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Sovereignty June 30, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in British Politics.

Useful review here by Euan Ferguson of a BBC Radio 4 programme by Peter Hitchens, yes, that Peter Hitchens, on the nature of the so-called and supposed Special Relationship between the US and the UK which you can hear until later today. Hitchens is not exactly the first name one might go to for such an exercise, but his very real conservatism is a curious thing which spins off in odd directions – much of it informed by enormous pessimism, from his very particular perspective, as regards the future across a range of areas whether economic, social and political.

For example here’s his take on what the future holds for the island of Ireland –

I wouldn’t have said this ten years ago, but I have since changed my mind. I am much less sure that Wales either wants or needs its own assembly, and I am completely against any sort of parliament for Northern Ireland which – if it is to have justice and law – would be much better off ruled directly from London. I think such a solution would also have been better by far for the Irish Republic, which is going to face many difficulties when it eventually absorbs Northern Ireland as a very anomalous and troublesome special autonomous zone.

Well, we’ll see.

Anyhow, it’s well worth listening to the programme which outlines how there are very strong links in diplomatic and military terms but how skewed this relationship actually is. And there’s this, which Ferguson notes:

Re-uncovered was the fact that America offered Polaris to France before Britain: De Gaulle rejected the offer, surmising correctly that he could then describe Britain as the US’s “vassal state”.

Irish Left Archive… some additional features June 30, 2014

Posted by irishonlineleftarchive in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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This last weekend Aonghus has updated the comments system in the Irish Left Archive to incorporate both the discussions on posts that have been hosted on the Cedar Lounge Revolution and any threads started on the ILA site itself. You’ll find a new tabbed system that has both where appropriate.

There are a number of further changes including a clearer format for documents on the organisations page.

As always any thoughts on the layout or contents of the Archive are very welcome and many thanks to Aonghus for his tireless work on upgrading the site.

Left Archive: Northern Ireland Report – Number 2, February 11, 1992 June 30, 2014

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

Northern Ireland Report

Click here for the Left Archive.

Many thanks to those who donated issues of Northern Ireland Report to the Archive. These will be appearing in the months ahead.

This is a particularly unusual addition to the Archive. Northern Ireland Report was published by an ad hoc group of individuals in the United States who while close to Sinn Féin were critical of it, and particularly so during the developing Peace Process. Their position would have been strongly left of centre. One aspect of their goal was to produce a publication which was different from the more conservative leaning publications issued in the US which were sympathetic to Irish republicanism.

The magazine ran for 25 issues, finally ending publication in May 1996.

As later editions noted:

“NIR is an independent publication and is not affiliated with any political party, group or organisation in Northern Ireland or the United States. “

This second issue has a wide range of articles in eight short pages. These include news about the then extradition of Joe Doherty in the United States and it is worth quoting extensively from that piece in order to give a sense as to the political orientation of the newsletter. This makes mention of the fact that Doherty had an Irish People [“The voice of Irish Republicanism in America”, as the article notes] column.

And it notes that his ‘battle was marred by the controversy that arose from his criticism of the IRA in the Irish People’.

It continues:

“This controversy revealed a fundamental problem in the debate on Ireland in America. A problem that, despite temporary resolutions, will not go away.

The Irish People serves a necessary function for Americans interested in Irish affairs. By republishing much of An Phoblacht/Republican News, the [IP] allows one to cut throughout he normal rubbish written on Ireland. Compared to the Echo, Voice and mainstream mead, the IP offers a more realistic picture of the conflict, but that does not excuse it from being belligerent or arrogant.

The episode started when Joe Doherty mildly criticised the IRA’s autumn bombing of a military base that was reported throughout the world’s media as a hospital bombing. The editors at the ‘voice of Irish Republicanism in America,’ with their unbending faith in the IRA, could not accept this and Dohertty was fired.

A few weeks later, after much gleeful laughter by the Echo and Voice, and perhaps the rumoured spanking by Sinn Féin, Doherty reappeared and all ‘philosophical differences’ were resolved. “

It continues:

“What were these ‘philosophical differences’? Why can’t the Irish People admit what everyone else knows? Joe Doherty, a former member of the IRA, serving time in jail because of that membership, was fired because he criticized IRA tactics to the displeasure of a bunch of Americans playing revolution three thousand miles aaay from the war. “

And it adds:

“This is the fundamental problem that inhibits other American groups and organisations from sympathising and promoting Irish Republicanism. Irish Americans, or any Americans who organise around Irish issues, have yet to develop any real movements that can sustain dialogue, debate and analysis. Irish-American activists have suffered from intellectual paranoia, associating any criticism of the IRA as a form of treachery. “

It notes that in Ireland ‘where censorship and oppression are very real, within the Republican movement there is much debate’. And it suggests:

“This is not to condemn the Irish People, but to suggest that if the Irish conflict is going to be taken seriously by the left, a group that can honesty rally around it in a common cause, then publications like the Irish People must drop this zealous, and sometimes embarrassing, commitment to every IRA action. “

It concludes:

“It is time for Irish-Americans to transcend their simple support for the IRA, and being to support the ideals of Irish Republicanism, such as socialism and anti-imperialism, in their own country as well as in Ireland. As Joe Doherty is deported, we all must remember his most important contribution, highlighting the extent of U.S. injustice.”

Other pieces consider topics such as ‘IRA bombs in London’, ‘British Increase Military Presence’, one entitled ‘Britain is to Blame’ on sectarian violence in the north of Ireland and a long article by Bill Rolsten and Mike Tomlinson on U.S. Investment in the North of Ireland. It also has an interview tin Richard McCauley, ‘Sinn Féin’s Director of Publicity for the Six Counties’. This last is of particular interest for some of his comments about socialism, anti-imperialism and so on.

Sunday Independent Stupid Statement of the Week June 29, 2014

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

The fall of one A. O’Reilly naturally draws comment from the Sindo’s columnists. Brendan O’Connor is clearly an admirer of the man.

In case it’s not obvious, I should declare my interest here. I worked for Sir Anthony for many years. In many ways, he took me off the streets. Having messed around for a few years, I found myself doing a post grad in journalism and Anne Harris started giving me work based on an unsolicited article.

Despite the fact that I came out of nowhere with neither business, sporting nor family connections, Sir Anthony and Gavin O’Reilly were always encouraging and supportive of my career here. For an organisation that was characterised as riddled with nepotism, I always found they took you as they found you and you thrived based on hard work and, dare I say it, merit.

Who dares wins and all that I suppose. Or not, given the subject under discussion. That column is worth a read, particularly for what he considers to be the bottom rung of any business.

Speaking of heroes of the private sector, Eoghan Harris has this to say

This cowardly Dail consensus deprives the majority private sector of political representation.

Enough said.

This sounds familiar… “European ‘United Left’ searches for unity” June 29, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…as someone put it to me, sending me this link.

New RedC/SBP poll: 28th June 2014 June 28, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, The Left.

Fresh from the SBP…

FG 25% (NC), LP 7% (-4), FF 18% (-3), SF 22% (+3), Others and Independents 28% (+3).

What stands out most forcefully is that this mirrors – broadly speaking – all other recent polling. Big changes out there, and worth remembering the European Election FPV results:

FG 22.3%, SF, 19.5%, FF, 22.3%, LP 5.3%, GP 4.9%, SP 1.8%, PBPA 1.5%, Others/Ind 22.4%

One key indicator to future fortunes of all parties:

Only 38% felt an economic recovery was benefiting them and 62% said it was not.

More during the week on this.

Who is Going to Win the World Cup? June 28, 2014

Posted by Garibaldy in Sport.

Despite the massive waste of billions of dollars, the militarised policing of the favelas and eviction of people, the violent responses to protests, and all the accusations of corruption that always go with FIFA, that have rightly enraged many in Brazil, in football terms, this has been an outstanding World Cup, easily the best I remember.

The fact that after the first round of group games, the teams have scored nearly as many goals as in the entire last World Cup says a lot. There have been awesome goals, with Tim Cahill’s volley the pick of the bunch in my opinion, closely followed by Van Persie’s header. Spain bored me rigid at Euro 2012, and I was delighted to see them perform so miserably, while the humiliation of other European powers (well, one power and one that thinks it is) by Costa Rica has been something to see. Messi doing the business, Neymar being outstanding, Robben rampaging, Muller scoring for fun, Klose equalling the record, Rodriguez and the rest of the Chile team and their duracell-bunny manager, the Mexican goalkeeper, and all the rest have made this a great footballing spectacle. Even the ITV coverage has been good, although the absence of Roy Keane has been a shame.

So with the round of 16 about to start today, who is going to win? I reckon Brazil will do it, though wouldn’t be surprised to see Holland win. What do people think (or is it only LoI that gets the football juices really flowing here?)

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Metal Bands that have changed lead vocalist June 28, 2014

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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There was something about Heavy Metal bands and line up changes. Like most genres Guitarists, Bassists and Drummers could change on a regular basis , but many Metal bands were able to change vocalists too! Few bands from other genres changed vocalists, oddly enough the only other genre with so many vocalists changes that I can think of was Traditional Irish influenced groups like De Dannan, The Moving Hearts and even The Pogues (although the Pogues change was a bit of a disaster). Dance genres tended to have guest vocalists.
Back in my youth there was some kudos in knowing that it was an Iron Maiden song in that Daley Thompson lucozade ad, not just that but it was on their first album and that the singer was different. I had a couple of their albums and would have listened to them a lot in my teens. They also had that issue that afflicted many bands especially Metal bands. . . . What was the best line up? ( or the definitive line up) Was Bruce Dickinson better than Paul Diano?
AC/DC were another band that changed vocalist, who was better Bon Scott or Brain Johnson?. Deep Purple and Black Sabbath have had umpteen lead vocalists over the years, Ian Gillan having spells with both. Others here include Judas Priest, Van Halen (yes I know!!) and Anthrax.

With Paul Dianno

Bruce Dickinson

Bon Scott

Brian Johnson

Ozzy Osbourne

Ian Gillan

Ronnie James Dio


They’re in with the in crowd… June 27, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics.

A telling little anecdote in the Irish Times in relation to Tony (note the use of Sir Anthony in the article text) O’Reilly having to sell his house ‘Castlemartin’. House? Actually that doesn’t do it justice. It might well be described as:

…also a family home, though, and a place to relax from relentless working.


…a labour of love, restored at a cost of many millions from being semi-derelict in 1972.

But it is a ‘a restored 18th century mansion’, and as this wiki page notes that it is but ‘one of the principal homes of O’Reilly’. Indeed. Presumably then it was also ‘one’ of the family home(s).

But Anne Harris, redoubtable editor of the Sunday Independent allows us this little insight…

…recalls visiting Castlemartin once a year, along with O’Reilly’s other editors and senior staff, usually around the time of Independent News & Media’s annual general meeting.

“Tony O’Reilly always greeted his guests personally,” she said. “He would have a marquee and you could meet anyone there. The taoiseach of the day was usually there.”


It brings to mind aspects of this…does it not?

Sport, culture, history June 27, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, Sport.

We don’t do much on sport here and that’s a pity – but after IEL’s post here expect more on the World Cup…

This made me smile.

And this may well be of interest to some of you, a newsletter from Dick Fields of Naomh Barróg GAA club which gives a history of the Club (founded in Scoil Lorcáin in Kilbarrack where I went to school myself) from 1974 to date.

Even if you’re not into GAA it’s a great social history. There’s an aerial photograph in the first issue (viewable here) of the area which shows a pre-urban Kilbarrack/Foxfield, probably from the 1960s. By the time I was in the school in 1969/70 the estates were already built or in the process of being built and just looking at it they would have surrounded the farm and stretched northwards (towards the top of the photograph).


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