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The unions and Libertas… redux… April 21, 2009

Posted by WorldbyStorm in European Politics, European Union, Irish Politics.

This is shocking! Quite shocking. How could it have happened? How could the well-oiled engines of industry and commerce and marketing that characterise Libertas come so awry?

I feel ashamed that yesterday after the story had broken I wrote:

I don’t know. One doesn’t want to be unduly cynical but this seems to fit all too well into a pattern that has emerged over the last six months or so of stuff meant to happen which doesn’t, or goes wrong in some way, in some publicity garnering way…

Such cynicism does me no good. None at all.

Libertas said yesterday it had booked a room in Liberty Hall five weeks ago for the launch of the campaign of its Dublin candidate, Caroline Simons.

Although it is odd to read in the Irish Times the response from SIPTU.

However, Siptu informed the party yesterday that it could not use the room. Yesterday afternoon, Libertas switched the venue to the nearby Wynn’s Hotel for the launch. When contacted, Siptu cited two grounds for its refusal: the use of what it said was “subterfuge” when the booking of the room was made; and because it did not agree with its policies.

Which would be dreadful, wouldn’t it? That there was a disagreement on policy matters. But wait, what’s this about subterfuge?

The union said the room was booked by a person who was a Siptu shop steward, but who gave no indication that it would be used by Libertas for the launch of Ms Simons’s campaign.

If it had known the purpose of the meeting, permission would never have been granted. “We suspect that this was a stunt from the beginning,” said a spokesman.

Now let’s put that aside for a second. It sounds about right, but only the Chairman can tell us the correct story. Let’s consider the fact that the ebullient spokesperson for Libertas cannot refrain from wondering why, oh why, would SIPTU have problems with Libertas…

“This extraordinary and last-minute U-turn by the authorities at Liberty Hall raises very interesting questions. Caroline Simons spent a large portion of her career working with the trade union movement to secure equality for women. She adopted the same position on the Lisbon Treaty as an overwhelming majority of trade union members,” said Libertas spokesman John McGuirk.

Yeah. Well. Just because someone works with the unions doesn’t mean an absolute congruence of interests. Or indeed that SIPTU are beholden to her. Or that the positions taken by the majority of Union members are per se correct… consider their voting patterns over the years for the centre right.

As the indefatigable People Korps notes, this article in the Irish Times from last year, particularly the last sentence, makes for interesting reading.

THE ANTI-LISBON Treaty campaigner Declan Ganley has set up a “European political party” and an associated structure to raise money.

Yesterday the Companies Registration Office in Dublin acknowledged receipt of registration documents for The Libertas Party Ltd and the Libertas Foundation Ltd.

The memorandum documents for both of the new companies state that they are entitled to raise funds, carry on business, purchase property, accumulate capital, borrow and other activities, in pursuit of their principal objectives.

The companies are allowed pay interest at a rate not exceeding 5 per cent on loans received from directors or other members of the companies.

They are also empowered to “promote freedom of contact” and contribute funds to any body that resists interference in businesses by “any strike movement or organisation”.

Hmmmm… Odd that a political party with that view would want to launch a campaign in Liberty Hall. Isn’t it?

Odd indeed.



1. steve white - April 21, 2009

why did they have that clause in there, why does it need to said, spell it out for me?


2. WorldbyStorm - April 21, 2009

A very very good question.


3. In Poland, Nobody Likes Libertas…So They Find A Way Around Funding Rules | Keith @ Granite Shavings - April 21, 2009

[…] Poland, (thanks to a source who shall remain nameless for pointing it out), which follows earlier blogger […]


4. Al - April 21, 2009

The candidate, Caroline Simons, outlined her reasons for wanting to hold the launch of her election campaign at Liberty hall on a video clip posted on the Libertas website.


5. WorldbyStorm - April 21, 2009

Yes, indeed. And yet somehow her enthusiasm for workers and ‘rights’ doesn’t square with belonging to an organisation that has as part of its memorandum document the last quote in the post above – now does it?

I think given that overt policy position on union activity SIPTU were well within their rights to say no. And to be honest it looks pretty much like what it looks like… a stunt.


6. Paddy Matthews - April 21, 2009

Meanwhile, fun and games begin up here in Ireland North West…

Libertas Leader, Declan Ganley, has today refuted any assertions that he or his group alleged that Independent MEP Marian Harkin personally supported abortion.

It was claimed over the weekend, that while canvassing in the North West, Libertas canvassers claimed that Ms Harkin, and also Fianna Fail, were pro -abortion and pro-euthanasia.

Such a connection was made through their association to the Liberal group in the European Parliament, a group in which some of its members support such issues.

However, speaking on Ocean Fm this morning, Mr Ganley said neither he nor his group claim Ms Harkin personally supports abortion or euthanasia.


Perhaps, El Maximum Líder might wish to have a word with those in charge of the Creepy Party blog…

With the massively successful launch of Caroline Simon’s campaign last night, there is a real sense of momentum in the office this morning. With just over six weeks to go, our campaign is starting to hit its stride. In North West, Marian Harkin is on the defensive over her support for abortion and opposition to farming with the Liberal Group in the European Parliament.

In East, Raymond O’Malley will be on East Coast FM this morning challenging Liam Aylward on his record and laying out the positive Libertas vision for change.

It’s a pity in some ways that so much coverage of Sean O’Neachtáin’s retirement this morning focuses on the political repercussions. At a time like this, perhaps we could take just one day to thank the man for his service, as Declan did in a very gracious statement last night. We’ll be with you here daily at the Libertas blog between now and polling day – keep reading, and keep the momentum going!



7. WorldbyStorm - April 21, 2009

Jesus. It’s like they don’t even bother to check if what the Chairman says is correct or not. Paddy, that’s pretty remarkable because it’s so overt… thanks a million.


8. Paddy Matthews - April 22, 2009

Jesus. It’s like they don’t even bother to check if what the Chairman says is correct or not.

You think that any of them – from Ganley on down – care?


9. EWI - April 22, 2009

The Creepy Party indeed:

When I read the headline, I thought that my time was up, but apparently this is a genuine EU decision to tackle the severe risk to children from drawstrings in their anorak hoods.

It’s hard to know what to say. This is the front line of the battle against the bureaucrats, where common sense has no place, and risk is no longer seen as character developing, but something to be avoided at all costs.

Let’s hope that the Libertas ideology of promotion of small businesses and risk taking to rebuild the damaged economies of Europe will directly challenge the gutless nanny-state being built in Brussels.


So; health and safety regulations aimed at protecting young children are the result of the “gutless nanny-state”, and are decried by our Libertas friends as removing “character developing […] risk”(!).


10. Paddy Matthews - April 22, 2009

Libertas are certainly recruiting high-quality members up this end of the country:

CONTRARY to Patrick Reilly’s assertion (Letters, April 7), the Libertas Party supports an EU Common Agricultural Policy, although it believes that the CAP should undergo a thorough reform, supports our continued membership of the EU and supports the interests of Irish farmers like myself who, because of current EU policies, are threatened with extinction.

If Mr Reilly is really concerned about the future survival of Irish farming, I would suggest that he change his voting intentions in the forthcoming European Parliament elections by voting for the outstanding Libertas candidates in Declan Ganley and Raymond O’Malley, a former IFA vicepresident and livestock chairman.

James Reynolds
Chairman, Libertas Longford


Another friend of Justin

Watch out for a provocative local election campaign in Granard from ex-Blueshirt and former Longford IFA President, James Reynolds, a buddy of Justin Barrett, the No to Nice campaigner who turned out to have some interesting connections to the far right across Europe.

Reynolds made some provocative remarks to the Longford News recently and demanded that immigrants “should all be deported” going on to say that “I know these people can’t work. But if they could they wouldn’t work here.” Reynolds added that “the only determination in being an Irish citizen should be that you have Irish blood” before going on to claim that “we, the Irish, will become a minority in this country.” It was reassuring, therefore, to read in the same interview that Reynolds is totally opposed to racism and he told the newspaper “I condemn racism”.

Barrett has gone into political hibernation since he was outed as a participant in some lurid far right rallies in Italy and German but he appears to have received a new lease of life with his comrade, Reynolds in their current base of Granard. The two are inseparable and, touchingly. They are regular attendants at Tridentine Mass in Athlone.

(The Phoenix – 23rd April 2004)

From http://www.geocities.com/irishafa/euros.html (not my personal cup of tea, but the Phoenix quote in it is a pretty accurate summation).

And yes, it is the same James Reynolds, previously of Youth Defence back in the early 90s (there was an interesting interview with him at that time by an undercover reporter from Hot Press).


11. Paddy Matthews - April 22, 2009

The one inaccuracy in the Phoenix article is that neither Reynolds nor Barrett are from Granard. Granard has enough to cope with without being burdened with that 🙂


12. WorldbyStorm - April 22, 2009

It’s like a magnet, isn’t it? All these names from the past being hoovered up into it? An awful lot of people seem to have found the vehicle of their dreams and are happy to use it.


13. EWI - April 22, 2009

Re: farming, I feel a research project back through the old Freedom Institute archives coming on…


14. sonofstan - April 22, 2009

James Reynolds from Longford? any relation to either a former Taoiseach and/ or John of POD/ Electric Picnic fame?


15. Paddy Matthews - April 22, 2009

The answers to the above questions are no and again no,absolutely, definitively not, just in case Albert takes justified offence at the notion and gets litigious again 🙂


16. Barricade - April 23, 2009

World By Storm…I note your astonished reaction to the fact that Libertas lackeys will blatantly contradict what the Dubious One says. However, I suggest you check out either ganlydeclan.blogspot.com or peoplekorps.blogspot.com where the link between Libertas and the Big Lie is constantly pointed out.


17. WorldbyStorm - April 23, 2009

Astonished! Yep, that’s the word… 😉


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