Left Tribune - Labour Party by ghkgkyyt


									LEF T




 Also in this issue>>>>
 Eamon Gilmore, US elections, Asylum Seekers,
 Democracy in Turkey, Homelessness, Lisbon Treaty
2          The Left Tribune

                                                On the Campaign Trail: Labour Youth 4 months on

                                             Since our last issue November Labour Youth have been involved in a
                                             number of campaigns and demonstrations. At the end of November we
                                             joined Labour LGBT candle lit vigil outside the Dail show our support for
                                             Same-Sex Marriages and Civil Unions. Following the Cancer Care
                                             scandal, Labour Youth were first to call on Mary Harney to publicly apol-
                                             ogise and resign. The unjust two-tier health service has been created
                                             and is being maintained by the current PD-Fianna Fail government. A
    Left Tribune is the magazine of
                                             worrying development in Ireland today is that not having private health
    Labour Youth in Ireland. We operate      insurance in a sign of poverty. Dermot Looney has written an excellent
    on the basis of a sustainable and        article for this issue on the current state of the Health Service.
    democratic socialist ethos.              Fortunately there are people who stand up to the neo-liberal moves by
                                             various institutions, for example Dan O’Neill, UCD Branch Chair tells us
    As such, Left Tribune is printed on
    paper which is 50% recycled and          on p.8 of the attempt by UCD to introduce student charges in the UCD
    50% from sustainable forests. If you     Health Centre, and how the student movement in UCD successfully
    are finished reading, we would ask       stopped the college from doing just that.
    that you pass this issue on to some-
    one else - or recycle it.
                                             Another gain Labour Youth has made, is receiving a commitment by the
    All articles are copyleft - this means   government to reduce the VAT on condoms from 21% down to 13.5%
    that we encourage the sharing of         following their World Aids Day campaign in December 2007. Hopefully
    these articles and anyone is free to     the government will continue to listen to Labour Youth and make all
    reproduce them. However we would         form of contraception completely tax-free.
    ask that in the interests of those
    who took their time to write and edit
    this publication, that you would con-    The rotten FF/PD administration extends further than the Health
    tact us at the details below to let us   Service, even the United Nations Commissioner for Refugees UNCR
    know if you are doing so.                has warned the government that their new Immigration, Residence and
    We welcome articles and comments
                                             Protection Bill falls short of good international practice particularly in
    from all readers to                      regard to the treatment of unaccompanied minors. Joanne Doherty on
    lycommunications@labour.ie               p.13 outlines the shameful treatment asylum seekers face in Ireland.

    The opinions expressed in Left           There are many great articles in this issue that cover local, national and
    Tribune are those of its contributors
    and are not necessarily the policies     international topics and they are definatley worth a read!
    or views of Labour Youth or the
    Labour Party.

         Editorial Staff
                                             Page 3
                                             Page 4
    Editor: Christina Mc Sorley                      Condom Victory!

                                             Page 5
    Deputy Editor: Laura Buttigieg
                                                     Why Labour Youth say yes to the Lisbon Treaty

                                             Page 6
                                                     Remembering Charlie Donnelly

                                             Page 8
    Copy Editor: Andrew Payne                        Health Hazard: Why our Healthcare is in Crisis

                                             Page 9
    Contributors: Christine Bohan, Paul              UCD Campaign for Free Health Care

                                             Page 10
    Dillon, Enda Duffy, Joanne Doherty,              Poolbeg Incinerator

                                             Page 11
    Holly Kilroy Dermot Looney, David                Ireland’s Housing Crisis
    Murphy, Hazel Nolan, Patrick Nulty,

                                             Page 12
    Maria Parodi, Dan O’Neill, Conor                 The Red Flag Festival

                                             Page 13
    Tanam                                            Democracy in Turkey: The Fight for a Kurdish Voice

                                             Page 14
    With thanks to: Cian ‘the legend’
                                                     Asylum Seekers in Ireland under Fianna Fail

                                             Page 16
    O'Callaghan                                      US Election: Special Report

                                             Page 18
                                                     On The Shelf: Labour Youth Book Reviews
    Printed by: Grehan Print, Brunswick
    House, Dublin 2
                                                     Roisin Shorthall answers the questions in this issue’s

                                             Page 19 Eamon Gilmore tells us his vision for the future of the
                                                     LT files

                                                     Labour Party
                                                                                          The Left Tribune                 3

 Labour Youth win a Rubbery Victory
Labour Youth has led the campaign to      this issue. In 2006 the Labour Youth
reduce the VAT on condoms for sev-        budget submission highlighted the
eral years and the governments            case for removing tax on safer sex.
announcement to reduce VAT on con-        As recently as today Labour Youth
doms from 21% to 13.5% is a step in       members were distributing free con-
the right direction.                      doms in UCD as part of the cam-
In December 2007 to mark World Aids
Day Labour Youth distributed free         Speaking on the Issue Labour Youth
condoms with Proinsias De Rossa           National Chairperson Enda Duffy said
M.E.P. in Grafton Street to highlight     "This is a welcome initiative from the Jan O’Sullivan hands out condoms
                                           Government who have finally decid-               infront of the Dail
                                           ed to act to reduce tax on safer sex.   young people and students."
                                           However it does not go far enough.
                                           Under EU regulations a VAT rate as        Labour Youth call on condom ven-
                                           low as 5% is permissible on contra-     dors to pass on the cut in VAT direct-
                                           ception. It is deplorable that the gov- ly onto consumers. Anything else will
                                           ernment is still taxing safer sex at amount to gross and ruthless profi-
                                           rate higher than required by the EU. teering at the expense of people's
                                           The government also needs to sexual health. The government needs
                                           increase the supply of free contra- to take firm action against any com-
                                           ception to target groups including panies or vendors that fail to pass on
                                                                                   the VAT cut.

   We are Irish Citizens, not $hell
On June 29th 2005, five farmers                                                      ‘cost-effective’ a gas refinery, that in
from a rural town in Mayo were jailed                                                itself severly lacks high safety stan-
for getting in Shell's way of its con-                                               dards on unstable bog land is dan-
struction of a high-pressure pipeline                                                gerous in the extreme. Will it take a
that threatened the lives and liveli-                                                disaster in Mayo costing the lives of
hoods of their families and neigh-        ourable representatives regardless         the local community for us to realise
bours. Thousands of people in towns       of the health and safety repercus-         that what Shell and the Irish govern-
across the country including active       sions Irish citizens will face on a        ment are doing is negligent?
contingents of Labour Youth rallied in    day-to-day basis.                          Although the Shell2Sea campaign
support of the men. The government,       The community in Rossport are              has dealt with internal difficulties and
and other political parties have          understandably afraid for their fami-      criticism, we have opportunity to
ignored the issues being raised by        lies' safety. In June 2001 a Shell         show, not only the Labour Party but
the Rossport community chosing to         pipeline burst in Nigeria and crude        the government too, that Shell must
take the easy way out and continue        oil flowed into the waterways of a         go to Sea.
to let Shell place Irish lives in dan-    local village for 18 days before being
ger.                                      finally clamped. Over 150,000 resi-        For more information go to:
Shell to Sea has suffered another         dents relied on the local streams for      www.corribsos.com
blow in March 2007 when Mayo              drinking water, many fell sick and in
County Councillors voted against the      extreme cases died from the con-
                                          tamination. This wanton pollution                  Local residents showing their
wishes of a considerable number of
                                          came less than a decade after nine                            opposition to Shell
residents and gave their permission
to allow the council to accept €3mil-     anti-Shell activists were arrested, tor-
lion from Shell, Statoil and Marathon     tured and killed by the military gov-
to widen and strengthen a road to be      ernment having close ties to the
used exclusively by Shell. This is just   multinational corporation.
another example of how multi-nation-      Furthermore, Shell refused to pay a
al organisations can buy off our          $1.5 billion fine levelled by the
national resources from un-hon-           Nigerian Senate for the pollution
                                          caused by the spill. Constructing a
4        The Left Tribune

Labour Youth say YES to Europe
Hazel Nolan, Labour Youth Equality Officer explains why we all should say YES to Europe
Europe has done much to benefit and                                                  within the EU Commission. It also
improve social and economic stan-                                                    addresses this deficit in strengthening
dards in Europe. It has also acted as                                                national parliament. If half the 27
an aid in counter balancing the suc-                                                 member states are unsatisfied then a
cession of right wing government fail-                                               majority of national governments may
ures through the decriminalisation of                                                demand that a measure be discarded.
homosexuality, equal pay, social wel-                                                Regarding the militarization of the EU,
fare reform and free movement of                                                     this treaty ensures that Ireland retains
people. Europe has also held Ireland                                                 its triple lock system; this means that
to account on Environmental issues        On the Lisbon Treaty it is our privilege   Ireland will not send troops abroad
where weak government policy has          to be in a position to vote. This is not   nor join any foreign missions unless
time and again fallen short of the        however an argument for voting YES,        they have received a UN mandate to
international set standard. Where         or indeed NO to the Lisbon Treaty, as      do so. This means that the EU can
these governments have failed us          some claim. We are not voting for all      play a role in spreading and ensuring
Europe has delivered.                     the other EU members, and we can           peace is maintained across the globe.
                                          not presume to know what decision          It will not mean an EU super army
Europe has also been one of the           other nations would make, but it does      with France, Britain and Germany
greatest purveyors of peace across        imply that we should weigh up our          joining together their military, which
the continent. In fact when you com-      decision carefully. The argument that      we could not prevent them from
pare the positive influence and role      we should also vote NO to Europe on        doing, now anyway if there was a will
Europe has played on pacifying and        the basis that France and the              for it in all three countries. The Lisbon
reforming its neighbour countries, and    Netherlands returned a NO decision         Treaty also mentions the need for
the positive effects this has had for     on the European Constitution is            improved environmental policies,
both newly joined member states and       equally an irrelevant argument.            which again is another progressive
those looking to join; in comparison      Democracy means that everyone              step towards bettering our society.
with the influence and effects the        should be able to both make up their
United States has had on Central and      own decision and have the freedom          The treaty does not make provisions
Southern America it is clear that         to arrive at their own decision.           for allowing Europe to impose neo-lib-
Europe, its ideals and growth have                                                   eral policies on National Parliaments
come further then any National State      So why should we vote to accept this       regarding such issues as tax and the
could hope to achieve on its own.         Treaty? The Treaty of Lisbon is need-      health system etc. What we on the left
                                          ed in order to accommodate the             of the political spectrum do need to
This said Europe does not come with-      expansion of the EU. The original          work towards is ensuring that we
out its faults, namely the extent to      documentation drawn up did not             campaign for our policies at national
which there is a democratic deficit       envisage the EU to grow t its current      and European level, and co-operate
within the European Union. At present     capacity and new documentation is          on a broader level with our sister par-
the Commission, which is undemoc-         needed to encompass this. The              ties in other states. In the Dáil we are
ratic and supranational in nature         Treaty of Lisbon paves the way for the     the third party of the state, in the
exerts too much power over the dem-       further development of the EU. For         Parliament we are one of the most
ocratically decided Parliament and        the first time the Charter of              influential and largest groups. We
the Council f Ministers which is itself   Fundamental Human Rights has               should vote YES to the structures and
intergovernmental in nature. This is in   been given legal status and provi-         campaign in solidarity for our com-
need of reform, especially if the EU is   sions. Also the treaty goes far in         mon policies.
to continue its expansion.                addressing the democratic deficit
Holly Kilroy chairing the public meeting on the
Lisbon Treaty

                                                               The well attended meeting decided Labour
                                                               Youth’s position the Lisbon Treaty

    Even the Olives
                                                                                          The Left Tribune                 5

          are bleeding
Enda Duffy, Chairperson of Labour Youth remembers the life of
Charlie Donnelly
                                          In 1931, he enrolled in University         joined the front line in the Battle of
                                          College Dublin to study, English,          Jarama. On the evening of the 27th
                                          History, Logic and Irish. Donnelly as a    Donnelly's unit was caught by a fas-
                                          student formed part of a group of          cist counter attack. Joseph Donnelly
                                          poets, writers and intellectuals, which    recalls the last moments of Charlie in
                                          included Donagh MacDonagh and              his biography Charlie Donnelly, The
                                          Nial Sherian. While not being very         Life and Poems where he quotes
                                          committed to his academic work,            from the memoirs of a Canadian vol-
                                          Donnelly was heavily involved in writ-     unteer.
                                          ing poetry and left wing politics, in      "Charles Donnelly, Commander of
                                          particular with the Republican             the Irish Company, is crouched
                                          Congress where he met Frank Ryan,          behind an olive tree. He has picked a
                                          Peadar O'Donnell, George Gilmore           bunch of olives from the ground and
                                          and Cora Hughes.                           is squeezing them. I hear him say
                                                                                     quietly during a lull of the machine
                                          After dropping out of UCD, Donnelly        gun fire 'even the olives are bleeding'.
                                          began to write full time for the           A bullet got him square in the temple

                                          Congress newspaper and by 1935 he          a few minutes later."
        Charles Donnelly
                                          left for London to live with his brother
                                                                                                          Donnelly s
On the 27th of February 1937, the         and work for the Congress's London

                                                                                                          plaque unveiled
poet Charles Donnelly died during the     Branch.

                                                                                                          at UCD in
battle of Jarama in defence of the        In 1936 the Spanish Civil War broke

                                                                                                          Feburary 2008
Spanish Republic. 71 year later, on       out and Donnelly began to encourage
the 26th of February 2008, the mem-       Gilmore and Ryan to mobilise Irish
ory of this poet and political activist   Volunteers to fight in Spain. At first,
was celebrated in UCD. A plaque was       Gilmore and Ryan were hostile to the       At the age of 22 Donnelly was dead,
unveiled to his memory and Trinity        idea of an Irish mobilisation due to       buried in an unmarked grave and
College Dublin's Dr. Gerard Dawe          the conservative nature of Irish socie-    publically remembered only by an
gave a lecture on his poetry to a         ty, the control and influence of the       account of his life and poems written
packed lecture theatre of over 150        Church and the continued attacks on        by his brother Joseph, until now with
people.                                   the Republican Congress by the right       the erection of a plaque to his memo-
         Donnelly was born on the         wing media. In spite of this, Donnelly     ry in UCD. The plaque was unveiled,
10th of July 1914 in Killybrackey, near   convinced his comrades to begin            appropriately, by his sister Christine
Dungannon, County Tyrone. The             organising an Irish force.                 and facilitated by the UCD school of
family moved to Dundalk and then to                                                  English and several students. Sadly,
Dublin where they settled in 1928.        Donnelly reached Spain in January          Joseph Donnelly who has dedicated
From an early age, Donnelly               1937 where he me up with the Irish         his life to the memory of his brother
immersed himself in reading and writ-     James Connolly Centuira led by             passed away on February 14th - only
ing poetry. It is clear from his poems    Frank Ryan. They received some             12 days before the commemoration.
that he was extremely gifted writer.      training and on the 23rd of February

Christy Moore has honoured the lives of the Irish that fought against Franco during the Spanish
                      Civil War in his song Viva la Quinta Brigada!
Viva la Quinta Brigada. "No Pasaran", the pledge that made them fight. "Adelante" is the cry around the hillside. Let
                                           us all remember them tonight

 This song is a tribute to Frank Ryan, Kit Conway and Dinny Coady too Peter Daly, Charlie Regan and Hugh Bonar
                                      Though many died I can but name a few.

Danny Boyle, Blaser-Brown and Charlie Donnelly, Liam Tumilson and Jim Straney from the Falls, Jack Nalty, Tommy
                        Patton and Frank Conroy Jim Foley, Tony Fox and Dick O'Neill

 Viva la Quinta Brigada. "No Pasaran", the pledge that made them fight. "Adelante" is the cry around the hillside Let
                                           us all remember them tonight
6        The Left Tribune

                                  HEALTH WARNING

                       INDECENT AND UNCIVILISED

The Dublin demonstration on March 29th in support of decent public healthcare brings yet another
outlet to a national anger felt at Ireland's crippled health system. Dermot Looney looks at the his-
tory of Irish healthcare and the political issues which place public opinion very firmly on the left.

There are simply no issues in poli-       Emergent from a history of bit-part      hegemony of subsidiarity in Irish
tics that touch us as personally and      residualism and dominated by             social policy.
emotively as health. All of us have       today's self-serving neoliberal agen-
been patients to varying degrees.         da, it is no wonder that people in       Halfway through the twentieth cen-
Many of us have been deeply               Ireland are becoming increasingly        tury, just a couple of years after Nye
involved as family members, profes-       enraged at the failure to provide a      Bevan could successfully launch a
sionals or others in the vast array of    world class public health system.        comprehensive National Health
services and institutions that com-                                                Service across the Irish Sea that
prise Irish healthcare. Matters of        Ireland's experience with healthcare     was universal, paid for through gen-
death and life, pain and recovery         in the modern age has been borne         eral taxation and free at the point of
and suffering and wellness affect us      out of traditions of poverty and         access, a mild effort by a fellow
innately. The strings of conscience       exclusion, along with the unseemly       socialist towards a much narrower
and empathy are pulled for all as         alliance of liberal economics with the   universalist provision for mothers
shared experiences of illness and         pre-eminence of the Catholic hierar-     and their children in the Republic of
treatment strike universal chords.        chy. An unconnected system of vol-       Ireland was met with a vicious
                                          untary religious-based institutions      response from the hierarchy and
Therefore, it is not surprising to have   dominated from the first semblance       medical profession.
seen and heard the unprecedented          of public healthcare for the 'deserv-
levels of personal testimony across       ing poor' under the workhouse sys-       Noel Browne's attempts to follow up
the airwaves and in print from those      tems to recent times.                    his successful campaign against the
most affected by deficiencies in Irish                                             scourge of tuberculosis with the
healthcare in recent times.               Initial attempts to socialise medicine   Mother and Child Scheme ended in
                                          were mere pipe dreams against the        defeat for his proposals. But his
                                                                                   exposé of the role of the Church and
                                                                                   Irish Medical Association in the
                                                                                   aftermath showed that, despite gov-
                                                                                   ernmental efforts to take onboard
                                                                                   public healthcare more seriously
                                                                                   with the formation of a Department
                                                                                   of Health in 1947, true power contin-
                                                                                   ued to lie in the hands of wealthy
                                                                                   doctors and powerful clerics.

                                                                                   Shamefully, the initial support for the
                                                                                   scheme from the Labour Party mem-
                                                                                   bers in government was soon with-
                                                                                   drawn in the face of pressure from
                                                                                   institutions and individuals of the
 2006 Protest to stop the closure of our National Childrens                        deepest conservatism. The scandal
                     Hospital in Tallagh                                           also played a part in the downfall of

                                                                                        The Left Tribune               7

  Jan O’ Sullivan TD addresses a rally in                        Supporters show their opposition at the
 protest o f Mary Harney’s negligence dur-                                 November protest
    ing the cancer tests controversery
the Clann na Poblachta party and           of the focus of the widespread criti- the left; supportive of public health
instilled a fear factor for those pursu-   cism has been on the scandalous and not the need for outsourcing our
ing progressive health policies for a      levels of incompetence and repeat- sick people to private profiteers.
generation.                                ed 'systems failures' - a term
                                           devised, no doubt, to make adminis- An already-unacceptable two-tier

Health reforms have come and               trators and healthcare professionals system which forced those lucky
gone, with the 1980's being a key          sound more like machines than enough to afford it to take out private
time for cuts in beds and care due to      members of government-devised health insurance has been exacer-
a series of regressive budgets. The        teams and struc-                                         bated to the point
economic prosperity of the late            tures. There has               No society can            that it could now
1990's should have brought about a
sea change in the provision of a
                                           also been an enor-
                                           mous        emphasis
                                                                     legitimately call itself be argued that not
                                                                                                    having        private
                                                           media, civilized if a sick person insurance is now a

healthcare policy that in secondary        from
(hospital) care is ostensibly univer-      patients groups and is denied medical aid sign of poverty in
sal and free. But instead of the           professionals       on                                   itself. The cam-
extension and expansion of provi-          hospital       cleanli-     because of lack of           paign for a system
sion at both primary and secondary         ness, an issue                      means                that is both public
levels, and in mental health and           which 10 years ago                                       and decent recog-
other key sectors, the record of suc-      would have seemed one truly at the nises the need for improvements in
cessive Fianna Fáil-led administra-        micro-level.                             competence to be based on and
tions has been one of politically-                                                  accompanied by a commitment to
motivated sham. Support for their          It is crucial for Labour and the left to public healthcare, not a system
private sector friends and an outright     address issues such as these not which, fancy language and specious
refusal to extend medical card cover       only in terms of competence, but as arguments notwithstanding, contin-
for the less well-off have been just       a result of a series of political deci- ues to reward those who happen to
two of the moral outrages led by           sions by the most avowedly right- be very rich. It seems the concentra-
these governments.                         wing Irish government in the last 50 tion of power has remained in the
                                           years. Chronic underfunding in a hands of elites all along; be it the
Understandably and correctly, much         number of key areas - not least Church hierarchy, conservative doc-
                                           recruitment - as well as a political tors or, increasingly, the healthcare
                                           decision to effectively outsource the capitalists.
                                           administration of healthcare to the
                                           HSE, a highly centralised body with Nye Bevan, the visionary socialist
                                           no real public accountability, were a behind the British NHS, wrote in his
                                           result of governmental policy. The book In Place of Fear that "no soci-
                                           unapologetic neoliberalism of the ety can legitimately call itself civi-
                                           Progressive Democrats made an lized if a sick person is denied med-
                                           easy bedfellow for the conservative ical aid because of lack of means."
                                           dodgery of Fianna Fáil.                  Such an appalling vista exists in one
                                                                                    of the supposed wealthiest countries
                                           But, significantly for Labour and the in the world. If we are to rediscover
                                           left, the economic thrust of health our civility and compassion as a
                                           provision in terms of the privatisa- society, retaining the morality of
                                           tion agenda has also been a source public and universal healthcare will
                                            of enormous opposition across the be at the forefront of the campaign
                                            country. For now, it certainly seems for change.
St. Vincent’s Private Hospital              that public opinion is very firmly on
8        The Left Tribune

        An Additional Fee on Student Health Care?
                   We Deserve Better
Dan O’Neill, Chairperson of UCD Labour and activist for UCD Students for Free Health Care tells
us how successful a student movement can be when united in the face of encroaching
                                             Due to the shear size of UCD, many          Campaigns involving students have
                                             illnesses can be easily transmitted         secured real reductions in Third
                                             and for that reason it is highly impor-     World debt, a global agreement limit-
                                             tant that students are able to go to the    ing trade in genetically modified
                                             doctor without worrying about the           organisms and an international treaty
                                             cost.                                       banning landmines. Student's fought
                                                                                         down in Carnsore point so that we
                                             Everyone agrees that the current            could live in a safe, nuclear free
                                             health service in UCD is far from per-      Ireland today and won! Students
                                             fect due to the fact it is under            ensured we don't pay fees to go to
                                             resourced; however the solution to          college!
                                             the problem is not making students
                                             pay twice. When one looks at the fact       Student activism and campaigns are
                                             that in the last five years, the amount     important. We have the power to
                                             of money spent by the UCD authori-          make Ireland and the world a better
                                             ties on consultancy firms has gone up       place. It would be irresponsible not to
We all know how expensive it can be          four fold to 4 and a half million a year,   use it.
to see a doctor when we are ill. In          it is easy to draw the conclusion that
fact, many of us have probably               student money is being spent in the         How can we do this?
skipped visiting the doctor in the past      wrong way. What makes matters                1) Join campaigns that take direct
because of lack of money. Doctors            worse is that in a recent student/staff     action, not those that merely make
fees in this country are highly expen-       survey, it was reported that moral was      you feel good. Beware of all cam-
sive compared to other EU countries          incredibly low; proof that student          paigns and staged events led by rock
which often means that students and          money being spent on consultants is         stars or those in power. There are
other young adults don't feel they           clearly not working.                        plenty of others, from the campaigns
have enough money to see the doctor                                                      of    the     World     Development
when ill. In many European countries         If UCD's President Hugh Brady               Movement, the anti-war movement or
GP care is free at the point of use yet      wants to put UCD on the map as an           any of those organised by Labour
in Ireland, a country with a strong          outstanding university, what better         Youth.
economy; we are now being told that          way than to provide students with
free health care can't even be sup-          quality, free services that are unavail-    2)Write to your TD, but don't allow
plied to students.                           able in other campuses. Students            yourself to be fobbed off with the
                                             cannot accept the dogma that placing        standard rubbish they come out with
  Lucky for the students of Ireland's        hidden costs on students will make          on Questions and Answers. Better
biggest university UCD, they have an         UCD a better place. This is simply not      than writing, turn up at your TDs office
on campus doctor which students can          true!                                       and demand to know what he or she
visit if they cannot afford to go to their                                               is doing about so-and-so.They call to
regular GP. Rather than paying for           Health care is a right not a privilege      our houses at election time when
this doctor every time you get               and that is the motto under which the       they're looking for a vote; give them a
checked out, students pay for the            student movement should unite! The          taste of their own medicine. But be
doctor's service through their annual        victory won by UCDSU and UCD                well armed with facts.
registration fee that's supposed to go       Students for Free Health Care shows
towards student services. Recently,          what students can achieve when they         3) The most important advice I've
however, the UCD authorities                 work together on an issue that they         ever heard is "encourage people!"
attempted to introduce an additional         feel passionately about.                    People today are always told that
cost to this service making students                                                     they are powerless and when people
pay around €20 per visit.                    Student activism should not, howev-         don't use the power they have, peo-
                                             er, stop at local issues. Throughout        ple like Hitler appear and use it
This regressive measure was fought           history, students have worked to cre-       instead...If you get active, try your
by both UCD Student's Union and              ate substantial political, environmen-      best to encourage people to do the
many student activists in the form of        tal, economic, and social change.           same!!!
UCD Students For Free Health Care            Since the 1880s students have been
and the plans to introduce a fee were        involved in Student Councils/Unions         UCD Students for Free Health Care is
taken off the table. A significant victo-    and other activist movements, speak-        an independent campaign group sup-
ry for the student movement!                 ing up for what they believe in.            ported by UCD’s Student Union.

                                                                                            The Left Tribune                9

    POOLBEG: A Waste of Time and Energy
Maria Parodi, resident of the Dublin inner-city ward and Equality Officer for the Labour Party's
Dublin South East constituency tells the Left Tribune why the proposed incinerator is a waste of
resources and raises questions over the decision made by the authorities to give it the all-clear.
In September 2007, Dublin City              Quinn TD, Cllr. Kevin Humphreys,
Council entered into a contract, which      Cllr. Dermot Lacey, Cllr. Oisin Quinn
granted Dublin Waste to Energy Ltd.         and Cllr. Mary Freehill submitted a
permission to design, build, operate        combined objection and made a
and finance an incinerator in Poolbeg.      request for an oral hearing. The DSE
This incinerator will be the largest in     Labour objection cited several con-
Ireland and will accept 600,000             cerns with the proposed incinerator.
tonnes of waste each year.                  Some of which, included the need for
Additionally, this contract included a      a health impact assessment to be
'put and pay' clause which will greatly     carried out, greater clarity on the
affect how this incinerator operates in     transportation of waste through the
Dublin. The arrangement has guaran-         Port Tunnel and the impact that the
teed that the local authority will have     impending waste policy reform will
to supply a minimum amount of waste         have on the need for incineration.
to the incinerator each year; in addi-
tion, if they fail to do so there will be   In reaction to the decisions made by
financial penalties. Ultimately, any        An Bord Pleanála and the EPA, sev- Maria Parodi and Cllr Kevin
penalty incurred will be at the             eral public meetings were held which Humphries on the Campaign trail
expense of the taxpayer. Incinerators       were well attended by Dublin South as, the need to promote a strong
demand continuous waste delivery;           East Labour representatives Ruairi indigenous recycling industry in
therefore, 'put and pay' schemes            Quinn TD, Cllr. Kevin Humphreys and Ireland. 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' is a
undermine any incentives to 'reduce,        Cllr. Dermot Lacey. Their contribu- concept that primarily separates
reuse, and recycle.'                        tions from the floor confirmed waste at the source and is the foun-
                                            Labour's ongoing commitment to dation for the minimisation of waste.
On the 19th November 2007, An Bord          opposing this incinerator. As a resi- Secondly, we should encourage 'com-
Pleanála granted planning permission        dent of the area, after attending these posting' since it has been recorded
for the proposed Incinerator on the         public meetings, I felt that many resi- that almost 30 percent of household
Poolbeg Peninsula. Despite 2,000            dents are still avidly opposed to this waste and 20 percent of commercial
objections from residents and an            incinerator and are eager to continue waste in Ireland is biodegradable.
ongoing local campaign against the          campaigning. In light of this, I organ- Lastly, we should explore the use of
incinerator, one week later a second        ised a table quiz to highlight the cur- Mechanical Biological Treatment
blow was dealt to the anti-incinerator      rent issues surrounding the incinera- (MBT), which deals with residual
campaign when the EPA announced it          tor. The event was mainly an aware- waste. MBT combines mechanical
intentions to grant a draft license to      ness raising fundraiser with the pro- and biological processes that cleans-
Dublin City Council to operate the          ceeds going in aid of CRAI es and stabilises residual waste.
plant. Along with this, the EPA set a       (Combined Residents against the
deadline of a 28-day period to submit       Incinerator). Local Labour Cllr. Kevin This process greatly reduces the
objections against the proposed incin-      Humphreys attended on the night and quantity and toxicity of residual waste
erator.                                     was able to demonstrate his continu- and the potential to produce methane.
                                            ous support for the campaign.              It is important to note, that MBT does
In response, Labour Party represen-                                                    not eliminate the need for a final dis-
tatives for Dublin South East Ruairi        While incinerators have been promot- posal option. Although, it reduces the
                                            ed as being "waste to energy" facili- overall waste sent to landfills and the
                                            ties in fact, they generate very little in remainder is then treated; therefore,
                                            energy in comparison to the amount eliminating the negative climate
                                            of energy they use, which does not impacts and toxic emissions.
                                            rationalise the large cost that goes
                                            into constructing and maintaining In order for these three alternatives to
                                            them. Incineration is an outdated waste management to be successful,
                                            method of dealing with waste; and it is it must be a national priority for gov-
                                            unfortunate that there have not been ernment. This would entail investing
                                            any sufficient efforts made to explore in the appropriate resources, infra-
                                            alternative ways of addressing waste structure and information that would
                                            management.                                allow these concepts to take hold.

                                            The Labour Party has highlighted
                                            some alternatives to incineration such
 A Right to Housing in Ireland
10         The Left Tribune

                                            44 Beresford Avenue, Bertie
                                            Ahern’s house at the centre of the
                                            Mahon Tribunal
Patrick Nulty former Chair of Labour Youth explains why the Irish Government needs to address
the housing problem in Ireland
  Despite a ten year boom in the do have an established housing poli-                   Number 4" adopted by the United
housing market there is still a signifi- cy to guide government housing pro-            Nations Committee on Economic,
cant number of people facing vision but these minimal steps are still                   Social and Cultural Rights.
Homelessness and housing exclusion not being implemented by the pres-
in contemporary Ireland. The Irish ent government.                                      How many people are in Housing
system is characterised by TCD                                                          need?
Professor P.J. Drudy as a "system of The Housing Act 1988, imposes a
winners and losers". From this per- clear responsibility on Housing                     Most recent data from the 2005

spective the winners are landlords, Authorities to provide accommodation                National Housing Needs assessment
property speculators, developers and for people experiencing homeless-                  conducted by all local authorities for
homeowners. The losers in Irish ness however it created uncertainty                     the Department of Environment found
housing include the                                     regarding      which            that 43,684 households were in need

homeless, people        The demand for social           agency should have              of social housing. This figure incorpo-
on low income, ten-                                     primary responsibility          rates among others people living in
ants and people
                        and affordable housing for the provision of                     unfit or overcrowded accommodation,
with special needs.     still far exceeds supply        care, support, reset-           people leaving institutional state care,
The reason for this                                     tlement and outreach            people in involuntary shared accom-
polarisation in housing outcomes for services to the homeless. While                    modation as well as those who fall
people is due to the market driven homeless people are entitled to be                   into the specific definition homeless
philosophy that has underpinned gov- considered for housing by local                    as defined by the 1988 Housing Act.
ernment policy for a decade now. authorities, there are few tenancies                   There are 35,924 children on the
Housing is seen as a commodity to be available; in particular to single peo-            housing waiting list with their parents.
bought and sold on the market rather ple who comprise the vast majority of              The Counted In survey assess the
than a social right.                     the homeless population.                       number out of home in Dublin. It takes
                                                                                        place every three years. The 2005
The alternative approach is to view         I firmly believe that Irish public policy   survey found that the number of
Housing as an enabling and empow-           in relation to housing should move to       homeless persons in Dublin were
ering social right. A rights based          a rights based approach to housing.         2,015. Of these 463 were children. It
approach to housing is the philosophy       The first step should be to legislate to    is important to note that given the
that underpins Labour Party housing         amend the 1988 Housing Act so that          transient and constantly changing
policy and is also favoured by NGOs         all citizens have a right to housing        nature of homelessness and the
who work directly with people experi-       and that ultimately such a position         methodology employed this figure
encing acute housing need like Focus        should be incorporated into the Irish       represents a snapshot in time rather
Ireland and Threshold. Sadly Ireland        Constitution by referendum. A legal         than a definitive total. The vast major-
has no established right to housing. It     right to housing would guarantee in         ity of households (94%) on the 2005
is historically weak by way of compar-      law Security of Tenure, Affordability,      housing list had an income of below
ison to other neighbouring EU coun-         Accessibility and cultural appropriate-     €20,000 per anum. This confirms that
tries. This is in stark contrast to coun-   ness.                                       lower income households are on the
tries like Finland, Sweden and                                                          housing list. Thus, there is an estab-
Portugal in which all citizens have a       The most authoritative interpretation       lished empirically verifiable link
constitutional and legislative right to     of the right to adequate housing            between housing exclusion and
housing. Although Ireland does not          under international human rights law        poverty.
have either of these two measures we        is provided by "General Comment

                                                                                      The Left Tribune               11
What other policy measures would          selves independently in their own liv- likely be unable to sustain a tenancy.
help tackle housing exclusion?            ing environment. This can be due to There is also a critical need to invest
                                          mental health issues, addiction or a more in the inspection, registration
Apart from introducing a legal right to   need to develop certain life skills. and regulation of properties in the pri-
housing there are a number of differ-     Budget 2008 provided the govern- vate rented sector to ensure tenure

ent policy measures which would help      ment with an opportunity to invest in security and high standards of
tackle housing need. The demand for       Supported Housing to ensure more accommodation for tenants; particu-
social and affordable housing still far   long-term supported homes are sup- larly those on low income.

exceeds supply. Homelessness and          plied to vulnerable
unmet housing needs impact serious-       groups. This would             Everyone has a Any comprehensive hous-
ly on a person's health, educational      have improve the lives right to a place they ing reform policy will
opportunities and capacity to secure      of more people by sup- can call home.               require changes in the tax
employment. It also places a huge         porting them to live in                             code. In my view this
personal strain on individuals and        their own homes. Without this sup- should involve increasing capital
families, particularly children. The      port many of these vulnerable people gains tax to 40% and also taxing
most crucial element in any strategy      can suffer repeat homelessness. property speculation and investment.
aimed at tackling housing needs must      Homelessness represents a stage in There is also a need to place a resi-
be the provision of high quality,         a person's life which they can move dential property tax back on the polit-
secure social housing for people who      out of and into long-term sustainable ical agenda. I share the vision of
are homeless and thousands of oth-        housing.                                  NGOs like Focus Ireland who say that
ers in housing need. Between 2003                                                   "everyone has a right to a place they
and 2006 Ireland's 34 local authorities   There is a critical need for accelera- can call home". The free market is
collected over €60million in lieu of      tion in the provision of social housing. functionally incapable of meeting the
social housing as part of Part V of the   It is also vital for a proportion of this housing needs of everyone in society.
2000 Planning and Development Act.        housing to be provided with a dedicat- What is urgently required is a reorien-
This revenue should now be invested       ed funding stream for supported tation of public policy both in philo-
in social housing for those in need as    housing. This would act to help tackle sophical and practical terms. Housing
a matter of urgency.                      and prevent homelessness by allow- is a right and should be available to all
                                          ing social housing providers to meet based on need - such an approach is
Many people who are out of home are       the needs of a range of vulnerable the only way to move towards an
not in a position to sustain them-        groups who would otherwise most inclusive and egalitarian society.

           The Red Flag Festival 2008
 The Irish Workers Beer Company and the Jim Connell Memorial Committee are proud to present the 10th anniver-
   sary of the unveiling of the monument to Jim Connell - the man who wrote the "Red Flag" - the song sung by
                                           socialists all over the world.

Jim Connell was born in Kishyre, a couple of miles from Crossakiel; he made his last address in Ireland to a crowd of
600, at Crossakiel in 1918. In 1998, through the efforts of the Irish and English Labour movements, a monument was
   unveiled in his memory. These organisations are again providing financial support and additional sponsorship is
                                   being sought from businesses in the local area.

   This momentous occasion will be celebrated by a free festival which will take place on Sunday 4th May 2008 at
                                             Crossakiel, Kells, Co Meath.
    The theme of the event is the celebration of International Solidarity, Community Inclusiveness, Workers rights,
                                      Fairtrade, and Environmental Awareness.

 Music will be across 2 stages, there will be an area for political debate, children are positively welcomed and a vari-
                           ety of activities will be available for them to participate and enjoy.

12         The Left Tribune

Call for a
Holly Kilroy, International Officer of Labour Youth writes about
the struggles faced by the Kurdish people in Turkey and their
campaign for democracy.
On 22nd July 2007, Sebahat Tuncel         tion to open mindedness, status of      elections however, members of
collected her belongings and made         women, and distance from Islamic        Deputy     Tuncel's     party,   the
her way amongst throbbing crowds          fundamentalism.                         Democratic Society Party (DTP), cir-
from her prison cell, straight to the                                             cumnavigated this law by campaign-
Turkish Parliament. Having been           About half of all Kurds reside in       ing as independents and only once
falsely accused of association with       Turkey and make up an estimated         they were elected, grouping together.
the illegal Kurdistan Workers Party       20% of the Turkish population. Since
(PKK), she was finally released after     1915 they have struggled continually Twenty-one DTP MP's were elected
her election to Parliament with a         to end Turkish repression. During the in this way, eight of whom are women.
record breaking 93,000 votes.             1980's Turkey began a program of This high percentage of female repre-
                                          forced assimilation of its Kurdish pop- sentation is in part thanks to the
Last November Deputy Tuncel trav-
elled to Ireland to speak with Labour
representatives about the plight of her
people. Sebahat Tuncel is one of over
                                          ulation. Use of the
                                          Kurdish        language
                                                                 “      37,000 people have DTP's quota which
                                                                                                 aims for 40% women,
                                          was outlawed and died in the conflict and a starting with a male
                                          Turks denied the further 380,000 Kurds and female joint chair.
35 million Kurds from an area known       existence of a sepa-       have been displaced (Unfortunately this
as Kurdistan that spans parts of
Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. For cen-
turies, across the board, Kurds have
                                          rate Kurdish ethnic
                                                                                             ”   equality is not carried
                                          group. This culminated in 1984 when into all walks of Kurdish society where
                                          the PKK began a rebellion against women often reap the whirlwind of
been systematically repressed and         Turkish rule attacking Turkish military poor economic circumstances.) With
denied many basic human rights.           and civilian targets. The Turkish gov- such a successful election came
                                          ernment responded by wiping out great hope for improved relations and
Fear of the Kurdish ethnic nationalism    Kurdish villages. Due to these tactics, progress in negotiations between the
has led governments to do their best      37,000 people have died in the con- Kurds and the Turkish government.
to quash the Kurdish culture and          flict and a further 380,000 Kurds have
assimilate them into various Middle       been displaced.                         Yet Ms Tuncel as walks the halls of
Eastern societies. Yet the Kurds                                                  the parliament buildings, faces turn
retain their own distinctive culture      The human rights of Kurds in Turkey and she is greeted only with silence.
derived from shared history, traditions   hardly fare much better today. It was Why is this so? Is it because what the
and language. With largely Iranian        in 1991, partially due to Turkish EU Kurds seek is so unreasonable?
origins, they are viewed with a           accession talks, that Turkey legalised Today the majority of Kurds, the DTP
European nuance by most of their          use of the Kurdish language. and even the PKK, are looking not for
Arab neighbours, particularly in rela-    However it is heavily restricted in and independent state, but democra-
                                          broadcasting and still banned in pub- cy. That was one message Deputy
                                          lic schools and the political arena. In Tuncel was eager for us to under-
                                          1994 Leyla Zana was sentenced to stand: "Real democracy and equality
                                          15 years imprisonment for making her is more important than independ-
                                          MP inauguration speech partly in ence." Ideally this would result in
                                          Kurdish. Just last year, the Mayor of democratic autonomy and some sort
                                          Diyarbakir, Osman Baydemir, was of Kurdish Federation, but that is not
                                          dismissed for sending out Happy New their primary concern.
                                          Year cards which included Kurdish What the Kurds want, and what
                                          spelling.                               Ireland and the EU must push Turkey
                                                                                  for, is plain and simple, they want
                                          A ban on the formation of parliamen- equality and representation. And they
                                          tary parties on an ethnic basis makes need it now.
                                          it difficult for Kurds to band together
           Sebhat Tuncel                  and fight for their rights. In the 2007
                                                                                         The Left Tribune                13

      Asylum Seekers in Ireland
Joanne Doherty, Labour Youth activist, writes about the reality
of Fianna Fail’s treatement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland
With the possible establishment of         of the Rights of the Child and the
detention centres, the lack of trans-      1991 Child Care Act. The case of 19
parency and fairness within the appli-     year old Adijat Okusanya who was
cation process, and the absence of         deported to Nigeria last year despite
protection for separated child asylum      fears for her safety, having spent the
seekers, the current government has        previous 4 years in Ireland, points to
shown great disregard for internation-     the lack of recognition of her age and
al law that aims to protect the right of   particular circumstances on leaving
persons in seeking asylum.                 Nigeria.

 The introduction of detention centres     The interview stage has been widely
will not only create fear among those      criticised due to the absence of prop-
who come to Ireland in the hope of         erly trained translators and the intimi-
being granted asylum, but the whole        dation experienced by applicants.
idea of detaining certain asylum seek-     This is particularly problematic for
ers suggests that the act of seeking       unaccompanied children, who may
asylum is illegal, when in reality and     have little knowledge of their country      Olivia and Great Agbonlahor in
in law it is a fundamental human right     of origin and who may not have any                         Nigeria
for those fleeing fear of persecution.     documents with them when entering          Unaccompanied minors are being
                                           into Ireland (a requirement within the     held in centres which fail to reach the
Up until now only a small number           Immigration,       Residence        and    National Standards for Children's
people have been granted asylum in         Protection Bill). The Irish Refugee        Residential Centres. Likewise inspec-
Ireland, generally on appeal, and          Council recommends for published           tions of these centres appear to be
even less people have been granted         guidelines to be put in place when         minimal. However the Irish Refugee
leave to remain. Legal procedures          interviewing children, taking into         Council have commented that over
are accelerated in relation to appli-      account the effect trauma has on           300 child asylum seekers have gone
cants who have come from "safe"            memory and recall. The Refugee             missing from care in Ireland since
countries of origin, most notably          Appeals Tribunal has also come             2001, indicating that the HSE has
Nigeria. This strategy illustrates how     under criticism by the Irish Refugee       failed to protect these children. The
the system fails to take into account      Council for its lack of transparency       weekly payment of €9.60 (child asy-
the diverse backgrounds of asylum          and differing outcomes.                    lum seekers are not entitled to child
seekers and the different reasons for                                                 benefit) has made integration more
leaving their country of origin.           Last year, three asylum seekers went       difficult for these young people and
                                           to court and won the right to have         judging by the Taoiseach's response
This can be seen in the case of Great      their cases to be not heard by one         to Eamon Gilmore, there will not be
Agbonlahor, a Nigerian boy with            member of the Tribunal because of          any increases made in direct provi-
autism, whose case failed on appeal        his bias in granting asylum at appeal      sion in the foreseeable future.
and was subsequently deported back         stage. The special circumstances of
to Nigeria where there is little support   unaccompanied aged out minors has          The asylum system fails to take into
for children with autism and where         not been recognised in the                 account the special circumstances of
stigma is attached to those with learn-    Immigration,        Residency       and    aged-out unaccompanied minors,
ing difficulties, the system failing to    Protection Bill, where separated chil-     where separated children who reach
take into account the UN Convention        dren will still be subject to the same     the age of 18 are faced with the
                                           legal procedures as adults in the asy-     prospect of deportation despite their
                                           lum process. The treatment of sepa-        reasons for coming to Ireland. The
                                           rated children seeking asylum in           current government has an opportuni-
                                           Ireland shows how the State has            ty to improve these areas of the asy-
                                           been in breach of the UN Convention        lum system by making amendments
                                           on the Rights of the Child already rat-    to the Immigration, Residency and
                                           ified by Ireland. The Convention high-     Protection Bill or any new Bill that
                                           lights that all States are obliged to      emerges in this area. We in the
                                           treat all children in their jurisdiction   Labour Party need to work with the
                                           without any discrimination of any kind.    Irish Refugee Council and other
                                           The HSE in 2005 acknowledged that          NGOs that advocate the rights of asy-
   Former holiday camp, Mosney
                                           separated child asylum seekers are         lum seekers to ensure that the
   now houses 1000’s of people
                                           not being treated equally to Irish citi-   Government makes these changes.
   applying for Asylum Status in
                                           zen children in the provision of care.
14         The Left Tribune

                                                            The Race
                                                                                          for the

With the on going battle for the democratic nomination, Labour Youth hosted a lively discussing dur-
ing their annual Connelly Festival focusing on whether a democrat will bring peace to the
Whitehouse. Conor Tanam, Labour Youth activist looks at the democratic race for the golden nom-
ination ticket.
On the 19/01/2009 the disaster that is    defence, a smaller, more accountable being dramatically eroded by a young
George W Bush's presidency will           government, economic growth and African American Senator. The rise
come to an end. The following day a       opportunity, the dignity of life and tra- and massive popularity of Barack
new Commander In Chief will be            ditional values. He has consistently Obama coupled with a strong grass-
sworn in. The race thus far has made      supported the war in Iraq and recent- roots organisation has ensured that

for a fascinating drama which has had     ly declared that US troops may need Mr Obama is now leading Hillary in
blanket media coverage since the first    to stay for another hun-                                the number of states
primary in Iowa back in January. The      dred years. Despite the                                 won and pledged dele-
Republican race for the nomination        massive civilian casualties       Barack Obama is gates. There is very lit-
ticket has ended with former preacher     and anarchy that is the eating into Hillary’s tle difference in terms
Mick Huckabee conceeding to               reality in Iraq there is no        once concrete        of policy between both
Senator John Mc Cain. On the              mention of the safety of          support base of       candidates. This is

Democratic side there are also            Iraqi citizens or the atro-                             freely acknowledged by
remaining potential candidates, an        cious actions of America          women and blue both campaign teams.
African American and a woman.             in Abu Gharib and beyond.          collar workers.      It is a choice that may
Despite the clichéd terminology this                                                              rest in the hands of
truly is an historic election and one     On the domestic front he is more lib- super delegates when the Democrats
which will have major ramifications for   eral than some stalwart conservatives hold their convention in August. The
the future of America and indeed the      are comfortable with. He supported a intense battle that is now raging
wider world.             .                bill that would have given greater between Mrs Clinton and her strong
                                          rights to immigrants. In addition he is challenger may not be settled before
Senator John Mc Cain looks set to be      highly critical of the role that special the party meets a mere two months
the Republican candidate when the         interests have played in Washington before the nation goes to the polls.
nation goes to the polls. He is a dec-    politics. The Roe Vs Wade case
orated war veteran who fought in the      which allowed for abortion nationwide The two candidates aim to put an end
Vietnam war and was imprisoned for        should be overturned, he argues that to the war in Iraq. The easy option
over five years in a camp known as        it is up to individual states to make a would be to criticise Mrs Clinton for
the Hanoi Hilton. This experience         decision on the highly contentious voting to support the war without
has left him physically damaged and       issue. Despite massive criticism from mentioning that Mr Obama, in his
the Republican party will be eager to     the right Mc Cain fully accepts that 'opposition' to the war, voted to
stress his war record once both par-      global warming is a real threat to the increase federal funds for the war
ties have selected their respective       future of the planet and sees a strong effort when he had the chance. The
candidates.                               economy and environment as inextri- question we need to ask is if Obama
                                          cably linked.                              were a senator in 2002 would he have
His website argues that Senator Mc                                                   voted against the war? Nevertheless
Cain is a common sense conservative       The Democratic race has seen the Mr Obama has pledged to close
who believes in a strong national         once mighty lead of Hillary Clinton Guantanamo Bay and to restore

                                                                                      The Left Tribune                15

habeas corpus. Mrs Clinton does not       base of women and blue collar work-      formidable Clinton machine.
mention either. Both candidates right-    ers. Hillary's latest advertising asks
ly argue that America needs to            for more debates with her opponent       The success of Obama has crossed
restore its standing in the world.        as she argues that Obama would           political and social divides. His mes-
Barack Obama seeks to engage with         rather make speeches then debate         sage resonates with Democrats,
those that America has traditionally      the issues. It is a message that is      Independents and Republicans. His
reviled as he believes that only          falling on deaf ears as voters over-     speeches speak of a new hope for
through dialogue that progress can be     whelmingly flock to Barack Obama.        America, one that can move beyond
made. In contrast Mrs Clinton would                                                petty party politics in order to solve
prefer to continue a policy of splendid   Despite the massive media hype sur-      the many problems that the United
isolation towards these regimes.          rounding Barack Obama this race is       States faces. The claim that he has
                                          far from over. Hillary has made some-    no experience is an empty one; he
As Obama surged the Clinton cam-          what of a comeback in winning the        has been involved in politics for twen-
paign has become increasingly             delegate rich states of Ohio and         ty years. If he is selected as the
native. This was evident in South         Texas. She was written off following     Democratic candidate polls indicate
Carolina when Bill Clinton made           her Iowa defeat, yet managed to          he will beat John Mc Cain. It is of
some ill considered remarks where he      regain momentum with her victory in      utmost importance that a new style of
compared Barack to Jesse Jackson's        New Hampshire. Hillary Clinton must      politics comes to the fore in
unsuccessful run in 1984 and 1988.        win over 50 percent of the remaining     Washington. Obama can deliver that
Not surprisingly this did not translate   primary and caucus delegates to          change and for those of us who have
into a victory for the Clinton camp.      close the tight gap between herself      the audacity of hope to support him
Since Super Tuesday Barack Obama          and Obama. Unless a massive turn in      these are exciting times. Yes we can.
has won ten states in a row and is        Barack's fortunes lies ahead her task
eating into the once concrete support     may be beyond the reach of even the

16         The Left Tribune

                   On The Bookshelf
         We give our verdict on some of the most popular books in the Labour Youth library.

More Time for Politics - 2001/2007                              Labour leader-where Foot lashes Benn for allowing the
                                                                right wing daily mail to serialize the diaries and Benn
By Tony Benn                                                    reminds Foot of his relationship with Ruport Murdoch-is a
                                                                brief reminder of political divisions of yesterday.
Former cabinet Minister Tony Benn has kept a diary since
his late teens. Volumes of his diaries are available in print   The diaries are often very funny. Benn’s battles with some
from 1940 and reflect Benn's political life over seven          of the perils of old age, his encounters on buses and trains
decades.                                                        and his commentary on left wing groups are among the
                                                                many amusing aspects of the volume.
The latest volume picks up where Free at last-Diaries
1991-2001 left off. Benn left parliament in May 2001 in         So More time for Politics is not just an interesting and
order to "devote more time to politics", and the latest vol-    educative read from a political point of view, but a highly
ume of diaries detail his political endeavors since 2001.       amusing and readable account of the life of one of the true
Benn's personal life is also well covered, and he details       legends of modern left wing politics.
relationships with family and friends in more detail than in
the previous volumes of the diaries.
                                                                Reviewed by Paul Dillon
Benn's involvement in campaigns against the Iraq war are
well documented. He describes his visit to Iraq, his sec-       To listen to Tony Benn’s visit to TCD last year visit
ond , his involvement in marches and his many speeches          www.thehist.ie and follow the path outline: Home>
in support of peace. When I met Tony Benn in October            Archives> Sessions> 2000-Present> 237th> Highlights
2005, he told me he had just done 30 meetings in 30 days.
The records of meetings, organised by left wing organisa-       See also www.tonybenn.net for many of Tony Benn's
tions, pressure groups, churches and as part of his tour of     speeches and articles.
public lectures, are among the highlights of the diary and
will be enjoyed by left wingers familiar with such political

The diaries continue to document Benn's involvement in
the Labour Party. He describe his work with the Socialist
Campaign Group of Labour MPs, the Labour
Representation committee, set up to "refound the Labour
Party", and his attendance at the annual Labour Party
conference. One of the interesting aspects of Benn's com-
mentary on the Labour Party is his ability to put events in
a historical context (Benn has been active in the party
since he was 18). Equally, his unwillingness to personal-
ize political shines through. The political analysis is
strengthened as a result.

The diaries remind the reader of Benn's political battles of        Tony Benn, now enjoying his senior years
old. The record of a bad tempered phone call with former
                                                                                             The Left Tribune                  17
The Irish Labour                      is the Achilles Heel of the           A Long Way Gone
                                      Labour Party. Habitually it rips
Party 1922-73                         it's self to shreds over this
                                                                            By Ishmael Beah
By Niamh Puirseil                     issue. Every time the party
                                      enters government with Fine           A Long Way Gone is the story of Ishmael Beah's
                                      Gael, it loses seats at the next      journey through war torn Sierra Leone. Now 26 he
                                      election. The first and second        writes of the horrors that he and a whole genera-
                                      interparty governments were           tion of children suffered.
                                      so ineffective that they ensured
                                      Fianna Fail would remain the          Ishmael was 12 when the war began for him, his
                                      dominant party in Ireland for         village of mine workers was attacked by the RUF
                                      many years.                           and he was separated from his parents. From that
                                                                            point on the reader sees the brutality of war
                                                                            through a child's eyes, it is uncensored and dis-
                                      Pitifully, the only achievement       turbing. While desperately trying to survive and
                                      the second interparty govern-         find a safe place Ishmael finds a country torn apart
                                      ment could boast of was reduc-        by violence.
                                      ing the price of butter. After a
                                      brief while on the left in the late   Like thousands of children he roams from town to
                                      sixties, but when the seventies       town facing death from local militias, rebel's or
                                      weren't socialist Labour moved        government troops. In brutal living conditions he
                                      to the right and entered govern-      and a small group of boys travel, alienated as peo-
                                      ment only to leave it with fewer      ple fear children because of the atrocities being
Niamh Puirseil's The Irish            seats than it entered.                committed by child soldiers. Later taken into the
Labour Party 1922-73 is a com-                                              government army at the age of 13 the reader sees
prehensive history of the first                                             a fundamentally good and gentle child do terrible
fifty years of the Labour Party       The fascinating thing about this      things.
in Dail Eireann.                      book is that it reveals the active
                                      and vibrant left that has always
                                      occupied the conscience of the
Puirseil delves deep into the         Labour Party. From the early
archives of the party and out-        days of the Labour Youth
lines the many problematic and        Movement to the anti-coalition-
tumultuous events that faced          ist Liaison of the Left commit-
the organisation. From the red        tee in the seventies, Puirseil
scare of the thirties and forties     presents a narrative that
to socialism in the seventies,        encapsulates the broad social-
this book documents and offers        ist outlook of these groups and
insights into the reasons why         their
the Labour Party never made a
significant breakthrough onto
the Irish political landscape.        leaders, including young Jim
                                      Larkin who Puirseil describes         Hopped up on cocaine and brainwashed by his
                                      as being a leader that the            commander, Ishmael is sent into the killing fields to
The blame is directed at many         Labour Party should have had.         commit the same atrocities that destroyed his life.
individuals and institutions.         Larkin, unlike his father, was        Two years later he is rescued from the violence by
William Norton is often blamed        respected in all quarters of pol-     UNICEF to begin a tough and seemingly impossi-
for the dramatic shift to the right   itics. However, it was not to be,     ble rehabilitation. Through this book the reader
during his thirty year leadership     and Larkin is often shadowed          see's the chaos and destruction of war.
of the party - thirty years of his-   by the respect his father
tory that are rarely discussed in     receives in Irish history.            Beah describes a country gripped by fear and pain
party circles today. Disputes in                                            often too vividly, it is not fiction and the reader can
the trade union movement are                                                distance themselves from it. However, though the
discussed, along with the             All in all, The Irish Labour Party    book is often harrowing and frequently heart
impact they had on the Labour         1922-73 is an enthralling read        breaking it still shows redemption and hope. The
Party. She illustrates the role       that deserves much academic           reader can only be amazed how strength and
the church played in the sup-         and literary credit. Unlike           decency can persevere through such horrors as
pression of socialism and the         Ferriter's       Judging     Dev,     those witnessed by Ishmael Beah.
profound impact this has on the       Puirsel's book really belongs in
party.                                every history classroom in this       My only recommendation to people interested in
                                      state.                                reading this book is the one that the Washington
                                                                            Post gives "everyone should read this book"
Coalition, as Puirseil alludes to,    Reviewed by Enda Duffy Reviewed by David Murphy

18        The Left Tribune

                        The LT Files                                                   Useful Web
                        Under the spot light in this issue Dublin
                        South East Cllr Kevin Humphries bares all                     www.labouryouth.ie
                        to tell you what you really want to know
What's your favourite film?              opportunity in Education and a
Citizen Kane                             decent health service, which will only
                                         come about with Labour in govern-            www.reformtreaty.ie
What's your favourite Book?              ment
"Spring, Summer & Fall. The rise
and fall of the Labour Party 1986-99"    What would you change about the             www.focusireland.ie
by Ray Kavanagh. Not how I               world?
remember it, but well worth a read.      End Global Warming and World               www.antiwarireland.org
Who inspires you the most?
My good friend Peter Fitzgerald.         If you could take a TD from any          www.residentsagainstracism.org
Who not only inspired me by his          other party in the Dail and make
commitment to politics but also how      them join Labour, who would it be
he dealt with his illness, always        and why?                                   www.inclusionireland.ie
remaining positive and helpful to        Eamon Ryan, because his commit-
everyone around him.                     ment to the environment                  www.citizensinformation.ie
What is your 9-5?                        Why did you get active in poli-
Technician in the Pharmaceutical         tics?                                         www.amnesty.org
industry                                 Cllr Robert Dowd got me active in
                                         the early 80's out in Clondalkin were
What is your best political memo-        unemployment was 50%, no com-                   www.hrw.org
ry?                                      munities facilities and half built
Director of Elections for Ruairi Quinn   estates. Robert showed me that
                                         working on the ground can make a
in the Spring Tide election, The elec-
tion of Mary Robinson, Referendum        real difference to local communities.
victory to legalise divorce and my                                                      www.ecosy.org
election to the City Council to name     What has been your greatest
a few of my best memories.               achievement to date?
                                         Delivering tangible improvements to             www.iusy.org
What would you change about              quality of life for the people in the
Ireland?                                 Inner City.
Everyone would have the equality of

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                           Labour Youth, The Labour Paty, 17 Ely Place, Dublin 2.
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                                                                                         The Left Tribune                19

              Will Gilmore Give Us More?
 Standing in solidarity with Labour women, Labour Youth ask

Christine Bohan recently had the chance to talk to Labour Party Leader Eamon Gilmore about
his plans for the future of the Labour Party.
For party leader Eamon Gilmore, his first six months in         I know that there has been - there is always a tendency
charge have been a crash course in the slings and arrows        with political parties that youth wings and the leadership
of Irish politics.

He has won favour with both the public and the media for
his fresh and direct approach both in and outside of the
                                                                “   I think that young members of the party need
                                                                     to look at the party as one that they’re going
                                                                                   to inherit very soon
Dáil, while his speech at the party conference was widely
praised for uniting and galvanising the party membership.
In the run-up to next year's local and European elections
he has focussed attention on improving the organisation-
                                                                can sometimes be at odds over things. But building the
                                                                future of the party is going to be a collaboration between
al structures of the Labour party and increasing activity on    the leadership and the young members."
the ground at branch level. But even with the mood of           Having made a point of encouraging younger party mem-
optimism in the party, the latest Irish Times/TNS mrbi poll     bers to run in next year's local elections, he acknowledges
showed that while public satisfaction with Mr. Gilmore has      that it can be difficult for them to challenge older members
increased by six percentage points, Labour remained             for seats. However he is adamant that it can be done.
poised at 12 per cent.                                                    "The people who have been there for years won't
                                                                be there forever. I think that young members of the party
                    New Labour leader, Eamon Gilmore            need to look at the party as one that they're going to inher-
                    TD makes his inaugural speech at            it very soon. And therefore I think that there is a common
                    Labour Party Conference as Leader           cause between the leadership of the party, who want to
                    in November 2007                            strengthen and build up the organisation, and the younger
                                                                members, who want to inherit a party that will be much
                                                                stronger than it is now."
Mr. Gilmore is aware of the challenges facing Labour.
        "I'm very conscious of the fact that there won't        Mr. Gilmore has plans for this year to be a year of organi-
always be positive press coverage and similarly there may       sation for the Labour party, with a firm emphasis on work-
not either always be the level of good will either inside or    ing from the ground up.
outside the party for what I'm doing", he says. "But that's              "What I want to do is to develop the party as an
the nature of the job".                                         active party. Right across the party, I want to see that
                                                                we're actually out there meeting with people, being
He is enthusiastic, albeit somewhat diplomatically, about       involved with local campaigns, being close to the commu-
the role of Labour Youth in the party, describing it as "cru-   nity, and in that way building up the organisation from the
cially important". "The young people joining the Labour         ground up.
party today are going to be the people controlling it in ten    "I'm not talking just about branch meetings, I mean activi-
years time.                                                     ty - members of the party getting out there and actually
                                                                doing things on the ground. Every Saturday for example, I
20         The Left Tribune
got out for 2 hours knocking on doors with party members        debate would have been bad for my blood pressure", he
from my constituency and we listen to what people have          says, laughing. "Debates like that have absolutely no
to say. That's the way that you do it."                         meaning to people. Our discussions as a political party
                                                                need to have resonance outside the party and something
Mr. Gilmore plans to visit constituencies around the coun-      like that is absolutely meaningless and pointless".
try motivating members to get involved with the local com-
munity.                                                         Similarly he doesn't dwell on why he joined the Worker's
                                                                Party rather than Labour in the 1970s.
His focus is on back-to-basics politics, rather than navel-              "For me, what's important is the pursuit of political
gazing discussions; he had to miss the motion at objectives. I joined the Workers Party because at the time
November's party conference on whether Labour should I felt that was a way to pursue those objectives. To be fair,
be described as democratic socialists or socialist demo- it's not like I was in Fianna Fáil…".
cratic but is clear about what he thought of it:                However he is keenly analytical on issues such as
         "Frankly I'm glad I wasn't there for it - that kind of whether it has become more difficult for Labour to attract
                                                                          its traditional core working-class vote.
 Eamon Gilmore addressing students at a USI “Students Against
                                                                                   "I think the working class has changed
 Climate Change” Protest in 2007
                                                                          and it is changing. I don't think that as a party we
                                                                          should pigeon-hole ourselves in trying to seek a
                                                                          particular type of vote; nor should be consider
                                                                          that there are particular types of votes that we
                                                                          don't go after. "There are pockets of very serious
                                                                          disadvantage in this country and the only way
                                                                          that we will win support in those areas is by work-
                                                                          ing in them. And again, it goes back to what I said
                                                                          - we have to be actually on the ground in the
                                                                          community, working on issues that people are
                                                                          concerned about."

                                                                         His speech at the Labour party conference in
                                                                         November, the first time he addressed the mem-
                                                                         bership as a whole, was widely praised for its
                                                                         clarity and direction.
                                                                                  "I consciously decided that it wasn't going
                                                                         to be a speech about bashing the government",
                                                                         he says. "Instead it was about 'Why are we all
                                                                         here? Why are we members of the Labour Party?
                                                                         What is it we want to achieve?'. I felt that there
                                                                         was a need to re-state and re-define what the
                                                                         purpose of Labour is in today's Ireland."

                                                                         On lighter issues he says that he prefers Clinton
                                                                         over Obama ("She's got a lot of progressive
                                                                         ideas"), can't decide which non-Labour member
                                                                         of the Dáil he'd like to poach into the party ("It
                                                                         wouldn't be fair to them, it would make them
                                                                         marked men and women") and reads but has yet
                                                                         to post on the online message board on the
                                                                         Labour website (www.labour.ie.forum).

                                                                         With four years to go until the likely next general
                                                                         election, Mr. Gilmore is laying the foundations for
                                                                         a stronger Labour party, with the ultimate goal in
                                                                         mind - seeing Labour in government for the first
                                                                         time since 1997.

                                                               “   I think the working class has
                                                              changed. I don’t think that as a party
                                                               we should pigeon-hole ourselves in
                                                                trying to seek a particular type of


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