Over 150 years ago Ireland lost a staggering 13% of its population to death by disease and starvation. How could it be that Britain, which was still the richest and most powerful country in the world, could not prevent this horrific death toll? The answer is simple ‑ the British ruling-classes did not want to minimize the death toll, on the contrary, they welcomed it!

We are publishing here an interesting piece on the Irish trade unions by Peter Black, an active member of the TGWU (now fused with Amicus to form “Unite”) and the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Trade union membership is growing in Ireland, as is the militancy of the working class and Socialist Republicans, in the tradition of James Connolly, can play an important role in providing the militant leadership the Irish workers deserve.

Last week an important dispute flared up at the Dublin Bus company over new work schedules. Although the strike was called off today, the present article, written last week, gives an idea of the militant mood that exists among Dublin's bus workers.

A Basque Marxist was on a speaking tour of the North of Ireland at the end of October. He spoke to audiences in Belfast, Strabane and Derry mainly composed of republican socialists, but not only. There was keen interest in seeing how the experience of the Basque situation could be applied to the North of Ireland, and vice versa. We make available here a report, originally published in The Plough, the journal of the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

Last week the Executive in the North of Ireland presented its budget. It has been presented as a budget that will create jobs, improve services and reduce poverty. A closer look reveals tax concessions and incentives for the bosses and cuts in jobs and social spending and increased taxation for the workers. They are preparing social turmoil in the future.

Michael Collins was a great Irish revolutionary and nationalist who more than any one person may be considered to have created modern Ireland. His political tragedy, like other well-meaning nationalists in the age of imperialism was to attempt the impossible; to try to achieve meaningful national independence, in Ireland's case uniting both Catholics and Protestants, without breaking free from the binds of capitalism.

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