News and Analysis: Ireland
The life of a child is precious. The life of a woman is equally precious. The quality of life for both are stifled by politicians who continually gut public health programs, education, and access to safe, affordable housing.
The Guardian UK reported Nov. 27 that over 100,000 Irish workers poured into the streets of Dublin that day to protest the €85 billion ($112 billion) International Monetary Fund and European Union bailout of the Irish banks at the cost of four years of brutal job losses and slashed wages and social services.
More than 250,000 Irish public-sector workers went on strike on Nov. 24 in what is said to be the biggest national strike in over 30 years. The work stoppage closed hospitals, schools, social welfare offices, passport offices, and public offices of the state tax authorities.
On March 7, Irish revolutionary forces ambushed and killed two members of the occupying British army for the first time in 12 years. Two days later, an officer of the British-imposed police force in Northern Ireland was shot dead in his patrol car.
Recent legislation meant to reform the Vagrancy Act, recently struck down as unconstitutional, will effectively target beggars for the crime of being poor. The 1847 Vagrancy Act, imposed by British colonialists during the potato famine, criminalized starving people struggling to survive.
In recent months, there has been a wave of state repression sweeping over progressive forces in Ireland. In the past several weeks, this crackdown escalated with the arrest of a number of socialists under flimsy "terrorism" charges.
In a June 12 referendum, Irish voters soundly rejected the Treaty of Lisbon, a repackaged version of the European Union constitution rejected in 2005. To become law, the treaty must be ratified by all 27 member states.
A number of events took place in May in Ireland that will radically change the centuries-long struggle for Irish national liberation against British imperialism. Most notably, on May 8, Sinn Fein, the most prominent party advocating an end to British rule in Ireland, joined a home-rule government in the Six Counties of British-occupied northern Ireland with the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party.
Almost one year ago, Ken Loach’s film "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" won the Palme d’Or at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. Despite winning the top prize at the world’s most prestigious film festival, the film has struggled to get a showing.
On Sunday, Aug. 13, more than 20,000 people in Belfast, Northern Ireland commemorated the 25th anniversary of 1981 Hunger Strike in which 10 Irish revolutionaries being held by British occupation forces struck to win status as political prisoners.