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.
On the 30th January 1972 British soldiers opened fire on protesters in the city of Derry, north-west Ireland. Twenty six unarmed protesters were shot, 13 died immediately or within hours, one more died just over four months later. Derry was in the section of Ireland claimed by the British state and the shootings happened in the context of the suppression of a growing civil rights movement demanding equality for Catholics in the 6 of Ulster’s counties claimed by Britain.
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.
Last November the High Court in Belfast ruled that the near blanket ban on abortion was incompatible with human rights legislation the cases of rape, incest and fatal foetal abnormalities. While it was a landmark ruling and is reflective of the change in society from the days of religious domination it doesn't change the law. The ruling does nothing other than place pressure on Stormont to change the law.
So why is it that two high profile appeals have been submitted against the ruling? One of them from the Attorney General, John Larkin, a well known anti-choicer, and the other from the Minister of Justice, David Ford.
On Sunday, a group of WSM and other anarchists took part in the annual March for Justice in Derry which commemorates the civil rights marchers who were shot dead by the British Parachute Regiment on 30 January 1972.
December saw the promotion of Fermanagh & South Tyrone MLA, Arlene Foster to the position of DUP leader and the North of Ireland’s First Minister.
Foster is a woman who was once described to have “learned a lot from the likes of Thatcher when it comes to dealing with men in politics."
It is not coming as much of a surprise that some middle-class, career-focused feminists have made claims of this being some sort of an advance of feminism. Many are claiming that this represents a great change in northern Irish society, as a move away from the male dominated arena that we understands politics here to be (the same could be said throughout the World of course).
Somewhere in the region of 70 people attended an emergency protest yesterday outside Belfast City Hall.
Those present were protesting in favour of free, safe and legal abortion on demand, as early as possible, as late as necessary.
The High Court in Belfast ruled in December that the North's abortion laws are in "breach of human rights".