Thursday, 24 October 2013

Don’t Let them Fool You

The hysteria whipped up by the media and acted on by the 26-County police, resulting in two Roma children being separated from their families, in what must have been the most traumatic of circumstances, is an episode that is symptomatic of all that is wrong with this state. What is most frightening about this case is the arbitrary nature in which a journalist passed on a piece of anecdotal evidence to the Gardaí and within hours a child is taken from her parents. In the midlands a call from a member of the public resulted in another child being separated from his parents, again with little if any evidence being presented of a crime having been committed. Pavee Point quiet correctly describes this as “racial profiling in the extreme”. In each case the children were taken from their parents as a matter of first resort rather than last resort, as would be the norm in all but the most extreme cases of child protection. The targeting of both families on the basis of their ethnicity as Roma should make us all uneasy about the direction in which our society is heading. Denise Charlton, Chief Executive of the Immigrant Council says both cases are worrying because: “they involved members of a particularly marginalised community and we would worry about people being targeted because they are part of a particular ethnic group.” Denise Charlton pointed out that the events of the past week came on the back of comments from the 26-County Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton in which she indicated that half of social welfare fraud was carried out by immigrants, something which the Immigrant Council say is not supported by any evidence. This targeting of minorities is nothing new in times of economic hardship and collapse. Marginalised groups are a convenient means of distracting the populace from the real source of their social and economic woes. What occurred here exposes the supposed concern of the Dublin Administration for the welfare of children as only so much empty rhetoric. It is easy to play to the gallery on such issues but let it be on their actions that they should be judged. Marginalising the vulnerable and stoking the flames of racial prejudice and stereotype are to borrow a phrase the last refuge of the political charlatan. Targeting the weak in order to protect the powerful. Don’t be fooled people, recognise who your real enemies are. The bankers, financiers and their friends in the political class. Those who have robbed us all and continue to do so. In the words of the great Woody Guthrie: Yes, as through this world I've wandered I've seen lots of funny men; Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

26-County Budget - latest salvo in a war of economic imperialism

Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton: Once again the Leinster House political elite have targeted the most vulnerable members of society in order to protect the interests of the wealthy. The singling out of the elderly and the young unemployed exposes the harsh reality of the neo-liberal economics that drives the economic and social policy of the 26-County Administration. Cutting access to a full medical card to thousands of people over seventy as well as the renewed targeting of the young unemployed, leaving many with no other option but to emigrate, is reminiscent of the ‘Poor Law’ mentality of the 1840s when starvation or the coffin ship were the only options that were provided. The ability to care for the old and provide for the young define what is a civilised society. The barbarians have breached the gates. The Leinster House political class are collaborating against the interests of their own people in order to prop up the economic agenda of the EU power elites. This budget is just the latest salvo in a war of economic imperialism being waged against ordinary people, workers, the unemployed, the rural and urban poor, the young and the old across Europe. The budget as an exercise is largely a media event, as the major decisions are already made by the political and economic masters in Brussels and the European Central Bank. This is the new face of imperialism and people must awake to the reality that they are now locked in a struggle for the very survival of the norms of a civilised society not only in Ireland but across Europe and beyond. Críoch/Ends

Thursday, 3 October 2013

A stalwart of Irish Republicanism

Statement by the President of Republican Sinn Féin Des Dalton: It was with sadness that Irish Republicans received the news of the passing of Joe O’Neill on October 2. Joe was a stalwart of Irish Republicanism throughout his adult life and remained an active Republican right up to recent weeks. Joe O’Neill was born into a strong Republican family. His father Frank from Pomeroy, Co Tyrone was active in 1916 with the East Tyrone IRB. They had mobilised outside Coalisland when the order from Headquarters came to demobilise. The order was brought to them by Nora Connolly, daughter of James Connolly, who travelled to Carrickmore on the GNR railway. Joe’s mother Agnes from Dungannon was also steeped in Republicanism and was very active. She was also very active in the GAA, founding the first camogie team in Dungannon. From the 1950s onwards Joe O’Neill served the cause of Republicanism in a variety of capacities at both local as well as national level. On both occasions when a reformist clique attempted to hijack the Republican Movement, in 1969/70 and again in 1986, Joe O’Neill was steadfast in his fidelity to the All-Ireland Republic of 1916. Taking his place in the leadership of Republican Sinn Féin he was elected to the Ard Chomhairle in 1971, where he was to remain up to his death. He was proud to serve alongside close friends and comrades including Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Dáithí Ó Conaill and Pat Ward. He served as National Treasurer of Republican Sin Féin for many years up to 2009 when he became a Life Vice-President. The Éire Nua programme for a free and federal Ireland was championed by Joe as the key to bringing about a just and lasting settlement for all of the Irish people. For him it represented the best opportunity of fulfilling Theobald Wolfe Tone’s aim of uniting Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter as Irish men and Irish women. It was due to the untiring work and sacrifice of Joe O’Neill that the memory of the hunger strikers of 1981 was suitably honoured each year in Bundoran despite numerous attempts by the 26-County State to disrupt it. As a member of the Bundoran Hunger Strike Committee Joe and the committee erected the beautiful Garden of Remembrance as a most fitting and lasting tribute to the hunger strikers. Joe gave unstinting service to his community for almost thirty years as a local public representative. He was co-opted on to the Ballyshannon Town Commissioners in 1963. He was later elected to Bundoran Town Council where he was to serve for over 25 years. Joe embraced all aspects of Irish culture, including its music and history. He had an enduring love of Gaelic games. Joe was a lifelong member of the GAA. For Joe O’Neill there was no shortcut to a free Ireland. He believed that as long as Ireland was partitioned and occupied by the British State there could be no lasting peace. He was a man of high principle with a burning sense of justice. It was this sense of justice that informed his political activities at both a national as well as a local level. He leaves a gap in the ranks of Republicanism that will be hard to fill. However it is because of the lifetime dedication of men and women like Joe O’Neill that there is a new generation there to take up the torch of revolutionary Irish Republicanism. Críoch/Ends