Monday, 28 February 2011

British Government Proposing Economic Madness

éirígí candidate for the Upper Falls area in May’s Six County local government elections Pádraic Mac Coitir has slammed British government proposals to slash corporation tax in the North.
Mac Coitir was responding to recent comments made by British secretary of state Owen Patterson.

Patterson has suggested that the corporation tax rate in the Six Counties could be cut to as low as 10 per cent from its current 28 per cent in an effort to ape the disastrous economic policies of the Twenty-Six County government.

This follows lobbying in favour of the cut by establishment politicians in the Six Counties, along with the business class.

Mac Coitir said: “At a time when public services are desperately in need of extra revenue, it is nothing short of economic madness to propose cutting the rate of corporation tax by a rate of even one per cent, never mind the 18 per cent the British government is talking about.

“What we are seeing is a perfect convergence of views between a British Tory government, Stormont politicians and the local business class, all in the interests of providing greater profits for the already wealthy.

“Since the economic crisis began, a number of multinationals have banked the public subsidies they received for locating in the Six Counties and upped sticks to more exploitation-friendly destinations. Slashing the corporation tax will only encourage such behaviour and leave more workers high and dry.”

Mac Coitir added: “It is absurd for anyone to suggest that the economic policies that were followed in the Twenty-Six Counties – policies that created a basket case economy in thrall to the International Monetary Fund – should be replicated anywhere, never mind in the same country.

“éirígí will continue to play its part in the building of effective resistance to the slash and burn agenda of the London and Dublin governments and the Stormont administration.

“Ultimately, what is needed to take workers out of unemployment, build efficient public services and reverse emigration is the creation of a 32-county economy that is based on public ownership and human need, not private greed.”

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Remember the Hunger Strikers – March 1

The details of a vigil to mark the 30th anniversary of the commencement of the 1981 Hunger Strike have been announced.
On Tuesday, March 1, republicans will gather at the Andersonstown Barracks site in west Belfast, exactly 30 years to the day from republican Prisoner of War Bobby Sands beginning the second hunger strike for political status in the H Blocks of Long Kesh.

The candle-lit vigil to remember Sands and his comrades, Francis Hughes, Ray McCreesh, Patsy O’Hara, Joe McDonnell, Martin Hurson, Kevin Lynch, Kieran Doherty, Thomas McElwee and Mickey Devine, will begin at 7pm.

The graves of three of the hunger strikers – Bobby Sands, Joe McDonnell and Kieran Doherty – lie only yards from the Andersonstown Barracks site in Milltown Cemetery’s republican plot.

éirígí’s Pádraic Mac Coitir, who participated in the blanket and no wash protests during the struggle for political status, appealed for as many people as possible to attend the event.

“The fight for political status, which culminated in the 1981 Hunger Strike, was a defining moment in Irish history,” he said.

“It marked a serious setback for British strategy in Ireland, unfortunately at a great cost to the republican prisoners and the nationalist community outside the prisons.

“What 1981 taught republican Ireland and, indeed, the British establishment was that a united, determined people cannot be criminalised, ignored, repressed out of sight or shot off the streets.

“The sacrifice the hunger strikers made in defence of their fellow prisoners and in defence of the republican struggle should never be forgotten. It should serve as an inspiration to all those who continue the struggle against injustice, in Ireland and beyond.”

Mac Coitir added: “It is important to remember that it wasn’t just the men in the H Blocks who fought against Britain’s criminalisation strategy. The struggle of the female prisoners in Armagh was every bit as crucial and served as a siren call, if one were needed, that women were equal participants in the fight for national independence.

“Equally importantly, there are republicans in prison today who are denied the political status that was won at such a high cost three decades ago. While these prisoners are denied their human rights and, indeed, while even a single person remains imprisoned as a result of the British occupation, the goals of the hunger strikers will remain unfulfilled.

“éirígí is calling on republican ex-prisoners, those who were involved in the Relatives Action Committees and the Smash H-Block campaign, the relatives of those who played their part in the prison struggle and those who are too young too remember 1981 to gather at the Andersonstown Barracks site on March 1.

“While organised by éirígí, the vigil will not be a strictly party-political event. It will be, first and foremost, an opportunity for republicans and all those who hold the hunger strikers in high esteem to remember their sacrifice and to recommit themselves to the goals for which they died.

“Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.”

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

éirígí Election Campaign Hits the Ground

Pádraic MacCoitir and John McCusker
Time will tell if éirígí garners enough votes in the forthcoming Six County local government elections to elect two councillors to Belfast City Hall.
However, one thing is already clear and that is the appetite and motivation of republican activists across Belfast for the éirígí initiative.

Since party members began hitting doors in the west of the city last Monday [February 14], they have been joined by dozens of political ex-prisoners, long-time community workers and young people engaged in their first political campaign.

Women and men, young and old alike have all lent their support. Those who have driven the republican struggle in Belfast for decades and those who want to drive and shape it for decades to come have all put their weight behind the éirígí effort to repopularise radical, class-based politics in the city.

On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday of last week, thousands of Poblacht na nOibrithe newsletters were delivered to homes in the Upper Falls area announcing the candidature of Pádraic Mac Coitir.

This process will be repeated in the days ahead in the Lower Falls constituency to announce the candidature of John McCusker.

Already, text messages and emails are arriving off the back of the newsletters offering encouragement and pledging support and votes. What level of hunger there is in West Belfast for a socialist republican alternative will not be properly discovered until after May 5, but that there is a hunger there has already been established.

éirígí candidate for the Lower Falls area John McCusker thanked all those who have supported the party’s election campaign so far.

“Since éirígí announced its intention to stand in the local government elections, we have been overwhelmed by the support that has been offered to us by the broader republican community.

“Even at this early stage, we have dozens of people who have joined our election campaign team in addition to our existing members. These include people who have a large amount of experience in fighting previous elections, people who work day and daily at the coalface of the problems that confront the working people of West Belfast, political ex-prisoners and some who are relatively new to political activism. They are all welcome in the campaign to provide a socialist republican alternative for West Belfast.”

If you would like to support éirígí’s campaign in any way, contact the party on 079 3595 0601 or at

Ar aghaidh linn le chéile.

Click here to download the Poblacht na nOibrithe newsletter for Upper Falls

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

British Army Back On The Streets

Once again, nationalist youths in Newry are being goaded and provoked by the British forces.
The latest incident occurred in the Carnagat and Parkhead areas of the city on Thursday, February 10 when the British army, along with their colleagues in the PSNI, launched a major operation in the nationalist areas.

Over a dozen armoured PSNI landrovers and British army jeeps descended on the working class area, whilst dozens of heavily armed PSNI paramilitaries and British soldiers disembarked from their vehicles and launched a major search operation.

This has become a regular occurrence in these areas over the past few months, with the PSNI regularly provoking nationalist youths, the last time they did this in the same area it resulted in the most serious rioting seen in decades.

In this recent incident, the PSNI were joined by British army soldiers who saturated the area. The Crown Forces proceeded to search storm drains and manholes. True to form and as predicted, they also spent their time goading youths and disrupting residents from going about their daily business.

Rúnaí ginearálta éirígí Breandán Mac Cionnaith said: “Despite the best efforts of the establishment parties to portray this society as normal, it’s perfectly clear that it is far from normal. We are still under occupation and we still have armed British soldiers along with PSNI paramilitaries on our streets.

“In fact, the British army have increased their operations in recent times, with at least two sinister covert units being re-deployed in Occupied Ireland. British armed forces in Ireland have colluded with unionist death squads and are directly responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Irish men, women, and children. The Six Counties remains under occupation and 5,000 British troops remain garrisoned in military bases across the north.

Mac Cionnaith added: “éirígí’s position is simple, the British army is not welcome in any part of Ireland, under any guise, under any circumstances. We will continue to resist all forms of imperialism whether it’s the British army or their colleagues in the PSNI.

“In the coming months, éirígí will be stepping up its campaign against British rule, we appeal for people to join us in rebuilding popular resistance to the occupation.”

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Letter- The Reality of Policing In the North

Local éirígí activist, Stephen Murney, wrote the following letter in reply to the PSNI's response to last weeks harassment article in the local papers.

I’d like to take this opportunity to reply to the PSNI’s response to the harassment article in last week’s edition, which highlighted the case of a local republican being stopped at least 62 times in just 7 months.

A clearly embarrassed spokesperson for the British police force stated “that they will not be drawn into a tit for tat debate”. Let me make this clear, éirígí aren’t seeking a “tit for tat” debate with this unaccountable paramilitary force. What we are doing is highlighting and exposing their unchanged nature.

Thanks to éirígí, thousands of ordinary people are aware of the injustices and acts of repression that continue to be inflicted upon the nationalist community on a regular basis.

The PSNI and their cheerleaders may not like the fact that éirígí are exposing and resisting them at every turn, but that is something they will have to get used to because we will not be going anywhere. We will continue to build our revolutionary movement in Newry and across Ireland.

The PSNI also stated that “they are committed to preventing and detecting all crime”. Is distributing leaflets and erecting posters “crime”? I myself have been stopped and searched by the PSNI many times, including under the ‘Terrorism Act’ while engaging in these forms of legitimate political activity - the same type of political activity that is supposed to be widely acceptable in a democracy. However, it seems that engaging in political activity which is deemed acceptable elsewhere in Europe is classed as subversive by the PSNI, who are intent upon suppressing any form of political activity that is not supportive of the status quo within the Six Counties.

Since the RUC was renamed, the force has access to more repressive legislation than it ever had. The PSNI also has an abundant stockpile of lethal weaponry. It is now abundantly clear that, instead of delivering a ‘new beginning’, the PSNI has simply continued with the same failed anti-working class and anti-republican agenda of the RUC and Royal Irish Constabulary before them. The lie of ‘community-based’ policing has been exposed by the reality of increased draconian legislation, harassment and brutality.

This is the reality of policing in the Six Counties. It is one that is far from what was promised by the nationalist parties who took the decision to endorse the PSNI. As we stated last week, it’s time for people to take a stand and make our voices heard loud and clear that we will not sit back and let these pro-British paramilitaries continue with their repressive actions.

Those in positions of responsibility should withdraw their support for the PSNI and stand by the people they claim to represent rather than silently watching them being, once again, labeled a suspect community.

Over the coming months éirígí will be stepping up its opposition to the PSNI and British rule in Ireland, in Newry and across the occupied Six Counties. We would encourage anyone who agrees with our analysis to join us in rebuilding popular resistance to the ongoing occupation.

Is mise le meas

Stephen Murney

éirígí Newry

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Recent Media Coverage

Here are a few articles relating to éirígí which featured in this weeks local papers. Click article to enlarge

                                 Newry Reporter
                      Newry Democrat

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

éirígí Announces Names of Council Candidates

éirígí has announced the names of two candidates who will be standing in May’s Six County local government elections.
John McCusker and Pádraic Mac Coitir will both be standing in Belfast; McCusker in the Lower Falls constituency and Mac Coitir in the Upper Falls area.

The socialist republican party took the decision to intervene in the council elections at its Belfast Ard-Fheis on January 23.

Republican ex-prisoner and former blanketman Pádraic Mac Coitir lives in the Lenadoon area of west Belfast and has been involved in socialist republican and community politics since 1970.

He said: “When I first became involved in the republican struggle, the goals of the civil rights movement were making the headlines, including the right to a job and the right to a home. Forty years later, these very basic and very limited demands have still not been achieved.

“This is why there is a need for a party like éirígí to stand in these elections: to reinvigorate the struggle for social and economic justice and the fight against partition and the British occupation.

“I am very proud to have been chosen by the éirígí membership to represent the party and its socialist republican politics and I am looking forward to engaging with as many working class people as possible in west Belfast over the next number of months.”

Thirty-three-year-old Falls Road man John McCusker holds a masters in international politics and has been involved in the republican struggle all his adult life.

He said: “In light of the current economic crisis, it is clear that the old solutions and the old institutions have failed west Belfast miserably. What éirígí is bringing to this election is a platform that stands for active opposition to British government and Stormont cuts, a platform that offers an alternative to discrimination, poverty and partition and a platform that stands for rebuilding strong, vibrant communities.

“I am honoured to represent that platform and the politics of éirígí.”

Announcing their candidature, cathaoirleach éirígí Brian Leeson said: “In line with the decision taken by the party membership at our recent Ard-Fheis, éirígí will be standing candidates in both of the west Belfast local government constituencies.

“John McCusker and Pádraic Mac Coitir are two sterling activists who have devoted decades between them in fighting for the rights of working class people and in pursuance of socialist republican objectives.

“West Belfast has been discriminated against for decades and remains one of the most socially and economically deprived areas in western Europe. This was the case 20 years ago and it remains the case today. The vicious cuts which are being implemented by the British government and its Stormont administration are going to make an already bad situation an awful lot worse.

“éirígí is standing in this election to give the working class people of west Belfast an opportunity to say enough is enough. The fight back against poverty and partition, against inequality and exploitation starts now and there are no two better people to be at the forefront of that fight than John McCusker and Pádraic Mac Coitir.”

Leeson added: “Elections will constitute only part of that fight back. Ultimately, real change in this society will only come about when enough people get politically active in their communities, on the streets and in their workplaces.

“This will be the core message of éirígí’s electoral campaign: Together, working class people have the power to stop and rollback the cuts and, eventually, remove those responsible from power.”