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DEFEND OUR MILITARY NEUTRALITY

Ireland Must Resist New Pressures To Give Up Military Neutrality

Recovery of All-Ireland Sovereignty of Irish People More Vital than  Ever Now!

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Government and Fianna Fáil have Ordered The Irish Navy To Participate in This Anti-Human Operation!!

Luxembourg Foreign Minister, UNICEF, Medcin Sans Frontiere, Warn Against Return of Migrants To Libyan Concentration Camps

RTE Report and Interview with Luxembourg Foreign Minister

RTE RADIO News At One  17/07/2017

http://rte.ie/r.html?rii=b9_10749567_135_17-07-2017_

Text of RTE Report

Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister, Jean Asselborn has warned that  EU funds could be leading to migrants being housed in what he called concentration camps in Libya. Mr Asselborn said it was right to spend EU  money  training Libyan coastguards to save migrants, who are trying to reach Europe, from drowning. However, he said, this must not lead to those rescued being taken back to lawless camps in Libya.

Clip of interview with Mr Asselborn, Translated into English: “These camps are in part concentration camps-camps where people are raped, where there is no Law. We can only manage this crisis if we work much closer together and dig much deeper into our pockets to help the UN. Otherwise it means something totally inhumane is happening in Europe’s name”

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 Irish Times,Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 11:16

Women and children raped and starved in Libyan ‘hellholes’ – Unicef

Irish Times,Tuesday, February 28, 2017, 11:16

Women and children making the dangerous journey to Europe to flee poverty and conflicts in Africa are being beaten, raped and starved in “living hellholes” in Libya, the United Nations children’s agency (Unicef) said on Tuesday

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Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Website

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has run mobile clinics in seven detention centres located in Tripoli and the surrounding area since July 2016. The centres are under the administration of the Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM).

MSF provides medical care to migrants, refugees and asylum seekers who are arbitrarily detained there. The conditions MSF treats include skin disease, diarrhoeal disease, respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections and acute malnutrition. They are the direct result of the appalling conditions in the detention centres. In the first quarter of 2017 alone, more than 4,000 medical consultations were carried out.

On 3 February 2017, European Union leaders met in Malta to discuss migration, with a view to closing the route from Libya to Italy by stepping up cooperation with the Libyan authorities. MSF expressed its concerns about the fate of people trapped in Libya or returned to the country.

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FIANNA FAIL AND GOVERNMENT, UNDERMINE IRISH NEUTRALITY

Seamus Healy TD Condemns New Alliance with British and French Navies To Push Refugees Back to “Hell on Earth” in Libyan Detention Camps

“The flight of desperate refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya and the rest of north Africa is reminiscent of the Famine. During its ten years from 1845 to 1855, 2.1 million desperate Irish people fled across the high seas in the hope of finding a better life abroad. Imagine if those 2.1 million people had been stopped and forced to return to Ireland. That is what Operation Sophia is now doing in the Mediterranean.”

Independent Alliance, Including John Halligan, Finian McGrath, Sean Canney and Shane Ross Vote With FF-FG

Full Dáil Vote-further down

Full Dáil Speech of Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy: “The Naval Service is participating in Operation Pontus as part of a bilateral agreement with the Italian Government. Operation Pontus is a purely humanitarian mission rescuing migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean. To date, the Naval Service has saved approximately 16,800 migrants.

The Government’s proposal to participate in Operation Sophia, which is supported by only eight of the 27 European Union member states, is an attempt to abuse the legitimate concerns of the public about the continuing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean and drag this country into a military role. I agree with the Peace and Neutrality Alliance that involvement in Operation Sophia would be a further breach of neutrality.

The country’s neutrality has already been breached by allowing the US military’s use of Shannon Airport.

We are repeatedly told that the integration of the Naval Service’s operation in the Mediterranean into Operation Sophia will be an extension of the former’s excellent humanitarian mission and reputation. Nothing could be further from the truth. While the priority of the current Operation Pontus is rescue, the priority of Operation Sophia is to force refugees back into the claws of the Tripoli Government. Under Operation Sophia, refugee boats are being confined to Libyan coastal waters by military force where they can be recaptured and returned to Tripoli.

The flight of desperate refugees across the Mediterranean from Libya and the rest of north Africa is reminiscent of the Famine. During its ten years from 1845 to 1855, 2.1 million desperate Irish people fled across the high seas in the hope of finding a better life abroad. Imagine if those 2.1 million people had been stopped and forced to return to Ireland. That is what Operation Sophia is now doing in the Mediterranean.

Libya has been in chaos since military aggression, including bombing by Britain and France, overthrew the Gaddafi regime. There are now three unelected Libyan governments involved in a civil war. This British and French-created chaos has given free rein to traffickers and smugglers preying on people attempting to escape. Integration into Operation Sophia involves allying Ireland with the navies of Britain and France and one of the three warring governments in Libya.

Refugees International speaks of the ongoing violence and chaos in Libya, a country that lacks an asylum system and where the rule of law is absent. Libyan refugees are being confined to hell-on-Earth detention centres. Non-Libyan refugees, of which there are many, are being placed in transit camps prior to repatriation to the countries from which they fled. There is no right of asylum in Tripoli.

If the transfer to Operation Sophia goes ahead, it will be used in future as a precedent to justify the further erosion of Irish neutrality. The excellent reputation of our soldiers and sailors abroad will be sullied by association with human rights abusers. Above all, the Irish people will be made complicit in the vicious oppression of deprived peoples. Tá mé go láidir i gcoinne an rún seo.

 

Question put: “That the motion be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 80; Níl, 38; Staon(abstain), 0. (Ceann Comhairle 1, DID NOT Vote 39,-PH)

Níl    Staon
    Aylward, Bobby.     Boyd Barrett, Richard.
    Bailey, Maria.     Brady, John.
    Barrett, Seán.     Broughan, Thomas P.
    Brassil, John.     Buckley, Pat.
    Breathnach, Declan.     Collins, Joan.
    Breen, Pat.     Collins, Michael.
    Brophy, Colm.     Connolly, Catherine.
    Browne, James.     Crowe, Seán.
    Bruton, Richard.     Daly, Clare.
    Burke, Peter.     Doherty, Pearse.
    Butler, Mary.     Ellis, Dessie.
    Byrne, Catherine.     Funchion, Kathleen.
    Byrne, Thomas.     Healy, Seamus.
    Cahill, Jackie.     Howlin, Brendan.
    Calleary, Dara.     Kenny, Gino.
    Canney, Seán.     McGrath, Mattie.
    Carey, Joe.     Martin, Catherine.
    Casey, Pat.     Mitchell, Denise.
    Cassells, Shane.     Munster, Imelda.
    Chambers, Jack.     Murphy, Catherine.
    Chambers, Lisa.     Murphy, Paul.
    Corcoran Kennedy, Marcella.     Nolan, Carol.
    Cowen, Barry.     Ó Broin, Eoin.
    D’Arcy, Michael.     Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
    Daly, Jim.     Ó Laoghaire, Donnchadh.
    Deasy, John.     Ó Snodaigh, Aengus.
    Deering, Pat.     O’Reilly, Louise.
    Doherty, Regina.     O’Sullivan, Jan.
    Donnelly, Stephen S.     O’Sullivan, Maureen.
    Dooley, Timmy.     Penrose, Willie.
    Doyle, Andrew.     Quinlivan, Maurice.
    Durkan, Bernard J.     Ryan, Brendan.
    English, Damien.     Ryan, Eamon.
    Farrell, Alan.     Sherlock, Sean.
    Fitzgerald, Frances.     Shortall, Róisín.
    Fitzpatrick, Peter.     Smith, Bríd.
    Flanagan, Charles.     Stanley, Brian.
    Halligan, John.     Tóibín, Peadar.
    Harris, Simon.
    Harty, Michael.
    Haughey, Seán.
    Heydon, Martin.
    Kehoe, Paul.
    Lahart, John.
    McConalogue, Charlie.
    McEntee, Helen.
    McGrath, Finian.
    McGrath, Michael.
    McGuinness, John.
    McHugh, Joe.
    McLoughlin, Tony.
    Madigan, Josepha.
    Mitchell O’Connor, Mary.
    Moynihan, Aindrias.
    Murphy O’Mahony, Margaret.
    Murphy, Dara.
    Murphy, Eoghan.
    Murphy, Eugene.
    Naughten, Denis.
    Naughton, Hildegarde.
    Neville, Tom.
    Ó Cuív, Éamon.
    O’Brien, Darragh.
    O’Connell, Kate.
    O’Dea, Willie.
    O’Donovan, Patrick.
    O’Dowd, Fergus.
    O’Keeffe, Kevin.
    O’Loughlin, Fiona.
    O’Rourke, Frank.
    Rabbitte, Anne.
    Ring, Michael.
    Rock, Noel.
    Ross, Shane.
    Scanlon, Eamon.
    Smith, Brendan.
    Smyth, Niamh.
    Stanton, David.
    Troy, Robert.
    Zappone, Katherine.

 

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Joe McHugh and Tony McLoughlin; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Louise O’Reilly.

Question declared carried.

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Government Proposes That Irish Navy Join British Navy In Handing Over Refugees to Be Jailed by Puppet Libyan Government-One of 3 Libyan Governments Fighting Civil War

Recent Manchester Bombing Related To UK Military Intervention in Libya

Government Proposal Endangers Irish People

 

Government Proposal To Transfer Irish Navy Operations in Mediteranean from “Pontus” to “Sophia”

Differing  practice on Handing over of Refugees is being omitted from all media coverage

Operation Pontus—Ireland, Italy only-refugees handed over to Italian Navy

Operation Sophia—25 EU states including UK , France by Agreement With Tripoli Government-Refugees returned to Tripoli Government and likely Jail  (“Hell on Earth”-Refugees International)

There are at least 3 governments in Libya and a raging civil war—Tripoli Government recognised by EU

UK and France bombed Libya to overthrow Gadafi-Now Chaos Reigns in Libya

 

https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/letters/time-to-join-eu-humanitarian-sea-mission-1.3097974

 

Sophia

Libyan Refugees being Returned From International Waters to Jail in Libya -“Hell on Earth”

Civil War in Progress-At least 3 states in existence –Tripoli Government Recognised by EU, UN?

EU helping force refugees back to ‘hell on Earth’ in push to stop boat crossings from Libya, report finds

Researchers say EU is disregarding international law and human rights

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/eu-refugee-boats-stop-migrant-crisis-libya-drowning-mediterranean-report-refugees-international-a7766531.html

Research by the US-based Refugees International (RI) group warned that the EU’s push to prevent boats leaving the Libyan coast – now the main departure point towards Europe – could fuel horrific abuses.

READ MORE

“The fate of people who are seeking international protection is effectively absent from the plans outlined by EU leaders to tackle the Central Mediterranean route,” its report concluded.

“With the ongoing violence and chaos in Libya, a country that lacks an asylum system and where the rule of law is absent, EU countries must accept people on their territory through orderly, legal processes that are viable alternatives to ruthless criminal networks.

“The EU and its member states should also ensure that their funding and actions in Libya do not result in or contribute to human rights abuses against refugees and migrants.”

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 STATEMENT FROM PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT ON GOVERNMENT DECISION TO SIGN UP TO MORE AGGRESSIVE POLICY ON REFUGEE CRISIS

The Government should not be allowed to abuse the legitimate concerns of the Irish public about the continuing migrant crisis in the Mediterranean to drag the country into the EU’s increasingly militarised response to that crisis.

Ireland has to date only participated in rescue operations in the Mediterranean as part of a bilateral deal with the Italian government.

The Government will decide today (11th July) whether to join the European Union’s Operation Sophia.

The government hopes to put the plan to the Dail on Wednesday morning.

It represents a change in policy for Ireland, after Defence Minister Paul Kehoe told the Dail in December that there was no intention to join the eight-EU-member-state-strong naval operation.

The Irish navy’s work in the Mediterranean has so far been limited to participating in rescue missions, within the mandate of Operation Pontus.

Over the course of two years, Irish forces have saved almost 16,000 migrants, many of whom had tried to make the often-lethal sea voyage in basic inflatable dinghies and unseaworthy craft.

Operation Sophia is currently in phase 2. This involves stopping and searching vessels suspected of being involved in people smuggling. Only eight EU members are participating.

But the eight EU members the Government hopes to join do not intend to stop there.

Sophia makes provision for a Phase 3 which would involve an even more aggressive stance and could include possible action on Libyan soil itself!

Will the Government acknowledge this to the Dail?

As in all these matters an abject policy surrender is motivated by a craven desire to please our EU “betters”. Who will call, “Halt”?

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The militarisation of Europe is a far greater threat than Brexit -Prof Ray Kinsella

Irish Independent PUBLISHED11/07/2016 | 02:30

The most searching challenge that the EU faces is not the fallout from Brexit – it’s from the militarisation of Europe and the US-led Nato encirclement of Russia, endorsed by the Nato Summit in Warsaw last weekend.

 

It is as misconceived as austerity and authoritarianism, which are at the heart of the European crisis. But it is infinitely more dangerous. If the Chilcot Report on the war in Iraq proves anything, it is that the momentum towards armed conflict, once started, becomes difficult to contain.

Militarisation will make it much more difficult to deal with the EU’s migration crisis, itself largely a consequence of the catastrophic effects of Western military intervention. A conflagration between US-led Nato and Russia would increase the numbers of refugees in Europe by an order of magnitude. As for the impact of such a conflagration on the European and global economy – well, all bets are off. We could not begin to model the impact – but we can look at post-war Europe and Iraq and Syria and Libya… Only what are euphemistically termed ‘Defence’ industries do (exceedingly) well out of war.

In April, I suggested in these pages that Europe was in denial. It was mired in an identity crisis largely brought on by itself – a crisis of values, democracy – as well as macroeconomic instability marked by inequality, youth unemployment and long-term indebtedness among peripheral countries. There was no trust in Europe. “The governance of the eurozone is characterised by self-interest, subservience among weaker indebted members and, also, tenacity beyond all reason, in persisting with failed policies.”

In June, prior to the Brexit Referendum, I pointed out that “while it was not the job of UK voters to resolve this mess – Brexit can force these same Euro elite to see reality. The EU is incapable of understanding that the dissenting voices across Europe – which they like to dismiss as ‘populism’ – are not the problem: the real issue is the underlying causes that have precipitated opposition to what the EU has become.”

This perspective was vindicated by the EU’s initial response to Brexit – denial, anger and a blame game.

Then, more positively, the first stirrings of a change in attitude by the EU ‘Top Table’ – notably Dr Wolfgang Schäuble – including a decision not to respond to Brexit by pressing ahead with ‘union’ and not to overly pressurise the UK in implementing Article 50.

Militarism threatens this. The process of rebalancing and reform, including greater democratisation across the EU, is now in jeopardy from the increased militarisation of the EU over the last two years, which is set to increase in the wake of the Warsaw summit. It is an appalling prospect.

Why do ‘leaders’ never see these things coming down the track? Every Leaving Cert student knows ‘The Causes of World War I’ – knowledge didn’t prevent it happening. Why did the ‘leaders’, with the notable example of Churchill, not see what was unfolding in Germany in the short few years from 1935 to 1939?

Why did the US not understand the malign dynamic of the Vietnam War during the 1960s – and its consequences for Asia and the global financial system?

Why did ‘leaders’ not envisage the catastrophic impact of the Iraq invasion?

Now, consider this recent statement by Nato: “Since 2014 Allies have implemented the biggest increase in collective defence since the Cold War… Four robust multinational battalions to Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland … a brigade in Romania … further steps to improve cyber-defences, civil-preparedness and to defend against ballistic missile attack … extend Nato’s training mission in Iraq and to broaden (its) role in the Central Mediterranean … deploy Nato’s Awac surveillance aircraft to support the Global Coalition to counter Isil…”

Now read the Nato Communique issued after last weekend. This is in just two years. The scale and scope of this process has largely gone unremarked. So too have the ironies: of more “training” in Iraq, of support for a “Global Coalition to counter Isil” when we know that it was the military invasion of Iraq that largely created Isil, of “defensive missile systems” ostensibly operated by Nato, which as a recent article in the ‘Wall Street Journal’ points out, “are essentially American initiatives” – and can be redeployed in hours as a long-range offensive system.

The purported justification for this new militarisation of Europe is the intervention of Russia in Ukraine, culminating in the annexation of the Crimean peninsula and its re-integration into Russia.

What is inferred by Nato from this is that ‘a resurgent Russia’ poses an existential threat to Europe. It doesn’t stand up. It also puts fundamental reform of the EU – and peace – in jeopardy. The sensitivities of Poland and the Baltic states to a military threat from Russia are understandable. But that does not mean the argument driving militarisation is robust. Nor does it mean that their interests, and the interests of peace and stability in Europe, are well served by this militarisation of Europe.

Russia is not the USSR. The rebuilding of its economy and infrastructure, including the modernisation of its defence capability, under President Putin does not remotely equate to a threat to its neighbours.

The military capability of the US dwarfs that of Russia, in terms of assets and the number of bases from which to project those assets. Russia’s defence budget is a fraction of that of the US.

Moreover, the track record, and legacy, of Western military intervention in recent decades demonstrably poses a much greater threat to global peace and stability compared with Russia. But indeed any such comparisons are pitiless and, everywhere, add up to incalculable suffering. The decision by the EU to facilitate accession to the EU by Ukraine and, before that Georgia, was foolish and provocative beyond belief. It was foolish because the expansion of the EU has created a ‘Union’ so unwieldy and overextended in its governance as to pose a threat – now all too evident – to its very existence.

Reflect, for a moment, on a ‘Union’ that also included Ukraine and Georgia. To compound that by facilitating accession to the EU – and, by extension, participation in Nato-led security arrangements – of nations bonded to Russia geographically, historically and in terms of language and culture, went way beyond provocation.

It has kick-started a vicious circle of ratcheting-up ‘defence’ spending. The deployment by Nato of men, heavy equipment and missile systems effectively encircling Russia will inevitably elicit a response.

We have seen this kind of dynamic before – it is taking Europe to a bleak place.

The militarisation of the EU has been rapid, largely invisible and facilitated by self-serving propaganda. Diplomacy provides a better basis for engaging with Russia as a European power, with shared interests at a time of global uncertainty.

Militarisation, now unleashed, threatens Europe.

Economist Ray Kinsella is Professor of Banking and Financial Services, and Healthcare at UCD

Irish Independent.

Categories: Uncategorized

Cruel Neglect of The Disabled To Protect The Incomes and Assets of The Super-Rich from Fair Taxation

June 3, 2017 1 comment

As Richest 12 Irish Gain 6 Billion Euro in Untaxed Assets in Last Year Alone

Cynical Launch Of  Grossly Inadequate and Misleading “New” Disability Strategy By Minister For Disabilities, Finian McGrath Flanked By 4 Ministers at Croke Park

Advocacy Groups, Inclusion Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland, criticised a new multibillion euro Government plan to help people with disabilities by labelling it a “missed opportunity” that is “short on vision” and fails to address chronic poverty among those affected.

“Big Deal”

I carry articles below from Examiner  and Irish Times on Launch of “New” Disability Strategy Launched by Minister Finian McGrath  on Friday July 14.

When you read  “Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath committed to a series of reforms by the end of the decade as part of the New €1.65bn(?See BELOW-PH) national disability inclusion strategy 2017-2021” (Irish Examiner), you know nothing significant is going to be done anytime soon!!!  It is a device for politicians to pretend they are doing something without spending much money and that they “care”.  Note that it was launched in the Croke Park Conference Centre(Major National Initiative-“Big Deal” – “All_IRELAND PERFORMANCE” ) not in Buswells Hotel or the AV Room in Leinster House-

Even “Bigger Deal”  !!!!

“ALL OF GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE”

“Also at the publication were Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Minister of State Kevin Boxer Moran. They said this reflected the “all-of-Government” support for the new strategy.”—Irish Times

Note the Minister Did not Say that Provision for Disability WOULD INCREASE BY 1.65 Billion per year over the period 2017 to 2021 nor that it would increase by one fifth of 1.65 Billion each year until 2021!

The presentation by the Minister and the Government Press Release were highly ambiguous and this was reflected in Press Reports.

In Fact As Reported on Government News service  http://www.merrionstreet.ie/en/News-Room/Releases/Minister_of_State_Finian_McGrath_launches_the_National_Disability_Inclusion_Strategy_2017-2021.html

Minister McGrath also highlighted key achievements since his appointment, which included:
· Securing an increase in Budget 2017(Last Budget) of €92 million for Disability Services bringing the annual total to €1.654bn
· Publishing Making Work Pay Report
· Providing Medical Cards for nearly 10,000 children in receipt of Domiciliary Care Allowance at a cost of €10M
· Launched the Taskforce on Personalised Budgets which will report by end 2017

It would appear that that 1.65 billion is the total annual budget for disability which increased by a mere 92 million in the last budget-not enough to restore the cuts to disability provision!!

Why did newspaper reports not make this clear?

TIMING

The launch of the “New” Strategy took place on the final sitting day of the Dáil until late September. The Minister will not be required to answer Dáil questions on disability provision for 2 months!!!

Deception, Maipulation, Manoeuvre-a Master Class by Minister McGrath!!!

-Paddy

 

Disability plan ‘short on vision’, say advocacy groups

Irish Examiner   Saturday, July 15, 2017

 

By Fiachra Ó Cionnaith

Irish Examiner Political Correspondent

Advocacy groups have criticised a new multibillion euro Government plan to help people with disabilities by labelling it a “missed opportunity” that is “short on vision” and fails to address chronic poverty among those affected.

Inclusion Ireland and the Disability Federation of Ireland made the claims after Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath committed to a series of reforms by the end of the decade as part of the new €1.65bn national disability inclusion strategy 2017-2021.

 

Under the plans announced by Mr McGrath at Croke Park in Dublin to replace the much maligned national disability strategy which ended two years ago, the Government has put forward new measures to ramp up for those in need.

 

The plans include greater help for people with disabilities who are seeking work, moves to ensure all public bodies will be legally obliged to offer free sign language interpretation for people with hearing issues, and to put strict conditions on wheelchair accessibility for passenger coach or train services.

 

The Government plan will also instigate a review of the Make Work Pay proposals to ensure they support people with disabilities, provide extra supports for people with disabilities who are travelling to work, and to address the cost of necessary aids and assistance technology used on a day-to-day basis.

 

Confirming the plans, Mr McGrath said the €1.65bn four-year plan is about a “whole Government” approach that will guarantee issues for people with disabilities are properly prioritised.

 

“When I was honoured with my appointment as minister for disabilities, my immediate and continuing focus was, and is, on the person with the disability.

 

“I have listened to the concerns which they have raised with me regarding the many challenges they face on a daily basis,” he said.

 

However, despite the positive comments, the plan has been criticised by disability groups and opposition parties for failing to go far enough and map out in greater detail the developments due to take place.

 

While welcoming the policies put forward, Inclusion Ireland last night said the overall plan is “short on vision” and “doesn’t go far enough to address the inequalities” faced by people with disabilities.

 

“Real inclusion is about people being visible, taking part and being involved, this new strategy does not deliver that. There has been a two-year gap since the previous strategy ended and not a single measure was fully implemented.

 

“Sadly, this strategy amounts to nothing more than a long, drawn-out missed opportunity.

 

“Other important objectives relating to decision-making, education, housing, supports to live independently and wellbeing addressing poverty, are either given scant reference or are watered down versions of the previous strategy,” the group’s chief executive Paddy Connolly said.

 

The view was echoed by the Disability Federation of Ireland, which said the plan lacks a focus on practical reforms and does little to address the significant levels of poverty among people with disabilities.

 

 

 

Finian McGrath pledges to ratify convention on people with disability

Irish Times Friday, July 14, 2017, 18:36

Legal disagreement over whether families should be allowed to “dump” disabled relatives in institutions is one of the key factors delaying ratification of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, according to a Minister.

Minister of State with Responsibility for Disability Issues Finian McGrath said he “100 per cent” wanted to see the convention ratified, but he was still “sorting out a couple of matters in relation to legislation”.

Mr McGrath said in May last year the convention would be ratified “within six months”. Ireland signed the framework in 2007, but has not yet made it legally binding by ratifying the convention, making the Republic the only country in the EU not to have done so.

Asked what the ongoing legal obstacles were, Mr McGrath said: “The two key issues are deprivation of liberty and legislation on assisted decision-making.

“There’s a big debate going on behind the scenes with families. If there is a person with a disability who doesn’t want to go into a residential place, some of the families would be very, very concerned about that.”

He said there was a “clash of rights” between those of families who want to place disabled loved ones in an institutional setting, and the rights of disabled people who did not want to be there. This needed to be resolved legally.

He said he agreed with disability campaigners who have described this placing of relatives in institutions as akin to “kidnapping” or being “dumped” out of society.

Desire to leave

“Absolutely and I am on their page. I visited one [institution] recently in the southeast and one young man called me aside and said, ‘Finian, get me out of here . . . I want to have my own place. I want to have my breakfast and dinner when I want, watch my own television in my own bedroom’. And he was in this institution.”

He said the man was in his early 30s and had been placed there when he “about seven”.

“My job is to get those people out of those institutions that want to go, and get supports in place for them.”

He said 233 people would be supported to move out of such settings this year

Mr McGrath was speaking to media at the publication of a new National Disability Inclusion Strategy in Dublin. The 47-page strategy sets out 114 actions to be taken between now and the end of 2021, across eight areas, including education, employment, housing, transport and accessible places, and person-centred disability services. The strategy will, if implemented, impact positively on the lives of about 600,000 people.

Also at the publication were Minister for Health Simon Harris, Minister for Social Protection Regina Doherty, Minister for Transport Shane Ross and Minister of State Kevin Boxer Moran. They said this reflected the “all-of-Government” support for the new strategy.

Some €1.654 billion will be put into services underpinning it.

Among its actions is one to “introduce statutory safeguards to protect residents of nursing homes and residential centres and ensure they are not deprived of liberty save in accordance with the law and as a last-resort measure in exceptional circumstances”.s

© 2017 irishtimes.com

 

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Waiting Time for Assessment of Disabled Children Has Worsened under Minister for Disabilities, Finian McGrath-Seamus Healy TD

 “Unfortunately, since this Government has come to power and Deputy Finian McGrath has taken responsibility for the issue, the position has dissimproved. We have gone from a situation where there was reasonable compliance with the law to one where we now have a waiting time of two years for the commencement of an assessment in Co Tipperary. The situation is being ignored.”–Seamus Healy TD in Question to Taoiseach in Dáil

 

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The HSE is deliberately and flagrantly breaking the law by denying children with disabilities their statutory entitlements to assessments of needs.

The Disability Act 2005 provides for an assessment of the health and education needs of person with disabilities and provides for services to meet those needs. Section 9(5) provides that the executive shall cause an assessment of applicants to be commenced within three months of the date of receipt of an application. The background information and supporting documentation refer to the need for services to be provided early in life in order to ameliorate a disability. The Act provides that the assessments must be started within three months of the application and that the HSE must complete the assessment within three months. That is a legal requirement on the HSE as set out in the legislation. Unfortunately, that is not the situation that obtains nationwide. The legal entitlement of children with a disability is being breached routinely by the HSE. Children are not being assessed within the three-month period and there are huge delays in assessment. The service is broken and there must be an immediate solution to the problem.

The current situation for children in terms of assessment of needs is totally unacceptable and I will give a few examples. A child was referred for assessment on 8 September 2016 but a letter from the HSE states that the child is currently scheduled for assessment in September 2018. Another was referred for assessment on 19 January 2017 but the HSE letter indicates that the waiting time for assessment is approximately 24 months. A third child was referred in January 2017 and was told by the HSE that the assessment would commence in April 2019, a full 27 months away. This is simply not good enough. That child is now over three years old and will be over five years old in two years’ time.

Early intervention is absolutely crucial in order to ensure that children with disabilities are properly looked after and have services provided for them. Vulnerable children with disabilities are being mistreated by the HSE and are being denied their legal rights. Does the Taoiseach condone the routine breach of the law by a State agency, namely, the HSE? What does he propose to do about it? Will he instruct the HSE to abide by the law and ensure that every child is assessed in accordance with the law?

The Taoiseach:   This is an important subject. The Government has prioritised disability by appointing Deputy Finian McGrath as Minister of State at the Department of Health to sit at the Cabinet table and articulate the concerns and anxieties relating to this area on a regular basis. Disability funding has increased over the past year and early intervention services and services for school-age children with disabilities need to be improved and organised more effectively. This process is well under way and the HSE is engaged in reconfiguring its therapy resources into geographically-based teams for children aged from birth to 18. The objective of the new model of assessment and intervention is to provide a single, clear referral pathway for all children, irrespective of the disability they have, where they live or the school they attend, as evidence shows that is an important element of progress.

Some €8 million in additional funding was invested in 2014-2015 in order to provide 200 additional posts to support the implementation of that model. A further €4 million in additional funding was allocated in respect of 75 therapy posts in 2016 and it is expected that, as this reconfiguration of services takes place, it will have a significant impact on the HSE’s ability to meet the needs of children and young people in a much more efficient, effective and equitable manner.

In 2013, 260 front-line primary care staff positions were approved.

 

That included 52 occupational therapists and 52 speech and language therapists. The aim is for that recruitment to continue which will lead to a reduction in waiting lists and times. A further €4 million was provided in that regard in 2014.

Since the June 2007 commencement of Part 2 of the Disability Act 2005, the HSE has endeavoured to meet its legislative requirements as specifically referred to by Deputy Healy. The number of applications for assessment under the Act has increased each year since it was introduced. It is anticipated that in excess of 6,000 applications will be received this year. It can take a significant period to determine accurately the nature of a disability which a child might have. Although there has been continual investment in this area, there are significant challenges in meeting the statutory timeframes which apply to the assessment of the needs process. The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy McGrath, is dealing with the delay in assessments. He is trying to resolve those delays by direct consultation. There is an ongoing recruitment campaign to combat the issue of staff shortage. The Minister of State is working with the HSE to deal with this in order that the requirements of the Act can be met by the HSE and there are no delays beyond the period for assessment and determination of a disability.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   The Taoiseach has not answered the question. The HSE, which is a State agency, is breaking the law. I asked the Taoiseach if he condones that and if he will ensure that does not happen in the future. Unfortunately, since this Government has come to power and Deputy Finian McGrath has taken responsibility for the issue, the position has disimproved. We have gone from a situation where there was reasonable compliance with the law to one where we now have a waiting time of two years for the commencement of an assessment. The situation is being ignored. It has been raised in this House by several Deputies through parliamentary questions and as a Topical Issue matter. It has been ignored. The Taoiseach’s answer indicates that it is still being ignored. The current situation is that where an assessment of need has not been completed, there are consequent delays in the provision of children’s services such as speech and language therapy and the appointment of special needs assistants and resource teachers. The inaction of the HSE is unacceptable, deplorable and illegal. Does the Taoiseach condone that illegality and what he will do to ensure the HSE abides by the law?

The Taoiseach:   It is not acceptable for any State agency to be outside the legal requirements of what it has to do. The Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy McGrath, who has special responsibility for disability issues, sits at the Cabinet table, has a substantial budget and is working assiduously to deal with this issue. If there are 6,000 assessments to be carried out this year, more than 100 must take place each week. Many of these assessments are quite complex and take a period of time to assess accurately.

Deputy Seamus Healy:   I am concerned with assessments that have not been commenced. People have been waiting two years.

The Taoiseach:   As the Deputy knows, parents have every right to know the nature and scale of the disability that their child or children may have to deal with. The Act itself—–

Deputy Seamus Healy:   They are being left in limbo.

An Ceann Comhairle:   Will Deputy Healy please allow the Taoiseach to finish?

The Taoiseach:   There has been much collaboration between the health and education sectors on the issue of children’s disability. That is facilitated by the cross-sectoral team and the implementation of the Disability Act. That team comprises representatives of the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs, the HSE executive, the National Council for Special Education and the National Educational Psychological Service. As Deputy Healy is aware, a detailed report was compiled by Mr. Eamon Stack, chairman of the National Council for Special Education, which sets out a progressive way of dealing with the issue. While waiting lists are unacceptable and should not exist, the Minister of State is at the forefront of dealing with the delays. In the near future, it is hoped the law in terms of assessment for children will be fully complied with, unlike the current situation where children have to wait for longer than they should.

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

DUTY OF BRITISH SOCIALISTS TO ACTIVELY SUPPORT IRISH UNITY AND INDEPENDENCE

May 8, 2017 2 comments

The Socialist Revolution and the Right of Nations to Self-Determination-V. I. Lenin

“Victorious socialism must achieve complete democracy and, consequently, not only bring about the complete equality of nations, but also give effect to the right of oppressed nations to self-determination, i.e., the right to free political secession.”

The Principled Position Of All British Left Wing Organisation Should Be For the Full unity and Independence of Ireland and Complete Disengagement of the British State from Ireland. BUT WHAT IS THE REALITY?

The Position of British Left wing Groups on British disengagement from Ireland is a key ctiterion for assessing the political position of their Irish sister bodies and their own credentials as principled British revolutionaries.

Positions of British Left Wing Groups on Ireland

Jeremy Corbyn British Labour Party Leader:  “British Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his support for a united Ireland. Asked whether he supported unification during an interview with the New Statesman current magazine, Mr Corbyn answered, “it’s an aspiration that I have always gone along with”. Thu, Sep 24, 2015

From Their Websites:

Socialist Party UK (Trotskyist) (Irish Sister Bodies: SP(I) ,SP (NI), Solidarity (RoI), Labour Alternative (NI)
“Socialism and Internationalism
• No to imperialist wars and occupations”. (No  mention of British Occupation of Ireland-PH)
————————————————————-
SWP UK (Trotskyist) Irish Sister Bodies SWP (I) PBP(I)
Against imperialism
Colin Barker continues his series on the ‘Where We Stand’ Socialist Workers Party statement of principles printed each week in Socialist Worker
“At many stop the war stalls British soldiers’ mothers and partners stop to sign petitions. They report what the soldiers themselves say: “We’re not there to help the Iraqis but to grab the oil.”At present Iraq is like a colony of the US, directly ruled on Washington’s orders. The US is building bases there, and trying to shape the new government. However, when direct US rule ends, imperialist control will continue.”-(No mention of British Occupation of Ireland-PH)
—————————————————————————————–
CP(UK) Irish Sister Organisation CP(I)
“The Communist Party supports the right of self-determination of the Irish people and campaigns for Britain to renounce all claims on Ireland.”
———————————————————————————————
Socialist Fight (Trotskyist) Irish Sister Organisation None
“As socialists living in Britain we take our responsibilities to support the struggle against British imperialism’s occupation of the six north-eastern counties of Ireland very seriously. For this reason we have assisted in founding the Irish Republican Prisoners Support Group and we will campaign for political status these Irish prisoners of war and for a 32-county united Socialist Ireland. We reject all ‘two nations in Ireland’ theories.”

 

New Communist Party of Britain

“The party stands for the withdrawal of British troops from Northern Ireland and supports the “. . . struggle for Irish national independence and self-determination. The NCP demands a united sovereign Ireland free from all outside interference. . . . The NCP acknowledges the role of Sinn Fein as the vanguard force in the struggle for national liberation”. (New Communist Party: Documents of the 12th National Congress; London; 1997; p.32, p.34).

 

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FORMAL DECLARATION OF NATIONAL HOUSING EMERGENCY BY GOVERNMENT NEEDED TO STOP EVICTIONS, REPOSSESSIONS, TERMINATION OF TENANCIES

April 25, 2017 Leave a comment

NOW SIPTU CALLS FOR DECLARATION OF A HOUSING EMERGENCY!

BUT LABOUR TO WHICH UNION IS AFFILIATED VOTED AGAINST IT IN Dáil!

People Facing  Homelessness Should Know:

Those who opposed the Amendment of Seamus Healy TD to the Housing Bill are responsible-these included Jan O’Sullivan Labour, Michael Noonan Fine Gael,-Willie O’Dea Fianna Fáil abstained and ALL THEIR PARTY COLLEAGUES

GOVERNMENT DEFEATS Amendment Calling For Formal Declaration of a National Housing Emergency with Support of Independent Alliance and Labour Party, Greens and the Abstention of Fianna Fail and Rural Independents

Housing Minister Coveney explained to the Dáil that he was advised by Attorney General Mara Whelan that due to the protection of private property clause in the Irish  Constitution the imposition on private property owners had to be “proportional”.

Accordingly he insisted that the property owner could evict tenants on sale of the property  unless the  the number of dwellings  being sold exceeded ten dwellings. The  landlord could also insist on the tenant leaving if the sale price with vacant possession exceeded the sale price with a continuing tenant by more than 20%

Seamus Healy TD pointed out that the protection of private property in the Constitution is not absolute but is subject to the public good. Accordingly the declaration of a national housing emergency would enable   all tenants to be protected. The government had already declared a national financial emergency which enabled private property in pensions to be confiscated. But it was refusing to make a similar declaration in the matter of housing which would enable tenants to keep a roof over their heads

Amendment to Housing Bill to Prevent Evictions by Seamus Healy TD

Deputy Seamus Healy: I move amendment No. 53:

In page 38, between lines 2 and 3, to insert the following:

“29. Dáil Éireann formally declares that a housing emergency exists in the State and while this emergency continues the right of any person to remain in the dwelling in which the person currently resides will take precedence over any property right of any other person—

(a) accordingly no court or other authority shall order the removal of the current occupant of a dwelling, or by its decisions enable such removal notwithstanding the provisions of any Act currently in force including the provisions of the Land and Conveyancing Law Reform Act 2013,

(b) the housing emergency declared in this section can only be terminated by a vote of Dáil Éireann, and the Government, including any Minister of the Government, are precluded from annulling the housing emergency without approval in such a vote,

(c) in view of the housing emergency declared here, the power of any Minister of Government to raise the market value threshold of €75,000 for single or multiple dwellings for consideration of possession of dwellings cases by the Circuit Court by activating or commencing sections of existing Acts without approval by a vote of Dáil Éireann, is cancelled.”.

I will speak particularly to amendments Nos. 53 and 80. The former concerns the declaration of a housing emergency; the latter is the Focus Ireland amendment regarding buy-to-let properties and the eviction of tenants on the sale of such properties.

The Government proposals in the Bill will mean that tenants in buy-to-let properties being sold by landlords will have to leave the property if the landlord can get at least 20% more in the sale price with vacant possession than with continuing tenants. At a time of a huge lack of housing, it is lawful under the Bill to evict a tenant in order that the landlord can secure 20% extra on a sale, which is outrageous. It is cruel and anti-human. Focus Ireland tells us that a third of homeless people have had to leave buy-to-let properties on the sale of those properties. Children in these cases must go to a hotel, temporary accommodation, hostel accommodation or other unsuitable accommodation in order that a landlord can make more money from a sale. This situation is dealt with in other jurisdictions to the effect that on the sale of a property by a landlord, the tenancy continues. We simply must ensure that such a measure is adopted here and that tenants are treated reasonably, fairly and respectfully and that they are not thrown out on the road when buy-to-let landlords sell properties. There are already 2,500 children and 6,800 adults who are homeless. We are adding to these figures and we simply must stop that.

This is all in the context of the Government itself evicting householders and families through the banks it owns, namely, AIB, PTSB and EBS. In response to a question asked at a recent Oireachtas finance committee meeting, a representative of AIB said 2,879 court hearings relating to owner-occupied mortgage debt were in progress at the end of June of this year and 767 orders for possession had been granted. This has been widely reported in the press and was dealt with at the committee. We own Allied Irish Banks. The Minister can instruct the bank not to continue with repossessions. Such repossessions are adding to our housing crisis and emergency.

This year is the 100th anniversary of 1916. The first Dáil in 1919 proclaimed:

We declare in the words of the Irish Republican Proclamation the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies to be indefeasible, and in the language of our first President. Pádraíg Mac Phiarais, we declare that the Nation’s sovereignty extends not only to all men and women of the Nation, but to all its material possessions, the Nation’s soil and all its resources, all the wealth and all the wealth-producing processes within the Nation, and with him we reaffirm that all right to private property must be subordinated to the public right and welfare.

The 1916 Proclamation reads, “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”

We have an absolute housing emergency. The Minister has acknowledged this on numerous occasions. However, he and his Government refuse to have such an emergency declared in Dáil Éireann. They are prepared to declare a financial emergency and have done so and extended that emergency in June to ensure cuts to the pay and pensions of public service workers but they refuse to declare an emergency to ensure that families have roofs over their heads, that evictions are stopped and that we have rent certainty and security of tenure. Unfortunately, not alone will the Bill before us not help the situation, but it will make matters worse. It is a pretence. As I said earlier, tenants can be removed from buy-to-let properties in the circumstances I have outlined. We need to stop this. We need to support the Focus Ireland amendment to ensure that tenants, on the sale of these buy-to-let properties by landlords, remain in their properties and that we do not add to the already very difficult and traumatic situation faced by families and children.

The declaration of a housing emergency by this Dáil is absolutely necessary to ensure we can deal with the housing emergency and to ensure the right to a roof over one’s head takes priority over private property. Everything else in the Bill and the many other suggestions, such as the rent strategy, are all very fine but they do not deal fundamentally with the problem we have. The declaration of a housing emergency is required to stop, as I said, the evictions, to ensure rent certainty and rent control and to build local authority houses.

This Government and previous Governments have refused to build local authority houses since about 2002. They privatised the local authority housing. Local authorities have not been allowed to build houses since about 2002. I think 75 houses were built last year. In the 1970s, we built up to 10,000 local authority houses every year. We simply must get back to this level of building because there are huge numbers of families out there who will never be able to buy their own home. Because of the manner in which families now get on local authority lists – or maybe do not – a very significant section of the population neither qualifies for a loan or a mortgage nor to get on the local authority list. They are caught in the middle with absolutely no support whatever. They cannot rub two euro together. They exist, unfortunately, from hand to mouth. I meet them every day of the week, as I am sure many, if not all, Deputies meet similar people. They are caught in a situation in which they neither have a mortgage nor are they on a local authority housing list. The income limit for local authority housing lists has been slashed, as has the number of local authority mortgages and bank mortgages given out to people who are effectively working but who are the working poor. These people find themselves paying astronomical and extortionate rents in many cases. I came across a case recently in which a landlord had increased the rent from €560 per month to €750 per month, and that is not the only case. Rents are simply unaffordable for everybody, but particularly for this category of people who do not even qualify for the HAP scheme, as bad as the HAP scheme is.

Deputy Catherine Connolly TD and Barrister:

Catherine Connolly:  “I agree with Deputy Seamus Healy on the need for the Government to declare a national emergency. He has asked for it as have I and other Dáil colleagues. Although there is a national housing emergency, the Government has not declared it.”

VOTE ON CALL FOR DEClaration of Housing Emergency

Amendment put:

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

Staon Níl
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Tellers: Tá, Deputies Seamus Healy and Ruth Coppinger; Níl, Deputies Regina Doherty and Tony McLoughlin.

Amendment declared lost.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 34; Staon, 24; Níl, 59.

Tá  Independent Seamus Healy,Rural Independent Michael Collins, Sinn Féin,AAA, PBP,Independents 4 Change

Formal Abstention, Fianna Fail

Against     LABOUR, INDEPENDENT ALLIANCE (Including Finian McGrath), Rural Independent Michael Fitmaurice, Indepenent Michael Lowry, Fine Gael

Missing : Rural Independent Mattie McGrath,Independent Dr Harty,  D Healy Rae, M Healy Rae, John Halligan (Independent alliance),Some FF and FG Deputies also missing

 

Limerick families facing eviction as fund seeks to sell off city apartments

 CLLR JOHN GILLIGAN BLASTS TERMINATION NOTICE AS ‘TOTALLY IMMORAL’

 

Nick Rabbitts

Limerick Leader 20 Apr 2017

esidents Alex Grigorjeus, Alan McCarthy and Ryan Mowat with Cllr Gilligan

UP to 14 families are facing eviction from their homes in Limerick city as their new landlord seeks to sell on the apartments.

Residents in a number of two bed apartments at Fishermans Quay at the Grove Island woke up on Good Friday morning to notices informing them they had to leave their homes on various dates throughout the summer.

The letters sent on behalf of their landlord, Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd, state that due to the fact they intend selling the property, the current tenants must “vacate and give up possession of the dwelling”.

The Leader understands the pension fund purchased the properties earlier this year.

Residents have pledged to fight to stay in their homes and have gained the support of local Independent councillor John Gilligan, who said that while the landlord’s action is legal, “it’s almost certainly immoral”.

Alan McCarthy, who lives with his only son Daniel, 19, in one of the apartments, said once he received the termination notice he “couldn’t stop being sick”.

“My whole life has been turned upside down. I had just come back from walking on the Canal Bank and a poor swan had hit the wire. I had to dive him to save him from drowning. I thought I had my good deed done for the day. But no good deed goes unpunished apparently,” he said.

Alan – who pays rent of €550 a month – added: “I think it’s all about money. Someone is trying to make a fast buck at our expense”.

The Property Price Register, the national database of all residential sales, currently lists two apartments as sold at Fishermans Quay. One sold for €111,000, the other for €89,300, both in the last month.

A number of other apartments in the complex are on the market from €100,000, while a unit there was recently listed for rent at €900 per month.

Alan also criticised the timing of the letter, adding: “It just suggests a total lack of any heart. I’m not particularly religious, but on Good Friday – come on! That’s not particularly nice.”

The letter was dated Thursday, April 13, but Alan says he received it the following morning.

Ryan Mowat, 20, has lived in the complex for five years with his father Andy.

He said: “We were shocked, and taken aback. We’ve been living here the last five years and have never been happier.

“To get a letter telling us to pack up and go – because we don’t want you – is not right.”

Cllr Gilligan condemned the letters, saying: “These people will have no place to go. These people have the indignity of being kicked out on the side of the road.

“These are hard working decent families who should not be treated like this. Nobody should accept this kind of treatment by a faceless individual.”

Munster Pensioner Trustees Ltd – which has an address in Castletroy – referred queries from the Leader onto the management firm in the area Kersten Mehl Property Management.

Mr Mehl said: “We have managed this complex for the last eight years. I received instructions to issue these notices on a number of two bedroom apartments, as the landlord wished to sell them.”

While local residents claim 14 apartments are subject to these notices, Mr Mehl said that number is closer to eight.

 

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European Economic and Political Crisis

April 16, 2017 Leave a comment

Following the Brexit Referendum and the commencement of the Article 50 process of Britain leaving the EU, Europe now faces a presidential election followed by a General Election a year later.

FRANCE -THE CHOICE by Michael Roberts

It’s only a week to go before the first round of the French presidential election and it seems that the race is wide open.  Only two candidates can take part in the second round in May.  But who will those two be?  Extreme right-wing Front National candidate Marine Le Pen has been the front runner in the polls over the last year, but her support has been slipping.  Ex-socialist minister and centrist darling of the bourgeois media, Emmanuel Macron is neck and neck with Le Pen, both at around 22-23%.  The official conservative (Republican) candidate Francois Fillon should be ahead, but he has been damaged by the expenses scandal of his wife and children getting huge government-funded salaries for parliamentary work which they did not do.  Even so, Fillon is getting about 18-19% share of those saying they will vote.  The big surprise in the last few weeks had been the rise of Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, whose polling has leapt from 10-11% to around 19% now.  In so doing, the official Socialist party candidate, Benoit Hamon, has seen his vote slump to 6-7%.

It is still most likely that it will be Le Pen and Macron in the second round, with Macron more than likely to win the presidency by some distance over Le Pen.  But all combinations are possible, with the worst for French capital being a battle between leftist Eurosceptic, anti-NATO Melenchon and racist Eurosceptic Le Pen.

Back in February I analysed the state of the French economy, the second-largest in mainland Europe and one of top ten capitalist economies globally.  The profitability of French capital is at a post-war low (profitability is still down a staggering 22% since the peak just before the global financial crash in 2007), real GDP growth is only just over 1% a year, well below that of Germany.  The unemployment rate remains stuck close to 10% compared to just 3.9% in Germany.  Youth unemployment is 24%. Business investment has stagnated in the ‘recovery’ since 2009.

Because of the actions of the French labour movement, inequalities of income and wealth have not risen as much as in other G7 countries like the US and the UK in the last 30 years.

Neoliberal policies have been less effective in getting profitability up and workers down under the thumb of capital.  French capital needs a president that can and will do this now.  Can it find one?

If we look at the programs of each candidate, we can see it is Francois Fillon who offers the best programme for the interests of French capital.  Fillon aims to end the key gain of the French labour movement, the official 35-week, often firmly enforced.  Under Fillon, workers would have to put in 39 hours before overtime or time-off in lieu is paid.  Fillon would slash the public sector workforce by 500,000 (or 10%), while increasing the working week for those who keep their jobs.  The retirement age would be raised to 65 from 62 now and everybody would have to work to that age or face pension loss.  Unemployment benefits would be cut.

Severe fiscal austerity would be imposed with a cut in public sector spending from the (astronomically high for capitalism) 57% of GDP to 50%, with a ‘balanced budget’. The cuts would be necessary because Fillon wants to cut corporate tax rates to 25% and other ‘burdens’ on the business sector, while raising VAT for purchases by French households by 2% pts.  He would scrap the current wealth tax on the rich. One area of extra spending would be more police and more prisons, while reducing gay rights.

This is an outright neo-liberal program that no French president has been able to impose successfully in the last 30 years.  But French capital demands it.  Unfortunately, for big business, Fillon is unlikely to make the presidency.

But what of Macron, the ex-banker and socialist minister, the man most likely to get into the Elysee Palace (the French White House)?  Macron’s program is a mix that attempts to appeal to labour and capital, as though they could be reconciled.  He wants to merge public and private pension and benefit schemes.  He claims that he will get the unemployment rate down to 7% through an investment plan.  And yet he plans to cut public sector spending and run a tight budget.

Like Fillon, he would cut corporate tax for businesses to 25% of declared profits.  He keeps the 35-hour week, but companies would be allowed to ‘negotiate’ a longer week.  Low-wage earners would be exempted from certain social welfare levies, a measure that would put an extra month’s wage per year in the employee’s pocket (but no clarity on how this would be paid for, except through ‘higher growth’).  He too would boost police and prisons but also provide a ‘payment for culture’ to students and reduce school class sizes.  He would cut the number of MPs and reduce time for re-election of officials, while banning Fillon-type payments to family members. This programme is thus a mix of help to business and wishful thinking for labour.  But it seems to appeal to just enough voters over the neoliberal alternative of Fillon.

Both Fillon and Macron are pro-EU and pro-euro.  This is the one big policy difference with Le Pen and Melenchon.  Le Pen’s program is a mixture of racist, anti-immigrant, anti-EU policies alongside pro-labour measures for the public sector and wages.  Le Pen would ‘re-negotiate’ the EU treaty with the rest of the EU and if that failed, call a referendum on leaving the EU within six months.  If French voters decided to stay in the EU, she would resign the presidency.  If they voted to leave, France would end the euro as its currency and re-introduce the franc.  Such a policy would be shattering for the French economy and probably sound the death-knell of the EU and the euro as we know it.

Le Pen would get on with ending immigration, strip many French muslims of citizenship, revoke international trade treaties and NATO operations and confine free education to French citizens only.  Companies employing foreigners would pay an extra 10% tax and foreign imports would be subject to a 3% tax.  And, of course, the police forces would be expanded.

Like the Brexiters in the UK referendum, she claims that she can cut taxes on average households and raise welfare benefits by saving money on EU membership and regulations (that has turned out to be a myth in the UK, where austerity has increased).  The number of MPS would be halved.

But Le Pen also aims to help (small) business with lower taxes.  And instead of raising the retirement age, as Fillon proposes, she would cut it to 60 years, increase benefits to the old and to children, while keeping the working week at 35 hours and overtime tax-free!

Le Pen’s economic policy is thus anathema to French capital and attractive to French labour, but combined with racist and nationalist measures.  But, of course, there is no real attack on the hegemony of French big business.  So this policy of raising wages and benefits while leaving the euro and introducing protectionism, in an economic world of low growth and a possible new economic slump, is utopian. Neither the needs of labour nor capital will be met.

When we turn to Melenchon, we see a similar utopianism, if from the perspective of defending the interests of labour over capital.  His economic program is similar to that of Corbyn’s Labour in the UK, if going further.  He proposes a 100-billion-euro economic stimulus plan funded by government borrowing and some nationalisation in sectors such as the motorway network.  He says he would raise public spending by 275 billion euros to fund the plan, to raise minimum and public sector wages, create jobs to reduce the unemployment rate to 6% and also, like Le Pen, cut the retirement age to 60.

This extra spending would, Keynesian-like, fund itself from higher economic growth and employment.  But with big business needing profits to invest, calling for more taxes on business (as well as the rich), may deliver the opposite of faster growth.  At the same time, he too would cut corporate tax rates to 25%!

Melenchon would also renegotiate the EU treaties, ignore the EU fiscal austerity pact, call for a devaluation of the euro, take national control of the Banque de France from the ECB and leave NATO and the IMF.  And following Le Pen, if these measures are blocked, he would have a referendum on EU membership.

Melenchon’s program is similar to that of socialist Francois Mitterand (although somewhat less radical than Mitterand’s) when the latter won the presidency in 1981.  He too wanted to take France on an independent line from the rest of Europe in expanding the economy through public spending, nationalisation and more taxes on business and the rich.  That program fell down in face of the deep global slump in 1980-2, when financial investors fled France and the franc.  The choice then was for Mitterand to go the whole hog and take control from French capital or capitulate to neoliberal policies.  He chose the latter with his so-called “tournant de la rigueur” (austerity turn) in 1983.  That choice would soon face Melenchon, in the unlikely event that he won the presidency.

Apart from the economic utopianism of Le Pen and Melenchon under capitalism, they both face an immediate political problem.  In June, the French vote for a new National Assembly, which, at least right now, would probably elect a majority of conservative pro-capital, pro-EU MPs who would be backed by a media campaign from big business, the EU Commission and other EU governments aiming to shackle the new president.  The battle would be on from day one, while the euro and French financial assets reel from the shock.

But it probably won’t happen.

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HISTORY OF THE IRISH LEFT

April 15, 2017 Leave a comment

I, Paddy Healy, was not a member of the ICG, but I used to get the Magazine Irish Communist. I Joined the IWG in London in 1967 at the urging of the late Liam Boyle, my former school friend in Clonmel CBS. The ICG had split into the Trotskyist IWG led by Gerry Lawless and the hard line Stalinist Irish Communist Organisation led by Brendan Clifford. It was, of course Gerry Lawless who was advised to count to ten by Daltún et al before replying to Clifford at meetings. Eamonn McCann also joined the IWG at about the same time as myself (Gerry Lawless was very critical of Eamonn’s practice of wearing flowers in his hair!!! ) The Phil Flynn is the same one who became General Secretary of IMPACT(then LGPSU) and President of ICTU.

While Ted Grant(Leader of what became known as English Militant and nowadays SP) was assisting Lawless and Daltun in the fight with Clifford, the ICG was not linked to Militant. Grant was atrocious on the Irish National Question.

Daltún and Lawless would speak at Hyde Park corner every Sunday while myself and the younger members would sell the monthly newspaper, Irish Militant (The first place Irish Miliant was sold in Ireland was in Clonmel by Sean Boyle (Brother of Liam Boyle)

Some years later after we had set up a branch of IWG in Dublin, the IWG split into Lawless and Sean Mathgamhna  led groups. The Dublin Branch and the Clonmel membes went with Mathgamhna Group. Later the Iriasdh members including myself set up the League for a Workers Republic.

Of course I had my political differeces with Gerry Lawless but I learned much from him.
Throughout the sixties through the Irish Militant monthly paper and private conversations he constantly warned that the activites of Roy Johnstone , Tony Coughlan, Cathal Goulding and the Connolly Association in the Repulican movement would lead to disarming the IRA. This wasn’t due to any personal animosity but because he understood from his Trotskyist background that the then Kremlin policy of “the Peaceful Road to Socialism” would have disastrous effects in Ireland unlike in England. He was right! Unfortunately many senior republicans did not listen. This led to a situation in which nationalist working class areas were left defenceless against Loyalist and RUC pograms in the early seventies. This lead to a split in the IRA and Sinn Féin.

But some repulicans learned lessons. As a result there was very good relations between the new (provisional) repulican leadership and the League for a Workers Republic for several years. This collaboration led to a very effective strike movement in the 26-counties during the H-Block campaign.

Liam Daltun’s Letter To Sean Matgamna Of Events In The Irish Communist Group In 1965 | The Cedar Lounge Revolution

Liam Daltun’s letter to Sean Matgamna of events in the Irish Communist Group in 1965. | irishrepublicanmarxisthistoryproject
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Liam Daltun’s letter to Sean Matgamna of events in the Irish Communist Group in 1965.

The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project would like to thank Sean Matgamnaa for this Liam Daltun letter that deals with events in the Irish Communist Group in 1965, an important episode in the history of the Irish left. The ICG that was set up in 1964 and was renamed the Irish Workers’ Group in 1966. Matgamna introduction to Daltun’s letter below                                                                          http://www.workersliberty.org/node/30987

258 Liverpool Road, Islington, London N1. 19 August 1965.

Dear Sean,

Sorry I didn’t get around to writing to you earlier. I’ve been very busy since I last saw you. Today is the first day I’ve been able to take off work. Until next Sunday week at least I’ll be devoting myself to reading and swotting up on the ideas, history, etc., of the Marxist and Stalinist movements. It’s not a lot of time, but it’s about all I’ll be able to afford.

Philip Flynn, Gerry Lawless, and myself met Ted Grant last Sunday and we had a discussion in the course of this week. Ted is preparing some material, quotations, etc., for a reply to the Theses on Trotskyism. We’ll meet again next Saturday morning at WIR and have a discussion which we’ll tape-record. (I bought two tapes for Arthur Deane’s recorder today. They give over six hours playing time for £2-5-0). From this and other material we’ll prepare our statement on Stalinism.

I went to Clapham Common today and brought a lot of stuff from G Healy’s New Park Publications – mainly pamphlets. I also got Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Spain by Felix Morrow. I gave Peter Taaffe the money for Trotsky’s History of the Russian Revolution. This is possibly the most important – have you got it? – since the Appendix to Volume 3 contains just about all that is required in the matter of quotations from the Bolshevik leaders on the central question in dispute.

I’m re-reading The Revolution Betrayed at the moment. It’s seven years since I last read it, I’m ashamed to say: at that time I wouldn’t have absorbed this kind of thing at all as well as I would now. Peter Taaffe’s lent me The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution, by Harold Isaacs. When I’ve got through all this stuff, plus anything else of relevance I can get round to, I should feel a bit more stoked up on the theoretical ideas and history.

You’ll probably be wondering what’s happened since you returned to Manchester. Here’s what. As I said, we met Ted Grant. With him and later among ourselves we worked out our attitude and tactics for the weekly meeting. We insisted on Gerry making a conscious effort to control himself, even if Brendan Clifford attempted to provoke him to raise a shout. (“Count ten before speaking, etc.”)

On membership: Mick Murphy moved that Philip Flynn be removed from full membership and placed on the list of Associate Members (expulsion of a sort). Flynn defended himself in a very good speech and remained a full member by 8 votes to six with a few abstentions (against were P Murphy, Brendan and Angela Clifford, M Murphy, and two others).

Nan, my wife, who was formerly a full member but went on the associate list because she couldn’t always attend meetings, applied for full membership again. This was opposed by the four above-named. They said she would have to do a probationary six weeks again. Of course she’s been doing a hell of a lot of typing, stencil-cutting, etc., all the time – for example, she did half of last month’s Solas. She became a full member by ten votes to six.

There was consternation of a kind as you can imagine at this kind of thing. Then two probationary members’ names were presented for acceptance – Pat Mallin and William Glenn. The latter is English, from the North of England, and a pro-Chinese Stalinist. He joined the ICG because it was “the only functioning Marxist-Leninist group in London”.

He was taken aback slightly to find unanimity on his own and P Mallin’s acceptance. (These were, I think, the only two unanimous votes of the night!)

P Mallin you’ll meet later, no doubt. Politically he’s a bit Stone Age. Became disenchanted with Stalinism when it rejected Joe [Stalin]; suspects any revolutionary organisation that doesn’t pay its respects to his memory. To say he abhors Trotsky is to put it mildly.

I enclose a copy of a motion which was dealt with. (I don’t think you’ve seen this?) We had decided to oppose it, seeing in it an attempt to take the coming discussion on vital questions out of the group – or to raise it over the headers of the members.

Apart from B Clifford’s slighting references to “this little Trotsky matter which has to be cleared up”, it is clear that he and his immediate supporters do not want Stalinism demolished in front of the members. It will become all to clear to them (the members) that standing as he does (like Desmond Greaves) on Stalinist “theoretical” positions, it is only to be expected that he should say that socialism, socialist propaganda, etc., are inopportune at the present stage in Ireland (as Greaves does). Thus making himself an anti-revisionist revisionist!

Unfortunately, this motion was carried after a discussion that was interrupted by comings and going – these latter, delaying as they did the vote, and causing a new, somewhat neutral, member to withdraw an amendment (which would have been voted on first, and more than likely carried), helped get the motion through. I intend putting a motion next Sunday which will I hope get the support of the majority and destroy this manoeuvre.

By the way, I’d like to know what you think of the motion.

If you’ve got anything already on paper relevant to our reply to the Theses on Trotskyism, would you post it on to me? After Saturday’s meeting with Ted we’ll draft our reply, stencil it and run it off. All this will have to be done by next Wednesday at the latest, as the vote comes up on the fifth (5th) of September.

Just one more thing. Some people (including Pat Murphy, believe it or not) are asking where the Trotskyists get their funds from. (“The State Department spends a lot of money on anti-communist organisations”, etc. etc.) This is now the level. Myths die slowly, eh?

Keep in touch, Sean. I hope this is legible, not too difficult to read.

Yours, Liam Daltun.

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Lessons of The Civil War For To-Day

March 11, 2017 Leave a comment

Important Reading on Civil War and Lessons for to-day:  Two Books by Ernie O Malley-The Singing Flame, On another Man’s Wound.  Also C Desmond Greaves: Liam Mellows And The Irish Revolution

Execution of Drumboe Martyrs by Free State Donegal 14 March 1923

further down: Comment By Sean Bresnahan Tyrone 1916 Societies

The execution of the Drumboe Martyrs was an atrocity by the Free State authorities.

But how did they and hundreds of brave republican fighters from Munster, Derry and Tyrone arrive in a situation where they were completely vulnerable to attack by the Free State?

In his book the Singing Flame, Ernie O’Malley, explained how the Republican Leadership–Rory O’Connor, Liam Lynch et al through their inaction allowed the Free State to set up an army to beat them instead of arresting Collins on his return from London.

Sending hundreds of republican fighters from Munster, Derry and Tyrone to “co-operate” with their free-state enemies in Donegal “in an attack on the north”, is another example of the abject failure of Republican leaders to defend the 32-county republic. They sent their front line troops into a free state military trap! This ruthless manoeuvre by the Free State couldn’t have worked  without the compliance of the republican leaders.

The reality was that the republican leaders were terrified by the Munster “Soviets”(creameries seized by workers), the land seizures, the farm labourer strikes …. They were politically and militarily paralysed by their links to the propertied classes. They placed the defence of huge farms, and big businesses before the Republic

The  ELECTION PACT between DeValera and Collins after the Treaty was driven by common opposition to “the red brigandage” that was rampant in Munster. It came from the same stable as the disastrous military/political decisions of O’Connor and Lynch

The failure of the Labour Party and Trade Union Congress led by Tom Johnson and The Irish Transport and General Workers Union led by Willie O’Brien to participate militarily in the War of  Independence and afterwards on the republican side in inevitable the civil war, came home to roost.

Connolly had said to the Irish Citizen Army as they went out in 1916: “Should we win, hold on to your guns” . He correctly predicted that there would be a class division  over the nature of the republic

Tom Johnson and Willie O’Brien hadn’t even taken up arms in 1919!

The Class division over the nature of the Republic was expressed in the Civil War

Though Ernie O’Malley came from a professional family, his commitment to the Republic was greater than any  loyalty to the propertied classes.

<meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=/paddy.healy.50?sk=approve&amp;highlight=1519535774736956&amp;log_filter=review&amp;_fb_noscript=1″ />(138) Paddy Healy

Comment From Sean Bresnahan Tyrone 1916 Societies

The Drumboe Martyrs refused to recognise the Free State!
Shortly after 6am on Wednesday 14th March 1923, Commandant General Charlie Daly, Brigadier Commandant Seán Larkin, Lieutenant Daniel Enright and Lieutenant Timothy O’Sullivan were removed from their cells and given the opportunity to prevent their deaths. They were presented with the Free State ‘form of understanding’:
‘I promise that I will not use arms against the Parliament elected by the Irish people, or the Government for the time being responsible to that Parliament, and that I will not support in any way such action. Nor will I interfere with the property or person of others’
The four men refused to sign choosing to face the firing squad. They were taken to the execution site located in Drumboe Woods, where they were executed.
From Donegal And The Civil War: The Untold Story by Liam Ó Duibhir.

Today in Irish History, The execution of the “Drumboe Martyrs”, 14 March 1923

http://www.theirishstory.com/2012/03/14/today-in-irish-history-the-execution-of-the-drumboe-martyrs-14th-march-1923/#.WMPOz9Lyhdg

Publisher 14 March, 2012 Irish HistoryThe Irish Civil WarToday In Irish History

A flyer for a memorial rally for the ‘Drumboe Martyrs’ in 1925.

Kieran Glennon tells the story of the four Republicans executed in Donegal in 1923, by among others, his grandfather.

 

Four Republicans, who subsequently became known as the “Drumboe Martyrs”, were executed by a Free State firing squad in Donegal in March 1923. None of the four was from that county – all had come there as part of a joint campaign against the north involving both the Provisional Government and their anti-Treaty opponents.

Encapsulating the tragedies of the Civil War, not only were there personal ties between their leader, Charlie Daly, and his Free State opponent, Joe Sweeney, but the former may have previously saved the latter’s life. To add further poignancy, it is quite likely the men were executed in reprisal for a shooting that was not part of the civil war at all.

I should, at the very outset, clarify that the Tom Glennon referred to in this article, as a Free State officer, was my grandfather. While it is natural and understandable that some readers may fear that this will lead to family bias on my part, I hope the article will prove any such concerns to have been unnecessary.

 

Background

The Civil War in Donegal had an almost-uniquely northern dimension.

Firstly, two of the key protagonists’ involvement in the War of Independence had been in the north. Originally from Kerry, Charlie Daly had been appointed as a full-time IRA organiser in October 1920, responsible for Tyrone and the rural part of Co. Derry. He went on to command the 2nd Northern Division in this area until early March 1922, when he was removed due to his opposition to the Treaty. By mid-1922, he was Vice-Commandant of the Republican forces in Donegal.

On the other side, the Free State officer Tom Glennon was originally from Belfast. The month after Daly’s appointment as a full-time organiser in Derry-Tyrone, he had been appointed to an identical role in Co. Antrim, later becoming Officer Commanding of the Antrim Brigade until he was captured; his area of responsibility thus directly bordered Daly’s to the east. In November 1921, following his escape from internment in the Curragh, he was appointed Adjutant to the IRA’s 1st Northern Division in Donegal.

Secondly, and more significantly, the overwhelming majority of Republican forces in Donegal were from outside the county and were there directly because of the situation in the north. In April 1922, as part of their efforts to maintain unity in the IRA in the face of the split over the Treaty, Michael Collins and Liam Lynch had agreed on a joint military strategy to attack the Northern Ireland government.

None of those executed at Drumboe were from Donegal. They had come there to fight the Northern government. 

The Provisional Government swapped British-supplied rifles with anti-Treaty units in Munster, the southern weapons then being smuggled into the north for use by local units of the IRA in staging an uprising in May. For their part, the Republican Army Executive in the Four Courts agreed to send men from anti-Treaty units of the IRA in Cork and Kerry up to Donegal, under the leadership of Cork man Seán Lehane, in order to launch attacks across the border. By early July, Free State Chief of Staff Eoin O’Duffy estimated that 700 Munster Republicans were in Donegal 1; in addition, several hundred anti-Treaty members of Daly’s old division had fled west from Tyrone and Derry to avoid internment.

However, what had been planned as a united campaign against the north instead saw the first fatal clashes between pro- and anti-Treaty forces in the country. For reasons that have never been clearly established, the Free State commander in Donegal, Comdt.-General Joe Sweeney, refused to co-operate with Lehane’s forces. This led to increasing tensions in the county, culminating in a gun-battle between the two sides in Newtowncunningham on 4th May in which four Free State soldiers were killed. 2

Early stages of the Civil War in Donegal

The day after Free State troops began shelling the Four Courts in Dublin on 28th June 1922, Sweeney’s troops launched a swift offensive in Donegal, rapidly over-running and capturing Republican posts at Finner Camp, Buncrana, Ballyshannon, Bundoran and Carndonagh, taking several hundred prisoners in the process. 3

In the early stages of the civil war in Donegal, Free State forces rapidly overran the Republican positions

Co-ordination of Republican resistance was weakened by the fact that at the outset of the fighting, Lehane was in Dublin, taking part in unity negotiations following a split in Republican ranks at an Army Convention on 18th June; he did not return to Donegal until mid-July, having had to walk all the way from Sligo. In his absence, Daly withdrew much of the remaining Republican force to Glenveagh Castle in west Donegal, where he established a new headquarters.

One IRA man wanted to ‘plug’ Free State officers Sweeney and Glennon when they arrived for negotiations. It was Charlie Daly who stopped him.

There were immediate attempts to negotiate an end to the fighting. On the morning of 5th July, Sweeney and Glennon travelled under a promise of safe passage to meet Daly and some of his senior officers at Churchill, near his headquarters. Sweeney hoped to agree a basis on which the southern Republicans would leave Donegal; in the event, neither side was prepared to accept the conditions proposed by the other and the negotiations proved fruitless. However, it was the immediate aftermath of the meeting which was to prove poignant several months later.

According to Republican Mick O’Donoghue, Daly saved the lives of the two Free State officers:

“As Sweeney, Daly, Glennon, Cotter and I dallied at the door, Jim Lane… slouched in and beckoned me over. I went. ‘Jordan and some of the northern fellows outside are threatening to ambush Sweeney and plug him on the way back,’ Lane whispered to me. I was startled.

Knowing Jordan’s reputation for recklessness and bloodthirsty callousness, I would not put such a thing beyond him. We had given Sweeney a pledge of safe conduct and he had trusted in our word of honour … Approaching the group at the door, I called Charlie aside and asked the others to hold us excused for a few moments.

Briefly I told Daly what was afoot outside. He was appalled. The soul of honour himself, he could hardly believe that any Republican soldier could stoop to such treachery and disgrace and dishonour a pledge of safe conduct … Calling Lane, he ordered him to see that none of the Republicans moved out of Churchill until Sweeney had gone, and to stay side by side with Jordan to prevent him from any rash attempt to carry out his threat.” 4

Unaware that Daly had just prevented their deaths, Sweeney and Glennon left to return to their headquarters at Drumboe Castle.

The Free State offensive resumed the following day and they captured more Republican bases at Skeog and Inch Island in mid-July. By then, the Republican force at Glenveagh had been whittled down to eighty and Lehane decided to take his remaining men on the run. As the Republican column separated into ever-smaller groups to avoid detection and capture, the next three months saw a protracted game of cat-and-mouse with pursuing Free State forces.

Daly had already been ordered to evacuate his men from Donegal when he was captured 

At the beginning of November, Republican GHQ bowed to the inevitable and ordered the evacuation of Donegal by their forces. Lehane sent the following despatch to Daly, whose tiny group was still hiding out in the northwest of the county:

“I have received an order from E. O Maille [Ernie O’Malley] authorising us to leave Donegal at once and withdraw our men. I believe our work here is impossible. We have to steal about here like criminals at night, and it gets on one’s nerves. In order that we may try and make arrangements, could you please bring your lads on towards Drumkeen and we will go that length to meet you … We will be able to talk things over there … Until I see you and the lads, good luck. Seán Ó Liatháin.” 5

Daly did not make it to the rendezvous – on 4th November, the usual sequence of weekly intelligence reports from Drumboe Castle to Free State GHQ at Beggars Bush was broken for a special message:

“A flying column of Irregulars were captured at Meenabaul, Dunlewy on Tuesday night, 2ndinst., by troops operating from Glenveagh Castle under Lieutenant-Commandant McBrearty. Charles Daly, late O/C 2nd Northern Division was in charge. He was acting as Deputy O/C 1st & 2nd Northern Divisions (Irregular).” 6

The capture and trial of Charlie Daly

The cottage where Daly and his men were captured.

Daly later admitted that the night they were captured, he and his men were too exhausted to even post a sentry:

“After their capture, Charlie wrote me and told me the reason that they did not put out a guard was that not a man was fit to stand on guard duty. They had travelled several miles over the mountains and were dead on their feet and so took a chance.” 7

A vivid description of the arrest was given some time later by one of his former officers, Séamus McCann from Derry:

“Donegal was very much for the Treaty with the result it was very hard to operate, the column having to walk long distances to get to friendly houses. Charlie and his little party were getting it tough, with a large, well-equipped army on his tail. They could only spend one night in any townland. They had just arrived in the townland of Dunlewy and were dead beat. They had just lay down with their boots on when the house was surrounded by a large force of military. Charlie reached for his rifle half asleep. But before he could do so he received a blow from a rifle butt. Charlie and his little band were taken prisoner and lodged at Drumboe Castle.” 8

According to Free State officer Denis Houston, a large force of Free State soldiers acting on a tip-off had arrived at Meenabaul near Gweedore at 7:15pm on the evening of 2nd November and had gone to search the house of John Sharkey:

“I saw Francis Ward and Daniel Coyle both of whom I recognised in the kitchen and three other men who were strangers to me. They were put under arrest and then the soldiers proceeded to another room off the kitchen. A man opened the door of the room whom I recognised as Charlie Daly. He was put under arrest and immediately stated he accepted responsibility for all of the men arrested and that he was in charge.” 9

Two other Republicans were arrested in another house nearby.

Although the required documents were initially prepared at the end of November, the court martial did not finally convene until 18th January 1923, some two and a half months after the men’s arrest. The prosecutor was a Mr. Cunningham and the court was made up of Deputy Divisional Commandant Joe Seán McLoughlin and State Solicitor William McMenamin. The third member of the court was Tom Glennon: he was now going to hear the case against the man who – probably unknown to him – had saved his life after the abortive peace meeting in Churchill the previous July.

The six men arrested by Houston were each charged with being in possession of three rifles, a revolver, 300 rounds of .303 ammunition, six rounds of .45 ammunition and a German egg bomb “without proper authority”. The other two Republicans were charged with being in possession of three rifles, three revolvers, three bandoliers of .303 ammunition and a pouch of .45 ammunition “without proper authority.”

The eight republicans were found guilty of bearing arms, ‘without the proper authority’ but heard nothing of their sentence for over three months. 

The only likely outcome was that all eight would be found guilty which, given the charges, the evidence and the provisions of the Public Safety Act passed the previous October, meant possible death by firing squad. Daly might have sought a lighter sentence by appealing to his past friendship with Sweeney (they had been in university together) or by pointing to his saving of Sweeney’s and Glennon’s lives at Churchill and subsequently going out of his way to get medical aid for two Free State soldiers wounded in an action at Drumkeen in mid-July. But he did not. These actions would suggest that Daly’s nature as an officer was too honourable to even contemplate such a course.

The Republicans were found guilty by the court martial, but no sentence was passed at first. Three weeks after the trial, one of the men, Tim O’Sullivan from Kerry, wrote in a letter to a long-term girlfriend: “Nothing strange here only that we were court-martialled on Jan. 18th and we got no account of it since. We are as happy as the flowers in May.” 10

Rumours that death sentences would be handed down did spread as both Donegal County Council and Dunfanaghy Rural District Council discussed the issue at their respective meetings during February – the latter passed a motion calling on the government “to exercise their prerogative of mercy and not to inflict the extreme penalty in these cases.” 11

The eight men – Daly and O’Sullivan from Kerry, Dan Enright also from Kerry, Seán Larkin and James Donaghy from Derry, Dan Coyle and Frank Ward from Donegal and Jim Lane from Cork – remained in a cell together in Drumboe Castle, still unaware of their fate but prepared for the worst. Daly was visited regularly by C.S. Sweeney, one of the Free State soldiers wounded at Drumkeen: “Eleanor [C.S. Sweeney’s wife] was indignant but C.S. took the view that Daly could have dropped both him and Harkin in a bog hole.” 12

C.S. Sweeney may not have been the only Free State soldier sympathetic to the plight of Daly and the others. In his autobiography, written ten years later, Peadar O’Donnell, the prominent Donegal Republican, referred to a soldier named Dan McGee as “…the one man in Tirconaill who was a volunteer in enemy uniform. This youngster had just failed to effect the release of Daly, Larkin, Enright and O’Sullivan.” 13

 

The “Drumboe Martyrs”

Although they had been found guilty of possession of weapons and ammunition, the “Drumboe Martyrs” were shot in reprisal for the killing of a Free State officer.

At 1:40pm on 11th March, a brief radio message was despatched from Drumboe Castle to GHQ in Dublin: “Captain Bernard Cannon killed in attack in Creeslough Post last night. Particulars later.” 14 At first sight, this might seem to be the outcome of an attack by Republicans, but the reality is murkier. Ernie O’Malley noted that Republicans believed there had been a fight among the Free State soldiers in the barracks:

“Both Peadar O’Donnell and Joe Sweeney discussed the shooting of Cannon in my presence. Frank O’Donnell, Peadar said, told Cannon’s father the man who had shot him and he was Free State. Joe Sweeney said he investigated the shooting but found that Lt. Cannon had been shot through the skylight of the front door.” 15

In a separate interview, O’Malley talked to Sweeney alone, who told him:

“One of our officers, Lt. Cannon, was killed in the barracks at Creeslough. The barracks had been fired at. He went into the hall and was shot dead … I was talking to Peadar and Frank O’Donnell about the shooting of Lt. Cannon. They are positive none of their men were there that night. Nor was there a row in the barracks that night which I thought there might have been for I examined the scene. Outside, behind a wall, we found a box of cartridges.” 16

At the inquest into the dead soldier’s death, a Sergeant Gallagher told how he had been out on patrol, after which the soldiers returned to the barracks. At around 11pm that night, shots were fired at the barracks and he went into the hall, where he saw Cannon had been hit; he dragged him into another room and said an Act of Contrition which the officer repeated, but Cannon died ten minutes later. Gallagher said the shooting at the barracks continued for another hour. 17

But Cannon may have fallen victim not to the Civil War but to the violent lawlessness that accompanied it. In the absence of the disbanded RIC and with the Garda Siochána only recently-established, responsibility for maintaining law and order fell to whichever military group controlled a particular area. As everyday policing could not be their main priority, parts of Donegal – in particular, the east of the county, with its sizeable but vulnerable unionist community – descended into semi-anarchic chaos during the Civil War, with frequent reports of armed robbers preying on the population. According to local historian, Fr. John Silke, the attack on the barracks was mounted by locals after the Army’s arrest of some men in the village:

“On Saturday, March 10, the date of the village monthly fair, the barrack was providing hospitality for the night to a number of men who had imbibed well, if not too wisely and whom the Army patrol had rounded up. Shots were fired at the barrack from across a stone wall on the other side of the then Ferry’s Bar and Baird’s forge … the inexperienced captain unwisely opened the door and was shot.” 18

It is thus very possible that the denials of responsibility by both Sweeney and the O’Donnell brothers were well-founded and that the dead officer was actually killed by friends of the arrested drunks who were neither Republicans nor Free State soldiers.

Daly and his men were shot for the killing of a Lt. Cannon – who was probably killed by armed local criminals

By that time, the conduct of the Civil War was increasingly bitter. The attack on Creeslough barracks came less than a week after the infamous series of atrocities in Kerry, (in which 24 prisoners were killed in a two week period) but whether there was any connection between those events and the fact that three of the prisoners in Drumboe Castle were from Kerry can only be speculated on. However, when Sweeney reported the fatality at Creeslough to GHQ, the reply was unequivocal:

“We reported it and back came an order to execute four men, one of them Larkin. I sent a wireless message back for confirmation. The same message came back later. Then I sent a message direct to the A/G [Adjutant-General] Gearóid O’Sullivan. Larkin’s name came back again. He was from the Six Counties and I didn’t want to shoot a man from the Six Counties. I was very fond of Charlie Daly. He had been tried shortly after he was arrested but the sentence was confirmed.”  19

Even while Sweeney was arguing with GHQ, the eight prisoners in Drumboe Castle still had no idea what had happened – as late as 12th March, two days after Cannon’s death in Creeslough, O’Sullivan wrote to a fellow Republican who had been arrested in Listowel: “We were court-martialled here on the 18th January. The charge was unlawful possession of arms and we have heard no account about it since.” 20

The following afternoon, four of the men – Daly, O’Sullivan, Enright and Larkin – were informed that they would be executed the next morning. That evening, in a final letter to his mother, Enright wrote: “The sentence of death is just after being passed upon me, but I am taking it like a soldier should.” 21 Although all eight had been found guilty, O’Sullivan wrote in a farewell letter to his friend Maurice O’Connor that “My other four comrades are spared for the present, Dan, Charles, Sean Larkin and I being pulled out.” 22

A few hours before dawn, Daly wrote a last letter to his own mother: “We got the news about four this evening. Though ‘twas rather sudden it was not altogether unexpected; besides we had never lost sight of the possibility of our C.M. ending at death.” 23

‘It is an awful thing to kill a man you know in cold blood’: Joe Sweeney

Daly’s cousin was Dr. Charles O’Sullivan, Bishop of Kerry and although he disapproved of Daly’s actions, it was perhaps through his contacts that Archbishop Patrick O’Donnell of Raphoe diocese called on a meeting of diocesan clergy to plead for the lives of the condemned men. A phone call was made to Minister for Defence Richard Mulcahy but the plea for clemency fell on deaf ears. 24

While Mulcahy was unyielding, Sweeney was torn over the death sentences:

“The terrible thing then was that Daly had to be executed. We had received word from Dublin that anyone captured carrying arms was to be court-martialled and sentenced to death. I had to do the job myself, to order a firing party for the execution, and it was particularly difficult because Daly and I had been very friendly when we were students, and it is an awful thing to kill a man you know in cold blood, if you’re on level terms with him. Trading shots with a man in battle is one thing, but an execution is something else altogether. I wasn’t present at the execution myself but to make sure there was no foul-up the firing party were all picked men and they were told that they were to put them out of pain as quickly as possible. At that time you had this barbarous system where the Provost-Marshall had to go along afterwards to deliver the coup de grace through the heart. I didn’t agree with it but they were orders and you had to do it.” 25

C.S. Sweeney visited Daly again on the evening of 13th March – “Daly told [him] that while Larkin had a death wish, he himself did not want to die.” 26 But after a visit from a priest who heard his confession, Daly reconciled himself to his fate and found great solace in his religious beliefs; his final letter to his mother is couched almost entirely in spiritual terms: “I am now within a few short hours of death and writing you with perfect calmness, all I think of is Eternity and I am ready to go out at 7 o’clock and face the firing squad with confidence and hope in God’s great mercy for the salvation of my soul.” 27

At 8am the next morning, Daly, O’Sullivan, Enright and Larkin were taken into the woods outside Drumboe Castleand shot: “[Comdt.-General Joe Sweeney] went off before the executions, which were left, according to C.S. Sweeney, to a firing party made up of ex-British Army veterans, with Comdt. Sheerin as detail officer.” 28 Later that day, a terse statement from GHQ simply stated that “All four accused were found guilty and sentenced to death. The findings and sentences were duly confirmed in each case.” 29

A week after the executions, Fr. McMullan, the Free State army chaplain at Drumboe Castle, wrote to Fr. Brennan, parish priest of Daly’s home village of Castlemaine in Kerry, paying tribute to how Daly had faced his death:

“I felt, too, that he was a tower of strength to the others all of whom like him met their deaths like true heroes. It was touching to see his generosity of nature, no word of complaint or recrimination, every man acted for the best and according to his lights so that those who differed from them were just as right and well intentioned as himself, such was his creed. He was emphatic in his appreciation of the kindness and consideration shown by all, those offices and men in whose custody he was, and this he expressed to me not only that night, but more than once before.” 30

‘I was a soldier, not a politician’: Tom Glennon

It seems likely that the attack on Creeslough barracks which led to the death of Captain Cannon was – without being properly investigated – simply presumed to have been carried out by the most obvious suspects. As a result of this mistaken attribution, the men subsequently known as the “Drumboe Martyrs” were then executed in reprisal for a killing which had not even been committed by Republicans.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, Joe Sweeney tried to block out all memory of the events:“It’s very hard to describe a war among brothers. It was fierce and it was atrocious.  You had family against family and brother against brother, and I’ve tried to wipe it out of my mind as much as possible because it is not pleasant to think about.” 31

Similarly, Tom Glennon kept his memories to himself and never spoke in later life about his experiences in either the War of Independence or the Civil War. Once – and only once – his son tried to broach the subject of the Civil War, asking his father what he had thought of the Republicans’ position on the Treaty. His father brought the conversation to an abrupt end, declaring “I was a soldier, not a politician.”

Notes

  1. Report on 1stNorthern Division, 3rd July 1922, Mulcahy papers, UCD Archives, P7/B/106. Historian Robert Lynch estimates that the Munster Republicans in Donegal numbered “at most one hundred” (Donegal and the Joint-IRA Northern Offensive, May-November 1922, Irish Historical Studies, Volume XXXV, No. 138, November 2006) but in view of the number of prisoners subsequently captured by Free State troops, this estimate seems too low.
  2. DerryJournal, 5th & 8th May 1922
  3. Ibid, 3rdJuly 1922
  4. Michael O’Donoghue statement, Bureau of Military History, Military Archives, WS 1741
  5. Seán Lehane despatch to Charlie Daly, undated, O’Malley papers, UCD Archives, P17a/76
  6. Donegal Command Intelligence Report,4thNovember 1922, Military Archives, CW/OPS/06/11
  7. Martin Quille letter to Paddy —, undated, in James Quinn,The Story of the Drumboe Martyrs, (McKinney & Callaghan, 1958), p49
  8. Seamus McCann letter to Fr. David, Capuchin Franciscan monastery, Letterkenny, undated, O’Donoghue papers, NLI, Ms 31,315
  9. Abstract of evidence for court martial, O’Malley papers, UCD Archives, P17a/191
  10. Timothy O’Sullivan letter to Helena Maye, 9thFebruary 1923, O’Mahony papers, NLI, Ms 44,055/1
  11. DerryJournal, 21st February 1923
  12. John Silke,The Drumboe Martyrs, Donegal Annual, Volume 60 (2008)
  13. Peadar O’Donnell,The Gates Flew Open (Mercier, 1932), p159
  14. Donegal Command radio report, Military Archives, CW/OPS/06/12
  15. Joe Sweeney & Peadar O’Donnell interview, O’Malley notebooks, UCD Archives, P17/b/98
  16. Joe Sweeney interview, O’Malley notebooks, UCD Archives, P17b/97
  17. DerryJournal, 16th March 1923
  18. Silke,The Drumboe Martyrs
  19. Joe Sweeney interview, O’Malley notebooks, UCD Archives, P17b/97
  20. Timothy O’Sullivan letter to Michael McElligott, 12thMarch 1923, in Quinn, The Story of the Drumboe Martyrs, p45
  21. Dan Enright letter to his mother, 13thMarch 1923, in Quinn, The Story of the Drumboe Martyrs, p50                                                
  22. Timothy O’Sullivan letter to Maurice O’Connor, 13thMarch 1923, in Quinn, The Story of the Drumboe Martyrs, p43
  23. Charlie Daly letter to his mother, 14thMarch 1923, O’Donoghue papers, NLI Ms 31,315
  24. Silke,The Drumboe Martyrs
  25. Joe Sweeney, interviewed in Kenneth Griffiths & Timothy O’Grady,Curious Journey (Hutchinson, 1982), p305-306
  26. Silke,The Drumboe Martyrs
  27. Charlie Daly letter to his mother, 14thMarch 1923, O’Donoghue papers, NLI, Ms 31,315
  28. Silke,The Drumboe Martyrs
  29. DerryJournal, 16th March 1923
  30. McMullan letter to Fr. Brennan, 21stMarch 1923, in Quinn, The Story of the Drumboe Martyrs, p27
  31. Sweeney, interviewed in Griffiths & O’Grady,Curious Journey, p306

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