Wednesday, June 1, 2011


The aim of this site was to encourage left wing debate amongst party members and supporters. Unfortunately, we have not suceeded in this aim and have been unable to generate enough articles and debate to keep this site going.

We never aimed at using this site as an opportunity to simply express the views of 4 - 5 people, but rather to go beyond that.

We here still believe Sinn Féin offers the only realistic left wing political alternative in this country and would encourage as many people as possible to become involved in the party.

Thank you to all those who read the pieces on this site and to those who have contributed and perhaps others will suceeded where we have failed.

Monday, April 25, 2011

The General Election - A Members View.

While we undoubtedly achieved huge gains in the General Election, I can't help but feel that some of these gains were only made through brutally hard work and a certain amount of good fortune. The truth I discovered in this campaign is that our party is still not fit for purpose despite four years since efforts begun following the disasterious General Election campaign in 2007.

Many of the problems identified then, and further identified in Killian Forde's departing note, still exist and show no signs of being rectified, and until they are rectified I feel that the party will be continuing to float along while being the organisational equivalent of the Titanic. Briefly, I'll outline some of the problems I've identified:

1. Communication: The party still lacks effective communications between grassroots and it's structures. For someone trying to flag some issue or aid in some project it's still, as Killian Forde pointed out, a near impossible task of attempting to navigate through a maze of bureaucracy whether policy groups, committees, or an executive that is uncontactable directly.

2. Structures: We have redundant structures which function as simply a rubber stamp for the decisions of subordinate structures, one fine example being the Cuige. Sinn Fein is the only organisation I've been a member of in which the concept of a structure which by-passes all other structures has been conceived or even found necessary, going by the name of the Organisation Development Unit (ODU). Surely this indicates that there are dire organisational problems, which the ODU should have been a temporary fix to until some kind of reform could take place.

3. Appointments: There has still been no changes to how the party seeks candidates for full-time positions within the party. This is still resulting in people who lack qualification in the areas they are responsible for getting the job. An odd advertisement in An Phoblacht does not count as transparent recruitment while other jobs are appointed almost without competition. The party is still in clear breach of employment legislation as long as this practice continues.

To conclude, I think that it is vital that our party must be a mirror reflection of the Ireland we wish to create. The grand aspirations are no good if those who seek to bring them about cannot act in their image.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In about 30 years time

The talented drawer Brian Moore has passed away. He was the man behind the "Cormac" cartoons in An Phoblacht.

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD has expressed his ‘deep sadness’ at the death of Brian Moore and he has extended his condolences to Brian’s partner Máire and their son Cormac, to Máire’s son Conor and Brian’s brothers Gerry and Danny and his sister Maura, and his family circle and friends.

Gerry said:

“Brian will be best known to most republicans as the irrepressible and politically perceptive cartoonist Cormac who for many years was a regular feature in Republican News and then in An Phoblacht/Republican News after the papers merged.

His weekly contribution to the paper touched on the big issues of the time; the war, repression, sectarianism, collusion and much more. His cartoons lampooned the British Army and RUC; the British government and media. If he witnessed injustice he turned his satirist’s pen loose.

His cartoons were incisive and funny. And for many readers the back page was the first they read to see what gem ‘Notes by Cormac’ held for them. Brian was a republican and a socialist.
He supported the struggle for freedom and the peace process.
In the 70’s he published political comics and he contributed to other publications, including the British weekly Socialist Challenge and Fortnight magazine.

Brian was also a song writer and performer. He founded ‘The People of No Property’ with whom he sang.
His death is a huge loss for his family but also to the wider republican community.

Go ndeanfaidh Dia trocaire air.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Victory for Peace Movement in new Programme for Government

Press Statement 8/3/2011 Peace & Neutrality Alliance

Victory for Peace Movement in new Programme for Government

The Peace & Neutrality Alliance (PANA) welcomes the statement in the new Labour/Fine Gael Programme for Government, promising to implement international law in terms of the use of Irish airspace and airports by foreign powers. Under the section Foreign Affairs, ODA and Defence, the Programme says: "We will enforce the prohibition on the use of Irish airspace, airports and related facilities for purpose not in line with dictates of
international law."

PANA Chair, Roger Cole, a delegate to the Conference, asked for clarification of this statement in the Programme for Government. He pointed out that a key part of international law governing the behaviour of Neutral States is the Hague Convention of 1907 which prohibits the use of a neutral state's territory to prosecute a war. Switzerland quotes the Hague Convention to explain why no US planes land in Zurich Airport on their way to and from their wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Mr. Cole asked: " Does this mean the termination of the use of Shannon Airport by US troops in these permanent ongoing wars?" citing Afghanistan and Iraq.

Eamon Gilmore in his closing speech to the Conference, replied to Roger Cole's call for clarification. The Labour Party Leader stated that: "Yes, Roger Cole has pointed out an area where is there is a difference" and "that it may be hard to believe" but that the statement in the Programme for the Government " does mean what is says".

In the context of the question asked and the reply given, this means the new government will, like the Government of Switzerland, implement the Hague Convention, and terminate the use of Shannon Airport by US troops on their way to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We would hope the new incoming government would do so on Easter Monday, the 95th anniversary of the 1916 Rising. PANA will also seek an early meeting with the new Minister for Foreign Affairs.

for more information contact Roger Cole, Chair of PANA Tel: 087-2611597 or Seamas Ratigan Tel: 086-8369793

Sunday, March 6, 2011


23 years ago today Volunteers Danny McCann, Seán Savage, and Mairéad Farrell were shot dead in Gibraltar.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Progressive Oppostion

It looks likely that there will be 14 Sinn Féin and up to 10 progressive left deputies in the incoming Dáil. 
These 24 progressive left Representatives need to eclipse Fianna Fail as the opposition to the incoming conservative administration and ensure that victory could be grasped from the jaws of defeat, so to speak.  This is a platform that we could barely imagine a few short weeks ago,
The election campaign was dominated bu the specific budgetary issues and the immediacy of the crisis facing the people.  Ideology struggled to feature.  It can now be a central feature of debate from the first day of the incoming Dáil.  The people can hear how and why we are in this crisis and just how similar FG and FF are.  It will also continue to force the members of the Labour Party to examine how best to use their political strength. 
I would make a particular appeal to the members of the ULA to resist the temptation to take an elitist view of what it means to be on the progressive left. The days of political sectarianism on the left need to be left behind.
The British Labour politician Tony Benn described British Labour something like this.  Labour is not a socialist party, but it has many Socialist within it.  SF could be described that way,  Certainly, the ULA should reach out to the membership of SF.  It would be good for both groups.  All activism is educational and it works both ways.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Language Freedom movement redux eile

Fine Gael seem to think that the Irish language is a barrier to progress. They are trying to lower Irish's status as a Leaving cert language.

Just like the Language freedom movement Fine Gael is bringing the past back into Irish politics.

Irish is a defining feature of Ireland. No matter where you are from or what your background the Irish language is the patrimony of everyone.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fail have together tolerated 8 decades of failed language policy. For me the failure to restore Irish is a good example of how failure is tolerated in this state. Fine Gael instead of improving the teaching of Irish has responded with the out dated agenda of weakening it.

A move which has been widely condemned by ordinary students and people.

FG or FF does not have a right to destroy our language.