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The North Strand Bombing, 1941 – A Dublin City Council Oral history project May 31, 2021

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Details here.

In the early hours of 31st May 1941, four high explosive bombs were dropped by German aircraft on Dublin, 3 of them falling on the North Strand and Summerhill, a residential area on the north side of Dublin City Centre.

Twenty-eight people were killed, over ninety injured, and 300 houses were destroyed.


Dublin City Libraries & Archives has collected eyewitness accounts and memories of the bombing and its devastating effects on the people of the North Strand.

On this site you can read about the events of that night, listen to and read accounts of people who were there and stories handed down through local families, and find out more about Ireland during the Emergency.

Exhibition of North Strand bombing, and two short films, set up outside Charleville Mall Library today until 4 pm, open to visitors, or available to see on Dublin City Libraries website dedicated to the event – https://northstrandbombing.ie/ to mark North Strand bombing 80th Anniversary commemoration. Films will also be available to view in Sue Ryder shop at Five Lamps

ILA Podcast #26: Round Up! More to Come May 31, 2021

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Round Up! More to Come Irish Left Archive Podcast

This is a quick round up on the current series of the podcast and plans for the future. We’re interviewing people starting this coming month and we’ll be back with more guests in the late Summer/early Autumn. Thanks again to everyone who has spoken to us so far.

Also, thanks to those who have provided documents for inclusion in the Irish Left Archive over the years; they are all listed in the acknowledgements on our content submissions page. If you have any documents relevant to the archive, we always appreciate receiving new material – you can contact us on the website.

Peelers and Sheep podcast, new series starts today… May 31, 2021

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Very welcome news this. Out this morning – first of a couple of podcast episodes on pandemics, zoonotic diseases, biodiversity loss & capitalism – next one is Monday June 7th –

Will be up on www.peelersandsheep.ie & all the main podcast platforms. 

Shocked they say… May 31, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

…but where is the surprise in the scenes seen in Dublin at the weekend? Given the political and media ‘good news’ framing of the easing of certain restrictions who thought that such scenes and others were unlikely to occur? After all, only a day or so before this had been trumpeted in the media. One has to wonder where behavioural psychologists were in all this too. Surely such a response was more than likely on foot of that framing.

But then there’s something very strange about how the government has seen fit, and NPHET too, to ease restrictions to the degree that they are, so far, doing so. Even the slight retreat to ‘local lockdowns’ line by the Tánaiste doesn’t seem to capture the caution necessary given the variant causing so much concern in Britain at this point, one that has already been found in this state and on this island.

Indeed one notable aspect of this is the continual use of 82% vaccinated by the end of June line by politicians and media, without the necessary caveat that this refers to a single dose, not full vaccination. So where will we stand in June/July. This from RTÉ is useful.

Based on the numbers available, and assuming no further major changes in the meantime, Prime Time now estimates that between 35% and 45% of adults will be fully vaccinated by the end of June…Prime Time now estimates that between 72% and 78% will have received one of a required two doses by June. If things go as they are currently planned – which at this stage, may be optimistic too – it now appears the 82% target (fully vaccinated target will now be reached) will be reached in mid-July.

Meanwhile on RTÉ this morning various city Mayors. As Tobuktu has noted in comments one got a tough time of it while others didn’t – but notable for how strong the Mayor of Cork was on the necessity for caution. And earlier in the same segment business owners in Dublin City centre gave an outline of how massive crowds caused real problems for them. One can imagine the cognitive dissonance for some having to choose between ‘freedom’ and support for businesses.

A gloomy point here:

Public health specialist Professor Anthony Staines, professor of health systems in the School of Nursing in DCU, agreed that some restrictions made more sense than others…
“But the question will be: what do we do when there are over 1,000 cases a day? Do we decide to muddle through it and accept that some people will die, although not as many, or do we try something else? We should not want to find out.”

Left Archive: H-Block and Sectarian Civil War, Socialists Against Nationalism, 1981 May 31, 2021

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To download the above please click on the following link:

To go to the Left Archive please click here.

This is the third document to be added to the Archive from Socialists Against Nationalism and many thanks to Alan Kinsella of Irish Election Literature for sharing it with the ILA.

As noted previously:

Socialists Against Nationalism was a campaign established by the British & Irish Communist Organisation, the Limerick Socialists Organisation and the Socialist Party of Ireland in the late 1970s against ‘nationalism’.

This is the second revised edition, appearing in July 1981, after the first edition released the previous month. The back cover of the document, a short twelve pages long, states:

The H-Block Demands have variously been presented by southern politicians as questions of humanitarianism or of prison reform. 

They are neither.

This pamphlet shows that the H-Block demands and the campaign built around them are an integral part of IRA strategy leading to full-scale war with the Protestant population of the North in which they hope the South will become embroiled. 

The pamphlet urges rejection of the wooly-minded ‘humanitarian interpretation of the issue and resistance to a campaign which is raising tensions to a dangerous new level.

The document is structured in sections; H-Block: What it’s All About, British Withdrawal and the ‘First National Aim’, ‘Southern Army Invasion?, H-Block: the Southern Response, and so on. 

A box on the last printed page contains the following:

Socialists Against Nationalism

Do not consider the present war in Northern Ireland to be a war of national liberation

Do not believe the territorial unity of Ireland to be an essential prerequisite of the development of socialist politics

Publish a monthly bulletin – Labour Won’t Wait

Left Gardener May 30, 2021

Posted by guestposter in Uncategorized.

It’s the end of spring, so what’s going on in the world of left gardening?

Books on Northern Ireland May 30, 2021

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

Interesting exercise here which asks various people to list their five favourite books on the North from Claire Mitchell to Brendan O’Leary. Which leads me to a question. What five books have shaped people’s thoughts and views on Northern Ireland? I guess one could break that into two different areas – those that deal with politics, history and economics and those that are novels.

In the latter category consider some of Brian Moores novels and Danny Morrison’s The Wrong Man. Eoin McNamee’s The Resurrection Men and The Ultras which were perhaps a little over written but still good. Under his pseudonym John Creed he wrote a few nicely cynical thrillers, two of which are set in the North. A late entrant, Adrian McKinty’s books on a Catholic RUC man, Sean Duffy. Well worth a read.

As for books on the history, I’d think The Uncivil Wars from the early 1980s still holds up remarkably well. A lot of people not fond of Stephen Howe’s overview of Ireland and Empire, but even where one doesn’t agree there’s a lot in there. Cheating wildly there’s a triumvirate of Swan’s Official Irish Republicanism, The Lost Revolution and Moloney’s Secret History (and of course cheating even more there’s INLA: Deadly Divisions). But look, those are only suggestions, what do others think?

Sunday and other Media Stupid Statements from this week… May 30, 2021

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Guess who is filled with optimism about the virus. But if we only move on all will be well!

There will undoubtedly be scares in the months ahead as Covid variants are detected but politicians and media need to respond in a calmer and more considered way than they have to date and not inflame public fears at every possible opportunity. People face all sorts of risks in their daily lives and Covid needs to be treated as just one more. After vaccination it has become a more containable risk and Ireland needs to move on unless it wants to be trapped in a cycle of fear from which there is no exit.

Guess who has found the ingrates who, even when businesses reopen, won’t be keen to go indoors to them? For shame!

Even when businesses open, capacity constraints due to social distancing or an enduring reluctance among some customers to mix indoors will turn the economics of the sector upside down. That negative pressure will be forced to the surface somewhere else in the industry, because it is a closed loop system. Its only escape is through a valve of insolvency opened by impatient creditors.

From the IT editorial during the week on variants…

The longer-term issue is that the emergence of the Indian variant and other mutants, combined with vaccine hesitancy, could make herd immunity – somewhere between 60 and 80 per cent coverage – much more difficult, perhaps even impossible, to attain. For all western governments, the task is two-fold: to get the timing of indoor reopening right so as to deny new variants the chance to spread, and to pull out all the stops to encourage the public to take this life-saving injection.

Is something missing between the first sentence and the second, because the editorial doesn’t expand on the connection with herd immunity or indeed how that links in with the two-fold task.

Here from the Examiner a column on aviation and other matters during the pandemic that has some old, depressingly predicatable, lines about restrictions. Just one example:

The vaccine rollout, after a difficult and sluggish start, has certainly turned into a welcome success story and underpinning that goodwill is that desire for our personal liberties to be restored.

That is why it was so disappointing and alarming to see the government seek to extend Covid-19 emergency powers until November and potentially to next February.

The cynic in me says this has less to do with public health and more to do with the desire to expand the nanny state.

And a final thought, who could possibly disagree with the broad sentiment in this headline on this piece in the Sunday Independent (though the specific issue being referenced is a different matter). That said the columnist in question hasn’t necessarily demonstrated this generosity of spirit on other matters over the years.

Play for today! May 29, 2021

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This is interesting, a play from Jason O’Toole, not unknown on this site… As Hot Press notes:

A rehearsed reading of The Intruder, a highly anticipated new play written by Jason O’Toole, is set to premiere on the Hot Press YouTube channel. The broadcast will coincide with the release of the new issue of Hot Press on June 10, and will run at 9pm.

The play was inspired by the infamous John Gilligan interview which O’Toole carried out for Hot Press in Portlaoise Prison and which caused considerable controversy. Featuring a new score by renowned Irish musician Gerry Leonard – famed for his work with David Bowie – the rehearsed reading boasts a stunning cast. Directed by Stephen Jones, it stars Rex Ryan, Jason Barry and Charlene Gleeson – all players at the top of the game.




‘The destination is the journey’ May 29, 2021

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An excellent point is raised in this piece on the SpaceX interplanetary missions, one which I’d never seen put in quite this way. Discussing the reality of the spaceships being used and – implicitly – the technologies of same, the writer notes that:

For years Musk has compared his rockets to airliners, using the familiar sizes and thrust-capacities of Boeing 737s and 747s as reference points for his future-bound ships. These comparisons circulate on social media, by way of making SpaceX craft both more graspable andmore impressive. But the analogies are telling. As much as the goal is to reduce the time of feeling trapped inside a cramped cabin, the endgame is in fact more of this time. And let’s be honest: A hab on Mars is not going to be a whole lot more spacious than the interior of the ship.

And continues:

If the dream of space travel involves new horizons and feelings of unbound freedom—to explore, to discover, to spread humanity—a nightmare lurks just around the corner of consciousness. There will be no real “arrival” on this fantasy trip: It’s enclosures and pressurized chambers all the way down. When it comes to human space travel, the destination really is the journey. And the journey will be long, and claustrophobic. As far as “quarantine” goes, spacefaring may feel familiar to those who lived through the COVID pandemic—and certain survival tactics may crossover.
This doesn’t invalidate the purpose of human spaceflight, even human interplanetary spaceflight, but it does point up the realities – that human habitations on other planets for quite some time to come would consist of something not that much more elaborate that the interior of small house, at best. And this, not for weeks, or months, but potentially years. And topped and tailed by travel within even more constrained quarters for months or longer. 

Somehow that is none too appetising. Ironically, as it happens, Musk himself was vociferous in his complaints about social distancing and various other constraints during the current pandemic. But the future he maps out is going to entail those and worse for the people who do eventually take these trips. 
And one has to ask, that being the case, is there a justification for such travel in that sort of way. Charles Stross here quotes Bruce Gibson:

When we look at the rest of the solar system, the picture is even bleaker. Mars is … well, the phrase “tourist resort” springs to mind, and is promptly filed in the same corner as “Gobi desert”. As Bruce Sterling has puts it: “I’ll believe in people settling Mars at about the same time I see people settling the Gobi Desert. The Gobi Desert is about a thousand times as hospitable as Mars and five hundred times cheaper and easier to reach. Nobody ever writes “Gobi Desert Opera” because, well, it’s just kind of plonkingly obvious that there’s no good reason to go there and live. It’s ugly, it’s inhospitable and there’s no way to make it pay. Mars is just the same, really. We just romanticize it because it’s so hard to reach.” In other words, going there to explore is fine and dandy — our robots are all over it already. But as a desirable residential neighbourhood it has some shortcomings, starting with the slight lack of breathable air and the sub-Antarctic nighttime temperatures and the Mach 0.5 dust storms, and working down from there.

It’s not that significantly large scale expeditions and landings would not be more sensible, they would. And one could envisage the use of a larger number of ships purposed in such a way. But short of them unmanned probes are of equal or greater utility. Speaking of which, perhaps the focus should be on the remarkably conveniently located object that orbits the Earth which we’ve managed to reach quite some number of times with rather lower tech. Build up a constant human presence there for a while and then we’re talking.

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