Rev Mervyn Gibson, the grand chaplain of the anti-Catholic Orange Order in Belfast, said loyalist flag protesters had been able to march unchecked from east Belfast to the city centre every Saturday.
He said there was a “loophole” in the law on parading.
“We will do what we need to do to get our parades and our culture celebrated in a way which threatens no-one,” he said.
In response, the Parades Commission appeared to blame the PSNI. They said today [Friday] that “the law is very clear” and that it is an offence to organise or participate in a parade that has not been appropriately notified to the PSNI.
However, earlier this week, PSNI Assistant Chief Will Kerr indicated that his force would continue to avoid any intervention that might anger the loyalist community. He said that due to the potential for loyalist violence. this was “the least worst option”.“We’re never going to provide a long-term solution to this problem,” he admitted,” Kerr admitted. “Only civic society [politicians] can do that.”
Former SDLP deputy leader Brid Rodgers accused the Parades Commission of “washing their hands” of responsibility amid the parades chaos.
Commissioners also faced calls to act from Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin who said the organisation must “assert its authority” on the parading issue.
Sinn Féin Assembly member Gerry Kelly said the PSNI should refer parade matters to the commission.
“The PSNI are part of the problem as instead of notifying the Parades Commission of these ongoing contentious parades -- and in particular those past Short Strand -- they are dealing with the issue themselves,” he said.
“The Parades Commission was set up to make determinations on contentious parades. That is what they should be doing now and the PSNI then need to police those determinations.”
The controversy has increased ahead of the first Orange Order march of the year which is to take place tomorrow (Saturday) from east Belfast to the city centre. The Parades Commission has issued restrictions on the march, which passes the nationalist Short Strand and St Matthew’s Catholic Church.
Sinn Féin said there are concerns among the nationalist community who have had “no let-up” in loyalist protests since the start of December.
Violence has flared during parades in the area on several occasions since Belfast City Council voted to reduce the flying of the British Union Jack at the city hall.
St Matthew’s Church has been targeted during the riots.
On the nationalist side, a Short Strand resident is to challenge the British government and the PSNI over the handling of the flag protests, in the courts.
A judge has granted leave for a judicial review as the resident has argued the parades are illegal and should be stopped. A decision is not expected until April.


PSNI force cancellation of soccer derby

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The PSNI police combined with loyalists to force the postponement of a key Belfast soccer match last weekend.
Loyalist protestors draped in Union Jack flags briefly clashed with the PSNI outside Crusaders’ home ground, Seaview, in north Belfast, before the match against Cliftonville was called off.
Among those involved was notorious hardline loyalist Willie Frazer, while leading UVF paramilitaries form east Belfast were also observed to be in attendance.
A DUP statement said one of the party’s councillors had been struck by the PSNI amid the disorder. It blamed Cliftonville fans (who are generally from the nationalist community) for “behaving badly and offensively towards local residents”.
The PSNI said they asked the loyalists to move after 40 minutes, to allow fans to enter the stadium.
“Despite intensive efforts by police and football officials to negotiate a peaceful outcome, the protest did not move and as a consequence police had to move the protest to ensure the safety of fans and allow the match to proceed,” a statement read.
But the PSNI was accused of weakness in allowing the small band of embittered loyalists to disrupt an important sporting fixture.Both clubs had made it clear that they wished to proceed, and both sets of supporters -- normally associated with different communities -- had mingled together in a spontaneous act of solidarity.
Sinn Féin’s Caral Ni Chuilin said it was “particularly disappointing” that the game had been called off “for reasons totally unconnected with sport”.
“The flag protest which forced the cancellation of this match has nothing to do with football,” she said.
Disturbances also closed the M3 motorway for more than an hour on the same day following the weekly loyalist march to Belfast City Hall.
It was the 11th consecutive Saturday on which a flags rally had taken place at the city council headquarters. Protesters again paraded there from east Belfast and back again afterwards, without the permission of the Parades Commission.
Addressing the crowd of around 200 -- down from 2000 at its height -- protest leader Jamie Bryson said he would “borrow a phrase” from Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams.
“We haven’t gone away you know. No surrender.”
“For 11 weeks people have tried everything to destroy these protests but there’s still hundreds of people standing here,” he said.
“They have not won. We are not defeated. Adolf Hitler had a million followers. Jesus only had 12.
“It doesn’t matter how many are here. If there are two of us standing here, we’ll still be standing.”
GARVAGH ‘SHAME’Other loyalist protests across the north saw violence in Garvagh, County Derry, where a demonstration was described as “a night of shame”.
A brick was thrown at a nurse’s car as she drove to work through the village on Friday night.
Sinn Féin assembly member Cathal O hOisin called for more to be done to protect the public.
“While I recognise the right to peaceful protest it is clear that many of these flag protests have been illegal or had violence and intimidation associated with them,” he said.
SDLP Assembly member John Dallat said the demonstration was “an affront to humanity”.
“These so-called protesters had their faces covered either with scarves or hoods, making it impossible to identify who they were, and that raises serious questions as to the legality of these so-called flag protests,” he said.
“I don’t know of anywhere in the free world where this kind of beastly behaviour would be accepted or listened to.”


Stark figures reveal deprivation and discrimination

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More than four in ten children in West Belfast are living in poverty, it has emerged.
New figures show that the constituency, in which 43 per cent of the children live in poverty, suffers from deeper poverty than any local authority area in Ireland or Britain, except for one ghetto in central Manchester.
Children in other nationalist areas are also faring badly. Although heavily promoted as this year’s ‘UK City of Culture’, Derry is now the fourth most poverty-stricken area for children under British jurisdiction, across either Ireland or Britain.
Nearby Strabane, County Tyrone is another of the most deprived areas. However, figures for wealthy, unionist areas such as Lagan Valley and North Down have as little as 13% of children living in need.
Commenting on the figures, Enver Solomon, Chair of the End Child Poverty campaign said the child poverty map reveals the “gross levels of inequality that children face in every region”.
He said the huge disparities that exist have become more entrenched and are now an enduring reality, as many more children are set to become trapped in long-term poverty and disadvantage.
Leading children’s charity Barnardo’s called on the Stormont administration to do something.
“Behind today’s statistics sit the most vulnerable children in society, whose life chances risk being compromised by our failure to tackle child poverty effectively,” said Lynda Wilson of Barnardo’s.
Nationalist politicians did not blame the poverty figures on continuing discrimination against their community, but described the statistics as a “scandal”.
SDLP councillor Tim Attwood expressed shock at the statistics for his constituency.
“It is unacceptable that the Falls, Shankill and Whiterock wards remain amongst the most deprived wards in the North,” he said. “It is a scandal that life expectancy for men in some parts of west Belfast is ten years less compared to men in parts of south Belfast, which is just a stone’s throw away.”
Sinn Féin’s MP for the west of the city, Paul Maskey, blamed the poverty on past neglect by the British government.
“Low wages, as well as high unemployment, are contributing to the poverty faced by entire communities in west Belfast due to generational neglect by successive British governments,” he said.
JUDICIAL REVIEWOngoing discrimation against Catholics was raised in the High Court this week, where the unionist management of the Girdwood housing project was called into question.
For decades, nationalists have complained that unionist politicians have marginalised and ghettoised Catholics, while encouraging the development and expansion of wealthy Protestant communities.
The sprawling new development, on the site of a former British Army base in north Belfast, is to be the subject of a judicial review after a judge accepted concerns over discrimination in the planning of the project.In court, Barry Macdonald QC pointed out that the DUP Minister Nelson McCausland and party colleague Nigel Dodds had acted in a sectarian manner.
They were “grinning like Cheshire cats” in the publicity photographs for Girdwood, he said. “There is an abundance of evidence giving rise to a reasonable inference that Mr McCausland was indeed motivated by sectarian considerations.
“He has expressed himself in sectarian terms in the recent past and when he comes into office he makes a decision which reflects that.”


Anti-Irish racism reported on the increase

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Irish community activists in Britain have sought high-level political discussions following an increase in attacks on Irish events by far-right organisations and loyalists.
On Monday, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool met with that city’s Mayor and senior officials to ask that the rights of the Irish community to hold lawful, dignified and peaceful public events be upheld and protected.
And this week in Wakefield, a small town in west Yorkshire made famous by the hunger strike of Irish martyr Frank Stagg, a dignified republican commemoration was beset a small group of flag-wielding loyalists, with little protection from the Yorkshire police.
Similar problems have been encountered by Irish events and organisations across England and Scotland. But it is Liverpool’s Irish community which has been particularly targeted by right-wing British extremists, through openly racist and intimidatory confrontations.
In a statement, Cairde na hEireann Liverpool said on Monday the attacks had been “an attempt drive the Irish community off the streets of Liverpool.
“They have also been aimed at preventing the expression of Irish culture and our community’s right to commemorate Liverpool-Irish history and honour the memory of such historical figures such as James Larkin and the Liverpool-Irish volunteers who fought fascism in Spain.”
The details of the attacks were published in a recent report by the community group, which has a proud history of involvement in the local anti-racist and anti-fascist struggle.
The report, ‘Under Pressure’, provides an account of recent anti-Irish racism in Liverpool, linking it to a history of institutional racism and far-right and Loyalist activity in the city.Last July saw a so-called “anti-IRA” march in Liverpool by hardline English Defence League splinter group the North West Infidels (NWI), a far-right street protest movement.
It was planned in response to a march organised by the left-wing James Larkin Society to counter the rise in far-right activity targeting Muslims, trade unionists and Irish republican groups living in the north of England. The event had nothing to do with the IRA.
And this time last year, in scenes unseen since the 80s, hardline British nationalists stopped a march commemorating Liverpool-born Republican Sean Phelan and racially abused marchers. It is feared the same scenes could be repeated in upcoming events.
A number of news publications have also documented the increased links between loyalists and far-right racist groups such as the North West Infidels, Combined Ex-forces, English Defence League and the National Front.
The rhetoric of groups like the English Defence League uses the recycled racism of the 1980s when the National Front and British Movement would stage “anti-IRA” marches as an excuse to attack and intimidate Irish immigrants.
When BBC screened a documentary about Irish rappers, anti-Irish prejudice quickly surfaced on social networks:
“Irish rappers on bbc three!? Give it a rest, f**k off back to the fiddle and flute you potato eating chumps!”
“Irish rappers!!...potato famine has resulted in some damage chromosomes me thinks”
Meanwhile, first and second-generation Irish journalists have also spoken out about what is known in England as “Paddy-bashing” or “Catholic-bashing”.
In blog posts, they have written about an “unspoken rule” that “Irish people are white, so discriminating against them can’t be racist


Never going away

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By Danny Morrison (dannymorrison.com)


I love St Valentine’s Day. But with it comes sad memories, especially of the year 1976. In subsequent years there were other sad memories, such as hearing, just two days after the killing of Pat Finucane, about the assassination of Sinn Féin Councillor John Davey, with whom I had been interned.
I think it was in the early morning of 12 February 1976 that we heard about the death of Frank Stagg on hunger strike in an English jail. He and his comrade Michael Gaughan had been on hunger strike in 1974 demanding to be transferred to a prison in the North. Michael Gaughan died in June of that year and, unfortunately, the solidarity protest movement on the outside was nothing of the order of the protests that we witnessed in 1980 and 1981.
This had been Frank Stagg’s fourth hunger strike and he died in Wakefield Prison, blind, weighing four stones after sixty-two days, his wife and mother at his bedside. There were some protests on the streets, but not many, some rioting and some IRA operations. I was standing at the corner of Brighton Street that night with a friend, Seando Moore, when we heard a muffled explosion from the direction of Iveagh. About half an hour later we learnt that a small bomb had exploded in a house in Nansen Street and that our friend and comrade, Sean ‘Stu’ Bailey, was seriously injured, along with several young people.
I wrote ‘young people’ there and it has just occurred to me that Stu himself was just eighteen. He had been in the IRA for over a year and had been very close to Paul Fox who had been killed on active service two months earlier. Stu had been shot and wounded by the Sticks in that disastrous feud of October 1975 and was still recovering. Days after the feud ended Stu, with his leg still in plaster from the gunshot wound, had gone to his brother-in-law’s wedding where the majority of the guests were Sticks!

That night of the explosion I went around to tell his wife, Geraldine, that he had been seriously injured and taken to the Royal. On the mantelpiece was a Valentine’s card from Geraldine and their young daughter, Seaneen, which Stu was never to see. Geraldine and, I think, Stu’s mother, Mrs Bailey, rushed to the hospital where he died a few hours later. He was a very funny fellow with an infectious laugh and I can still see his spirit in his daughter. It is hard to believe that that was twenty-five years ago. But all of us, from whatever walk or persuasion, carry around inside us these evocative reminiscences, with the images and voices of our dead friends asserting themselves, and not just on anniversaries.

Frank Stagg had made a will requesting that he be buried in the republican plot in Leigue Cemetery, Ballina, beside his comrade, Michael Gaughan. Before his remains were released, several other people lost their lives, including 17-year-old IRA Volunteer James O’Neill in North Belfast and 15-year-old Anthony Doherty on the Falls Road.
As Frank Stagg’s body was being flown home, and as the aeroplane was approaching Dublin airport, the Fine Gael/Labour coalition government ordered Aer Lingus to fly on to Shannon were the special branch seized the coffin. To this day I can still see Frank Stagg’s mother standing at Dublin airport, completely bewildered, but absolutely dignified. The government had split the family, with one son, Emmet, who is now a Labour TD, sanctioning the hijacking.
And so the special branch buried IRA Volunteer Frank Stagg and poured six feet of concrete on top of his grave to prevent republicans from re-interring his body alongside Michael Gaughan’s. The following day, republicans gathered in Leigue Cemetery where they heard Joe Cahill make a promise to Frank Stagg. He said: “I pledge that we will assemble here again in the near future when we have taken your body from where it lies. Let there be no mistake about it, we will take it, Frank, and we will leave it resting side by side with your great comrade, Michael Gaughan.”
For six months the gardai were stationed in the cemetery watching the grave but eventually they gave up and left. And when they did, the IRA disinterred Frank Stagg’s remains and reburied them with Michael Gaughan, thus carrying out his last request.
When you consider all the state and loyalist violence, all the laws, all the sermons, all the editorials, all the censorship, that were used to stop republicans from being republicans and practising republicanism, what is left is mountain after mountain after mountain of failure, and thousands upon thousands upon thousands of republicans who haven’t gone away and never will.