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Le Gach Dea-Ghuí don Athbhliain December 31, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.


…to everyone who comments, lurks, reads, helps or writes for the site. Somehow the site is entering its eleventh year and that’s down to input from all of you. Thanks a million – you know who you are and it’s always appreciated.

John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell… December 31, 2016

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Checking out Jools Holland’s annual New Year’s Eve show this evening on Channel 4 BBC – I’m not one to get sentimental about the date and tend to avoid anything particularly festive about it so watching a show recorded days earlier with some hit and miss music on it just about fits the bill for the evening, assuming I stay up that late – I saw one Dr. John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell advertised as participating in the line up. Hugh Cornwell once of the Stranglers? That John Cooper Clarke?

Sure is. They’ve recorded an album of covers together. I’ve got to admit that John Cooper Clarke is one of my favourite artists – and I’ve always had a fondness for the Stranglers, but this is odd. Very odd.

And there’s this:

And this on airliners December 31, 2016

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Some brilliant stuff here. Proposed airliners that never made it beyond the design stage. I have to admit I had never heard of the Avro Atlantic. Fantastic.

Thanks to Garibaldy for the link.

This Weekend I’ll Mostly Be Listening to… Mise Éire December 31, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....
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My son asked me the other day what my favourite song of the year was…… I wondered for a while and then told him that the Patrick Pearse Poem “Mise Éire” sung by Sibéal Ní Chasaide (with music by Patrick Cassisy) was probably my favourite. I’ve seen her sing it live in Croke Park and at another celebration and just thought it incredibly haunting. It’s a song I’ve probably listened to most this year as it just wafts around the room. I’ve also included Mise Éire by Sean O’Riada which is another wonderfulk piece.

2016 in the Irish Left Archive December 30, 2016

Posted by Aonrud ⚘ in Irish Left Online Document Archive.
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Following IEL’s post earlier, I thought I’d compile a similar list of popular documents from this year in the Irish Left Archive.

The archive passed 500 documents earlier in the year, and hopefully continues to build into a useful resource for anyone interested in the history of the Left in Ireland.  As always, thanks to those who contributed documents, took part in discussions, and posted corrections.

Here are some of the most popular new documents (according to the questionable statistics of the archive’s visitor metrics):

An edition of Congress ’86, a journal produced in the late 1980s by the League of Communist Republicans.


From the Irish Workers’ Party in 1966 we have 1916-1966 – a collection of articles marking the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.

(Further materials relating to the centenary were posted earlier in the year, and all are listed in the  1916 Rising collection).

The first edition of Teoiric (“Theoretical Journal of the Republican Movement”), from Official Sinn Féin in 1971.


The second edition of Sinn Féin’s An Phoblacht, from 1970, which deals with the then recent Sinn Féin split in an open letter from Ruairí O Brádaigh headlined “Where Sinn Féin Stands”.

Finally, from the Irish National Liberation Solidarity Front in the UK (established by the Communist Workers League of Britain (Marxist–Leninist)), an edition of Irish Liberation Press.


No great surprises in the release of papers today December 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Perhaps they’re keeping their powder dry for the weekend.

Still and all, had to smile at what passes for political debate at the highest levels of government in these islands.

The Prime Minister [Thatcher] also said terrorists were getting safe houses in the South. Garret FitzGerald pointed out that “we have 200 people from the North in our jails,” and added “you can have them back any time you want.”

The Prime Minister countered with: “I don’t want them. You can have all the nationalists in the North if you like.”

Any other gems? The Guardian has a passing reference to a secret US stealth programme of some sort. Can’t find anything else about it online so far. All very mysterious.

Another top secret prime ministerial file on Project Moonflower is worded in such an obscure manner that its so-called black subject is not immediately apparent.

And for space science fans an interesting insight into the politics of space launch systems.

Files released to the National Archives in Kew on Friday show how UK ministers favoured the US shuttle launch system for military satellites over Ariane rockets.

A 1983 memo from the Ministry of Defence to the prime minister warns there is “French pressure on us to be ‘European’ and go for Ariane”.

Margaret Thatcher agreed that it was better to go with the American shuttle, which was cheaper and had a better safety record.


The MoD wanted to send two Skynet 4 military satellites, manufactured by BAE and Marconi, into orbit to provide communications across Europe and the Atlantic.

The shuttle launch was priced at £58m – £23m cheaper than Ariane.


The French Socialist prime minister, Pierre Mauroy, wrote to Thatcher pleading for the decision to be reconsidered and offered to reduce the cost. The issue, prefiguring the Westland helicopter affair, escalated into a diplomatic row over the UK’s international priorities.

Geoffrey Howe, the foreign secretary, wrote to Thatcher in December 1983 advising caution. “If we opt for the shuttle,” he said, “we must expect the French to make a fuss.

Events got in the way, as they tend to do.

Eventually the French were told the US bid had been chosen. When the next military satellite launch in 1986, however, Ariane was favoured. After the Challenger shuttle disaster, a No 10 memo stated there “is no other option but to use Ariane”.

Political position… December 30, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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If there’s one phrase I really hate it’s the one that goes… ‘left and right are so outdated these days.’

Are they, are they now?

Well, if that were true one suspects it would be impossible to chart political position on tests such as this.

And here’s more, and another, and another, and another!

This Week At Irish Election Literature December 30, 2016

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Irish Politics.
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A Letter with an accompanying article from Gerry Adams to a Sinn Fein 2014 Local Elections Candidate

Then some of the most popular posts from the year
From the 1987 General Election, A leaflet for The Workers Party candidate for Cork South Central Kathleen Lynch

A 12 page leaflet from William DJ Gorman who ran in Dublin Central and Dublin Bay South

A Leaflet from Fergal O’Connell who ran as an Independent in Dublin Fingal.

A Leaflet from ‘Christians Concerned For Dun Laoghaire’ regarding the General Election and candidates positions on Abortion and other issues

A guide to canvassing produced by Fine Gael for the 2016 General Election.

The personal & the political: In parallel with the histories December 30, 2016

Posted by Tomboktu in Feminism, History, LGBT, Women's rights.

My paternal grandmother was told by her doctor in the 1930s that she would be risking her life if she were to have another child. She approached her parish priest to seek his support on raising this with my grandfather, but was told that if God called her and another child to his side, then she should accept God’s will. At some stage between the end of the 1950s and the early 1990s she told my mother, her daughter-in-law. My mother, in turn, told me of this about a decade ago. My mother was clearly angered at how my grandmother had been treated. Her own life was affected by the ban on contraception, although all her children were born before the Supreme Court ruling on contraception in the Magee case or the formation of the Irish Women’s Liberation Movement.

*    *    *    *

A micro-scene early in the film Pride has the fictional character ‘Bromley’ step out of the Pride parade to watch from the footpath. A woman passes him, and announces her view: ‘disgusting’. And he says ‘Yes’ and nods approvingly. In the succeeding few seconds, George MacKay, the actor who plays ‘Bromley’, conveys the horror that his character feels at betraying what he came to London for that day in 1984, and in a few moment he rejects that betrayal and rejoins the Pride march and the real-life Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners.

Later in the film, his sister and mother accidentally find his cuttings from Capital Gay and photographs from events with Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners, and we are shown, in silhouette and without dialogue, his parents confronting him when he returns home late that night. Although ‘Bromley’ was a fictional character added to the dramatisation of a historical event, a tweet after the film was screened on St Stephen’s night showed that it reflected a real, lived experience: “Thank you #Pride & the character Bromley for explaining to my family why my uni years were concealed, distant & disassociated.”

*    *    *    *

I don’t know if there is a historical school or method that studies the personal experiences of people in social and political changes, particularly of those not in key roles. There might not be; maybe at that stage it ceases being history and becomes biography or sociology. It would also be a more challenging approach: the records are probably less likely to be available. In many cases, the reason will not be that a record was not kept but that there was nothing to record: a silence, the absence of a conversation — even an avoidance of thinking about something.

But those hundreds of thousands of personal experiences and histories are important. A history without them is incomplete. Without survivors of domestic violence telling their stories to other women, there would not have been the campaigns to change police practices, create new laws, or fund emergency shelters, which are the stuff of that history. The narrative of lgb equality is missing something central to its history without the accounts of coming out, of not coming out, of being told, and of different lives in two places, and how those changed over the decades. The stories in the history matter.

Ireland and the far-right… December 29, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting point in a column last month by Diarmaid Ferriter in the IT on leadership in Irish politics. I don’t actually agree with his main thesis about leadership, or rather I think that some policy, indeed ideology, might be no harm and might be even more important than leadership. Still what of this?

It is worth remembering the observations of the late journalist Mary Holland who, writing in 2002, expressed satisfaction that despite the lack of scope for initiative during the formative decades of this State, there was little appetite for far-right politics:
“I’ve written plenty of columns complaining about the lack of any real left-right divide in Irish politics and the consequent deadening effect of virtual consensus on most social and economic issues. But, at this period of transition, it is perhaps time to acknowledge that civil war politics served this State well. The fact that the political debate was rooted in whose grandfather shot who in the early years of the last century was a major factor in enabling us to escape the worst extremes of some of our most sophisticated neighbours.”

I wonder is that true. It certainly seems to have a degree of truth in it. And other factors, a small polity and population didn’t save other states from fascism. But is it enough to provide an explanation for what happened, and as importantly, what did not happen.
Just on his other point, I can’t help but feel the following scans oddly.

Given the scary developments internationally and the many domestic challenges, leadership is now essential in Irish politics, but the signs that the challenges can be met are not good. After 41 years in Dáil Éireann, Enda Kenny is obviously a ruthless survivor, and he may well be witty and humane, but there is no sense that he has a political vision to match the extent of current political tests. It is hard to see substance behind the soundbites spun by his advisers about the quest to be the “best little country”. What is required now is also what was required during the Lemass era: someone with a clear sense of direction, not beholden to advisers or spin and not clinging to power for the sake of it.

Doesn’t that sound, no doubt unconsciously, remarkably like some of the complaints of those who plumped for Trump earlier this month?

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