Web Site http://www.theplough.netfirms.com/
Vol 5-No 8
Thursday 3rd July 2008
E-mail newsletter of the Irish Republican Socialist Party
2) Clear Class Divisions
3) Oration for Crip
4) Unionist quotes
This edition of the Plough carries two important articles, which are complementary. One is a detailed analysis of the current class divisions within Irish society North and South. It basically outlines why Republican Socialists want to change Irish society. The current Provisional Sinn Fein leadership, (now bitterly divided into pro-McGuinesss and pro-Adams factions) years ago dropped the slogan for a united Ireland and settled for an Ireland of Equals. Nearly every speech made references to equality. Such was the emphasis on equality that Adams during the last Free State elections prattled on about equality on TV when questioned about economic affairs. However his equality was only a slogan and was not about economic equality. Such was his performance that not only did the political pundits look on bemused but so did the electorate. The (P) Sinn Fein went down.
That equality meant nothing to the (P) Sinn Fein leadership has been proved by their performance in the local British administration at Stormont. Pledges against a water tax have been dropped and (P) Sinn Fein activists have secretly taken down their anti water tax posters and banners. They now accept another tax on the working class. Indeed they now accept the status quo which Liam’s article exposes for its inequalities. No doubt many (P) Sinn Fein activist will argue they want to make major changes. Maybe but they will not do that by tinkering with a basically unjust system. Trying to reform capitalism from within, history has proved, does not work. Minor changes may be made but the system that leads to wars famine starvation world wide continues.
The second article is the full text of Willie Gallaghers’ oration a the grave side of comrade Crip Mc Williams on a hillside above the town of Newry. Crip was a loyal comrade of the Republican Socialist movement. He chose to take up arms against the British occupation forces when young, a choice many others made believing they had no alternative. Crip grew up in a war zone where riots were common gunfire persistent and death no stranger. The British army was an oppressive occupation force which despised the natives of Ballymurphy, Turf Lodge and other mainly nationalist estates of West Belfast. Working class nationalists were treated like shit. Many were beaten up tortured framed and jailed. Others openly shot dead without provocation. That same British Army along with its masters, give the green light to loyalist murder gangs to unleash naked sectarian murder on the nationalist population. Collusion between loyalists and the British establishment meant that guns were imported for loyalist use, intelligence files leaked to the murder gangs , routes to and from the homes of nationalists cleared by the army to allow murder gangs to do their dirty deeds, forensic evidence destroyed, charges dropped against leading loyalists, and names given from on high for loyalists to kill. All of this to block the right to self-determination.
Crip along with many other young men and women saw the connection between imperialist oppression and class oppression.. In his early teens while going through the city cemetery with his brother, Paul the British army opened fire killing Paul in front of Crip’s eyes. From then on he was an implacable opponent of Imperialism. That is why he joined the INLA.
As Willie’s speech points out Crip’s life is not determined by his actions against chief loyalist mass murder, Billy Wright. He was a rounded individual with a great sense of humour who bore his eventual fatal illness with courage and fortitude. He supported the INLA decision to call a ceasefire in 1998 and loyally supported the politicisation of the movement since then. Crip was an ordinary guy who lived in extraordinary times. As we bid farewell to a comrades it is appropriate to quote the words of the 18th century republican, Thomas Paine.
“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will in this crisis shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love and thanks of men and women”
Clear Class Divisions
For Republican Socialists, there is a fundamental division within society; that between the "working class" and the "capitalist class". But what is the exact nature of this division? Many would answer that it is one between "rich" and "poor", the "have" and the "have not". Statistical evidence clearly points to a sharp division between the have and the have not.
In 2007 Bank of Ireland Private Banking Limited published a report entitled The Wealth of the Nation. It disclosed that net wealth per head in the 26 counties had increased from 148 000 to 196 000 Euro from 2004 to 2006. It stated the top 1 per cent of the population held 20 per cent of the wealth, and the top 2 per cent held 30 per cent of the wealth, with the top 5 per cent holding 40 per cent of the wealth, leaving the remaining 60 per cent of the wealth to be shared among 95 per cent of the population.
But if the value of housing were left out, then the top 1 per cent held over a third of all wealth (34 per cent). It said 3000 millionaires were created in 2006 and that there were 33 000 millionaires in the country in 2007. Of these 30 000 had wealth of up to 5 million Euro. Nearly 3000 had wealth of between 5 million and 30 million Euro and 330 had wealth in excess of 30 million Euro.
Meanwhile almost 7 per cent of the population of the 26 counties are living in consistent poverty, that is almost 300 000 people living on incomes of less than the equivalent of about 11 000 Euro for a single person and being unable to afford two pairs of strong shoes, or unable to afford a meal with meat or chicken or fish every second day, or unable to afford a waterproof coat. Aside from that, 17 per cent are at risk of poverty (over 700 000 people), that is, living on equivalent incomes of less than 60 per cent of the average. That is about 11 000 Euro for a single person or 27 000 Euro for a household of two adults and two children. (1)
However, class is not simply about dividing people into rich and poor. Being rich or poor is an effect of class divisions, not its cause. A class refers to a group of people who share a similar relation to the way they earn their living.
Those who rely on wages, pensions or social security benefits to live, who are compelled to sell their labour to survive constitute the working class.
Those who live on profit, rent and interest constitute the capitalist class.
To live the workers have to work for an employer otherwise they would have no source of income. The capitalists own companies and products on whose profits they live; the same for landlords and speculators who live on rents generated by the properties and land they own. They employ (or ‘exploit’) the labour of workers, from which they will derive their profits.
A recent report estimated that capitalists in Ireland made an average 45 800 Euro of profit per worker. (2) This is what Marx and Engels meant by ‘proletariat’ and ‘bourgeoisie’:
"By bourgeoisie is meant the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labour.
By proletariat, the class of modern wage labourers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to sell selling their labour power in order to live." (3)
In terms of statistical measurement; the bourgeoisie can be defined as Socio-Economic Groups (SEGs) 1-4 and 13 in the Northern Ireland Registrar General’s classification and Social Classes I-III in the 26 counties’ Labour Force Survey.
The proletariat comprises all other SEGs in the Registrar General’s classification and Social Classes in the Labour Force Surveys together with the unemployed. (4) The 45 800 Euro of profit per worker made by capitalists are what scientific socialists call ‘surplus value’.
Why do Republican Socialist campaign for the abolition of the class system? The effects of class society can be summed up by a single shocking statistic that is defiantly ignored by the political class and by most of the media: that 5 400 people die prematurely in the 26 counties every year because of the inequality they suffer from being on the wrong side of the class divide. Thousands more live miserable lives because of broken health, also arising from inequality. The proportion of people who die in the 26 counties because of inequality is significantly higher than in other European countries. (5)
It is the capitalist class which has benefited the most from the economic growth in recent years; both in absolute terms and in relative terms. Overall, the disposable weekly income of households in the 26 counties rose by 54 percent between 1995 and 2000, or in absolute terms from 281 pounds to 434 pounds. But whereas the top ten percent of households saw their incomes increasing by 62 percent, the bottom ten percent increased their incomes by 33 percent. (6) Apologists for the current economic system will point that the fact that the bottom ten percent increased their income shows that it works.
However, as professor Robert Erikson of the Swedish Institute of Social Research wrote last year:
"The general increase in income does not seem to have been matched by a general change in income inequality, except for a possible but uncertain increase of the relative share of the very highest incomes." (7) More significantly, the evidence suggests that workers lost out relatively, with wages falling as a proportion of the various incomes generated within the 26 counties economy, whereas capitalists increased their share.
Until 1987, the share of wages, pensions and social security in the 26 counties stood at 69.2 percent, with profits, rents and self-employed earnings taking the other 30.7 percent. By 1997, the share of wages; pensions and social security fell to 56.3 percent and mostly the share going to profits had risen to 43.7 percent. In 2004 the first category had again fallen to 52.1 and the second risen to 48.1 (8) As Whelan argued already in 1995,
"The nature of Irish industrialisation has been such that the degree of disadvantage suffered by the working classes has been greater than conventional…analysis would suggest." (9)
As Garrett FitzGerald notes:
"during the Celtic Tiger period the incomes of many better-off people rose quite disproportionately vis-a-vis those of the less well-off". (10)
By the end of the 1990s, the share of total income enjoyed by the top 1% of 26 counties earners was more than twice the level prevailing throughout the 1970s and 1980s. The top 5% of the population holds 40% of the wealth. (11) This reflects US trends: In the United States in 1970, chief executives earned 25 times the average worker’s wage. In 2007 chief executives earned 360 times the average worker’s wage. (12)
In the Six Counties, things are no better. The material well-being of the working classes has been eroded between 1971 and 1995: a 42.7 per cent growth in non-earner families, a three fold increase in poverty, a 32.2 per cent decline in income, a rise in unemployment from 4.3 percent to 14.2 per cent all attest to social dislocation. Conversely, the evolution of the economy has significantly benefited the middle and upper classes. In the period 1971-1995 they have enjoyed a 28.1 per cent rise in their share of total income and by 1995 possessed the highest levels of personal savings as a percentage of disposable income within the United Kingdom. (13)
Has the ‘peace dividend’ changed things?
"It has become increasingly evident, however; that insofar as there can actually be said to have been a peace dividend its benefits have not been evenly distributed." (14)
For the upper and middle classes, life has never been better. (15) But a 2006 report showed that the poorest members of society in the six counties were worse off than ten years before. (16) The UN Human Development Reports rank the 26 counties among the most unequal developed countries in the world. Yet the Poverty and Social Exclusion NI survey revealed that inequality in the North is greater -a Gini coefficient of 0.42 compared to 0.36 in the 26 counties -the Gini coefficient is a measure of inequality ranging from zero (complete equality) to one (complete inequality). (17)
When looking at who has benefited the most of the economic growth, things are also made more complex due to a number of unique characteristics that set off the Irish economy from others within the EU, including others on the EU periphery.
The 26 counties are unique in Europe in the degree that its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) exceeds its Gross National Product (GNP) because of the profits that are removed by transnational corporations (TNCs) operating there. In very broad terms, GDP measures the value of what is produced in the 26 county economy, by indigenous and foreign enterprises alike. It represents the net output or added value generated in the economy during any given period. GNP, on the other hand, identifies that portion of the income generated in Ireland that is retained in this country in any time period. In sum, where GDP measures the value of output produced, GNP represents what the 26 counties gets to keep from what is produced here. As the economics editor of the Irish Times explains:
"For most advanced countries, GDP and GNP are interchangeable but Ireland is a special case because of the scale and importance of foreign direct investment in the Irish economy. Foreign industrial investment provided the platform for the Irish boom and foreign-owned enterprises continue to dominate production and exports in Irish manufacturing industry. They contribute substantially to the amount of output produced and income generated in Ireland. That contribution is reflected fully in the GDP statistics. However, foreign companies did not invest in Ireland for the good of their health. They came to Ireland because it was a highly profitable location that allowed free profit repatriation. A major slice of the profits, dividends, interest and other income earned by foreign-owned enterprises operating in Ireland is exported abroad. Such repatriations comprise a substantial element of the outflow of net factor income from the country. This net outflow of factor income is a large number. In 2007, it exceeded €29 billion, equivalent to more than 15 per cent of GDP."(18)
In other words up to one fifth of the value generated within the 26 counties economy each year is spirited out of the country, principally in the guise of the repatriated profits of transnational corporations.
The 26 counties are not unique in that TNCs have a leading role in their economy. However:
"By the turn of the century, Ireland had by far the highest level of direct US investment per manufacturing worker of any country in Europe, with the capital deployed per worker being a full seven times higher than the EU average. … In the process, the Republic of Ireland became more dependent on US investment than many countries in Latin America, which has often been described as ‘America’s backyard’." (19)
At the end of 2005, there were 473 US TNCs operating in the 26 counties, accounting for 47 per cent of companies supported by the IDA and employed 70 percent of the employment provided by IDA sponsored companies in Ireland. (20)
In the 26 counties, imperialist transnational corporations are more important to the accumulation of capital than the internally generated process of accumulation. Imperialist capital is the motor of industrial development, and Irish capital has a generally weak and subordinated role to it. Inward stocks of foreign direct investment as a percentage of GDP grew from 71.5% in 1990 to 129.7% in 2003 while the average for the EU15 was 10.9% in 1990 and 32.8% in 2003. (21)
TNCs were directly responsible for 45 percent of economic growth in the 26 counties during the first half of the 1990s and between 1995 and 1999 directly accounted for 85 percent of economic growth in terms of their value added. Their rising profits alone accounted for 53 percent of economic growth! Between 1990 and 1999, output in the three main TNC sectors grew by 375 percent and employment by 73 percent. Thus output per employee grew by 215 percent during that period.
In comparison, in Irish companies output rose by 55 percent and employment by 40 percent. Output per employee grew by about one percent annually, which is quite low by international standards. By 1999, the average worker in the foreign sector produced nearly eight times more output by value than did the average worker in the rest of the economy. (22)
The consequence of this is that the 26 counties bourgeoisie is in a position of relative weakness and that its representatives are not in a position of equality with imperialist capital. They are not a strong and independent fraction of the global capitalist class and are not in position to challenge of compete with imperialism. It is thus significant that in a recent article on the Irish bourgeoisie, the Ireland correspondent of the Financial Times could write:
"The ranks of the super-rich include few manufacturers, partly because foreign-owned companies have dominated that sector –about 70 percent of Irish manufacturing exports came from US-owned companies."
He also adds regarding the people who became millionaires thanks to the Celtic Tiger:
"Some commentators complain that… the new moneyed class are just property speculators. One measure of this is the dearth of new listings on the Irish stock exchange. And the Irish boom has certainly been heavily concentrated in the property sector. About a third of the 80 000 individuals setting up businesses between January 2003 and June 2006 were in construction." (23)
It is thus wrong to think that capitalism in the 26 counties is no different from that in any other EU country. The strategic sector of the 26 counties are dominated by imperialist capital.
For Republican Socialists, the current model of economic development being pursued in Ireland is a failed and unjust system. The fact that 700, 000 people still live in poverty despite more than a decade of prosperity and growth shows that economic growth is at best not linked to social development. (24) And at worse, the current model of development has increased social and economic inequality, whose effects results in at least 5400 people dying needlessly in the 26 counties. Also, another major contradiction is that despite a decade of growth putting them in the league of the richest states, the 26 counties still have infrastructures and collective equipment reminiscent of poor countries. (25)
Republican Socialists also argue that the current model of economic development leaves Ireland in a highly vulnerable position. First due to the dominance of imperialist capital, shocks to US economic growth would have 'a much stronger effect' on the pace of Irish economic activity than economic shocks of a similar magnitude in the Euro area or Britain, the IMF has found. A one percent drop in US economic growth translates into a 1.75 percent drop in the 26 counties. This is because the US is the 26 counties' main source of foreign direct investment and largest single export market. (26) Second, the 26 counties ratio of housing investment to GDP at 13.3 percent is more than twice as high as the average 6.5 per cent for OECD countries, leaving the 26 counties highly vulnerable to depression in that sector. On top of that residential investment had increased its share of GDP in the 26 counties from 7.8 per cent in 2000 to 13.3 per cent in 2006. (27) Added to the slow down in the US economy, it means that the 26 counties will be left in an even worse position.
Liam O RUAIRC
(1) Vincent Browne, A nation divided by weatlh, The Irish Times, 13 February 2008
(2) Martin Wall, Irish firms make profit of €45,800 per worker, report says, The Irish Times, 2 July 2008
(3) Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848
(4) Peter Shirlow, Class, Materialism and the Fracturing of Traditional Alignments, in Brian Graham (ed) In Search of Ireland: A Cultural Geography, London and New York: Routledge, 1997, 90
(5) Vincent Browne, Political class defiantly ignores massive inequality, The Irish Times, 14 May 2008
(6) Ronaldo Munck, Social class and inequality, in Sara O'Sullivan (ed), Contemporary Ireland: A Sociological Map, Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2007, 307
(7) Tony Fahey, Helen Russell, Christopher T Whelan (eds), Best of Times?, Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 2007, 271
(8) Kieran Allen, Globalisation, the state and Ireland's miracle economy, Sara O'Sullivan (ed), Contemporary Ireland: A Sociological Map, Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2007, 244-245
(9) Christopher Whelan, Class transformation and social mobility in the Republic of Ireland, in P Clancy, S Drudy, K Lynch and L O Dowd (eds) Irish Society: Sociological Perspectives, Dublin: Institute of Public Administration, 1995, 351
(10) Garret FitzGerald, Growth should be used to build an equitable society, The Irish Times, 2 December 2006
(11) Fintan O Toole, Inequality now official policy, The Irish Times, 15 January 2008
(12) Kathy Sheridan, Mind the Gap: wage disparity spreads from private to public, The Irish Times, 12 January 2008
(13) Peter Shirlow, op.cit, 100-101
(14) Colin Coulter and Peter Shirlow, The Peace Process in Northern Ireland, in Sara O'Sullivan (ed), Contemporary Ireland: A Sociological Map, Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2007, 191
(15) Jim Smyth and Andreas Cebulla, The Glacier Moves? Economic change and class structures in Northern Ireland, in Colin Couler and Michael Murray (eds), Northern Ireland After The Troubles? A Society in Transition, Macmillan, 2008
(16) BBC webpage, Poor 'worse off now than in 1996', 14 September 2006
(17) Goretti Horgan, Class in Northern Ireland, in Sara O'Sullivan (ed), Contemporary Ireland: A Sociological Map, Dublin: University College Dublin Press, 2007, 322
(18) Paul Tansey, Riddle of the economy shrinking and growing at the same time, The Irish Times, 1 July 2008
(19) Kieran Allen, Neither Boston or Berlin: Class Polarisation and Neo-Liberalism in the Irish Republic, in Colin Coulter and Steve Coleman (eds), The End of Irish History? Critical Approached to the Celtic Tiger, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003, 57
(20) Paul Tansey, Recession in US would seriously affect Irish economy, IMF warns, The Irish Times, 31 January 2008
(21) European Commission, European Economy No. 6 2005, p. 399. (Figures supplied by Joe Craig)
(22) Denis O'Hearn, Macroeconomic policy in the Celtic Tiger: A critical reassessment, in Colin Coulter and Steve Coleman (eds), The End of Irish History? Critical Approached to the Celtic Tiger, Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003, 38 and 45
(23) John Murray Brown, Lucre of the Irish, Prospect, January 2008
(24) Carl O Brien, Country following flawed economic model, says CORI, The Irish Times, 19 June 2008
(25) Marion Van Renterghem, L'Irlande, enrichie, a conserve les infrastructures d'un Etat pauvre, Le Monde, 21 Septembre 2007
(26) Paul Tansey, Recession in US would seriously affect Irish economy, IMF warns, The Irish Times, 31 January 2008
(27) Paul Tansey, 'Growth Recession' only game in town, The Irish Times, 11 April 2008
Oration for Crip
Volunteer Christopher 'Crip' McWilliams
“Comrades, we stand here today in memory of and in solemn salute to the life of an Irish revolutionary, Irish National Liberation Army Volunteer Christopher McWilliams.
The Republican Socialist Movement stand in grief beside his family, acutely aware that they have lost a husband, a father, a son, a brother and an uncle and whilst we are saying our last farewell to a brave and valued comrade who has came to the end of his long journey, we recognise that their loss is deep and profound. We respect them in this time of grief.
I have spoken over the past number of weeks to many of Crip's comrades, many of whom are here today, and all are in a state of disbelief. One comrade said, and I make no apology for repeating it here today,
''since hearing the news of Crip's deteriorating condition I had the same gut-wrenching feeling as I had in 1981 as we waited for the hunger strikers to die one by one in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh''.
Crip of course was no stranger to British prisons having spent most of his adult life incarcerated by the British occupation forces. Indeed for many who only knew Crip by reputation may believe that his only contribution to the struggle was the execution of Billy Wright in Long Kesh. Nothing could be further from the truth: Crip was a well rounded and experienced Volunteer, highly respected by his peers, courageous and determined to play his part in the struggle. Though there were many attempts to vilify and demonise him by the media, and others, he never sought or countenanced notoriety. Crip was not a man of letters or of endless theoretical speculation, however this did not mean that he was unthinking or did not posses the ability to look forward and plan and execute revolution in Ireland.
Crip had energy and intelligence, he was accurate and thorough, known for his sense of humour and tenacity and as a human being displayed great concern and humanity for his fellow people. He was both a thinker and a man of action with an outstanding mind and personality, respected by his fellow volunteers and this generation of republican socialists.
He was a Belfast man born and bred and grew up in a republican neighbourhood in West Belfast. His brother Paul was murdered by the British army when he was just 16 years old. Crip joined the INLA when just a teenager and in 1984 was imprisoned after being captured after a gun battle in a Lenadoon flat in which his friend and comrade Paul 'Bonanza' McCann was killed. He was sentenced to 14 years and served half of it in the H-Blocks.
In 1991, a few short months after his release, he was arrested and convicted for the IPLO killing of a bar manger in Belfast. Charges he passionately contested and spoke often about and remained consistent right up to his death about his innocence. Whilst in prison Crip once again re-joined the INLA and was involved in a number of operations in Maghaberry prison before rejoining his comrades in May 1997 in Long Kesh.
For a time in the 80s along with his friends and comrades Gino Gallagher and Bonanza McCann and others who must remain anonymous at this time took the war against the British war machine in their native Belfast to new heights of determination and execution. In short, they had the enemy on the run for long periods of time. Indeed the very mention of their names had the Brits running for cover.
It is true that the life of an Irish revolutionary is often a short one with generations of freedom fighters either dying in a hail of bullets whilst on active service, by stealth of assassination from British death squads, or languishing in British prisons and dying on hunger strike or exile from the land of their birth. That Crip endured imprisonment and oppression all his life is undeniable, however, it was a very different type of struggle he had to undertake when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer shortly after his release from the H-Blocks.
He faced this struggle against cancer with the same courage, tenacity and philosophy as when waging war against the British and it was these qualities , along with treatment, I believe, which brought his cancer into remission and allowed him to enjoy his last few years in the bosom of his loving family, enjoying the normality that so many take for granted. We, his comrades, are thankful that he enjoyed those few short years surrounded by those he loved and cared for.
During these past few weeks Crip and I had many long and deep conversations on a wide range of subjects. He spoke of his deep love for Julie and Carla and how much happiness and peace they brought him since his release. He spoke of his love for his son and the rest of his family in Belfast and how proud he was of all of them who supported him through thick and thin. He spoke about how touched he was during a visit in the hospital a few weeks ago with the relatives of some of Billy Wright's victims. One of them asked him if he had any regrets about his part in the operation in removing this mass murderer. He said
''As an INLA volunteer I have absolutely no regrets whatsoever in my part in the operation against Billy Wright. I take no pleasure in his death and done what I had to do and I will take that to the grave with me''.
This man then shook his hand and thanked him for bringing him justice and a sense of closure to the family's suffering.
He spoke too about the public Inquiry into Wright's death and that he was looking forward to taking part in it. The Inquiry were in contact with Crip's solicitor a number of months back stating that they would be summonsing him and they supplied a number of written questions which they demanded answered. They stated that failure to answer all the questions would result in a term of imprisonment. Some of the questions were
''how were the weapons smuggled in. Who was involved in the smuggling. Who else outside the prison was involved?
Crip made it quite clear that whilst he would cooperate he would not incriminate any Volunteer nor would he compromise the methods used in smuggling weapons into prisons and that he was prepared to spend the rest of his life in prison protecting those secrets. He believed that the Inquiry was just a sop to the DUP and scorned at the notion of collusion and regretted that the Inquiry's remit did not cover Wright's murder campaign as a British agent.
Crip, quite rightly, was proud of what he described as his 'small contribution' to the noble struggle for freedom and of his first involvement as a teenager with the Irish National Liberation Army. After his release from prison Crip once again offered his services to the INLA and remained a valued and committed Volunteer right up to his death.
It is fitting today when we lay our gallant comrade to rest in his adopted home of Newry, that we recall past Irish republicans revolutionaries from this area, the Young Irelanders, John Mitchel buried at Old Meeting House Green on the High Street and John Martin buried in Donaghmore.
In February1848 John Mitchel founded a newspaper the United Irishman as an organ for revolution, its overriding principle is a fitting epitaph for INLA Volunteer Christopher 'Crip' McWilliams :
''The Irish people have a just and indefeasible right to Ireland and to all the moral and material wealth and resources thereof, to posses and govern the same for their own use, maintenance, comfort and honour as a distinct sovereign state.''
We lay you to rest safe in the knowledge that you are lying among friends. We salute you comrade, rest in peace with the other brave soldiers of the INLA and IRA.”
Oration delivered by IRSP member Willie Gallagher
Delivered by Willie Gallagher on behalf of the Irish Republican Here are some quote and facts which indicate just how sectarian the Northern Ireland state was. (Quotes taken mainly from CAIN site, which is run by the University of Ulster. The post is long, but informative):
1) Quotes by the Prime Ministers of Northern Ireland from 1921-1969:
"I have always said I am an Orangeman first and a politician and Member of this Parliament afterwards. ... The Hon. Member must remember that in the South they boasted of a Catholic State. They still boast of Southern Ireland being a Catholic State. All I boast is that we are a Protestant Parliament and Protestant State."
Sir James Craig Northern Ireland Prime Minister1921-1940
"Another allegation made against the Government and which was untrue, was that, of 31 porters at Stormont, 28 were Roman Catholics. I have investigated the matter, and I find that there are 30 Protestants and only one Roman Catholic there temporarily."
J. M. Andrews Northern Ireland Prime Minister 1940-1943
"When I made that declaration last 'twelfth' I did so after careful consideration. What I said was justified. I recommended people not to employ Roman Catholics, who were 99 per cent disloyal."
Sir Basil Brooke Northern Ireland Prime Minister 1943-1963
"It is frightfully hard to explain to Protestants that if you give Roman Catholics a good job and a good house they will live like Protestants because they will see neighbours with cars and television sets; they will refuse to have eighteen children. But if a Roman Catholic is jobless, and lives in the most ghastly hovel, he will rear eighteen children on National Assistance. If you treat Roman Catholics with due consider and kindness, they will live like Protestants in spite of the authoritative nature of their Church ... "
Captain Terence O'Neil Northern Ireland Prime Minister 1963-1969
2) Discrimination in Public employment
"When it is remembered that the first Minister [of Home Affairs], Sir Dawson Bates, held that post for 22 years and had such a prejudice against Catholics that he made it clear to his Permanent Secretary that he did not want his most juvenile clerk, or typist, if a Papist, assigned for duty to his Ministry, what could one expect when it came to filling posts in the Judiciary, Clerkships of the Crown and Peace and Crown Solicitors?"
Mr. G.C. Duggan, Comptroller and Auditor-General in Northern Ireland (1967)
"Clear instances of discrimination against well qualified Catholics occurred from the beginning . . . At the Ministry of Home Affairs, Bates refused to allow Catholic appointments. . . . While Unionist politicians were included on civil service appointment boards, nationalist requests for this privilege were ignored.
As the years passed, evidence emerged of Orange Order surveillance of Catholic civil servants and even civil servants married to Catholics. Prominent and respectable Unionists like Sir Robert Lynn (editor of the Northern Whig) and Sir Charles Blackmore (Cabinet secretary) were the messenger-boys for the Order in these matters. Craig's attitude was at best ambiguous. Predictably, the number of Catholics in the higher ranks of the NICS dropped consistently throughout the late '20s and early '30s"
From Bew, Gibbon and Patterson "The State in Northern Ireland, 1921-72" (Note: Paul Bew, now a member of the House of Lords, is a unionist historian, and, to use his own words, an 'informal advisor' to David Trimble)
"We are satisfied that all these Unionist controlled councils have used and use their power to make appointments in a way which benefited Protestants. In the figures available for October 1968 only thirty per cent of Londonderry Corporation's administrative, clerical and technical employees were Catholic. In Dungannon Urban District none of the Council's administrative, clerical and technical employees was a Catholic. In County Fermanagh no senior council posts (and relatively few others) were held by Catholics. . . Armagh Urban District employed very few Catholics in salaried posts, but did not appear to discriminate at lower levels. Omagh Urban District showed no clearcut pattern of discrimination, though we have seen what would appear to be undoubted evidence of employment discrimination by Tyrone County Council"
The conclusion of the Cameron report (1969) (Commission appointed by
the Governor of Northern Ireland)
It is also worth mentioning that Terence O'Neill states that when he was Minister of Finance in the 1950s he had to face a campaign against him in the Cabinet because it was believed that since he had taken up office Catholics were being encouraged to join the civil service.
3) Discrimination in Private employment
'At a meeting in Derry to select candidates for the Corporation Mr. H. McLaughlin said that for the past forty-eight years since the foundation of his firm there had been only one Roman Catholic employed - and that was a case of mistaken identity'
Derry People 26 September 1946.
"[Our three candidates] employ over 70 people, and have NEVER employed a ROMAN CATHOLIC"
Pamphlet issued by the St George's Ward Unionist Association during the 1961 Belfast municipal elections.
At the end of the 1960's, Harland and wolf employed about 10,000 workers. Of these, less than 500 were catholic. Roughly the same proportion was found at Shorts and other big employers. Moreover, many of the Catholics employed there were subject to sectarian abuse. This situation was brought to the attention of the American authorities by members of the nationalist community. The result was the Macbride principles, a code of conduct for US companies operating in Northern Ireland, which ensures that there is no discrimination in selection and other areas. These principles have now been passed in sixteen states in the US. It is quite remarkable that a foreign country has to introduce such a code in its dealings with a modern European "democracy".
4) Discrimination in Local elections
"The Nationalist majority in the county, i.e., Fermanagh, notwithstanding a reduction of 336 in the year, stands at 3,684. We must ultimately reduce and liquidate that majority. This county, I think it can be safely said, is a Unionist county. The atmosphere is Unionist. The Boards and properties are nearly all controlled by Unionists. But there is still this millstone [the Nationalist majority] around our necks."
E.C. Ferguson, Unionist Party, then Stormont MP, April 1948
" I need hardly point out to you that in Derry , unless something is done now , it is only a matter of time until Derry passes into the hands of the Nationalist and Sinn Fein parties for all time . On the other hand, if proper steps are taken now, I believe Derry can be saved for years to come... "
Sir Dawson Bates to Lord Craigavon 1934
In 1920's, against strong opposition from the British Government, the Northern Ireland Parliament abolished proportional representation and redrew the electoral boundaries, with the result that they gained fifteen more seats, leaving the nationalists, who made up roughly a third of the population, with eleven seats out of seventy-three. For this reason, nationalists have since that time been consistently under-represented.
The city of Derry is perhaps the best case. Since the formation of the Northern Ireland state the population ratio of Derry has been more or less 60:40 catholic to protestant, but the structure of the council has always been roughly 40:60 nationalist to unionist, simply because the boundaries were changed in order to produce a unionist majority.
For reasons of space I have said nothing in regard to policing, or parades, or housing. I have included quotes to show not merely that the Northern Ireland state was unjust from top to bottom, but also that the discrimination which occurred was more or less policy and was often openly expressed.
The standard unionist explanation is that Catholics were discriminated against not because of their religion, but because it was thought that they might be people who might work within the system to bring about a United Ireland. This does seem odd, for, first, part of the South's hostility to the north was a result of the discrimination, and, second, it is generally the case that giving people equality makes them less, not more, likely to want to change the status quo. Yet it does appear that this was part of the reason. Nonetheless, it can hardly be without significance that the Orange Order is found in Scotland, the USA, Canada, and New Zealand, and in all these places its members have invariably been fiercely, and sometimes violently, anti-catholic.
Source JColtrane in politics blog-Henry McDonald May 25th 2008
The Turkish government has jailed a woman trade unionist, Meryem Özsögüt, and has kept her in detention for nearly six months.
Meryem is a leader of the public sector union SES, and we've been asked by Public Services International (PSI) to launch a big online campaign demanding her release.
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