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Profits or People

During the Irish potato famine of 1845 to 1848, the worst year is known as Black '47, when 400,000 people died of starvation and disease. During that time, vast quantities of food continued to leave the country's shores. 4,000 ships carrying grain and livestock sailed from Ireland to the ports of Bristol, Liverpool and Glasgow in 1847, according to Dr Christine Kinealy, a fellow at the University of Liverpool.

"I know all the difficulties that arise when you begin to interfere with trade," wrote the Irish Lord Lieutenant at the time, Lord Bessborough, who pleaded unsuccessfully for help from the government in London. "But it is difficult to persuade a starving population that one class should be permitted to make 50pc profit by the sale of provisions whilst they are dying for want of these."

In the world today, just as in Black '47, when wagon-loads of food were exported under guard by the army, there is enough capacity to feed everyone that is in need…

Marx and Engels on Ireland

Marx (and Engels) supported Irish nationalism and the Socialist Party’s position on Scottish independence is often criticised by those on the Left who claim to be Marxists because we ignore that fact. But to be a Marxist means, to apply the Marxian analysis to continually changing social conditions Too many so-called socialists are reluctant to apply the Marxist materialist conception of history in their thinking.
Indeed, Marx did support Irish independence, we do not dispute it, but he did so primarily because he thought it would hasten the completion of the democratisation of the British state. At the time the bourgeois democratic victory over feudalism was far from complete even in Britain, and on the continent of Europe what progress had been made was continually threatened by three great feudal powers, Russia, Austria and Prussia. In these circumstances Marx considered it necessary to support not only direct moves to extend political democracy but also moves which he felt would…

Tiny Tims

After the Celtic Tiger crash more than 18 per cent of children in the Irish Republic were at risk of, and almost 9 per cent were actually in, consistent poverty.

In 2009, the most up to date figures available, there were 233,192 people, or 5.5 per cent, in 'consistent poverty' and 579,819 people, or 14.1 per cent, 'at risk of poverty'. At risk means an income of €230 a week for an adult; consistent means unable to afford new clothes, meat or fish, or being unable to heat your home.

James Connolly Commemoration, 1949

 The following is the text of a leaflet that dates from 1949, and was produced by the Dublin Socialist Group for distribution at events organised in the city to commemorate the 33rd anniversary of the execution of James Connolly. The socialists who made up the Dublin Socialist Group later helped form the World Socialist Party of Ireland.



FELLOW-WORKERS ! TRADE UNIONISTS !

May the 15th, 1949 – thirty-three years after his death which you now commemorate, and less than thirty-three days after the roar of guns ushered in “The Republic of Ireland”. What relationship is there between these two events? That is the question which, on this day, it is only fitting that you should ask yourselves. Once a year you can march through the streets in your thousands to commemorate his death yet every other day of the year your actions – your very ideas – are, apparently, in violent conflict with all that the man lived for. Is that an unwarranted assumption? Emphatically, we reply: NO. The truth remains…

Who Pays for the Crisis ?

A 100,000 people have taken part in protests in Dublin to vent their anger at the Irish government's handling of the country's recession. They oppose plans to impose a pension levy on 350,000 public sector workers. Reports say the plan could cost the 350,000 public sector workers between 1,500 euros and 2,800 euros (£2,500) a year.
Ireland, which was once one of Europe's fastest-growing economies, has fallen into recession faster than many other members of the European Union. The country officially fell into recession in September 2008, and unemployment has risen sharply in the following months. The numbers of people claiming unemployment benefit in the Irish Republic rose to 326,000 in January, the highest monthly level since records began in 1967.
Trade union organisers of the march said workers did not cause the economic crisis but were having to pay for it.

"I've a mortgage to pay, I've children to put through school, and now I'm being told I have to take…

We are not slaves

There are those who decry migrant workers because of the fact that capitalists use imported labour to lower wages and it canot be denied that inded some employers do use that tactic . But Socialist Courier has always said that the way to fight this is not by imposing immigration bans on workers from abroad but by engaging in class struggle here in the work places to stop this exploitation of foreign workers .

Gleaned from the Polish mainstream press and reported at the Anarkismo website is this story .

Radoslaw Sawicki came to Ireland seven months ago. Grafton recruitment agency offered him work carrying boxes of goods in Tesco's largest warehouse in Dublin. The wage: 9.52 euros per hour, or about 360 euros a week. Sawicki quickly realised that Irish people working in the same job, but employed by Tesco and not by the agency as the foreigners were, earn at least 200 euros a week more. Poles also did not receive bonuses or additions although their work quotas were continually rai…

The Tragedy of the Irish Travelling Folk

Life expectancy of Irish Travellers still at 1940s levels . Back in the 1940s, the life expectancy of Irish Travellers was the same as that of the settled population. Now, it is 65 for men as against 75 for settled men, and 65 as against 78 for settled women. There has been no improvement in life expectancy for travellers in 20 years.

Findings show that seven in 10 travellers die before reaching the age of 59. Half die before the age of 39. In the total population, 2.6% of all deaths are for people aged under 25 years yet the figure for the Travelling community is 32%.
Such statistics put the estimated 30,000 Travelling community well outside the health norms of Irish society.

Infant mortality is 10 times higher among Travellers. 10% of children die before reaching the age of two - compared to just 1% in the general population.

Suicides are also more common than among the general population.

It follows decades of campaigns for Travellers' rights. The only possible conclusion is tha…