Domhnall O Cobhthaigh has served as a councillor for Sinn Fein on Fermanagh District Council for the past two years and has been a leading activist for Sinn Fein for twelve years. Here he explains his reasons for resigning from Sinn Fein and his decision to join the Socialist Party. […]
In the past 12 months over half a million workers have been sacked across Northern Ireland and Britain. In the North, over 102,000 people are unable to find work – more than double the official unemployment statistics.
The rise of unemployment has become an emergency. The ‘green shoots of recovery’ which many capitalist economists predicted earlier this year have shown to be nothing more than wishful thinking. Most economists now admit that any recovery will be very weak, and it is ruled out that sufficient jobs will be created in the next year to absorb the hundreds of thousands of people joining the dole queues. Workers who face losing their jobs and the galling prospect of having to survive on paltry benefits though are beginning to resist job losses.
US AND British military chiefs have been quick to label their July offensive against the Taliban in south east Afghanistan a “success”. In reality the main achievement of the British “Operation Panther’s Claw” and the US “Operation Thrust of the Sword” has been to refocus the attention of an increasingly sceptical public at home on the military quagmire and political impasse that is present day Afghanistan.
The significance of the Thomas Cook occupation cannot be overstated. At the time of writing the issue of redundancy payments is not resolved but already the struggle has exposed the pro-big business nature of the courts and the Gardai. Crucially it was a victory of the spirit of the workers and showed the extraordinary ability of people to fight to defend their rights.
Twenty-eight workers arrested and dragged through the courts in scenes more common in far away dictatorial regimes. The Thomas Cook occupation showed that “social partnership” does not exist. It also illustrated the anger that working class people feel at being made pay the price for the crisis through job cuts and attacks on rights. When told that the company was going to close with immediate effect the workers occupied the building.
The three nights of heavy rioting which took place in Ardoyne in North Belfast over the Twelfth showed how the main parties in the Assembly are being challenged by more hard-line sectarian forces on the ground. The decision of Sinn Fein to organise a token protest against the Orange Order marching past the Ardoyne shops effectively gave the green light to the PSNI to ‘deal’ with dissident republican groups who had prepared in advance attacks on the Orange Order and the PSNI.