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.
Campaigns & Issues
It is positive to see the ongoing protests against Dalradian Gold’s plans for mining in the Sperrin Mountains and storing cyanide on site. This threatens a potential leak into the local water supply, as has previously happened in Romania, causing a massive fish kill.
On 23rd November, the decriminalisation bill will have its second reading. We must mobilise to ensure that the government allots the bill time and allows it to progress to the next stage where it can become law. We must make it clear that a majority in Northern Ireland, across the community divide, support decriminalisation. The trade unions must also stand in solidarity and bring the collective power of workers to bear in this fight, and in the struggle for marriage equality.
The technology and the wealth necessary to tackle climate change exist, but capitalism’s incessant, myopic drive for profit above all else is a fundamental barrier to safeguarding our further. By taking society’s wealth out of the hands of the super-rich elite and using it in a planned and democratic way, we could rapidly transfer to renewable energy, creating millions of jobs in planning, constructing and maintaining the infrastructure necessary for this, and furthermore, providing electricity and other vital services for vast swathes of the world currently lacking. Environmentalists must campaign for socialist solutions to climate change – the only real solutions – and discard the half-measures of capitalism.
The trade union movement, representing both Protestant and Catholic workers, is the key force that can challenge the far right here. Mobilisations of workers from both backgrounds, linked to demands for investment in housing and job creation, will be key to knocking them back. Ultimately, building an anti-sectarian political alternative and struggling for a socialist future is the only way to bury the far right for good.
Jolene Bunting has been suspended from her position on Belfast City Council for 4 months while an investigation is carried out into a number of complaints against her. A statement from the Commissioner for Standards said there was evidence that Bunting had failed to comply with the council’s code of conduct and that her conduct was likely to have brought the council into disrepute.
Young people today have grown up in a period when the trade union movement has been in retreat. It has been the unions’ decline from militancy to conservatism that has caused young people to no longer consider them vehicles for change and why they have been struggling to understand their relevance in a world of global social upheaval. This has meant that trade union membership has fallen to its lowest since 1995. But material conditions are driving small groups of young workers to organise and fight back.
After a landslide vote of just under 67% to repeal the constitutional abortion ban on 25th May, on 18th September, the eighth amendment was formally repealed in the South, after all appeals made seeking to the challenge the referendum result were dismissed.