Ireland

Sinn Féin made a big surge in the Euro and Council elections. What are the reasons behind this development? What programme does Sinn Féin propose? And what does the growth of SF mean for workers across the Island?

Ireland’s elections punished the coalition  government, disappointed the “official opposition” and allowed Sinn Féin the main Irish Republican Party to make gains. These reflect the failure of the Labour leaders to fight for an alternative and their collaboration with Fine Gael in delivering the austerity on behalf of the Troika.

Sixteen years after the Good Friday agreement and ever so conveniently, just after the European Elections, the Stormont Assembly will shortly face a show down on the question of Welfare Reform, which is likely to illustrate just how toothless and lame the Assembly really is. But most importantly it will demonstrate the relationship between the DUP, Sinn Féin and the Westminster Government.

Alan Shatter’s resignations from the posts of Minster of Justice and Equality and Minister for Defence may have apparently “astonished” the Dáil as the Irish Times reported a few days ago. But it is unlikely that many Dublin workers would have been surprised at the allegations made by the Garda whistleblowers regarding corruption over the cancellation of penalty points. Now, however, the proverbial pigeons have come home to the roost and the Garda Commissioner has resigned together with Shatter himself.

This Easter, as every year, socialists and Republicans across Ireland will commemorate the 1916 Easter Rising. Yet with only 2 years to go until the centenary, and with rumours that Her Majesty will attend commemorations in 2016 the aim of the Workers’ Republic that James Connolly, commander of the Irish Citizens’ Army and military leader of the rising in 1916 fought for, appears as far off as ever. Six years into possibly the greatest economic crisis since Ireland was partitioned in 1921 the left, if anything, has gone backwards. This reflects a bending to opportunism, short-termism and a lack of a far-sighted Marxist perspective within Labour or any of the small forces to their

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We republish here an article by Gerry Ruddy, originally written for the Red Plough, which looks at the politics of Gerry Adams and Sinn Fein, who have accepted the capitalist system and ignored the class question in relation to the north of Ireland.

American diplomats Richard Haass and Meghan O’Sullivan , were invited to Belfast by Martin McGuinness and Peter Robinson to seek an agreement over the issues of parades, flags and the legacy of the past. After a month long marathon of talks and discussions and brinksmanship over the last few days of December  Haass produced a seventh version of the draft agreement for the five largest parties to sign up to. Both the Unionist Parties rejected the proposals, while the SDLP and Sinn Féin accepted them.  Since then the SF Ard Comhairle has voted to accept the proposals. The position of the Unionist parties and those of Sinn Féin and the SDLP reveal much about the underlying

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Michael Noonan’s Budget 2014 will take a further €2.5bn out of the economy;  in other words a figure of around €600 for every man, woman and child in the state. It is evident also that as anticipated the losers are the old, the sick and the young unemployed.

A recent article by Gary Mulcahy in the July/August edition of The Socialist dealt with the emergence of residents’ groups in North Belfast. The article was in line with the narrative that the Socialist Party espouses. Here Gerry Ruddy looks at where such a narrative leads in the context of the sectarian divided in the North of Ireland.

Over 1,000 junior doctors, members of Irish Medical Organisation (IMO), have voted by 97% in support of escalating their campaign up to and including strike action in opposition to massive workloads that breach the European Working Time Directive and shifts that can last more than 24 hours at a stretch.

Despite some jostling for position between the Fine Gael back benchers and Labour TD’s, Michael Noonan’s forthcoming Budget is set to add yet more pressure and hardship on hard pressed families across the state. The troika target of €3.1 billion in cuts and tax increases represents some €677 for every man, woman and child in the state.  Fine Gael TD’s are arguing for more and Noonan himself has said that “the next budget will be tough”. Since 2008 the total amount of cuts has hit €28.1bn; around €5,000 per head.

Friday 9th of August the forces of loyalism directed by the UVF and the Belfast Lodges of the Orange Order took over the main street in Belfast, Royal Avenue to block an anti-internment march. They rioted attacked the police, burnt cars and tried to attack the marchers.

As this article was written on 14 July, during reports of a fourth day of rioting involving the throwing of a pipe bomb at police officers in Crumlin Road in North Belfast and other clashes involving the use of petrol bombs in East Belfast are starting to appear in the media.

The Dublin lockout which took place from the 26th August 1913 to 18th January the following year stands as one of the most marked episodes of entrenched class conflict in Irish history.  Over 20,000 workers and 80,000 dependents were directly affected as over 400 employers locked out members of the Irish Transport and General Workers’ Union (ITGWU) for refusing to sign a pledge to resign from the union and against sympathetic strike action. The city was paralysed by the dispute and saw pitched battles between scabs with police backing and picketing workers who went onto organise the Irish Citizens’ Army.

Several public sector as signalled that they are willing to fight the Croke Park 2 deal. This could set in motion a domino effectof more unions voting for strike actions.