In the South, nurses and midwives have secured significant concessions on pay from the Fine Gael government, following three days of strike action. They took the action against a miserly pay deal which failed to keep up with rising living costs. For example, housing costs in the South are increasing at 11% per year! This has pushed many to seek work abroad and contributed to increasing workloads on staff.
The archaic laws on abortion in Northern Ireland have been found to breach the European Convention on Human Rights.
In the South, the Irish Nurses’ and Midwives’ Organisation (INMO) has planned a 24-hour strike on 30 January with a further 5 dates in early February. This strike has been a long time coming and would be only the second national strike in the hundred year history of the INMO.
Socialist TD says “Workers must draw own redlines”
Right-wing populist Peter Casey’s rise from 1% in opinion polls to receiving 23% of the Irish Presidential vote shocked many. Failing in the polls, he decided the best course of action was to whip up anti-traveller sentiment. When asked about housing, Casey made a direct attack on a Traveller family in Tipperary and a broader attack on the entire Traveller community, stating they shouldn’t be recognised as an ethnic minority. His racist remarks continued as he rehashed myths of Travellers not paying tax, which oozes with irony considering Casey is a millionaire who has lived outside of Ireland for decades and is yet to impart his income or the amount of tax he’s paid.
On the 28th July, Dublin had its first annual Trans Pride. It was organised from the beginning as a grassroots protest by and for trans people, trying to bring Pride back to its radical roots as a protest movement and rejecting the corporate taint that suffocates most establishment Prides, with companies that carry out queerphobic policies allowed to march or take part in what for them is nothing but an exercise in corporate pinkwashing.
25th May was a momentous and historic day – two thirds of voters in the South voted to repeal the anti-choice eighth amendment from the constitution, demanding the right of women and pregnant people to access abortion services. Unsurprisingly, it was women, young and LGBT+ people and working-class communities that were to the fore in this revolt. The result was a body blow to the Catholic Church’s domination of Irish society which, in living memory, led to such horrors as the imprisonment of women in Magdalene laundries and state-sanctioned abduction of children from unmarried mothers.
The referendum to scrap the ban on abortion was easily passed with 66.4% to 33.6% on a turnout of over 64%, the highest ever for a referendum in Ireland. The result was nearly an exact reversal of the 1983 vote which imposed the ban, except nearly a million more voted this time. As the government, in line with proposals from the Citizen’s Assembly, had said that they intended to legislate for abortion up to 12 weeks on request if Yes won, this can only be interpreted as a very strong pro-choice vote.