Sunday 23 September 2007

The Plough Vol 04 No 21

The Plough
(Web site
Vol. 4- No 21
Sunday 23rd September 2007
E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Poverty in Ireland

2) Alternative Processes: Can Republican Re-groupment succeed?

3) Human Rights Commission Criticises Garda

4) Are Footballers Paid Too Much?

5) Support the students

6) Letters

7) From the Media
a. Killings of trade unionists up by 25%

8) What’s On?

Seamus Costello 30th Anniversary Commemoration, Sunday 7th of October.

Assemble at 1pm at the old town hall (Mc Donald’s) main Street Bray for march and rally to little bray Cemetery. RSM flute bands in attendance, prominent speakers. All areas are requested to organise transport to attend such an important event.

Poverty in Ireland
At the beginning of September the Combat Poverty Agency launched its 2006 Annual Report. Once again as in previous years, the CPA exposed the soft belly of the Celtic Tiger. The report claimed that one in ten children was living in poverty in families where certain basics like food clothing and heating were scarce or non-existent. Unlike in the past this poverty is not open and in your face. Instead it is hidden away in huge working class housing estates where the comfortable and the well off never go unless as social workers probation officers or Garda. Those most affected are the elderly, children, the long-term unemployed and the sick and disabled. Some of the factors associated with poverty are poor physical health, mental illness, educational disadvantage ignorance of rights to public services and low self esteem. Many caught in the poverty trap are unable to seek work, as they are older people, carers, lone parents, children and people who are sick and disabled.

The Coalition Government of Fianna fail and the Green Party has set out as a target the eradicating of poverty by 2016. To do that it must increase the
Number of flexible and responsive public services, particularly in the
areas of health, education, employment, housing and transport. Access to good public services such as health and education is a must if poverty is to be eliminated yet the Health Service Executive (HSE) imposed recent cutbacks designed to tackle a €245 million financial deficit. No one should be in any doubt that it will be only working class people who will suffer from this as the rich and the middle classes because of their incomes will still be able to access high quality services. Ireland has low levels of social spending compared with other EU countries. Yet countries, which spend more on social services, enjoy lower levels of poverty.

Under the present systems both North and South the increasing tendency towards the privitisation of health and education, the high costs of medicines due to the drug companies more interested in profits that helping patients, and the elitism and pursuit of their private practices by some consultants and doctors are all factors militating against winning the battle against poverty. Unfortunately as yet there does not exist a strong enough party representing the working class prepared to take a clear anti-capitalist stand to lead the fight against the forces that cause poverty in the first place.

In The Plough Vol 4-20 we reprinted the speech by the RSYM at a recent meeting on alternative processes to the Good Friday Agreement. The Republican Socialist Youth Movement over the past year has been attempting to reach out to all Socialist, Republican and progressive organisations and individuals. The debate was organised by the RYSM. Below we reprint a comment from Socialist Democracy’s John McAnulty and then add our own comments.

Alternative Processes: Can Republican Re-groupment succeed?

23 August 2007

John McAnulty

A recent meeting titled ‘alternative processes’ on Belfast's Falls Road (Saturday August 18th) showed the strengths and weaknesses of attempts at republican regroupment. The meeting, billed as an exploration of alternatives to the Good Friday Agreement, had on the platform speakers from the SDLP and the Irish Labour party, supporting the agreement, and speakers from eirigi and Socialist republican youth opposing.

The 30+ meeting illustrated the strengths and weaknesses of attempts at republican regroupment. The supporters were young, working class, enthusiastic and with a very serious approach to the discussion.

Weaknesses were also evident. Many Republican groups were absent, and the number of different groups supporting the meeting also illustrated the fragmentation of the movement. With fragmentation went unclarity and uncertainty.

Political insecurity may explain the decision to invite the SDLP and LP. It was certainly a mistake, protested by members of the audience.

As it was, these speakers, speaking to well-prepared briefs, dominated the meeting with a defence of imperialism. Their case was not strong, but it was coherent and they were willing to deploy an arrogant mixture of insult and untruth to support their case. Opponents were called Stalinists and supporters of a bloodbath. The SDLP speaker denied British sponsorship of Loyalist paramilitaries!

The row with the pro-imperialist speakers obscured massive weaknesses in analysis and perspective by the republican speakers. It is simply wrong to explain the absolute political collapse of republicanism in terms of the machinations of the British security forces inside the movement. It is insufficient to say that, for republicans, militarism is only a tactic. That’s not what republicans said in the past, and to brush off the devastating effects of militarist ideology is a bit like an alcoholic announcing that they can take it or leave it and are cured now. A new republican movement really has to explain the mistakes of the past if it is to convincingly advance a new policy.

In the absence of such analysis it is hardly surprising that the solution – a ‘broad front’ built on localist agitation, had a familiar ring. This is again what republicans did in the past and one of the reasons why they were able to avoid so many issues of class politics. The alternative to a ‘broad front’ is a principled united front, built around genuine political agreement on class issues and common activity on central issues.

In fact the meeting itself was the ‘broad front’ writ small. Inviting the SDLP and LP on to the platform did not significantly increase the audience for the meeting and acted to prevent a useful discussion. The argument for their presence was that, if we were unable to defeat their arguments behind closed doors, we would be unable to defeat them on the streets.

The problem with that argument is that there is no ‘we’. The pro-imperialist speakers were faced with a patchwork quilt of different groups and policies. A regroupment of republicans and socialists would consist of patient political discussion and attempts at joint activity leading to a common programme.
That’s what a number of militants in the meeting called for – a new meeting where an internal discussion could take place. Let us hope they get their wish.

The Plough responds.

Comrade Mc Anulty fails to recognise that the Alternatives Processes was organised by the RYSM and was specifically geared towards the youth wings of political organisations. Perhaps John should have realised this when he saw that the” supporters were young, working class, enthusiastic and with a very serious approach to the discussion.”
As regards the accusation of” political insecurity” by inviting the youth wings of the SDLP and the ILP this is just hot air. Does John think one should only invite those who we agree with? In that case there would be few at the meeting. And as it was geared towards young people does John not think that exposure to different ideas could only help clarify and lead to questioning?

The absence of other republicans can not be held at the door of the organisers and as for fragmentation leading towards “unclarity” and “uncertainty” perhaps John should consider the history of Sinn Fein (provisional) For many years it was an organisation united and strong and its only rivals in republican terms were the IRSP. Yet its politics, surely the critical issue, were a mish mash of nationalism, popularism, sectarianism and vague leftist leanings.
Fragmentation has actually helped raise the level of debate about the way forward for those who still consider themselves anti- Imperialist.
Debates and meeting are one way to help rebuild the anti-imperialist movement. Perhaps Socialist Democracy should follow the example set by the RSYM and lobby for or actually organise
. “ A regroupment of republicans and socialists (which) would consist of patient political discussion and attempts at joint activity leading to a common programme.”

Human Rights Commission Criticises Garda

Shock-horror! The Irish Human Rights Commission has criticised the Garda Síochána, claiming it does not fully guarantee human rights. This is just amazing. Amazing that only now despite the cover ups in Donegal, despite the planting of explosives by Garda, despite the daily harassment of republican socialist members of the IRSP, despite the history of the ‘Heavy Gang and the collusion with British forces, that a human rights body actually says that the Garda is some distance from being fully human
rights compliant. Goodness what is happening?

Are Footballers Paid Too Much?

This is a question, which is often asked and discussed within the more cultured circles of working class life. In public houses, working men’s clubs, bistros and wine bars across what we are for some reason pleased to call the “developed world” this is a subject which will invariably find an audience. It would be found by the casual observer that there appears to be no overall consensus on this topical subject, though I believe that a small majority to one degree or another would say yes.

However if we examine the subject a little closer and then place it in the broader scheme of capitalist society it may paint a slightly different picture to the casual observer than first imagined. Firstly the system we live under, or in many cases exist, goes by the grand sounding name of capitalism. There is very little grand about it at all in fact; if it was not so serious, laughable would be a more apt name. Under the system of capitalism the vast majority of people, the working class, sell the only commodity they have to sell, their labour power to an employer for a monetary wage. This system is sometimes referred to as “wage slavery”, a most fitting description, and it is the duty of every wage slave to attain the highest price and most favourable conditions for their labour power attainable, and footballers, most whom come from working class backgrounds, are no exception.

For example let us take a bus driver who works for a company which pays, sake of argument, 10 euro per hour. Another bus company pays 12 euro for the same amount of labour power, excelled in the same time span, what does the bus driver do? Under normal circumstances, providing their family do not have to be inconvenienced too much, the employer paying 12euro per hour would secure the services of our bus driver. The same argument applies, generally speaking, right across the wage earner spectrum, and this includes footballers. Workers are always trying to improve their working conditions and wages, which highlight the contradictions of capitalism, normally through the negotiating machinery of their trade union. Again footballers are no exception, they too have a trade union (and many also have agents), the Professional Footballers Association, who try to improve the terms and conditions of their members. One improvement where the PFA were successful was back in 1978 when they secured the abolition of the “retain and transfer system”. This system had been challenged by players as far back as 1963 and in 1978 these challenges finally reaped harvest. Under the “retain and transfer system” a player whose contract with a club had expired was not free to move to another club. His old club could offer him a new contract on less favourable terms and conditions and lower wages and still retain his registration, without which he could not play for another club.

With such constraints on the professional footballers ability to sell his trade for the highest wages and best terms and conditions there was much room for improvement. Now let us revert back to our bus driver. Let us take a scenario where this employee decides they no longer wish to work for company A because company B are offering higher wages and better terms and conditions of employment. Now imagine if company A had the legal right to retain the drivers Public Service Vehicle (PSV) License, without which the bus driver could not drive buses for another company, it is a similar scenario.

Another point which is normally overlooked when people are attempting to square the circle of footballers pay within the broader scheme of things is that footballers may be well paid, certainly compared to a bus driver. However it must be remembered that footballers are entertainers and in the narrower parameters of entertainers pay the picture does not look so rosy, in the pay league of the entertainment business footballers are not the league leaders. We should also remember that when we are talking of footballs millionaires’ reference can only be made to a minority of players. To paraphrase the late legendary George Best, the finest player ever to grace a football field in my experience which is fairly wide, who argued why he deserved £20,000 per annum. His argument went along the lines I’m an “entertainer” that is what I do I “entertain”. The Rolling Stones, also entertainers, will get paid more for one concert than “I” will probably earn in an entire season. George argued this point, in my opinion successfully, when he was at his peak and not even considering early retirement. Admittedly the pay gap in the entertainment business, particularly comparing some footballers to rock stars, has narrowed but the argument remains constant. Footballers are still well behind the likes of Bono in the entertainers pay league, and if we look at the lower divisions or the Football Association of Ireland we see a different, less rosy, picture altogether. Under the capitalist system, if system is the correct term, if a person has a skill, which football is, at their disposal the higher the level of this skill can command a higher monetary wage for its sale. Perhaps a more sensible argument would be not that footballers are overpaid but the rest of us are underpaid because we all possess a certain amount of skill which can be put to socially necessary use. However we are talking about putting skills to equally valued use constructively under a socialist society which, unfortunately, we presently do not have therefore, under the present conditions, no individual or group can be blamed for demanding the highest attainable pay for their labour power including skills and talent.

If society as a whole was built on sense and not stupidity then these obscene pay gaps would not exist. Under a socialist system, it is certainly hoped, everybody will have a very good and decent standard of living, their needs would be provided for including old age and this would include footballers. The need to constantly clamour for more money would no longer exist so perhaps this debate would also die a death. Football would once again become a sport, the people’s game, belonging to the fans and not big business. Capitalism has relegated football from a passionate sport to a large scale commercial business. The needs of the fans and, to a certain extent players, come very much secondary to the interests of big business. However things can be organised differently, even in football. In 2005 a group of disillusioned Manchester United fans who were fed up with the way they were being treated at Old Trafford, home ground of Manchester United, especially over ever increasing prices to get in, higher prices for season tickets, kick off times changed to suit Sky television and the profits of Rupert Murdoch, the relegation of supporters from fans to customers, the take over of huge swathes of the ground by corporate business and crowned by the debt laden takeover of the club by American business tycoon Malcolm Glazer. These supporters, who had supported Man Utd for years in many cases home, away and abroad sometimes hitchhiking across continents to see their team formed their own club, Football Club United of Manchester (FCUM) one of the principle aims to give the game back to the fans. As many FCUM fans are at pains to point out what happened was nothing to do with what was happening on the pitch at Old Trafford but more to do with events behind the scenes off it, we are still United fans but “not United customers”. FCUM are involved with all the aspects of life which a community based football club should be involved in, the very same as most football teams were once upon a time. These involvements include encouraging school kids to be more involved in proactive subjects like sport, as opposed to hanging around street corners, charity and community work and combating racism in the game. Gate prices are £7.50 for adults, £2.00 for under 18s and £5.00 for OAPs and unemployed persons. The club manifesto reads “The aim of FC United of Manchester is to create a sustainable club for the long term which is owned and democratically run by its members, which is accessible to all the communities of Manchester and one which they can participate fully”. This, it should be mentioned, is exactly how the Catalan giants Barcelona began life and still operate, so to the philistines who expected FCUM to collapse think again we are still very much alive. How long this socialistic experiment can survive in a sea of capitalism remains to be seen but as we enter our third year, with two promotions and a league cup under our belt, things are looking bright. Whatever happens we have certainly put it up to the establishment in the comparatively small world of football. There are other fan run clubs, Wimbledon being one, but FCUM are the first to stand up and break away from one of the giants. The players are classed as semi professional; they all do other jobs as well, and sell their player skills to FC Utd which they are also supporters of.

All this is a far cry from the imbecile world of the premiership but it should be remembered the theft of football from the working class by big business was done under our very noses under the guise of bringing investment into the game. It is true that, again under the present conditions, investment was needed but this could have been done without alienating the natural owners of the game, the working class. The myth of the overpaid players is just another straw man put up to blind supporters from the real problems which big business has brought, along with its investment, that being cultural theft.

Kevin Morley IRSP Dublin

Support the students!
Ten students who are SIPTU members working in Eye Cinema at Wellpark in Galway have been suspended after voting for industrial action. The SIPTU shop steward has been sacked.

The students had been attempting to address a number of issues in relation to their working conditions. These issues include: a failure by the cinema to pay the staff any increments for working on Sundays or after midnight, which is an entitlement under law, and also in some cases, a failure to pay several staff members holiday pay, once again an entitlement under law.

To support the students please email your complaints to Edward Holdings
who own and run the cinema:

From the Media

Killings of trade unionists up by 25%

144 trade unionists were murdered for defending workers' rights in 2006, while more than 800 suffered beatings or torture, according to the Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights Violations, published by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). The report details nearly 5,000 arrests and more than 8,000 dismissals of workers due to their trade union activities. 484 new cases of trade unionists held in detention by governments are also documented in the report.

What’s On?

Press Release.

Cork 32CSM Organise Protest at Hugh Orde Visit.

The Finbar Walsh Cumann of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, Cork City have organised a protest against a proposed visit by RUC/PSNI Chief
Constable Hugh Orde. The Chief of this illegal paramilitary police force has
been invited to speak at the Rotary Club 2007 Conference, Cork, at the
Rochestown Park Hotel on Friday 28th September. The Theme of this conference is Ireland, The way forward‚ which is obviously misleading as Republican separatists can see no role for a British police force in Ireland‚s future.
The conference is due to begin at 11.30am and the Finbar Walsh Cumann have invited a number of Republican organisations to join the protest. The 32 County Sovereignty Movement would urge All‚ republicans to endeavour to attend as it is vitally important to expose the RUC/PSNI‚s continuing role in the illegal occupation of Ireland and Britain‚s claim to sovereignty over

Seamus Costello Memorial Talk

The politics and ideas of Seamus Costello

To coincide with the 30th anniversary of Seamus Costello's murder the Republican Socialist Youth Movement have organised a memorial talk. The main address will be given by IRSP member Gerry Ruddy after contributions from former comrades of Seamus and young people.

Venue: An Culturlann, Falls Road, Belfast.
Date: 29th of September
Time: 1pm

Organised by Republican Socialist Youth Movement

Issue 7 of An Glor news sheet of the RSYM is now out containing an important an important critique entitled “The Tragedy of Michael Collins” contact RSYM at , on the forum , by telephoning the head IRSP office on (0044) 028 90 321024 or by writing to the address below:

392 Falls Road

Lunchtime Talks on the Belfast Dockers Strike 1907

Tuesdays in October in Dublin City Hall

Dublin City Libraries in association with SIPTU are holding 5 lunch timetalks in Dublin City Hall, Dame St, Dublin. The talks take place on Tuesday 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 Oct from1.10pm to 1.45pm. Admission is free and all are welcome.


It’s a 100 years since 1907 and Dublin City Libraries are running a series of free lunchtime lectures in Dublin City Hall in October. SIPTU are sponsoring. The talks are on Tuesdays 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 Oct from 1.10pm to 1.45pm.


2 Oct: City in Revolt: Jim Larkin and the Belfast Dockers’ and Carters’Strike 1907 by John Gray, Linenhall Library Belfast

9 Oct: Women workers and Belfast, 1907 by Theresa Moriarty, Irish Labour History Society

16 Oct: The RIC and the Belfast Strike by Hugh Forrester, Curator, Police Museum, Belfast

23 Oct: Belfast 1907: Context and Consequences by Henry Patterson, University of Ulster

30 Oct: Belfast 1907: Foundation stone of the Irish Transport and GeneralWorkers Union by Francis Devine, SIPTU College

More info from 01 2222204 or 01 6744996.


International Brigade Memorial Trust
Annual general meeting
Belfast, 12–14 October 2007
Friday 12 October
6:30 p.m.
Reception and exhibition, Linen Hall Library; welcome by John Gray, Ciarán Crossey, and Peter Bunting (Irish Congress of Trade Unions)
Saturday 13 October
11 a.m.
Unveiling of the memorial in Belfast
Introduced by Kevin Doherty, Bob Doyle, and Margaret Ritchie (Minister for Social Development)*
12:45 p.m.
Civic reception and public meeting, Grosvenor Hall, opened by Councillor Jim Rodgers, Lord Mayor of Belfast, with the participation of Hazelwood College Choir. Guest speakers: Jack Jones; Amaya Ruiz Ibárruri (daughter of Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria)*

Closing: Patricia McKeown (Irish Congress of Trade Unions)*

3:45 p.m.
Annual general meeting of International Brigade Memorial Trust

5:15 p.m.
Dinner, Grosvenor Hall

7:30 p.m.
Social event, Europa Hotel. Musicians and entertainers, including Brenda O’Riordan, Mel Corry and Pól Mac Adaim, Tommy Sands, Paul (the Brother) McGuire, Gerry Jones ands friends.

Sunday 14 October
10:45 a.m.
Bus tour of historic Belfast or film, To Die in Madrid, John Hewitt Bar and Restaurant

12:30 p.m.
Lunch, John Hewitt bar and restaurant, with local politicians and trade union and community activists. Booking essential.

2:45 p.m.
Close of the event

*To be confirmed.

During October there will be an exhibition of original material, letters, newspapers and photographs in the Linen Hall Library.

Changes may occur in the programme. However, all venues are firmly booked. Day’s Hotel is holding forty rooms for those who want to stay; phone (028) 90242494, e-mail, fax (028) 90242495; postal payment by cheque to Day’s Hotel, 40 Hope Street, Belfast BT12 5EE, and please quote the reference BTAGM when booking.

For further information about the AGM contact Lynda Walker, 077 51951785 or
For the International Brigades Commemoration Committee contact Kevin Doherty, 077 48148863, or Ciarán Crossey, 077 59393607.
For accompodation and travel information contact the Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place, phone (028) 90246609, e-mail

Friday 7 September 2007

The Plough Vol 04 No 20

The Plough
(Web site
Vol. 4- No 20
Friday 7th September 2007
E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party

1) Editorial

2) Party conference

3) Alternative Processes

4) MI5 moves in permanently

5) Mickey Devine Commemoration 2007

6) Which Hat For Which Party?

7) Letters

i. Repatriate Noel Maguire

ii. 30%Wage cuts!

8) From the newspapers

a. ‘Brute force’ or the more things change!

b. Life since Troubles 'got worse'

c. 'Unethical practices' at Guantanamo Bay



We are saddened to hear of the death of John Kelly, a life long republican who spent over 15 years in jail for his political activities. John was a principled man, seemingly a rare thing now in Irish politics. With the split in 69 John helped found the provisional movement but left when he could no longer take the many twists and turns of its leadership. During the arms trial he said summing up the mood of most northern nationalists in 69,

“We did not ask for blankets or feeding bottles. We asked for guns and no one from Taoiseach Lynch down denied our request or told us this was contary to Government policy.”

Irish republicanism is the poorer for his passing.

Party news

The IRSP held an All – Party Conference recently to update the membership on the progress made by the Ard-Comhairle since its election last year. Details of new structures were given to the membership and the progress made in implementing party decisions. All sessions held were open to comments and questions from the Party members present. A full and frank discussion took place in all the sessions but in a comradely and fraternal manner. An open debate took place in the afternoon session on the recent united Wolfe Tone march at Bodenstown and there was widespread agreement on the party’s position towards “republican unity”. Also all comrades were updated on the progress made by the Committee organising this year’s Seamus Costello Commemoration and Dinner in Bray.
All comrades left the conference re-energised and totally committed to the tasks ahead.


Alternative Processes

(Recently on the 18th of August the YRSM held a meeting on alternative processes to the Good Friday Agreement. The Republican Socialist Youth Movement over the the past year has been attempting to reach out to all Socialist, Republican and progressive organisations and individuals. One tenet of this outreach has been a debate on the Good Friday Agreement and whether or not it can attain the goals of a united Socialist Ireland.
After months of work this culminated in a debate held in Belfast on the Good Friday Agreement. The debate was attended by SDLP Youth, Labour Youth, Eirigi and the RSYM, though invitations had been extended to all Republican and Socialist youth organisations.

The central theme of the debate for those opposed to the Good Friday
Agreement was that there contains no mechanism within for Irish unity, never mind Socialism. It has proven to be a political cul de sac far, from ending sectarianism, sectarianism has actually increased in the period following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement.

It was also affirmed Stormont has no power to call for a referendum on Irish unity, it can only make recommendation to Westminster. There are obstacles in the way before that point is ever reached, if ever. Namely, the Unionists have a veto enshrined within the Good Friday Agreement and the fact there is no definition of the majority that would need to be attained. A follow up meeting will hopefully be called in the near future to discuss how to bring the issues discussed at the 'Alternative Processes' meeting forward.


Hopefully this small step in debating and analysing the present situation here will have repercussions beyond this room. With that in mind, I’ll briefly surmise the politics of the Republican Socialist Youth Movement. It is our view that Republicanism had suffered a staggering defeat. The blame lies not with Adams or McGuinness but at the door of the British government. From early on, the British government were very aware of their role in Ireland and what was necessary to reach an agreement, which would solidify Stormont at a later date. As early as 1972, the British government had reached a consensus that they would need individuals prominent within Sinn Féin today to be part of this internal settlement and to work it but individuals whom the British considered “inflexible” such as Daithí Ó Conaill and Ruairí Ó Bradaigh would have to be marginalised.

The Good Friday Agreement is an internal and colonial settlement to the constitutional question here in Ireland. It is a sectarian agreement that institutionalises and has heightened sectarianism. This is illustrated by the fact there are more ‘peace walls’ at present than prior to the agreement. It was presented to Loyalists as a strengthening of the union and to Republicans as a stepping stone to a united Ireland. The former is certainly true - the GFA enshrines the Unionist veto and contains no mechanism for the attainment of a united Ireland.

It is our belief and our desire that this setback can be overcome. It is very clear that Sinn Féin wish to satisfy the broad nationalist electorate. They have embarked on this process by successfully emulating the politics of the SDLP. However, any Republican position we put forward at this time should be on a clear, open and honest political basis. It is our opinion there are no conditions for armed struggle at present. Likewise, no basis exists at present for decommissioning - as long as the state retains their army, we republicans will have ours too.

The premise that the present political process will persuade Unionists of the virtues of a united Ireland is largely based upon a falsehood. The Unionist outreach we see at the moment is an appeal to the most reactionary sections of Unionism, it has been tried before by Michael Collins when he was TD for Armagh and failed miserably. It is no surprise that the DUP can go into government easily with Sinn Féin for when the national question is taken out of the equation it’s very clear that there are no fundamental economic differences in Sinn Féin and DUP policy.

Since the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998, sectarian incidents have increased significantly with academic research coming from Queens University and elsewhere suggesting that it could be as far away as 2030 before any meaningful change develops concerning the segregation of working class communities - this is a far cry from ‘a united Ireland by 2016’. It is true that we can’t bomb and shoot our way into a united Ireland. Certainly in the case of the RSM, that wouldn’t be our intention.

It was often asked during the policing debates for Republicans to outline their alternative. We did so but the resounding attitude and subsequent raising of the same question can only be considered to be carefully choreographed act aimed at suggesting that we lack any real politics. The alternative is very simple. Policing is inherently political. The duty of any police force is to uphold the capitalist state and the right of private property. No Republican or Socialist worthy of the name can accept a police force of that nature. We believe that the state should continue to be resisted. Capitalism and partition can offer no solution to the plight of ordinary working class people.

Seán McGowan.

Republican Socialist Youth Movement.


MI5 moves in permanently

MI5 operatives have started moving into their brand new regional headquarters costing at least £20 millions at Maryfield, near Holywood. It is MI5's biggest facility outside of London and can employ up to 400 operatives on its premises.. MI5 now have overall responsibility for British national security in the North and will take the lead in what it calls “counter-terrorist activity” (read anti –imperialist resistance ) and
Intelligence gathering. The loss of intelligence gathering by the Special Branch, (PSNI/RUC) was hailed as a victory, by Sinn Fein (Provisional Wing) but they neglected to mention MI5’S new powers. This is similar to the way they crowed about the closing down of interrogation centres such as at Castlereagh but failed to disclose the building of a new interrogation centre at Antrim, the existence of which was first exposed by the IRSP


Micky Devine Commemoration 2007

(Over 500 people attended the commemoration in Derry of INLA Volunteer Micky Devine. 26 years since his death the people of Derry turned out in great numbers to remember one of their bravest sons. A masked INLA Colour Party led the march from Creggan Shops. This was followed by relatives of Micky Devine carrying wreaths. They in turn were followed by the newly formed Derry based Seamus Costello Memorial Flute Band. The oration was delivered by Gerard Forward of the Ard Comhairle of the IRSP.)

Friends and comrades,

I am delighted to be given the honour to be here today, to remember with you, the heroic sacrifice of INLA Volunteer Michael Devine.

I didn’t know him but I have grown up in very difficult times. So did Micky. Micky was only a teenager when the RUC batoned civil rights protesters off the streets of this city in 1968. He was there on Duke Street on that day, 5th October and witnessed at first hand the brutality of the Unionist ruling classes against the working class people of Derry. He was there also on Bloody Sunday and again witnessed a more horrific event unfold when the British Army ran amok through the Bogside killing fourteen of his friends and neighbours. He later wrote from his cell in Long Kesh about how that day changed him forever.

He became aware that the only way the Irish working class was to be freed was when the British got out of Ireland and it was to this end that he dedicated the rest of his short life.

But Micky also knew that just getting rid of the Brits was never going to be enough. For he was a socialist as well as a republican and held deepwithin him a desire for justice. It was with these beliefs that Micky chose to join the Republican Socialist Movement. He became involved in the military effort as well as the political work. He was a model revolutionary who never shirked from his commitment.
These past few months have seen great changes on the political landscape of the north. Sinn Fein now sit on the Stormont executive that they once proclaimed should be smashed. They now advocate support for the Police Service of Northern Ireland when in reality nothing has changed within that force since the days of the RUC. The Irish Republican Socialist Movement reject this path wholeheartedly.

Despite massive media and political pressure to do so, we, the Irish
Republican Socialist Movement will never accept an internal six county settlement. Too many lives were lost fighting for the republic, too many families denied fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. We are not saying
this is an easy road to take, in fact to the contrary this is a more difficult course of action. Republicanism is nowhere near the strength it
was when Micky and his nine brave comrades died in Long kesh but recently there has been a renewed confidence and hope.

We are proud to have once held within our ranks the likes of Micky Devine. We are still inspired by his resolve to not suffer defeat. Because no matter what the Brits threw at Micky he was never defeated. He grew stronger and rose above their pettiness. Comrades, it is our task today to leave this cemetery and further the work that Micky began when he became actively involved in politics as a teenager in the 1960’s and 70’s. Follow Micky’s example and carry on the struggle for our communities, get involved in campaigns locally to better the lives of your neighbours, fight the water tax, join the fight to get Raytheon out of Derry, fight for better working conditions and fight for the political prisoners in Maghaberry who are suffering terrible conditions as we speak.

Comrades there is a lot of work to be done and there no easy way forward but rest assured that if we all follow the ideals of Micky Devine then that task becomes all the more easier.

Victory to the Irish Working Class!



On the 23rd August 2007, along with another comrade, I attended the Coiste na nlarchimi, Scoil Samhraidh/ Summer School in South Armagh. The school ran from 22nd August to the 24th August, both dates inclusive, but it was the session on the morning of the 23rd which was to be of paramount interest to myself. The title was; The Cause of Labour: Irish Republicanism and the Workers Struggle which was followed in the afternoon by an equally interesting debate on Irish Republicanism and Women’s Struggle. For the reasons outlined below it is the morning session which I shall focus on.

Sinn Fein (Provisional) had a sizable presence and I was interested to hear what their members who are also trade union representatives had to say. It came as no surprise that a number of trade union representatives present were also members of Sinn Fein and, I might add, very able trade unionists at that is how they came across. Given Sinn Fein’s broad church and cross class alliance membership it came as no surprise that some of their leftwards thinkers would also be involved in the ranks of organised labour. As is customary at these events when the speakers had finished the meeting was open to the floor for questions and contributions which were very broad and deep in their nature making for an intense and healthy debate.

As is often the case with these events it was only on the drive back to Dublin that a number of very prudent points crossed my mind. Even though I had contributed to the debate I only was wishing that these issues which had now come to mind had surfaced in the meeting hall. Within the ranks of Sinn Fein there is a left and right wing, for the want of a better description, with the left taking up positions within the trade union movement. However their non left wing and right wing membership also hold positions totally opposite in their interests to organised labour. Some are small to medium sized employers and others hold managerial roles in larger companies. What then if a scenario arose, which is certainly possible, where a dispute flared up at a company where the trade union representatives were also Sinn Fein members and activists and, low and behold, so are those representing the interests of the company. Where does this leave the two opposing ideals? Equally which side does Sinn Fein as a party take given the fact that they often champion the cause of labour? What if the company in question was a contributor to the party’s war chest? Equally poignant what if the industrial combatants were members of the same Cumann or Cumainn? Which hat would either side wear? Would those representing the interests of big business, including profits, decide that in line with what the party claims to be policy they would back the workers as opposed to the interests of the company they serve? Or would the trade union side try to persuade the workers to water down their demands and go back to work? What if the action the workers were taking was to escalate into strike action and the employers decided to take disciplinary action against the strikers and expecting all levels of management, Sinn Fein members or otherwise, to implement this disciplinary code? What would the consequences of such a scenario, especially if it was on a large scale, hold for Sinn Fein? Would the left wing stand firm and support without reservations the workforce? Would the right wing, or those involved remembering this is only a scenario though a possibility, forget the interests of the company for the sake of party unity? What would Sinn Fein’s policy be if the company in dispute with its workforce was a major contributor to the party? An interesting scenario to say the least.

Perhaps the Olive branch of an answer could be found in a situation Christy McQuillan, SIPTU, found himself in at Dublin Airport not, I must add, to do with the dual interests outlined above. He referred to a potential dispute involving baggage handlers which he was representative of. The upshot of the case was that Aer Lingus management were asking the staff to move locations where they would be working. The baggage handlers wanted more money for this alteration, the company refused and the union was called in. To cut a long story short he looked at the employees’ case and concluded that they did not have a case because the new work they would be doing was “easier” than what they were previously engaged in, the working environment was safer and cleaner and conditions were generally better all round. Christy concluded that it is not always the case where the workers are right and the bosses wrong. He persuaded the workers involved that their arguments for more money carrying out easier work were unreasonable. I would personally differ but that is another matter.

Back then to the nightmare scenario for the Sinn Fein union representatives and members of management. Could they, union reps and management, transfer Christy McQuillans notion that the workers are not always “right” and sometimes have to be told so and, using this theory, concoct a deal which would make the workers demands look unreasonable while at the same time squeezing a few minor concessions out of the company? This way, providing the illusion had been drawn behind closed doors, it could be painted as a partial victory for the workers without, in reality, costing the firm anything of consequence. This way again party unity could be maintained with the left claiming, tongue in cheek, to have stood by the workforce and the right wing could sit smug knowing they had conceded nothing. Could such a scenario, if it ever arose, be a case, yet again, of labour must wait in favour of national and class unity?

Kevin Morley



Repatriate Noel Maguire

We are urging everyone, friends, members and concerned individuals to assist in our efforts to continue the pressure on the 26 County Government to Repatriate Noel Maguire from England to jails in the 26 counties as is his right. The names and addresses and sample letter is below so you can use the sample letter provided, reword it or write your own.Write or e-mail to
Brian Lenihan

Minister for Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform

Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform
94 St. Stephen's Green
Dublin 2
Phone: + 353 1 602-8202

Email :

Constituency Office
Laurel Lodge Shopping Centre
Dublin 15
Phone: + 353 1 822-0970

Addresses to send letters to Contact in USA


Embassy of Ireland
2234 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20008

TELEPHONE: (202) 462 3939 FAX: (202) 232 5993


Consulate General of Ireland
Ireland House
345 Park Avenue
17th Floor
New York NY 10154-0037

General Information - (212) 319 2555 FAX: Consulate : - (212) 980 9475 E- MAIL:

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Consulate General of Ireland
400 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 911
Chicago, IL 60611

TELEPHONE: (312) 337.1868 FAX: (312) 337 1954 E- MAIL:

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Consulate General of Ireland
100 Pine St., 33rd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

TELEPHONE: (415) 392 4214 FAX: (415) 392 0885 E- MAIL:

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Consulate General of Ireland
535 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02116

TELEPHONE (617) 267 9330 FAX: (617) 267 6375 E- MAIL:

Sample letter

Dear Sir

I write to you on behalf of the Noel Maguire as it concerns his repatriation back to Ireland from a British jail and your refusal to accept Noels application thus seemingly stripping him of his Irish Citizenship and the civil rights that are associated with it.

It is unconscionable that the Irish government continues to refuse to repatriate Noel. It is claimed that he has no close relatives living in the 26 counties, this is untrue as Noel's wife and their two children in fact live within an hour’s drive of Portlaoise Prison in Co Laois and are willing to visit him should he be repatriated. He also has two sisters and a brother in Ireland.

Noel Maguire - who is from Co Fermanagh but hold a valid 26 County passport more than qualifies for repatriation on the grounds of the European Directive as an Irish National.

His mental and physical health must be close to breaking point with the way he is being unfairly treated these continued delays which are tantamount to psychological torture.

On humanitarian grounds I ask that the decision to refuse repatriation be reconsidered and he can return home to serve his sentence and be closer to his family.

Please act now!

Thank you.

30%Wage cuts!

From: Eric Lee []
This week's message is going to be very brief and to the point.
Workers employed in care homes in north London (UK) have been told by their employer -- a private company called Fremantle -- that their wages are being cut by 30%, their hours are being increased, their sick pay will be a thing of the past, and their pensions are being reduced.
Their union, Unison, is calling for an international campaign of support for those workers.

I actually live in north London, so this campaign is taking place in my own neighborhood.
If you live in the UK, you should be concerned that privatized care homes are treating their workers this way. If you live anywhere in the world and work in the public sector, you should be concerned because this could happen to you next. It will take you only a few seconds to fill in your name and email address and to send a strong message to the chief executive of Fremantle. If we all take the time to do this, we can flood her inbox today with thousands of messages from all over the world -- and we can turn this around. I know that I can count on you.
Please visit our campaign page now. And please do pass this message on. Thanks.

Eric Lee


A Chairde

To mark the anniversary of the execution of Belfast Volunteer Tom Williams in September 1942, the Irish Republican History Museum are hosting an exhibition of material relating to the arrest, of six men and two women at Easter 1942, their trial and the execution of Tom Williams in Crumlin Road Jail on 2nd September 1942.

Centerpiece of the exhibition will be the shirt worn by Tom Williams on the day he was shot and arrested. This has been lent to the museum by the Cahill family Belfast.

The exhibition will run throughout the month of September. Opening times ar Tuesday - Saturday 10am - 2pm.

is mise
Pól Wilson


From the newspapers
‘Brute force’ or the more things change!
The PSNI have been accused of acting ‘in a brutal manner’ during an incident in Cornshell Fields in the early hours of Saturday morning when three men, one of them suffering from cerebral palsy, were arrested. The Sunday was inundated with calls yesterday from people in the area who said that they could see no reason for the heavy -handed police presence and the subsequent events.

The mother and wife of those arrested told the Sunday her account of what happened: “The police arrived at our door and they claimed they had received an allegation against my son. Now they did not ask him about this allegation or give him a chance to give his side of the story.

“Before I had a chance to open the door when they knocked they came in and they were very hyper and aggressive. They were shouting and pushed one of my sons up against the wall. My other son, the one they wanted to talk to was in the toilet, and I told them that but they continued to behave very aggressively. When my son appeared they grabbed him, pulled him out to the garden and banged his head of a fence. My husband came down the stairs and went out to see what was happening and they grabbed him as well.

“My other son, who suffers from cerebral palsy was then grabbed and they hit him across the back and they arrested him. I had to dive and try and protect my other son. It was absolutely disgusting the way the police behaved.

“After a couple of hours they brought my son with cerebral palsy back and they acted as if they were doing me a favour. He has been very upset since then and can’t understand what is happening.”

Another resident of Cornshell Fields resident told the Sunday: “I couldn’t believe the noise the police were making. They arrived and sat outside the house for 45 minutes and then they started bringing people out of the house.

“I saw them bringing one man out and shoving him into the car and then a female police officer started shouting abuse at him when he was in the car.

“I saw them bringing a second fellah out to the car and he didn’t really seem to be offering any kind of resistance. At this point one of the police men said to another ‘give me my baton,’ while he had the fellah at the back of the car.

“At this point landrovers arrived and it was just complete chaos. The police seemed to have no respect for anyone else in the area. It seems ridiculous that police would send so many officers to the one scene when there was very little trouble to begin with.”

Another resident said: “I have tried to call the police in the past over serious incidents and couldn’t get one but there seemed to be no shortage here for what did not look like a serious incident.”

A spokesperson for the 32 County Sovereignty Movement said: “After a recent incident with a former councillor politicians and clergy fell over themselves to condemn it yet after an incident like this their silence is deafening.”

A police spokesperson said: “Police were responding to a call from a member of the public. They were confronted with a violent and aggressive situation. Three men, aged 28, 29 and 53 were arrested for disorderly behaviour and assault on police.” Police confirmed that one of the men was later ‘dearrested’ due to his mental condition, this is believed to refer to the man suffering from cerebral palsy.


Life since Troubles 'got worse'
Many residents of an area badly hit by the Troubles feel life has got worse since the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, a new study suggests.

The survey of mental health needs in Whiterock, west Belfast, was carried out by an academic specialising in international post-conflict issues.

Half of the households questioned felt community bonds were now weaker.
Two-thirds felt stress because of where they live, although many did acknowlege the peace process had brought benefits.
The survey, by Dr David Connolly of the University of York, found long-term deprivation and the legacy of the Troubles were two root causes of trauma in the area.

Other common concerns were recent feud violence in the area, widespread fear of crime and rapid social changes since the end of the conflict.

The study suggests mental health problems in the area go beyond the individual, affecting families and entire communities.

It was commissioned by Corpus Christi Services, a community group based in the area.

Story from BBC NEWS:

'Unethical practices' at Guantanamo Bay
More than 260 doctors from around the world have launched an unprecedented attack on the American medical establishment for its failure to condemn unethical practices by medical practitioners at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.
In a letter to The Lancet, the doctors from 16 countries, including Britain and America, say the failure of the US regulatory authorities to act is "damaging the reputation of US military medicine".
They compare the actions of the military doctors, whom they accuse of being involved in the force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and of turning a blind eye to evidence of torture in Iraq and elsewhere, to those of the South African security police involved in the death of the anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko 30 years ago.
The group highlighted the force-feeding of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay last year and suggested the physicians involved should be referred to their professional bodies for breaching internationally accepted ethical guidelines. The doctors wrote: "No healthcare worker in the War on Terror has been charged or convicted of any significant offence despite numerous instances documented including fraudulent record-keeping on detainees who have died as a result of failed interrogations ... The attitude of the US military establishment appears to be one of 'See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil'."
The US introduced the policy of force-feeding, in which prisoners are strapped to a chair and a tube is forced down the throat into the stomach, after more than 100 prisoners went on hunger strike in 2005.
"Fundamental to doctors' responsibilities in attending a hunger striker is the recognition that prisoners have a right to refuse treatment," the doctors wrote.
After last year's protest, David Nicholl, consultant neurologist at City Hospital Birmingham, who led the protest, lodged formal complaints with two medical boards, in California and Georgia in the United States. He also lodged a complaint with the American Medical Association, of which John Edmondson, the former hospital commander at Guantanamo Bay, was a member.
Writing in today's Lancet, Dr Nicholl and his co-signatories, say: "After 18 months there had been no reply from the AMA, the Californian authorities stated that they 'do not have the jurisdiction to investigate incidents that occurred on a federal facility/military base', and the authorities in Georgia stated that the 'complaint was thoroughly investigated', but 'the Board concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to support prosecution'."
When the same complaint was considered by the Royal College of Physicians in the UK, the college concluded: "In England, this would be a criminal act."
Dr Nicholl said it was "vitally important" that doctors independent of the US military were allowed to investigate the care of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay and the deaths of detainees (there were three reported suicides in June 2006). But a British Medical Association request to send a delegation of doctors to the prison camp had been refused by the UK Government.

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor
Published: The Independent 07 September 2007

What’s On?

Thurs 13th September at 1pm

Don't Review Water Charges - SCRAP THEM!

Outside 'Independent' Water Review Panel offices, Calvert House, Castle Place, Belfast

Called by the We Won't Pay Campaign

A solidarity protest has been arranged for those who can't make it to Rossport on Friday, Sept 14.

The details are:

Andersonstown Shell Station
Friday, September 14 @ 5PM
All Welcome

Spread the Word

Official Irish Republicanism, 1962 to 1972
by Sean Swan
A history of the Official Irish Republican movement, from the IRA‚s 1962 ceasefire to the Official IRA‚s permanent ceasefire in 1972. The civil rights movement, the outbreak of violence in August 1969, the links with the communist party, the Official IRA‚s campaign, the ceasefire, and later developments towards ŒSinn Fein the Workers‚ Party‚, are explored. "This book is the first in-depth study of this crucial period in the history of Irish republicanism. Using his unprecedented access to the internal documents of the movement and interviews with key participants Swan‚s work will transform our understanding of this transformative period in the history of the movement.", Henry Patterson, Author of 'The Politics of Illusion: A Political History of the IRA' and 'Ireland Since 1939'. "There is much fascinating material ∑ and also much good sense.", Richard English, Author of 'Armed Struggle, A History of the IRA' and 'Radicals and the Republic: Socialist Republicanism in the Irish Free State'.
Product Details:
Printed: 420 pages, 6" x 9", perfect binding, black and white interior ink
ISBN: 978-1-4303-1934-4
Rights Owner: Sean Swan
Copyright: © 2007 Sean Swan Standard Copyright License
Language: English
Country: United States
Edition: Paperback Edition

International Brigade Memorial Trust
Annual general meeting
Belfast, 12–14 October 2007
Friday 12 October
6:30 p.m.
Reception and exhibition, Linen Hall Library; welcome by John Gray, Ciarán Crossey, and Peter Bunting (Irish Congress of Trade Unions)
Saturday 13 October
11 a.m.
Unveiling of the memorial in Belfast
Introduced by Kevin Doherty, Bob Doyle, and Margaret Ritchie (Minister for Social Development)*
12:45 p.m.
Civic reception and public meeting, Grosvenor Hall, opened by Councillor Jim Rodgers, Lord Mayor of Belfast, with the participation of Hazelwood College Choir. Guest speakers: Jack Jones; Amaya Ruiz Ibárruri (daughter of Dolores Ibárruri, La Pasionaria)*

Closing: Patricia McKeown (Irish Congress of Trade Unions)*

3:45 p.m.
Annual general meeting of International Brigade Memorial Trust

5:15 p.m.
Dinner, Grosvenor Hall

7:30 p.m.
Social event, Europa Hotel. Musicians and entertainers, including Brenda O’Riordan, Mel Corry and Pól Mac Adaim, Tommy Sands, Paul (the Brother) McGuire, Gerry Jones ands friends.

Sunday 14 October
10:45 a.m.
Bus tour of historic Belfast or film, To Die in Madrid, John Hewitt Bar and Restaurant

12:30 p.m.
Lunch, John Hewitt bar and restaurant, with local politicians and trade union and community activists. Booking essential.

2:45 p.m.
Close of the event

*To be confirmed.

During October there will be an exhibition of original material, letters, newspapers and photographs in the Linen Hall Library.

Changes may occur in the programme. However, all venues are firmly booked. Day’s Hotel is holding forty rooms for those who want to stay; phone (028) 90242494, e-mail, fax (028) 90242495; postal payment by cheque to Day’s Hotel, 40 Hope Street, Belfast BT12 5EE, and please quote the reference BTAGM when booking.

For further information about the AGM contact Lynda Walker, 077 51951785 or
For the International Brigades Commemoration Committee contact Kevin Doherty, 077 48148863, or Ciarán Crossey, 077 59393607.
For accompodation and travel information contact the Welcome Centre, 47 Donegall Place, phone (028) 90246609, e-mail