" A wealth of information..."

"1169 And Counting is a wealth of information on our Republican past and present , and demonstrates how the Irish political landscape , like that of any nation, will never be a black and white issue..."

(From the ‘e-Thursday’ section of the ‘Business Week’ supplement of the ‘Irish Independent’ , 21st August 2008.)



IRISH BLOG AWARDS 2017 - ooops! It seems that our entry application was "not completed in time to be considered.." (?) and, as such, we are not now in the running. But we wish all the best to the successful entrants and to the organisers, and we hope all goes well for them on the day!


Monday, April 02, 2007

WHICH WAY FORWARD IN THE FREE STATE....... ?

In the wake of Sinn Fein successs in the North , republicans are increasingly having to confront the problem of building a realistic strategy for the very different political situation that exists in the 26 Counties . In this controversial analysis , Sinn Fein ard comhairle ('National Executive') member Paddy Bolger , argues that the Sinn Fein concept of an 'Economic Resistance Movement' , put forward in 1971 and expanded eight years later , is seriously over-optimistic , and that the national question remains the central revolutionary issue on which Free State workers can be mobilised in a painstaking and gradualist approach .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983 .

The Sinn Fein 'Eire Nua' document asserted with optimism : " It remains to indicate the lines along which Sinn Fein may win the support of the majority of the Irish people for the realisation of its objectives . It is clear that resistance to the British forces of occupation in the Six Counties is alone insufficient . It will be necessary to develop the unity of the people around a programme of economic resistance to the non-military aspects of imperialist interference in Ireland .

By this means it will be possible to safeguard the livelihood of the people , to frustrate the plans for a completely export-orientated , dependent , industrial economy on the East coast , and at major sea ports , with the rest of the country a depopulated 'tourist paradise' and to build up an institutional structure which will foreshadow certain state organs of the future Republican Government . " While this aspiration - with its primary intended application obviously being in the 26 Counties , rather than the North - is undoubtedly correct , it is increasingly necessary to look critically at the short and long-term feasibility of Sinn Fein building such 'extra-constitutional' mass agitation along the lines of the 'Economic Resistance Movement'.

In so analysing , it is essential not to look through the rose-tinted spectacles * of republican enthusiasm , but in the cold and uncomfortable light of the actual political situation in the Free State....... ('1169...' Comment * : Irish Republicans never owned a pair of "rose-tinted spectacles..." between them ! They are aware , from their own history , of the uphill nature of the path they have chosen . However , as in all such Struggles , there are , equally , those who ignore their own history and , wearing said "rose-tinted spectacles" , convince themselves that they have found 'friends' amongst their adversaries .)
(MORE LATER).



A SEGREGATED JAIL .......
Formerly Sinn Fein's national organiser , 28-year-old Belfast republican Jim Gibney has been imprisoned on remand since last January , one of many who have been held solely on the word of an RUC informer . Most of this period on remand has been spent in Belfast's Crumlin Road Jail.
In this article , smuggled out of Crumlin Road , Gibney outlines the daily routine in the jail , in which segregation between republican and loyalist prisoners -one of the hunger-strikers' five demands- plays a central , if 'officially' unrecognised , role .
From 'IRIS' magazine ,November 1982 .
By Jim Gibney .

The first significant shot in this protest was fired in November 1981 , not by Irish Republicans , but by Loyalists who are also demanding segregation : they took their protest on to the roof of the top security 'A' wing of Crumlin Road jail, having systematically wrecked the wing . Following this incident , loyalist politicians have periodically called publicly for segregation , claiming that loyalist prisoners ' are out-numbered and under threat from republicans' .

But warnings from both republican and loyalist camps of impending trouble between the prisoners , and as a consequence between prisoners and warders , have fallen on deaf ears at the 'Northern Ireland Office', which continues to issue statements proclaiming that it is not government policy to segregate prisoners according to their political beliefs . The comparison between this statement and the existing reality in the prisons , particularly Crumlin Road, shows it to be nothing other than a blatant lie .

For over six years , indeed since July 12th 1976 when a riot occurred in the canteen of 'C' wing between republicans and loyalists , the prison administration has operated a policy of segregating remand prisoners during meal-times , association and exercise periods , and while cleaning out their cells . The only time in Crumlin Road Prison that loyalist and republican prisoners 'mix' is when they are going to and from visits , and this practice existed even before political status was withdrawn in 1976 .......
(MORE LATER).



GLOSSARY OF THE LEFT IN IRELAND : FROM 1960 TO 1983.......
These notes attempt to record the left-wing organisations which have existed in Ireland since 1960 . No attempt has been made to record purely local organisations outside Dublin and Belfast , or microscopic groups which never reached double figures . The larger organisations have been presented in more detail .
From 'GRALTON' magazine, 1983.
By John Goodwillie.
(NOTE : Links in the following article are as accurate as possible - not all the groups mentioned left a discernible 'footprint' .)

LABOUR PARTY: Formed in 1930 by the division of the Irish Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress into its constituent parts . Throughout the period the Labour Party has been the largest organisation numerically , although this strength was possibly rivalled for some time by Sinn Fein - this does not imply any great level of activity on the part of ts members , who are obviously heterogeneous in the level of activity and commitment . The election of Brendan Corish as leader in 1960 was followed by a cautious move leftwards and the adhesion of a radical layer of 'intellectuals' .

This development was helped by the entry of the National Progressive Democrats in 1963 , which raised the combined 'left' strength in Leinster House to 17 . But the 1969 general election was outwardly disappointing , reducing the strength from the 22 of 1965 to 18 , despite the vote increasing from 15.4 per cent to 17 per cent . The aftermath was the adoption of a coalitionist policy in 1970 and the departure of the most left-wing elements .

Through the period of the Cosgrave coalition (1973-77) and the first FitzGerald coalition (1981-82) and the following Fianna Fail governments , the Labour Party vote steadily declined and seats declined from a peak of 19 in 1973 . The 1977 general election also saw an outflow of left-wingers from the party .
(MORE LATER).