Monday, September 03, 2007


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

The internment behind barbed wire fences in the Curragh Camp , of young men suspected of having been associated with the activities of freedom fighters in the Occupied territory of Ireland was the subject of strong protests at the December (1957) meeting of Drogheda Corporation .

The debate emanated from the reading of a letter from the Sinn Fein Publicity Committee protesting against the internment of the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle * ('1169...' Comment * - On 6 July, 1957 the fortnightly meeting of the Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle was being held at the party’s Ard Oifig (Head Office) at 31 Wicklow Street in Dublin. The meeting was raided by the Garda Special Branch and seven members of the Ard Chomhairle were arrested and detained. This signalled the imposition of internment without trial by Éamon de Valera’s Fianna Fáil administration.
Among those arrested and interned were the President of Sinn Féin , Patrick MacLogan, the Vice-President Tom Doyle and the National Secretary Michael Traynor)
. Alderman Peter Moore and Councillor Harry Pentony spoke strongly against the 26-County government's policy in introducing the Offences Against the State Acts.

Councillor Harry Pentony said they had a right to protest against internment without trial , not only of the Sinn Fein Ard Chomhairle , but also of all the young men held in custody behind the barbed-wire fences of the Curragh Camp . None were safe under the present laws , he said , and even he could be interned for what he stood up and said there that night . " Is this freedom ? " , he asked.......


Feminists and anti-imperialists in Ireland have often regarded each other's struggles with misunderstanding , mutual suspicion , and sometimes outright rejection . What then is the relationship between them ? Eibhlin Ni Gabhann surveys the emergence of women's liberation groups in Belfast and Dublin over the past decade or so , and some of the questions they have faced .
From 'IRIS' magazine , November 1983.

Irish Republicans aside , in the 26 Counties the women's movement is trying to re-organise following the collapse of the 'Irish Women United' group: most of those formerly involved in the IWU and the 'Irish Women's Liberation Group' were involved recently in campaigning against the 'abortion amendment' to the Free State constitution . Sinn Fein , too , although not involved in the campaign which implicitly recognised the 'legitimacy' of that 'constitution' , which republicans of course do not , condemned the hypocrisy of the amendment which was a piece of opportunist political gimmickry that will make no difference to the tragedy of thousands of Irish women forced to have secret abortions in England .

The Free State government-funded 'Council For The Status Of Women' perhaps points up best of all the relative failure and inconsequence of the women's movement in the South of Ireland . With a plush office in Dublin's fashionable Merrion Square and a budget of £90,000 , its brief is supposed to be to make recommendations to the Leinster House administration about women's rights , about the need to promote women in positions of authority , and to press for Irish women's demands , but its origins and nature prevents this .

Run exclusively by middle-class women ('1169...' Comment - so much so that it became known as 'The Council For Women With Status'!) whose outlook is at best reformist , it sees its limited demands being met by getting women elected to Leinster House . The total inadequacy of this is exemplified by the fact that it is , after all , a woman - Fine Gael Leinster House member Gemma Hussey - who has implemented education cuts affecting so many 26-County school children . Yet another Fine Gael Leinster House member , Nuala Fennell, was a member of the Irish Women's Liberation Group but has made no representation about women's rights while in Leinster House ! The 'Council For The Status Of Women' put thousands of advertisements in the newspapers during the last elections , calling on women to 'Vote for a Woman' but making no reference to the actual politics of the women candidates.......


Dick Spring and the Labour Party headed into this election campaign with four years of coalition government behind them . To observe them on the campaign trial you would never guess this , but there is , nevertheless , a noticeable resistence to them , especially amongst traditional Labour voters . Judging from Dick Spring's reception on the campaign trial it is almost certain that the party is in big trouble , at least in the Dublin area .

From 'IN DUBLIN' magazine 'Election Special' , 1987 .
By Derek Dunne.

Dick Spring provides as many photo opportunities as he can think of , to give him the chance to be seen to do as many different things as possible . Except he won't be doing anything at all ; he'll just be posing . His first stop of the day is at Guinness's Brewery in Dublin, where he poses with what looks like a suspended wheel in his hand : he has no idea what the function of this wheel is , but neither does anybody else . The newspaper people tell him where to walk , how to talk . The badge on his lapel says 'People Matter Most' . The really strange thing about all of this is that Dick Spring never once gets embarrassed about the carry on . Other people might want a break for a minute , but not Dick - he signs the visitors' book 'click-click-click-click-click' goes the cameras .

All of the above was very early in the day . Later , voters would tell Dick how fed-up with politics and politicians they really were . People have lost faith in Fine Gael, in Labour and the other parties that have been playing musical seats for the past seventy years . Dick is taken downstairs to see small engines that were used to transport Guinness in years gone by . He says they're "Fantastic" . It is then time to go on to Camden Street and tie-in with Ruairi Quinn, which is where the day got hi-jacked .

Just before the Labour Party bus reached Camden Street , a road worker did a cut-throat sign towards Dick Spring , twice , but Dick never noticed . Later on in the day , a driver gave him a single digit sign , which Dick noticed , and responded to in kind . At Camden Street , Dick is told to wait until everyone is out of the bus before he steps onto the street , as this will provide really good shots of Dick getting off a bus . When Comrade Quinn and Comrade Spring meet each other there is great hugging and kissing , in the Russian fashion , as if the two had not met in years . The Labour Party Office in Camden Street is a dump and looks like a bad squat . There are large bare rooms , some of which are in the process of being painted . Ruairi and Dick head off down Camden Street , and a handler attempts to introduce Dick to the public . An old woman brushes past , saying - " No . I'm not interested in meeting him......."