One of the final acts of the last Fianna Fail government was to award licences to a number of companies to explore for commercial gas in the Northwest Carboniferous Basin (more commonly known as the Lough Allen basin). The Lough Allen Basin is a huge area that covers parts of counties Cavan, Donegal, Fermanagh, Leitrim, Mayo, Monaghan, Roscommon, Sligo and Tyrone. It is an area of 8000 square kilometres in total.
News that the Red Cross, an international humanitarian organisation, have been directly assisting local community workers in the Rosemount area of Derryhas again heightened concerns of a potential “drugs epidemic” developing in the city.
The story first broke over the last few weeks prior to a BBC Spotlight programme investigating the vigilante group Republican Action Against Drugs or RAAD. It revealed that the Red Cross has been working with the Rosemount Resource Centre over the past eight months, believed to be the first time ever the humanitarian group has worked with another organisation in the north.
The period of Irish history from the 1880's to the 1920's defined and divided politics including socialist politics, on the island for the rest of the century. The most militant workers struggles occurred in the second half of that period, north and south, concentrated in the last five years. This was also the period of the 1916 insurrection in Dublin, the 1918-21 War of Independence, the treaty and partition of Ireland in 1921 and then in the south the bloody Civil War ending in 1923.
The year 1919 saw the greatest demonstration of the potential of Irish workers, north and south to take over the running of society but the events of the following years cemented the division that would do much to end workers militancy. In terms of working class struggle the periods of militancy of northern and southern workers coincide. Yet the working class was divided and these struggles remained almost completely isolated from each other. (Image: UVF training in 1914)
It is unfortunate, if perhaps somewhat inevitable, that the now annual battles around the 'marching season' fall along religious lines. The Orange parades are being used to test the supposed neutrality of the northern regime and the RUC in particular. The losing side in this dangerous game however is likely to be the working class, Protestant and Catholic, as the confrontations and the sectarian attacks that occur around the Orange marches drive people further into 'their own' communities.
November 19th marks the 100th anniversary of the execution of activist and labour organiser Joe Hill by the hands of the state.
A Swedish immigrant, a songwriter, Joe Hill was a worker and a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, the Wobblies. He was a prolific songwriter for his union, which contributed to the IWW’s growth in the early 20th century.
Today the story broke that an ex-soldier has been arrested in connection with Bloody Sunday in which 13 people (and another who later died from his injuries) were murdered at a protest against internment in Derry's Bogside on 30 January 1972.
The soldiers involved in the massacre, the Parachute Regiment, were involved in another massacre less than six months prior to this. In August 1971, 11 people were murdered over a period of three days by the Parachute Regiment in Ballymurphy in the west of the city - 10 were shot and another suffered a heart attack after a confrontation with a soldier in which it is alleged that the soldier put an empty gun into his mouth and pulled the trigger.
Recent studies in the North have shown that the rich really are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer.
It is no secret that household charges are set to rise due to ongoing “austerity” measures by Capitalist governments.
Today, research from PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers accountancy firm) indicated that households in the North will be hit hardest in the UK by this rise in charges.
For the first time in the history of the Northern Irish state a majority of MLAs have voted in favour of Marriage Equality. The motion, however, has fallen due to the DUP launching a Petition of Concern which blocks any passing of the motion to law.
Voting against the motion - as 52 politicians did - is one thing, but guaranteeing its failure in spite of a winning majority vote reveals the homophobic, bigoted and bitter nature of the DUP.
The issue of Marriage Equality is to be debated for the fifth time in Stormont today (Nov 2nd). Yet again, however, the DUP has launched a Petition of Concern to ensure that should the motion be successful its legal passing will be blocked.
The Petition of Concern is a funny old thing. Sometimes it works in our favour, like when it was used earlier this year to block the DUP’s “Conscience Clause”, a clause which would have effectively blocked LGBT+ people and Queers from certain parts of society under the guise of “religious freedom”.