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Archives October 28, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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With the Mary Robinson Archive currently in the news (and discussed here already) it brings the wider theme of what to do with archives. Sell them (and there are plenty of Universities abroad with deep pockets for this type of thing) , donate them to the State or donate them to the state with conditions attached (i.e. there be a Museum in Mayo) .
Although having watched Prime Time last night, There may well be some further questions around the housing of the Robinson archive.
It seems that Robinson wants to start a new pattern along the lines of US Presidents who donate their archives and have buildings named after them to house the collections.
In the realm of Political Archives much of it tends to be donated to Universities , The National Library or other State institutions. In a few cases private collections such as the Jackie Clarke collection in Ballina have led to Museums being established. The Clarke Collection was suggested as a venue for the Robinson archive but I gather The Clarke Museum doesn’t have room to store all of it’s own material never mind the Robinson stuff too. Some of the agenda is I imagine to try and ultimately make Ballina some kind of archive hub …. The Enda Kenny archive, a Pee Flynn one etc to follow. All of which would have some merit for there to be a decent archives hub outside of Dublin. That said Ballina is not the easiest place to get to on Public Transport.
I’d be regularly contacted and I’m sure it’s the same with wbs and The Left Archive , by students or scholars looking for particular material. I hear tales of appointments to view particular archives that would put some of the Hospital waiting lists to shame, someone contacted me recently who had managed to secure access to a certain parties papers in 2029! (I hope that it was due to the 20 year rule) Not much good if your course is well over by then. Indeed it’s a pity that whole collections rather than individual items tend to be covered by the 20 year rule.
Some Parties have donated material but resources are scare and most institutions are underfunded. Due to these lack of resources within the various institutions some Parties ended up having send their own staff in for a year or two to catalogue it. Other donations I’m told have yet to be cataloged, never mind digitised.
I get given material as people want it out there and viewable, they know at some stage it will be scanned and put online and if it’s particularly good exhibited in the flesh. There’s a feeling that donations to some institutions can tend to disappear into storage, may take years before they are catalogued, digitised (if they are ever done) and may never see the light of a display case. Which is an awful pity.
It was suggested to me last night that I should get my collection valued should I ever want to write off some Tax!

Brexit and the North and whose problem is it really? October 28, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

There’s a not bad point at the heart of this from Newton Emerson on the issue of potential breaches of human rights agreements due to Brexit. He dismisses the idea – but I’m not entirely heartened by the detail of his dismissal. For example:

The Belfast Agreement only requires the British government to put the European Convention on Human Rights into Northern Ireland law, not UK law.
In the event, the European convention was enacted across the whole UK by the 1998 Human Rights Act – but the North’s separate legal system means the Act can be left on the statute book when it is repealed in Britain. If a British bill of rights is extended to Northern Ireland, it will be supplementary to the Human Rights Act.


The Belfast Agreement also requires “direct access to the courts, and remedies for breach of the Convention”.
This would remain unaffected. People could still bring a case under the 1998 Act in Belfast and appeal it to the UK’s supreme court, which has primacy over Northern Ireland law.
The Act created this role for the supreme court, replacing the need to go to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, although the supreme court can still refer a case up to Strasbourg for further consideration.


While campaigning to become prime minister last June, Theresa May said she will not withdraw the UK from the European Convention when she enacts Britain’s bill of rights. In other words, the UK will still be signatory to the treaty, so the supreme court will still be able to refer Northern Ireland cases to Strasbourg.

Is that all clear now? I’m not sure it is. I’d love to see how this would work in practice – I’m not convinced that there wouldn’t be considerable tension between parallel and overlapping and arguably competing ‘supplementary’ bills and acts outlining rights. We’ll see.

And, of course, the pragmatist in me recoils entirely from the sheer cack-handed stupidity that we now face in this instance – the pointless complexity and room for problems.

Still, that not bad point is as follows:

There is a fascinating contrast here with the 2014 merger of Ireland’s human rights and equality bodies. The Belfast Agreement required Ireland to establish a Human Rights Commission “with a mandate and remit equivalent to that within Northern Ireland.”
The merger breached this requirement, as Dublin was repeatedly warned. Nor was this breach a mere technicality. Cross-Border institutional equivalence in rights protection is a specific aim of the Belfast Agreement, and was seen as important by nationalists. Yet apart from those who lost their jobs at both quangos, nobody gave a hoot. It is tempting to see a cultural difference in this, with the British cynically following the letter of the law while the Irish observe a spirit they make up as they go along.

Or perhaps it’s not so much cultural as a function of the power relationships at play.
Though it would be interesting to hear a defence from the government of this state in relation to that… wouldn’t it?

Emerson, though, to his credit notes the key dynamic in play here:

A more objective explanation is that the Irish see rights as something only Britain breaks, at least in a Northern context. Meanwhile, the British are just not thinking of Ireland at all.

It is only by accident that the human rights protections of the Belfast Agreement are not about to be sabotaged. Discussions on the proposed bill of rights reached a ludicrously advanced stage without the effect on Northern Ireland ever being raised. Ministers and senior officials in London appeared oblivious.
The real threat to the peace process is not a legal breach, but this toxic combination of British apathy and Irish mistrust. The same damage can be witnessed around Brexit, which is also almost certainly not a contravention of the Belfast Agreement. Such a slippery problem will be hard to address, but a good start would be not making up more problems than we have already.

I’m not entirely convinced. Let’s be honest, this is a process that was initiated and is being sustained by the British government. British indifference – indeed outright ignorance – of the situation relation to Northern Ireland is almost appallingly bad. No, it is appallingly bad. For those of us who are nationalists and republicans and republican socialists this isn’t news. This is precisely why we believe that matters on this island are best dealt with on this island by those on this island whatever links are retained eastward over time.

What’s perhaps striking is how peripheral despite all else, despite a conflict of thirty years, despite the enormous political capital invested in bringing that to a halt and establishing structures that would move beyond it, despite the fact it continues to have a power and sway, the British genuinely appear at best laissez-faire about it all. Sure, we can say that these are Tories (though that holds a lesson as to what the character of this actual Brexit is and is going to be) but that’s not quite enough by way of explanation. The unpleasant truth that Brexit points up in almost an exaggerated way is that is that Ireland is hardly even an afterthought in British thinking and any talk of cultural, social and political ties – well, for the most part the latter, is belied by what is actually taking place as against occasional rhetoric in the past (on this let me recommend another BBC disUnited Kingdom podcast, this on Scotland where the narrator, herself Scottish, opens with the line ‘here people actually voted to stay in the EU against the tide in the rest of the UK’ – no mention of the North there – and it is framed as ‘it was a reminder that Scotland’s relationship with the UK has often been difficult’ which is also telling).

Perhaps part of the problem in relation to Emerson’s analyses is that they seem to be made from a position that all is fine, even if it’s not it will be okay and underlying that a sense that the status quo and the relationships are fundamentally sound, as well as strenuous efforts to try to paint London and Dublin as largely equals in the overall relationships (with Dublin all too often slipping into atavistic behaviours – or rather he paints its responses or behaviours in general as atavistic before hedging somewhat). He did something very similar in his last column on the topic which sought to portray the efforts for an all-Island forum as pointless and suggest that the only proper structures within which to engage with the issues was through the GFA/BA institutions. Which is – on paper – fine. But what of the reality – is the DUP willing to engage through those institutions and secondly what of the voices of those who aren’t represented through the GFA/BA institutions – that is non-political or other actors in all this? The first proposition is nowhere near as clear as he attempts to present it, the second is clearly an issue.

Beyond that the ‘problems’ Emerson details in relation to Brexit are almost entirely of British making. The Irish government should have its feet held to the fire in relation to any breaches of the GFA/BA, but those breaches are of markedly less weight by contrast with near existential threats such as those facing the current dispensation. And it is those current threats that have to be tackled now and in the near to medium term.

BTW, it has to be said that whoever wrote the headline should think again about the day job. They wrote ‘Irish mistrust is the real threat to North’s peace’
But as can be seen Emerson’s argument is a bit more complex than that.

This Week At Irish Election Literature October 28, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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Some posters 33 years apart….

A “Show Your Solidarity with Korean Women – Decriminalization of Abortion” leaflet picked up at the Dublin Protest during the week.

A “Government Block Repeal of The 8th , but women wont wait -Referendum Now!” leaflet from the AAA

From 1982…”The Role of Officers in Sinn Féin” published by The Sinn Féin Education Department as part of the ‘Republican lecture series’

From the 1992 General Election a leaflet from Marian White who was running for Democratic Left in Dublin South

Then two old Fianna Fail booklets

From 1951 a Booklet produced to mark a celebration of 25 years of Fianna Fail which was held at The Capitol Theatre (formerly the La Scale Theatre)

and finally From 1981 a Booklet produced by Fianna Fail, “Campaign Manual- Notes for Canvassers and Speakers”

Time Flies …… October 27, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Uncategorized.


It was this day five years ago that we went to the polls to elect Michael D. Higgins (Campaign leaflets here) . What a Campaign it was and one of the dirtiest too. Did we ever think we’d see the day where Fianna Fail wouldn’t contest the Presidency? (officially at least!). I wonder did Mary Davis , Dana and David Norris relaise what they were letting themselves in for. The very late swing away from Sean Gallagher due to the final debate on RTE’s Frontline , which was one of the most amazing evenings television I’ve witnessed. This captures a part of the action..

The whole “entrepreneur” narrative from Gallagher that reflected where we were at the time. Here’s Sean Gallagher with hair from a 1984 Ogra FF booklet
Indeed I met him canvassing the night Rovers won the league out in Belfield and he kindly posted me a T-Shirt and Baseball cap and some other material from his campaign. I also met Mary Davis during the campaign where she sat in my section in Croke Park, seemed a very nice lady but ill suited to such an election campaign.
The total collapse in Gay Mitchell’s vote when he lost his deposit (and showed the hardcore FG vote to be 6.4%).
It really was a spectacle and I think we’re glad with the result we ultimately got.

His inability to speak in anything but hyperbole… October 27, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Fantastic point made on KCRW’s Left Right and Centre podcast – where one contributor noted the above about Donald Trump and how where issues of seriousness and substance simply can’t be addressed by him at all except in an overheated fashion. And how this doesn’t actually play as well with many conservatives as might be expected.

Little Britain October 27, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Thanks to the person who sent this article by Archon of the Southern Star

THE British Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, intends to force British employers to surrender to the government a list of all their foreign workers and EU citizens – including those from Ireland. It’s part of her plan to ‘prevent immigrants taking jobs that British people can do.’
For the 600,000 Irish-born immigrants in Britain the future is suddenly dark. They’re wondering if the place is returning to the bad old days when job hunters were met with signs declaring: ‘No Irish, no Blacks, no Dogs need apply’?

And it’s a feeling reinforced by an unpleasant speech Rudd gave at the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham earlier this month. In her vision of a post-Brexit Little Britain, where racism and bigotry are barely concealed, non-EU workers will be the first to be booted out.
Then it will be the turn of EU citizens who do not have British citizenship – and this could include Irish academics, doctors, nurses, bus drivers, architects, office cleaners, builders, engineers, teachers, and highly educated graduates in finance and technology.
Rudd will publish the lists of names that she wants from employers, with the intention (presumably) of shaming businesses, universities, hospitals, factories, etc, that she considers are not doing enough to employ genuinely British people. Also for the chop are landlords who do not certify the immigration status of their tenants, taxi companies and those sinister Johnny Foreigners skulking within the banking and property area.

In there too will be pregnant women forced to hand over their passports and to produce proof of right to remain in Britain before they give birth at NHS hospitals. The response from civilised English people to the government plan has been one of horror and disbelief. Business leaders denounced the Tory shift to the extreme right as reckless, pointing out that immigrants benefitted the UK economy in a huge way.

Lord Bilimoria, the Indian-born chancellor of Birmingham University, said the proposal was ‘absolutely shocking.’ Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn said the Conservative Party had sunk to a new low as it fanned the flames of xenophobia and hatred.
‘What next?’ asked MP Paul Monaghan of the Scottish National Party: ‘Make immigrants and EU citizens wear special badges and stop them owning anything?’
But, perhaps, it was the charismatic Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, who best described the Tory line of thinking. ‘Theresa May and Amber Rudd’s picture of Brexit Britain is a deeply ugly one – a country where people are judged not by their ability or their contribution to the common good but by their birthplace or by their passport’.

Interesting too that, whereas the percentage of foreign-born people in Ireland amounts to 16.4%, in the United Kingdom it is 12.3% of the population. Yet xenophobic problems by and large have not been a serious feature of the Irish experience.

Not so in the UK where, after the Brexit vote, police registered a huge increase in hate crimes and complaints of racial abuse. Which raises this question: if intolerance is on the rise in Britain how long will it be before the Irish once again become the target of prejudice? Particularly within a scenario where the British media does little to calm the public’s nerves over immigration!
Of course, historically some of the finest British writers were not slow to take a jab at ‘inferior’ people. JB Priestly, for instance, was partial to the idea of a clearance of the Irish from the Clyde to Cardiff: ‘what a fine exit (that would be) of ignorance and dirt and drunkenness and disease,’ he said in a most refined and sophisticated way.
Indeed Paddy-bashing has a long tradition in Britain. The British essayist, Thomas Carlyle, famously said that Ireland was like a half starved rat that crosses the path of an elephant. ‘And what must the elephant do?’ he asked. ‘Squelch it – by heavens – squelch it!’

Certainly, the Tories are slow to explain the Brexit consequences should Britain definitively pull the plug. How, for instance, will they resolve the contradiction between expressing approval for free trade and at the same time opposing the free movement of people between Britain, Ireland, and Europe?

Such a conundrum didn’t bother two of the vilest newspapers in the world, the Daily Mail and the Daily Express, as they recently launched a savage attack on anti-Brexit EU-Remain campaigners.In a front-page editorial, penned by Paul Dacre, the Mail screamed: ‘Damn the unpatriotic Bremoaners and their plot to subvert the will of the British people.’ He described Brexit critics as whingeing, contemptuous and unpatriotic.

This was the same newspaper that called for Irish people to be banned from UK sporting events because the IRA was disrupting public transport. On another occasion it stood accused of publishing ‘some of the most virulently anti-Irish journalism for decades,’ having sneeringly described Ireland as a land of pigs and potatoes.

Last week, the Daily Express hysterically ranted that it was time to ‘Silence EU Exit Whingers,’ which some commentators interpreted as dangerously provocative.
Indeed, the bigoted commentaries on Brexit were reminiscent of the first owner of the Daily Mail, Viscount Rothermere, who during the 1930s supported Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists when it was targeting British Jews.

In an interview in one of Rothermere’s newspapers, Mosley answered questions about Jews in Britain. The comments, if slightly altered, could apply just as easily to the current paranoia regarding emigrants, refugees, EU citizens and the Irish.

Here is what he said about Jews: ‘They must, like everyone else, put ‘Britain first’ or leave Britain.’ When asked if Jews would be persecuted under Fascism, Mosley replied: Bullying or persecution of any kind is foreign to the British character. But those who have been guilty of anti-British conduct would be deported.

He explained that what he meant by Jews or foreigners referred to people ‘who set their racial interests above the national interest and who had not proved themselves worthy citizens of Britain.’ In no circumstances would they be afforded the full rights of British citizenship.
Chilling stuff, if you substitute ‘emigrant’, ‘refugee’, Irish or ‘EU citizen’ for Jew or foreigner! The message then and now is simple: the repatriation or ‘removal’ of all non-white, non-Anglo-Saxons in the UK – and that’s the line the gutter press is now pushing.

Against such a background, for a British government in the 21st century to stir up sectarian antagonism is a measure incredibly beyond the norm, and a despicable course of action.
It’s doubly reprehensible when fuelled by the insane belief that race and cultural differences make some people morally, intellectually and socially superior to others –and yet that seems to be the basis on which the Conservative government is structuring its immigration policies.
Britain is on a slippery slope.

An Phoblacht…November edition out now. October 27, 2016

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In jpeg

Martin McGuinness to British Prime Minister – You Brexit, We Remain
Editorial – Stop Westminster Tories driving us off Brexit cliff
Gerry Adams – The ‘centre ground’ and the politics of Tweedledee and Tweedledum
SDLP, UUP and PBP rhetoric versus Sinn Féin delivery
Media Owners – Denis O’Brien’s News Agenda
Republican Women – Flames Not Flowers
Symbols of resistance – prison crafts
Mary Lou McDonald – A mental health lifeline 24/7
Sinn Féin Youth – Leading from the Front
Bochtaineacht tuaithe níos measa san Iarthar
Carrickmines & Travellers – A civil rights issue
Éigse na mBan – Drama, art and feminist politics
Windsor Park’s new dawn opens under a cloud
British spy cops given Garda licence to roam in Ireland – Lynn Boyaln MEP
Uncomfortable Conversations – Megan Fearon & Declan Kearney
TTIP & CETA – Matt Carthy
Irish support for the Spanish Republic
Dylan dilemma

Signs of Hope – A continuing series October 27, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Any contributions this week?

The Teachers Strike October 27, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.

ASTI are out striking today , so most secondary schools (unless they are purely TUI and Non Union) will be closed. The real issue for schools comes after the mid-term break as “ASTI will withdraw from supervision and substitution from Monday, November 7th”.
The ASTI membership rejected The Haddington Road agreement which contains additional Substitution and Supervision (as well as the pointless Croke Park Hours). However ……

Speaking on RTÉ’s Six One, Minister for Education Richard Bruton described it as a normal approach if teachers withdraw from core duties, which he said supervision is

The article goes on to state ….

In relation to the ASTI withdrawal from supervision and substitution duties, the department’s circular states that it is a matter for school managers to decide whether their school can open without health and safety risks while teachers are refusing to carry out those duties.

The circular outlines the arrangements to be made to remove from the payroll all teachers covered by the ASTI directive who have not confirmed that they are available for the full range of duties including supervision and substitution from 7 November.

It states that teachers who wish to remain on the payroll must confirm their availability for the full range of duties – including supervision and substitution – from 7 November onwards by submitting a completed form to the principal as soon as possible.

It confirms that teachers who do not confirm such availability will not be paid for the duration of the closure.

So Teachers who go in to do their normal days work , which is teaching children, will be unpaid as they are refusing to do supervision and substitution which was part of the deal rejected by the teachers.
Now what is crazy about this ,is that ASTI members are not being paid the extra from the Haddington Road agreement anyway as they have rejected it. So they would be doing supervision and substitution unpaid in the first place!

If the dispute isn’t settled then from the 7th of November many schools will have difficulty with supervision and substitution as TUI members will refuse to do supervision and substitution that ASTI members are down for. Indeed my own daughters school sent a note home yesterday stating that they may have difficulty reopening on the 7th after the mid term break. I imagine that there will be quite a number of schools that won’t be able to function from the 7th onwards.
We’ll see how it plays out.


‘Ireland and the Wobbly World’ at NUI Galway, 11-12 November, organised by the ICHLC. October 27, 2016

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