Ireland

In the course of scarcely a month, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) has begun imploding in spectacular fashion. Arlene Foster – the DUP leader and First Minister at Stormont who survived the RHI scandal, the collapse of Stormont in 2017, and the introduction of Northern Ireland Protocol earlier this year – has finally and unceremoniously been booted out. The straw that broke the camel’s back? Her opposition to gay conversion therapy.

One hundred years ago, on 3 May 1921, the partition of Ireland became law in the British parliament. As the Marxist revolutionary, James Connolly, had predicted, partition created “a carnival of reaction both North and South”. It took years of terror, pogroms and bloodshed to establish what the first Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, James Craig, termed a “Protestant state for a Protestant people”. In the South, the newly established Free State was baptised in the blood of the Republicans who resisted the Treaty and partition.

Over the past week, the North of Ireland has seen its worst rioting in years, ostensibly over the Northern Ireland Protocol signed by the Westminster government with the EU. The threat of loyalist violence has been in the air for months as tensions have ratcheted up since the Protocol came into effect in January.

COVID restrictions are set to loosen up in the North of Ireland – part of a cynical attempt by politicians to use the pandemic for sectarian ends. Workers in both communities need a united socialist struggle to end this chaos and crisis.

This year has been an extraordinary one in Irish politics. The dominant political parties – Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael – were dealt a terrible blow in February’s election, so much so that the parties which could once command 80 percent in the polls have been reduced to a combined first-preference vote of 43 percent. The prevailing mood of the election was a demand for change and an end to their duopoly on power. Among the many parties calling for “change” in the election were the Green Party. However, in a craven move, the leadership of the Greens

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IMTV held an interview with Paul Murphy, TD (MP) for Dublin South West in the Irish Dáil (parliament), in which we discussed the coronavirus and the political crisis unfolding in Ireland. If you missed it, you can catch the recording here on marxist.com!

The shock result of the Irish general elections, which put Sinn Féin on top in terms of votes, has sent the Irish ruling class into a panic. No matter what road they take, the next period will be one of great political turbulence.

The focus of coverage of the 12 December general election has naturally been on the gains made by the Tories, particularly in the Midlands and the North of England. Less attention has been given to the seismic shift that took place in the North of Ireland. In an election marked by sectarianism, electoral alliances, Brexit and the border, the DUP received a hammering. Their fall from the position of kingmakers at Westminster two years ago has been dramatic.

The 12 July celebrations, 'The Twelfth', are the height of the marching season in Ireland. It's a day for Protestants and Unionists in Ireland to celebrate the defeat of the Jacobite forces by the Williamites in 1690. The parade was used politically by the Orange Order and reactionary loyalist forces to show their dominance in the North, especially in Belfast, often invoking sectarian riots and violence, which plague the Twelfth. In 1913, James Connolly, Irish revolutionary, explained his thoughts on this day, its real historical basis, and what it means to the people of Ireland.

"A week is a long time in politics”, or so the saying goes. 10 years in the political wilderness must have seemed a lifetime to the Green Party, those lackeys of Irish capitalism who so faithfully served Fianna Fáil as coalition “partners” in the Dáil of 2007-2011. There still exists intense, bitter feeling across much of Ireland toward that government for its criminal decadence and corruption, despite the suffering of ordinary Irish workers in the wake of the financial crash.