Wednesday, September 05, 2007


From 'The United Irishman' newspaper, January 1958 .

Alderman Peter Moore said he admired the stand taken by Councillor Harry Pentony and said that he , too , had his duties as an Irishman , and stated that the other Councillors were all aware of where he stood in relation to Internment - " We are the greatest nation of hypocrites in the world . The political parties in this country have perpetuated unemployment and emigration and we are worse off now than we were in 1922 ! The Republicans are the only consistent element in the country today. They stand to gain nothing and to lose all ."

Referring to the freedom movement in Occupied Ireland he said the young men involved were right and should be admired . They went out to attack the institutions of the British Government and the British Monarchy . Their ideals were the ideals of Wolfe Tone, Robert Emmet and the men and women of 1916. Speaking on the internment of Irishmen without trial he said that the situation in the so-called "Free Ireland" could only be compared with that prevailing under the "Kadar Regime", in the Six Counties , and behind the 'Iron Curtain' .......


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.

The Women's Centre in Dame Street , Dublin , opened on 'International Womens Day' in 1982 after a long fight to find funds and premises , and is struggling for its existence . Run by an ad-hoc committee it provides a meeting place for any women's group or individual woman : " We would only draw the line , " says spokesperson Ita Gannon , " fascists." Women meet and discuss items of interest at the Centre , which also provides typing and duplicating facilities as well as running a small cafe . There is , deliberately , no over-all policy so that all women's groups can meet here . The gap between the Women's Centre and the pampered 'Council for the Status of Women' group , in terms of their usefulness to campaigns on women's rights , is as glaring as the difference in their budgets .

Questions then must be raised in any feminist movement worthy of its name . What struggles can be interpreted as feminist ? Can issues which do not 'prioritise' women be considered as legitimate areas of concern for feminist groups ? Or alternatively , is any campaign which does 'prioritise' women a feminist campaign , irrespective of its political direction ?

Imperialism affects the lives of women in ways that may not be specific to them as women : women living in imperialist-dominated countries live in poverty , political repression and discrimination , but these are oppressions of both men and women - not of women specifically . Does this mean that they cannot then be supported ? Speaking at the Irish Women United conference in 1981 on the implications of this , Rita O' Hare, the head of the Sinn Fein Department of Women's Affairs , said : " Campaigning for women's rights under the capitalist and imperialist system is essential both in increasing awareness in women's situation and achieving whatever improvements can be wrung from the present system , and which are so urgently needed . But the capitalist system will inevitably , as in every other field of struggle , yield only the minimal reforms it can....... "


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.

On Camden Street in Dublin , Dick Spring and Ruairi Quinn talk to the street traders - and are told that business is bad . This is the first real opportunity * they have had to talk to the traders since their last election four years ago and this fact is not lost on the women of Camden Street . ('1169...' Comment - *...rather it's the first time they have bothered , and even then only because it's election time again.) It was on Ruairi Quinn's initiative that South African fruit was partially banned from Ireland , but it would appear that the level of Mr Quinn's understanding is beyond that of those who trade in the 'forbidden fruit' .

The message as to why the fruit should be banned did not get across . In response to a question , one women says - " We'll sell anything we can get a living out of." And that is the general mood on the street - apathy . People are tired of politicians , politics and promises , and many belong to the 'don't-vote-it-only-encourages-them' school of thought . This , despite the fact that many politicians are of the 'don't-vote-it-suits-us' school of thought . One street trader remarks that 'you won't see them until the next time' , and her companion replies - 'That's it' . One old man says that business is terrible and , just then , a baby is pushed past in a pram and someone asks Dick Spring if he will do the 'decent thing' and kiss the baby . " No , " says Dick , "...we're not in that league . We kiss the mothers." Then the issue of drug abuse is briefly raised.......