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Timeline of the Irish left September 1, 2014

Posted by AonRud in Irish Left Online Document Archive, The Left.

Timeline of the Irish left

I’ve created a timeline of Irish left organisations and parties over on the Irish Left Archive website. It’s still a bit rough around the edges, but hopefully will make a useful and interesting addition.

It’s essentially an update of the timeline posted on Dublin Opinion and mentioned here before, which was created by John Goodwillie along with a glossary of organisations in Gralton magazine (Aug/Sept 1983). As such, it’s entirely indebted to his work.

There are a few particular issues that readers may be able to help correct. First, organisations for which no dissolution date is known appear on the timeline as if they continue until the present. The Irish Workers’ Group was active into the late 90s, I believe, but isn’t still about, so if anyone has a date for that, it would be much appreciated. Similarly, I can’t find anything on the Dublin Anarchist Collective, but I imagine they didn’t continue into the present.

Also, there are a couple of ‘Young Socialists’ in Goodwillie’s chart with various links and these are probably not linked up properly in this version, so any suggestions there are welcome.

Aside from these there are no doubt other errors and omissions, particularly in my potted updates post-1983, so any corrections are very welcome.

Finally, on a technical note, it may be fairly heavy on the browser, so if anyone finds it doesn’t look right, especially with an older or uncommon web browser, please let me know.

Marriage equality – 85% and complacency September 1, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Bunreacht na hÉireann, Equality, Human Rights, LGBT, Marriage equality.
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In the speeches outside the Department of Justice at the end of the March for Marriage Equality on Sunday week (24 August) Laura Harmon, President of USI, warned against complacency in the referendum campaign next year.

That might seem unnecessarily anxious. Sure, hadn’t the previous week’s Sunday Times’s poll (PDF here) shown that approval of gay relationships has reached 85%, up from 76% in the Sunday Business Post & RTÉ poll in February (PDF here) — heck, at that rate it would reach 94% by next February. If the referendum was passed with that majority, there would be one heck of a party.

But Harmon is right to warn against complacency. Reports the Irish Times on Thursday and the Irish Independent on Friday suggest that the government is also worried about complacency.

RED C, who conducted the February 2014 poll for the Sunday Business Post and RTÉ, reached the same conclusion.

Despite the high figures in the two polls, the ‘no’ side have the easier task in the referendum campaign. The proposal is to change the law, and the pressure will be on the ‘yes’ side to show why that is needed. To win, the ‘no’ campaigners need only cast doubts in enough minds — a constitutional “if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”. One particular objective will be to dissuade those who are ‘soft’ yes voters from voting that way, whether by voting ‘no’ because of their area of doubt or by staying at home.

Before turning to that RED C analysis, it is important to note that the Behaviour & Attitudes poll for the ST did not ask about support for a constitutional amendment. It asked “Please tell me whether you personally believe that in general it is morally acceptable or morally wrong”. A list of fourteen items was then read to the survey participant, and “gay or lesbian relations” was one of them.

Further, as doctorfive pointed out here a few days ago, polls on abortion referendums have not been an accurate predictor of actual outcome. Add to that the difference between the actual result and the opinion polls in other referendums, such as the recent proposal to abolish the Seanad, and you have to be cautious, if not downright doubtful, about the accuracy of a figure of either 76 or 85 percent support for lifting the ban on same-sex marriage. In fact, the bread-and-butter polling of levels of support for parties is known to be inaccurate, and companies apply techniques to deal with that. Behaviour & Attitudes asks a question in polls on party support about who the survey participant actually voted for in the last election. The company later combines stated level of support for each party with the actual outcome at the previous election to modify the raw data in a poll to generate what it believes is a better measure of the actual current support for each party.

Even without statistical adjustments for accuracy in stated intentions compared with actual behaviour, neither the 85% nor 76% figure is likely to be a realistic indicator of the vote to amend the constitution. Both polls asked a second question, about adoption, which show the folly of relying on the headline figures. Both polls showed lower support for adoption of children by gay couples. But the rights of children with same-sex parents is at the heart of why the ban on same-sex marriage is needed and civil partnership is inadequate. In light of the lower level of support for gay adoption, campaigners against marriage equality would be stupid not to exploit the concerns that result in lower support for adoption.

The small number of people who will directly benefit from lifting the ban on same-sex marriage is likely to be a factor in how each side campaigns. Some on the ‘no’ side may use the small number of lgb people in the population as a campaigning point. The campaigners of marriage equality will be painfully aware that lgb people will need to rely on the support of hundreds of thousands who have no personal stake in the issue of equality in marriage for same-sex couples.

The polls do give them some information on where the support lies. For example in the Behaviour & Attitudes poll, when broken down by party, opposition to gay adoption is highest among Fianna Fáil voters and those who voted for “independents and others”. And those “might not vote” or “definitely would not vote” show the highest support for the view that gay adoption is morally acceptable. The need to persuade those passive supporters to become active supporters is probably the reason that a coalition of lgb campaigning groups spent the weekend at the Electric Picnic running the Marriage Equality Tent.

Nevertheless, GLEN and Marriage Equality will need something stronger than the promise of a favour if, on a rainy polling day, a 30-something heterosexual parent on the way home from work is to stop off at the polling station if they have two hungry kids in the back who would need to be “unloaded” from the car and “reloaded” so Daddy or Mammy can do their bit for equality. That particular inconvenience may not be the issue, but those kinds of everyday routines will deter many voters who were very certain when the man from RED C or Behaviour & Attitudes asked them the question in that poll they did back in 2014.

The opponents of equality also have the advantage of the experience of battle from running other referendum campaigns. They were not always victorious, but the nitty-gritty of a campaign targetting voters are familiar to them. The lgb organisations, in contrast have never had to rely totally on the public before. In some — but not all — of their successes to date, public opinion has mainly served to show policy makers that there is sufficient demand to justify them paying attention to the issue at hand.

The ‘no’ side has another advantage in the media. Two of its key strategists, David Quinn and Breda O’Brien, are weekly columnists in papers with circulations that are the largest (Quinn) and fourth largest (O’Brien) in the country. While there are columnists in national papers who are supporters of marriage equality, none are at the heart of planning the campaign and able to use their columns to synchronise messages with that campaign. And the opponents of equality have won key battles in how the broadcast media will deal with or be allowed to deal with the debate, with the RTÉ payouts in the “Pantigate” affair and the recent advisory note from the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland following the complaint about the Mooney Show on RTÉ.

On the other hand, GLEN has applied some findings from the polls in its media work. In the last month, it has been the source of news stories on local papers and radio in Sligo and Leitrim, in Donegal and in Kerry on local data on the number of couples who entered civil partnerships in those areas. Them gays are not all up in Dublin, you know.

A sort of 1970’s quiz 4 September 1, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.
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The fourth, and for now final, quiz from Brian Hanley on the 1970s. Again, many thanks to Brian and with a bit of luck we’ll have a few more before the year is out.

1) What was the membership of the following trade unions organised in Ireland during 1970:

A) Irish Women Workers Union
B) Federation of Rural Workers
C) Bakers, Confectioners and Allied Workers Amalgamated Union
D) Shoe and Leather Workers Union
E) Irish National Union of Woodworkers
F) Electrotypers and Stereotypers Society
G) National Union of Gold, Silver and Allied Trades

2) Tomas MacGiolla walked off an RTE TV discussion on internment in December 1970 because of the exclusion of what person from the programme?

3) Which left-wing paper described the Kingsmills killings of January 1976 as ‘inevitable and neccesary’?

4) 50,000 people marched in Dublin during August 1976 in support of who?

5) Which legendary republican claimed that he ‘wouldn’t have done the Birmingham job (the 1974 pub bombings) if it was going to set Ireland free and flowing with milk and honey.’

6) Which 1916 veteran and author of two books on the Rising and its aftermath (both currently in print) was chairman of the neo-Nazi National Movement in the early 1970s? (Bonus: Name the books)

7) What did Irish Press columinst Tom O’Dea blame for incidents of crowd trouble at both League of Ireland and GAA games during 1975?

8) What book did Belfast’s Republican News describe as ‘little short of infuriating (with an) appalling stream of factual errors and inaccuracies, misprints and mis-spellings…it bears the hall marks of so many present-day ‘instant historians’ (and) gives the impression of being beamed at an American market, judging by some remarks about Irish life-particularly in rural areas, which would be puerile if addressed to an Irish audience.’

9) Which Ard Fheis in May 1971 saw speeches from the floor calling for the party to ‘do everything possible to reunite this country within this generation, (because) the people had been misled by the present Government, which was not doing all it could to reunite the country. In August 1969 when there were riots in Derry, Mr. Lynch had said he would not stand idly by, but he allowed half of Derry to be burned…Mr. Lynch should have sent troops across the Border and created an international situation which would have the effect of enabling us to negotiate with Britain on partition.’

10) Which former Dublin Gaelic footballer and All-Ireland winner was jailed for Provisional IRA activities during the 1970s?

Left Archive: Fianna – The Voice of Young Ireland, Sinn Féin, c. 1964 September 1, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin (pre-split.
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To download the above file please click on the following link:FIANNA 1960s

To go to the Left Archive please click here.

Many thanks to the person who forwarded this to the Archive – it is part of a continuing project to post up Sinn Féin and (then) Provisional Sinn Féin materials from the 1960s onwards – and is very much appreciated.

This newspaper issued on behalf of ‘na Fianna Eireann – the national Boy Scouts’, the youth section of the IRA, was printed in 1964, to judge from the text, though no date is printed on it. It clearly dates from prior to the split in Sinn Féin and the IRA that led to the establishment of competing organisations.

It argues that:

…this paper is not the organ of any political party or society, but is confined solely to furthering the aims of Na Fianna Eireann’ which it argues is ‘a non-political, non-sectarian organisation’.

It notes that:

During the last few years, Na Fianna Eireann has resurrected itself and completely re-organised. The overseas units have been re-organised and Sluaite have been reformed in the principal cities and several of the principal towns at home.

It also notes that:

This year an intense effort was made by the Dublin Castle Lackey’s to crush the sale of the Easter Lily – Mr. Haughey’s way of showing respect to the men of ’16.

And it:

…takes this opportunity of congratulating all those republicans who defended the Easter Lily from the vicious onslaught of the Twenty-Six County Police during Easter 1963.

The rest of the paper contains the history of the Fianna and outlines the activities of same. There’s also a short piece on ‘The National Flag’.

Sports Special – what you want to say… September 1st, 2014 September 1, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Here’s our weekly thread for people to talk, sound off, discuss, give out, or whatever they want about sport… and by the way, if anyone has posts they think would be appropriate for the site on sport send them in…

Pride – the film of the 1980s Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners campaign opens this month August 31, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in 1984/85 Miners Strike (UK), Culture, Economy, LGBT Rights, The Left.

This looks fantastic. A film on how the Miners were supported by the LGSM campaign. The way both groups interacted and, in a sense, further radicalised is educative, not least in later strong support from Miners groups against Section 28 but also in a sense of shared defiance against the right. As can be seen in this piece in the Observer, this is an history that is important because it proves how supposedly different struggles can be linked in a way that generates a mutual solidarity. The film opens in the UK later in the month.

Answers to a sort of 1970’s quiz 3 – including the 1960s! August 31, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Many thanks again to Brian Hanley for the following quiz. Here are the answers. A fourth, and for the moment final, one appears tomorrow!

1) In response to the success of what six-week strike in 1969 did the ICTU introduce the two-tier picket?

2) When did the following trade unions affiliate (or re-affiliate) to the Irish Labour party? The Workers Union of Ireland, the Irish Transport and General Workers Union and the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union?

3) In August 1969 which TD praised ‘the courage, determination and tactical skill of the Bogsiders’ in their defence of Free Derry?

4) Whose death in 1978 did R. O’Connor Lysaght describe as being ‘as great a loss as Seamus Costello’s murder. In the previous decade Seamus had changed little; ___had moved from non-commitment to revolutionary politics.’

5) In what newspaper did the following analysis appear during 1975: ‘We all have or know of a pet Protestant, a hot-house creature, that we hope will not go from us. After all we want to be a multi-denominational society, but can we, where Protestants form less than four per cent of it, and where the few remaining seem more concerned with living a social hari kari as unmarrieds, odd bods, or queers than in out proliferating the Papes around them? Southern Irish Protestants seem quite literally to have given up the ghost of the struggle.’

6) Where in July 1972 did the Irish army intervene to quell rioting following an Orange march?

7) What organisation was launched in the Town and Country Ballroom in Dublin’s Parnell Square during December 1972?

8) Which professional footballer spoke at a rally in support of the Price Sisters hunger-strike during 1974?

9) When was Jim Kemmy first elected as a councillor and for what organisation?

10) A week after Bloody Sunday which League of Ireland club’s players wore black armbands, observed a two-minutes silence and flew the tricolor at half mast over their ground because of that club’s ‘close associations with the players and people of the Bogside and Creggan’?

11) Special Phil Coulter bonus question (following ‘Back Home’ last week). Which anti-internment song, written by Coulter, reached No. 7 in the Irish charts in October 1971?


1) The ‘maintenance men’s (industrial craftsmen) strike involving 3,000 men in 18 different unions.

2) The WUI (1964), ITGWU (1968) ATGWU (1969).

3) Conor Cruise O’Brien.

4) Former Labour TD David Thornley.

5) ‘Hope’ in An Phoblacht, 21 November 1975.

6) St. Johnston, Co. Donegal.

7) The Irish Civil Rights Association (ICRA).

8) Eamon Dunphy, then of Charlton Athletic FC.

9) June 1974. The Limerick Socialist Organisation. He got 1,275 votes.

10) Sligo Rovers.

11) ‘Free by the People’ sung by The Dubliners.

Ah… white collar professionals… August 31, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy.
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…and the apparently hazy acquaintance with and understanding of tax and labour law some of them exhibit, as reported in the Irish Times yesterday:

When broken down by profession, the highest average settlements [with Revenue] were among pharmacists (€37,000), followed by accountants (€34,000), doctors (€30,000), engineers (€29,000) and solicitors (€26,000).

Liabilities in this area include undeclared income, staff not being placed on official payrolls and capital gains tax owed on the sale of properties or share dividends. The details are contained in internal Revenue documents prepared earlier this year and released to The Irish Times under the Freedom of Information Act.

This is interesting too, here…

The move has proved controversial, as some contractors claim they acted on professional advice in setting up these companies. In addition, some professional bodies argue that there have been genuine misunderstandings over the tax treatment of travel expenses.

Will those who gave such ‘advice’ face any liability? And given that this isn’t exactly a surprise to many of us…

And over in the UK… August 31, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics, European Politics.
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Is this editorial from the Guardian on Tory defector Douglas Carswell just a little too gushing…

Unlike some Eurosceptic Tories, Mr Carswell is not a one-trick pony. He is an independent libertarian-minded MP who argues the need for radical political reform in the digital age and who has championed banking reform too. But it is his implacable Euroscepticism that made him switch to Ukip and which he highlighted in his resignation statement.

Well, libertarian-minded, yes, perhaps… he’s no end of enthusiasm for ‘direct democracy’, ‘recall of MPs’ and stuff like that.

And while it’s heartening to hear about his appetite for ‘radical political reform’ and indeed ‘action to clean up Westminster politics’… could it be that this paragon of virtue also http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Carswell#Parliamentary_expenses_scandal Sure could!

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week August 31, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week.

Don’t have time to go through everything in the Sindo today, but I’ll be surprised if someone has topped Ruth Dudley Edwards, which starts as follows

Next month, a memorial to Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President and despot who died last year

Good to see her grasp of democracy is as strong as ever.


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