Ireland

Trouble flared across Ireland's north on the night of July 12 as sectarian Orange Order marchers insisted on marching through nationalist areas, the Morning Star said the next day. It said serious rioting followed a unionist (supporters of Northern Ireland's union with Britain) parade through the the largely Catholic and Irish nationalist working-class suburb of Ardoyne in north Belfast.
The Irish government successfully bullied a majority of those who turned out for the May 31 referendum into voting “yes” to changing the constitution to allow the government to ratify the European Union's pro-austerity Fiscal Treaty. But it would be a mistake to read it as a ringing endorsement for their austerity policies. Many of those who voted did so with a gun to their head and no enthusiasm for the policies contained in the treaty. After all the blackmail and bullying, the Yes side could only manage a 60% Yes vote with a 50% turnout.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams led a dramatic walkout from the Dublin parliament (Dail) on November 2. The protest was over the coalition government’s decision to hand over more than €700 million to an unknown private investor in the failed Anglo Irish Bank. Finance minister Michael Noonan admitted in the Dail there was no legal obligation to refund the bond investment, which was not covered by the former government’s bank guarantee. With the government refusing a debate on the matter, Adams led the walkout of Sinn Fein and United Left Alliance parliamentarians.
Martin Ferris, Sinn Fein TD (member of the Dublin-based parliament, the Dail) for Kerry, visited Australia at the end of July. Ferris spoke to hundreds of people at public meetings in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne on the economic crisis in Ireland. He also spoke on the struggle to reunify the six counties in Ireland's north still controlled by Britain with the 26 counties that make up the southern state.
The euro will survive for now — but only because working people in Greece and other European countries face greater suffering. That’s the not-so-hidden agenda behind the new US$227 billion bailout of Greece organised by the most powerful countries of the European Union, mainly France and Germany. The rescue comes little more than a year after a $155 billion rescue that was supposed to stop the debt crisis. See also: United States: the nonsense battle over debt
About 1000 people took part in the Enough Campaign's protest against European Union/International Monetary Fund austerity program in Dublin on July 16. The campaign is supported by People Before Profit Alliance parliamentarians  Richard Boyd Barrett  and  Joan Collins, the Unite Trade Union, the Waterford Trades Council, the Spectacle of Defiance, the Socialist Workers Party, the People’s Movement, Afri and several independent members of parliament.
Ireland’s seven-month-old United Left Alliance (ULA) is the “new kid on the block” of European anti-capitalist parties. Launched in November last year, it won five TDs (members of the Irish parliament, the Dail) in February elections, despite its name not appearing on the ballot paper. To date the ULA has also won 20 positions in local councils and one seat in the European parliament. In the Dail, the ULA TDs have already had successes, such as stopping the abolition of the Joint Labour Committees that set wages and conditions in some industries.
More than 100 loyalists (supporters of British rule) were involved in a serious mob assault at a “peaceline” in the mid-Ulster town of Portadown in Northern Ireland on July 15, throwing bricks, bottles, paint-bombs, fireworks and at least one blast bomb. The mid-Ulster Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) has been widely blamed for the assault, the latest in a series of large-scale attacks it has mounted over the “marching season” (when the Protestant Orange Order holds provocative anti-Catholic marches).
Violent attacks and rioting, orchestrated by terrorist Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF), have targeted communities of the Catholic minority in Northern Ireland in recent weeks. The largely working-class Catholic east Belfast suburb of Short Strand was attacked in riots organised by the UVF on June 20. Petrol bombs and rocks were thrown at homes and residents. See also Sinn Fein leader to speak in Australia
Martin Ferris, a TD (MP) from Irish republican party Sinn Fein, will address audiences in Australia in late July on the ongoing struggle for Irish reunification and independence. Ferris will address audiences in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney on the topic of “Uniting Ireland”. The tour is part of an international campaign by Sinn Fein to gather support for ending British rule over the six counties in Ireland's north.
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the hunger strikes by republican prisoners in the H-Blocks of the British-run Long Kesh prison in Northern Ireland. These hunger strikes, in which ten men died demanding "political" status, were preceded by hunger strikes in the last part of 1980 that ended with the British authorities promising a compromise, only to then betray the prisoners.
On May 5, 1981, Bobby Sands, Honourable Member of the British Parliament for Fermanagh-South Tyrone in Ireland’s north, died. The 27-year-old republican prisoner died after 66 days on hunger strike in the H-blocks of the British-run concentration camp called Long Kesh prison. Nine other men died on hunger strike, as the British government of Margaret Thatcher refused to conceed their demand to be granted the status of “political prisoners”. More:
On the 30th anniversary of the May 5, 1981 death on hunger strike of Irish republican prisoner Bobby Sands MP, Green Left Weekly spoke to Sands close friend, former prisoner in the Long Kesh H-Blocks along with Sands and leading Belfast Sinn Fein activist Séanna Walsh about the man who has become a revolutionary icon around the world
This year marks the 30th anniversary of the hunger strikes by Irish republican prisoners n the British-run Long Kesh concentration camp — an event that shook the world. The British government of Margaret Thatcher let ten men starve themselves to death rather than negotiate with them over their demand to be recognised as political prisoners. The first prisoner to begin the hunger strike was 27-year old Bobby Sands. He died on May 5, 1981 after 66 days of starvation.
Ireland’s new Fine Gael (FG)-Labour Party (LP) coalition government has set out an agenda of continuing the savage austerity and spending cuts of the Fianna Fail (FF)-Greens coalition ii has replaced. The cuts are enforced by the International Monetary Fund-European Union bailout of the Irish government. In the February 26 elections, FF and the Greens were thrashed in a backlash against the bail-out and the anti-worker austerity that goes with it. The Greens failed to win a seat in the Dail (Irish parliament) and FF slumped from 77 seats to 20.
Economists warned on March 31 that the British government’s public-sector cuts will leave a shortfall of more than half a million jobs. The New Economics Foundation (NEF) also warned that nowhere in the budget or “plan for growth“ was there “any evidence that the business tax cuts, regulatory tweaks and relatively minor changes to public-sector investment that are promised will deliver major economic transformation”. Trade Union Congress general secretary Brendan Barber said the findings showed that “in recent years, the market has become the master, not the servant, of society”.

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