The recent killing of a prison warden from Maghaberry prison, by an as yet unknown republican grouping, has sent shock waves through the body politic. Many had assumed that as a result of the outpourings of both the Good Friday Agreement and the St Andrews Agreement the days of violence were behind us.

On 20th October 2012 the Northern Ireland Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions organised thousands of trade union and community demonstrators in a march in Belfast for an alternative to the Westminster government's austerity policies. Speaker after speaker lambasted the policies of austerity.

News that Enda Kenny has been chosen as “European of the year” by a group of German Magazine Publishers makes sense only in the context that recently the European Union itself recently won the Nobel peace prize. We would have to ask the question “European what of the year?”

The decision of the Workers and Unemployed Action Group to withdraw from the United Left Alliance is an unwelcome symptom of the growing impasse within the ULA, previously reflected in the controversy over Mick Wallace and the departure of Clare Daly from the Socialist Party. The WUAG has a long standing base in South Tipperary and its departure will have an influence on the development of the ULA at a national level.

Across Europe it is the sick the old and especially the young that are being forced to pay for the economic crisis. In Spain and Greece youth unemployment stands at over 50%. In Ireland although that figure is somewhat lower at 17.9% but this still means nearly 1 in 5 youth are workless and the statistic covers up the distressing reality that we face; in particular, ongoing attacks to education and the lack of work in Ireland that have led to many young people turning to migration. If people emigrate they don't show up on the figures.

Many politically active workers and young people in Ireland and beyond will be scratching their heads over this weekend’s spat between the leadership of the Socialist Party and former Socialist Party TD Clare Daly. A series of statements and counter statements have done little to clarify what are the real political differences between the SP and Daly who is widely acknowledged as a hard working and respected TD. Unfortunately, the issues aren’t going away easily, the right wing press will make sure of that.

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