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You may have missed this earlier: From the selection in the Left Archive…The Coffee Circle Papers (Papers and responses from the series of political forums organised during 1998 by Democratic Left): Paper 6 – Northern Ireland April 18, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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As part of getting people acquainted and used to the extended Left Archive we’re going to link every week to previous documents that have been posted there that may be of interest. This week The Coffee Circle Papers (Papers and responses from the series of political forums organised during 1998 by Democratic Left): Paper 6 – Northern Ireland.


Many thanks to Catherine Murphy TD for donating this document to the Left Archive. Due to its length it will be posted up in individual sections over the next twelve months.

As noted late last year:

This document [published on foot of a series of meetings] is unusual in respect of the Irish left in that it sought to challenge fairly directly the assumptions held by a political formation. That formation, Democratic Left, less than a decade old had recently left government after Fianna Fáil had won the 1997 General Election. It had also shed two seats from its complement of six Tds.

Due to the length of this document it has been broken up into sections, and will be posted non-sequentially over the next year or so. This chapter engages with the issue of Irish politics in the aftermath of the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement and the referendum on foot of that. There are two contributors, Dr. Paul Bew of Queens University, Belfast and a response by Fergus Finally, formerly Special Advisor to Dick Spring, leader of the Labour Party. That both were advisors to different parties at various stages during the peace process their contributions are of some interest.

The summation is made by Paddy Gillan, then editor of Times Change.

All are short and remarkably undetailed, one might even say they were vague. The focus is on unionism, to an almost remarkable degree. And largely the theme of the papers is not addressed. Nor is it clear what the implications, as then perceived, for the left are.

The summation is arguably more interesting, with Dr. John McManus of DL arguing that the agreement ‘marked a ‘full stop’ to nationalism. Proinsias De Rossa argued that ‘Sinn Féin had a long road to travel. There was not just a time difference but a very large ideological gap. He felt that we must challenge the idea of SF being the guardians of equality agenda; there is a need to recover the equality project for the left – we can’t let them demean equality the way they demeaned republicanism.’

Perhaps tellingly there is no mention that Democratic Left organised and had elected representatives in the Northern Ireland.

Bishop Supports SF on Abortion – Or Does He? April 17, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Choice, Sinn Féin.

Fascinating report on the BBC website about a row between the Catholic bishop of Dromore and elements of SF over a letter distributed in west Belfast claiming he supported its position on abortion. The BBC quotes the bishop as saying

When I became aware of party political literature which was jointly issued in the names of Sue Ramsey MLA and Councillor Matt Garrett of Sinn Féin, which stated that I ‘share’ their position on the ‘termination’ of unborn human life, I was appalled

The Deputy First Minister and Paul Maskey MP (West Belfast) both acted to get the letter removed. The BBC quotes Paul Maskey as saying

Sinn Féin accepts that references in the letter to Bishop McAreavey were inaccurate.

“These letters should have not gone out.

“I apologise unreservedly to the bishop for any hurt and distress caused.

“I can assure the bishop that all reference to him on this issue has now been removed from all print and electronic literature. Sinn Féin has also removed the offending comments from Facebook.

A very revealing story as well as a fascinating one.

A new collection in the Irish Left Archive – non-electoral Political Posters April 16, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Politics.
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Some may have noticed this at the weekend, but Left Archive co-curator Aonghus Storey has set up a section of the Left Archive which will focus on Political Posters. Bar two items (held on to for sentimental reasons!) there is no intention to cover election posters, Alan’s Irish Election Literature site covers that side of things.

But there is plenty of scope for left oriented non-election posters – whether campaigns or promotional. Some of the most striking visuals appear in that form, as noted on the ILA often they’re the only point of contact between small groups and the general public. And finally they’re part and parcel of the Irish left.

So, if you have photographs of non-electoral left posters please forward them to the Archive for inclusion in that collection. All contributions gratefully accepted.

Left Archive: What Sinn Féin means by ‘Regionalisation’ – Provisional Sinn Féin, 1974 April 14, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin.
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To download the above file please click on the following link:

This is a short leaflet from Sinn Féin in 1974 which outlines its approach to ‘Regionalisation’. There is an oddly contemporary note in its definition of same, when it suggests that one meaning is ‘Taking away powers from primary local authorities and giving them to regional authorities. This use of the word is particularly marked in Ireland.’

It notes another meaning is ‘Dividing the state into economic planning regions for which planning is done centrally with some advice from regional consultative bodies that have no powers of their own’.

And finally it seeks the creation of regional public authorities under democratic control.

Obviously this links in to the approach espoused in Éire Nua (which can be found in the Archive here) and it quite naturally leads to the federal Ireland envisaged in that document.

NPM “What you maybe meant to keep” April 12, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Election Literature Blog, Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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Curated tour of the exhibition this morning,(Sunday), 11.00 am, by exhibition co-curator Alan Kinsella of Irish Election Literature and indeed this parish! As was said earlier in the week, a great opportunity to get a real insight into the materials on display.

Should Adams and McGuinness retire? April 12, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, The North.

Norman Tebbit’s remark during the week — the he hoped Martin McGuinness would be shot in the back — prompted a thought. Should McGuinness and Gerry Adams consider retiring from activie politics at this stage? They are the only leaders to have remained in place as leaders from the start of the peace process through the signing of the Belfast Agreement, and the first years of the operation of the Assembly and Executive. Tebbit’s comment show that despite the huge changes they led Sinn Fein and the IRA through, they are still lightning rods for hatred and distrust. Would it be better for the stability of the process and politics in the North if they were to hand over the rein of Sinn Fein to a new generation?

And in relation to this series of posters? Perhaps the original of the species… April 11, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Politics, The Left.
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These again featured in last nights presentation at the NPM, imagery from the 1989 General Election for De Rossa and the WP. The photos were taken on Sandymount Strand by fashion photographer Mike Bunn. The landscape version (of which unfortunately there’s no copy still existing, though if any one has one please forward to CLR or Left Archive, it’d be much appreciated) had the towers of the Pigeon House in the background.

And scroll to the end to a link to Mary FitzPatrick’s website.



Another example of the old Pigeon House.

Not quite a poster, but… April 11, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Politics.
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If the background of this reminds you of this below from 1992 (again from last nights presentation at the NPM)… then you’ll love the next post…


Political posters… April 11, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Irish Politics.

As noted last night by Ciarán during his talk at the NPM, there’s no end of posters for meetings at the moment with people who naturally are not and never will be candidates at the Local or European elections, could this be due to the fact that posters naming candidates are illegal except in the direct pre-election period? Surely not!

Any examples of same gratefully accepted both on the CLR and by the Left Archive!

Here’s one example which he showed.


And look, the Pigeon House in the background, which brings to mind another image which we’ll post up in a short while – all the way back from 1989!

From the National Print Museum… April 11, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Uncategorized.

WP_000671 (2)


…yesterday evening’s presentation on “Red roses, overcoats and the Prince of Darkness: A journey through Irish Political Imagery from the 1970s onwards” – given by Dr Ciarán Swan (NCAD), Irish Left Archive, as part of the Political Ephemera exhibition which he has co-curated. Many thanks to all those who attended and to the staff of the NPM.

The next presentation in this series will be given by Ciarán on the evening of 1st of May at 18.30 pm discussing Irish political imagery in the context of establishing and developing the Irish Left Archive. All welcome. Further details soon.

Alan Kinsella of IEL, also co-curator of the Exhibition, will be giving a curated tour this Sunday morning at 11.00 am. For anyone who hasn’t been yet, or indeed has, do drop over. More curated tour times will be announced over the next month or so.

By the way check out the new Facebook page for the Left Archive here... many thanks to Left Archive co-curator Aonghus Storey for all his work on setting that and the twitter account up.


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