Ireland

Struggle or Starve

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The dominant narrative in Northern Irish politics from both imperialist and nationalist perspectives is the existence of two tribes with separate and incompatible interests. We have argued that unity between Protestant and Catholic workers was not only possible in the North of Ireland, but had been realised, albeit too briefly, in the dock labourers’ strike of 1907, the engineers’ strike of 1919 and the unemployed workers’ strike and riots in 1932. It is the last of these that Seán Mitchell’s marvellous new book bears witness to.

Martyred for Irish liberation

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There is a long history of Irish workers organising alongside their English comrades and of anti-Irish feeling dividing the working class. One hundred and fifty years ago three Irish men were hanged by the British state on trumped up murder charges. Delia Hutchings tells the story of these Manchester Martyrs.

On 23 November 1867 Michael O’Brien, Michael Larkin and William Allen were hanged. They had been found guilty of murdering British police officer Sergeant Charles Brett while taking part in an audacious plan to free two leading Irish Nationalists from a police van. They are known as the Manchester Martyrs.

On 11 September 1867 Thomas Kelly and Timothy Deasy were arrested for loitering in Manchester. It was several days before the Manchester police realised that they were holding the leadership of the International Republican Brotherhood — the Fenians.

Hesitant Comrades

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Given that Ireland was officially part of the UK until 1922 and that many British unions organised in Ireland, not to mention that large numbers of Irish workers lived in Britain, you might assume that the struggle for independence was a major issue for the British labour movement of the day. In fact, as this book brings out, it was an embarrassment for the leaders of both the Labour Party and the trade unions.

Revisiting Ireland's uprising

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Kieran Allen's book 1916 examines the legacy of the Easter Rising. He spoke to Socialist Review about revolutionary Irish politics then and now.

Let’s start with the recent Irish elections. It was marvellous to see an increase in the number of socialists in the Dail [parliament]. Also the two main right wing parties, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail, saw their combined vote drop, continuing a 30-year trend.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have dominated Irish politics since the Civil War of 1922-23. They used to get about 85 percent of the votes of the Irish people and they are now down to about 50 percent.

Flamboyant rebel woman

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A century ago Constance Markievicz was preparing for the Irish Easter Rising. Mary Smith outlines the remarkable life of an upper class woman who was both a paramilitary leader and the first woman MP.

Countess Constance Markievicz was a brave and flamboyant rebel, a traitor to her upper class background and an uncompromising revolutionary for most of her life. Her extraordinary life also exemplifies a more general truth: namely that in revolutionary upheavals women come to the fore in the struggle and in the process challenge their own oppression and subordination.

The queer and unusual life of Roger Casement

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Knighted by the British crown for his work in Africa and later executed for high treason for his work in Ireland, Roger Casement was a unique figure. Noel Halifax tells the story of this pioneer of human rights, a gay man at the time of the creation of modern homophobia.

Roger Casement had an extraordinary life. He was born in Dublin from an Anglo-Irish background in 1864. Lauded by the establishment for his work in Africa and knighted in 1911, he became one of the most famous men of his age.

In 1913 he resigned from the Foreign Office. In 1916 he was hanged in Pentonville prison for high treason for his part in the Dublin Easter Rising. Though central to the Irish freedom movement he was largely overlooked by the Irish Republicans because, to their great embarrassment, he was also gay.

Ireland: a new alliance on the left

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The radical left in Ireland has formed an alliance to field 40 candidates for the general election set for April 2016.

The two main forces on the socialist left, the Anti-Austerity Alliance (AAA) and People Before Profit (PBP), are putting together a unified parliamentary group to maximise the left vote in the upcoming April 2016 general election.

This alliance illustrates the space that has opened up in Irish politics.

Water meters tap into Irish workers' anger

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The autumn of 2014 saw a massive revolt by the Irish working class against the attempt by the Fine Gael/Labour Coalition to impose swingeing water charges. The charges were the latest in innumerable austerity measures imposed at the behest of the Troika — the EU, IMF and European Central Bank — as part of the immense bail-out of the Irish banks.

Ireland: a huge step forward

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The recent Euro and local elections showed the left making major advances and gave proof of a substantial process of radicalisation in the Irish working class.

For more than 80 years politics in the Republic of Ireland was dominated by two Tory parties, Fianna Fail (FF) and Fine Gael (FG). The lead was played by FF which was the governing party for 61 out of 79 years between 1932 and 2011.

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