With historic working class centenaries occurring in recent years we have heard a lot about Unfinished Business. This message was strong in 2013 in reference to the 1913 Lockout and the inequality that still prevails in Ireland. Cries of Unfinished Business are once again being proclaimed in this centenary year of the 1916 Rising and it is true, we do have unfinished business.
We still have bosses and businessmen who could give William Martin Murphy a run for his money. The Republic that the rebels envisioned and enshrined in the proclamation has not been achieved and despite the rhetoric of the YES campaign we do not “cherish the children of the nation equally”, and we have a long way to go to get there, with particular work needed on Ireland’s hatred of women.
You can always tell when there’s an election just round the corner. Investment announcements, over grinning politicians in the press looking for another go only this time they REALLY promise things will be better. Others hoping to be elected doing all sorts just to get their photograph in the papers, again promising us the moon and the stars. However the gloves are off in Derry’s Bogside as news filters out that a sizeable section of social housing stock, currently owned by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive (NIHE), now plan to offer them up for sale to private sector housing bodies.
Several hundred residents now fear that private housing associations in the city will totally transform the way in which they have engaged with the Housing Executive over the past four decades. Particularly when it comes to levels of rent and of course allocation of housing which first gave birth to a new generation of street politics and the Civil Rights Association back in the late sixties.
Huge numbers of people are now effectively homeless as they are unable to find somewhere stable to rent. Fortunately only a minority have been forced onto the streets so far, Dublin's hotels are full of families on 3 day rotation emergency accommodation. In some hotels such families are not allowed to use the front entrance. Thousands of others are forced to move into already overcrowded accommodation, perhaps with parents or friends. Yet more are coach surfing, moving around as they exhaust the charity of friends. And a growing number are sleeping on the streets or in tents, van and cars in park and industrial estates.
True to their word, French forces are proceeding with their planned assault on the refugees of Calais, destroying the homes and shelters, beginning the re-displacement of thousands. The goal, as stated by Fabienne Buccio, head of Police management: to reduce migrant numbers to a “manageable” population of 2000. “There is a largely unseen, or little reported battle of Calais” she said, “which the French government is beginning to win. We must remain humble. The problems are very great. But yes, I think we are starting to make real progress”.
French authorities have decided to bulldoze the homes of up to 3,500 refugees living in a section of the Calais camp. A court in Lille made the ruling today, one which Refugee Solidarity activists plan on ‘appealing immediately’.
Our solidarity to Cadburys workers who today begin an indefinite strike at the Coolock plant against the outsourcing of jobs. The company is trying to destroy 17 properly paid and pensionable jobs to replace them with minimum wage ones.
27 Feb at the Ha’penny bridge, as part of a European-wide day of protest, a crowd gathered to make a public display of resistance against the closed borders and direct provision policies of Ireland. The people refuse to silently tolerate the way mothers, fathers, sons and daughters who find themselves attempting to escape war and/or poverty are treated by and in our comparatively affluent society.
The families who were being housed in an emergency accommodation facility on 54-55 Mountjoy street and were to be evicted today have been fighting back. Yesterday afternoon they occupied the DCC offices, demanding that officals talk to them collectively. And this morning they occupied the buidling they are being evicted from, hanging banners from the upper floor as a solidarity protest took place below.