Gregor Kerr

Cops attack water charge protesters in Santry & Coolock as Enda meets O'Brien

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There were significant disturbances in Santry & Coolock last night following a Garda assault on water charge campaigners protesting a visit by Enda Kenny and Denis O'Brien.

These images are from the video at the link  which shows why the campaigners became so outraged. As Enda Kenny drove through the crowd (flashing a dismissive thumbs up sign at the protesters) Garda were assaulting them and throwing them to the ground.

Later multiple arrests were made as Enda left the event and then Garda attacked solidarity protesters with pepper spray who had gone to Coolock Garda station.

Jack O’Connor has no mandate for surrendering on water charges

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Well over 100,000 people are expected to take part in over 90 anti water charge protests across the country tomorrow (Nov 1st).

But instead of throwing the weight of the country’s largest trade union behind the protests, SIPTU’s general president Jack O’Connor has this morning in the words of the headlined report on Newstalk’s facebook page been “waving the white flag”.

Fighting The Water Charge – Non-payment the only way to win after huge Oct 11th mobilisation

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Saturday last, 11th October, saw tens of thousands take to the streets of Dublin in a powerful, colourful and vibrant display of opposition to the Irish government’s attempts to impose water charges.

The numbers who turned out were so large and took everybody by surprise to such an extent that nobody – media, gardai or organisers – could give an accurate estimate of actual numbers.  Estimates varied from 30,000 to 100,000, but whatever the exact figure was it was clear that this was the start of something huge.  

It was an energising and invigorating protest to be part of.  From well before the start time, people were arriving in their droves at Parnell Square.  To see groups of people arriving in by bus from all over the city and from around the country was inspiring and should have a huge impact on the political confidence of all those who took part.

Iraq, Syria and the Islamic State

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The desperate plight of tens of thousands of Yazidi people stranded for the past week and a half on Mount Sinjar in Northern Iraq, having fled their homes in the nearby city, has focussed the world’s attention on what has been happening in that region.
 
Threats of airstrikes from U.S. president Barack Obama in a region where U.S. intervention in such recent memory has already been responsible for the killing of up to a million people and the injuring and displacement of many more causes alarm bells to ring in the minds of all who care about a fair and just world.  This is further exacerbated by the knowledge that it is the stoking of sectarian tensions as a result of U.S. policy in Iraq that is largely responsible for the emergence of the fundamentalist and ultra-reactionary Islamic State organisation.
 

Rising House Prices No Cause for Celebration

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The madness that is Dublin housing bubble being rapidly re-inflated need to be opposed, not celebrated. Unlike estate agents & the media we recognise rising home prices are not good thing. Unaffordable homes are going to make things much harder for those in lower paid employment in particular. And with almost no protection from landlords for tenants and rising rental prices this means many being stuck in insecure poor quality accommodation for years to come.

House prices in Dublin have increased by almost €200 per day every single day for the past year (and by €220 a day in the past month). Figures released by estate agents DNG reveal that the average cost of a home in Dublin is €349,000 – an increase of €71,000 since this time last year.

Even more frighteningly, prices at the lower end of the market (less than €250,000) are increasing at a faster rate than more expensive houses. This clearly affects people in lower paid employment and those struggling to buy a home disproportionately.

Bullshit to truth - Greyhound's email to customers deciphered

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Following a succesful day of community action, blockading scab labour operated refuse trucks, in support of locked out Greyhound waste workers, the company sent a hilariously whiny email to customers. In the communication they blamed "certain political organisations" for orchestrating the blockade on social media and claimed the actions put the strike-breakers' health and safety under threat.

It's all the more bizarre given the fact that outrageous violations of health and safety have been logged by scab crews, who have been working outside of the allowable refuse collection times. 

Review: 100 Years Later: The Legacy of the 1913 Lockout.

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History has traditionally been viewed through the prism of ‘great leaders’ or ‘powerful men’ (and it usually is men).  In recent years, however, the importance of community or local history – and the contributions of ‘ordinary’ people to great events – has been recognised.  To paraphrase Jim Larkin “The great leaders only appear great because of the commitment, sacrifice and energy of ordinary people”.
 
“100 Years Later – The Legacy of the 1913 Lockout”, edited by Mary Muldowney and Ida Milne and published by Seven Towers, is a strong and powerful contribution to shining a light on the “hardship and heroism that was part of that epic struggle.”
 

Legal action threatens future of trade unions - political protest response needed

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Events in the High Court over the course of a week in the middle of March, and the lack of any real response to them, should be of huge concern to all trade unionists here.  Effectively a declaration of war against trade unions and trade union organisers has been made – and the response from the trade union side has been somewhat less than overwhelming.

On Wednesday 12th March High Court judge Paul Gilligan issued an injunction to the Dublin Airport Authority restraining SIPTU members from holding a 4-hour stoppage which had been planned for Friday morning (14th March).  The stoppage was planned as part of a campaign by workers in Aer Lingus and the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) to force their employers to deal with a huge deficit in their pension scheme.  80% of SIPTU members in Aer Lingus and 89% of members in the DAA had voted for strike action – a vote that was described by SIPTU as a demonstration that staff are“…angry, disillusioned and frustrated that an acceptable resolution has not been found to the pensions crisis.” 

Government legislation an attempt to bully trade unionists into voting for paycuts

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The ‘Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2013’, published by the government on Thursday last (23rd May) is a clear attempt to bully public sector workers into voting for the re-hashed terms of the Croke Park II deal emphatically rejected by them just a couple of weeks ago.

Teachers vote for action but leaders opt for talks

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Members of the Irish National Teachers Organisation (INTO) have voted by a massive 91% in favour of industrial action up to and including strike action if the government moves to cut their pay via legislation.  This huge vote is a clear statement by the union’s members that No means No, that their rejection of the so-called ‘Croke Park extension’ deal must be respected by both government and the union’s leadership and that they are ready and willing to take action to prevent the imposition of paycuts.

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