Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Rhythm Of Time

There's an inner thing in every man,

Do you know this thing my friend?

It has withstood the blows of a million years,

And will do so to the end.

It was born when time did not exist,

And it grew up out of life,

It cut down evil's strangling vines,

Like a slashing searing knife.

It lit fires when fires were not,

And burnt the mind of man,

Tempering leandened hearts to steel,

From the time that time began.

It wept by the waters of Babylon,

And when all men were a loss,

It screeched in writhing agony,

And it hung bleeding from the Cross.

It died in Rome by lion and sword,

And in defiant cruel array,

When the deathly word was 'Spartacus'

Along with Appian Way.

It marched with Wat the Tyler's poor,

And frightened lord and king,

And it was emblazoned in their deathly stare,

As e'er a living thing.

It smiled in holy innocence,

Before conquistadors of old,

So meek and tame and unaware,

Of the deathly power of gold.

It burst forth through pitiful Paris streets,

And stormed the old Bastille,

And marched upon the serpent's head,

And crushed it 'neath its heel.

It died in blood on Buffalo Plains,

And starved by moons of rain,

Its heart was buried in Wounded Knee,

But it will come to rise again.

It screamed aloud by Kerry lakes,

As it was knelt upon the ground,

And it died in great defiance,

As they coldly shot it down.

It is found in every light of hope,

It knows no bounds nor space

It has risen in red and black and white,

It is there in every race.

It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,

It screams in tyrants' eyes,

It has reached the peak of mountains high,

It comes searing 'cross the skies.

It lights the dark of this prison cell,

It thunders forth its might,

It is 'the undauntable thought', my friend,

That thought that says 'I'm right! '

Sunday, January 23, 2011

March 11th - The day Ireland can change forever

This blog was delighted to finally hear that Fianna Fail had announced a date for the much anticipated general election, though slightly disappointed that they didnt do the decent thing and call an immediate election. March 11th is the day. On this day Irish people will get their chance to pay back Brian Cowen and his cronies for thirteen years of corruption, incompetence and mismanagement of our economy. On this day the Irish people can vote for change.
But what is change?
Is it replacing Biffo Cowens Fianna Failures with Enda Kennys blueshirts? Isnt that a case of duplicating a bounced cheque and expecting the copy to clear?
Fine Gael have the same policies as the current government which has very nearly destroyed any chance this nation has of recovery with its simplistic, stubornly deranged take on economics. Fianna Fail have been attacked by every economist with a brain who is not in their pocket for sometime over their failure to see that introducing cuts in a recession is economic suicide. Yet Fine Gael support these cuts! Fine Gaels economic spokesperson, Michael Noonan has said that Fine Gael in power will cut welfare payments by €18! Will Fine Gael do what Biffos clan didnt and introduce a realistic job creation policy? Of course they wont. They will push the same policy of work placement slave labour that FF are currently presenting as "the future of Irish employment". In short, Fine Gael in power equals Fianna Fail in power with the addition of Irelands most pompous 'height challenged' individual, Leo Varadkar.
So what about Gilmores Labour? Well as Eamon has ruled out coalition with Sinn Féin and Fianna Fail, that means look at Fine Gaels manifesto (or lack of one) to see Labours. Labour under Kenny will have no real power, and undoubtly will pull out of a coalition government within eighteen months.
What about the ULA? Some good people. They could take two seats, but lets face it, a broad coalition of left wing parties with two seats between them wont be of much use to anyone.
The Greens? I think everyone in this country knows what the greens are committed to - staying in power for aslong as possible. All this blog can say is poor Trevor Sargent, what did Gormley turn your vision into?
Regardless of what any paper, radio station or Pat the Plank says, there is only one party contesting this general election that offers the people of Ireland real change.
They are the party that are proposing a massive job stimulus package that will get this country back to work and pull us out of this slump.
They are the party who will burn the international bondholders who are sucking the lifesblood out of Ireland, and the only group who can and will stand up to IMF aggression.
They are the party who will introduce major political reform to give politics and pride in their nation back to the Irish people.
They are the party who will replace the HSE with a democratically accountable Health service of equals, where health care will be available to all based on need and need alone, not on ability to pay.
They are Sinn Féin, the party that puts the needs of the Irish people first.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Paddy Wright - An Appreciation

Paddy Wright
An Appreciation

In the early hours of Friday the 7th of January Paddy Wright, Urban Councillor for thirty one years, Kildare County Councillor for five, and Sinn Fein activist for over 50 years, died suddenly at the age of 72.

The town of Athy chilled with disbelief as word of Paddy Wrights death seeped into its early morning consciousness. Paddy Wright dead! Those words somehow felt counterintuitive. Had not everybody just seen him only yesterday or the day before in his usual vigorous fettle, bursting with bonhomie? They probably did. Paddy was as much a part of the fabric of Athy as its Town Hall, Squares or the Barrow River that flows through it. The rolling gait – the product of botched hip operations - the carefully positioned newspaper, the wave and shout across the street at passers-by or just sitting in his ‘constituency office’ by the window in Bradbury’s restaurant, Paddy was one of those reassuring constants that gave a sense of permanence to our town.
I was in London’s Camden Town and coincidently passing near the famous ‘Working Men’s College’ when I got the call. It was at this institute that the young Paddy, who had left school at 13, attended evening classes on history and politics in his quest for an education. It must have been an excellent college because Paddy’s remarkable grasp of Irish history went beyond the great national figures or landmarks events down to the very core of the ordinary people’s condition over the last two centuries.

Like many provincial towns, the Athy he was born into was a bustling centre of many trades. It was then making its first tentative steps to stretch beyond its core, but a large number of its inhabitants still lived over the shop or in the little homes that huddled up behind its main streets. The horse and cart was still just about holding its own. Country people came in and ‘dealt’ in the many pub/groceries, and there was an apparent permanence to the cast of familiars who acted out their daily routines in the theatre of its street and markets.

Reared in the heart of all this, in the Town Hall where his father was caretaker, the flame haired youth quickly established himself as a town character. Raucous, combative and notable strong, he developed into a superb athlete, pounding out the miles along the banks of the Barrow as a daily routine. He played Gaelic, first with Athy and then Castlemitchel, the club he would ever be associated with, gaining a place on the county team while still in his teens and playing in the 1957 senior league final.

Joining the republican movement at an early age added to his mystique. He was on the town most Saturday nights with his friend, and fellow Castlemitchel and Kildare county player, Mossy Reilly selling the United Irishman. He attended many of the protest meetings of the fifties and sixties as well as engaging in other complementary functions.

A period of emigration followed when he worked in Birmingham, London (where he attended the above mentioned college) and in Scotland erecting electrical pylons. Back in Athy, Paddy worked on various building sites as a steel fixer, including the iconic Dominican Church, until eventually becoming the town’s last official grave digger.

In the mid seventies he led a successful campaign to get Mossy Riley elected as the first Sinn Fein member of the urban council since the twenties. At the time Mossy was an absentee from the town and the slogan used was “Put him in to get him back”. In the event Mossy did not take his seat and Paddy ran successfully in the 1979 Local elections. After the most recent local elections Paddy was very proud of the fact that he stormed in without the use of posters and that his total election expenses amounted to 67 cents per vote garnered. I had to remind him that during the ‘79 election he actually sold his election literature at 10p a leaflet which must be unique in politics anywhere.

If Paddy was good at national history, his knowledge of the history of Athy and its people was truly phenomenal. It encompassed all the seed and breed varieties down to the chemical constitution of the dirt beneath our fingernails. He understood the make-up of our town, the bitter schisms that existed after the First World War between the Kaki faction and republicans, whom the former considered traitors. He acknowledged these influences in his own family having had two grand uncles who had enlisted and also spoke of a grand aunt who would sing with gusto the Queen of the Sweet Shruleen. The queen in question was Queen Victoria. The town eventually healed, probably because of shared poverty. Paddy, however was nurtured on republican influences and able to garner votes from all quarters, but most gratifyingly, and to use one of his favourite phrases, “ironical and paradoxical” that his most ardent support came from the same areas and families whose forbearers had fought for the imperial cause.

I once asked Paddy how he had such a clear memory of events that happened before he was born, he told me that when he was young he had listened intently to old people and made their memories his memories and since he had a “photogenic memory” the events of the past was safely under his cap.

The photographic memory was quite evident, but the idea that this impulsive and spontaneous character ever listened or took advice from anyone was harder to swallow. During the local elections last year his election address consisted of rather long letter. One evening a hand written copy of it was shoved through my letter box with an urgent request that I review it and give my opinion on it. Paddy wrote as he spoke, in torrents, and in truth, I thought it too long and rambling. I set about modifying it and wondered how I could tactfully suggest the changes. I needn’t have flattered myself. Next morning bright and early I got a call from him; what did I think of the letter? Before I had a chance to say ‘well’, he continued “I got 3000 printed yesterday”. What could I say? “It’s brilliant Paddy”. “Good”, he replied. “I’m glad you liked it. Your opinion is very important to me”. Yeah right! Go on you ould scoundrel you.

Strangely, enough people later quoted some particular bits of the letter that had a special resonance with their own circumstance or feelings. I ask you, who reads election literature? Yet somehow Paddy had the happy knack of touching people’s sentiments, while other’s literature touched inside of litter bins.

Everybody in Athy has a Paddy Wright story. My own favourite is about the short strike he led during the building of the Dominican Church when the lovely ladies who frequented the old Dublin Bar took time from out their profession to chant ‘communist’ at him for picketing consecrated ground. It has a delicious twist to it but not for this obituary. He loved the pubs and spread his custom wide but bemoaned the “decline of public bar repartee” by which he meant slagging, an art at which, I know to my own cost, he was a master.

He was quick witted and could be devastatingly acerbic. A councillor who was over effusive in apologising for missing some meeting or other was told in his most facetious tone “It might console you to know that you were not conspicuous by your absence. But then you’re never very conspicuous by your presence either”.

Like other politicians, Paddy loved popularity but totally eschewed any effort to court it. No matter how ill favoured his views might be he would remain steadfast by them. He also had a way of disarming even hostile meetings. A few years ago he attended an IFA sponsored meeting on transport issues. There was several hundred in attendance and when contributions were asked from the floor Paddy popped up. He began by reminding them of his past distaste for the IFA even though he himself had been born on a farm. The radio mike he was using suddenly went dead. “Have you cut me off” he demanded. The apologetic operator assured him it was only a glitch and the sound was restored. “Well it wouldn’t have been the first time I was cut off you know…..Section 31”. The house came down.

He was also capable of the most profound insights into the human condition. Once during the hunger strikes someone spoke to him about the great sacrifices the strikers were making dying for Ireland. I expected him to go into a rant, which he was fully capable of. But he just raised a silencing finger and simply said “No!” “No, they are not dying for Ireland; they have reached the highest state of comradeship possible. They are dying for each other”.

Apart from his family, Paddy had three passions in his life, Athy Town, football and Sinn Fein, and remained constant to them all. He was a true Sinn Feiner, he believed in service to the people. He would be out in the early hours checking on paths and potholes or anti social dumping. He was a constant warrior for the social needs of the poor and disadvantaged. Something that epitomised this commitment happened early last year. The council had reneged on its promise to remove grit from the footpaths which was causing great difficulties for older people after last winters snows. But, while others slept, this seventy one year old man went out on a Sunday morning, with brush and shovel, to ensure that his promise to his elderly neighbours was kept.

He was a man who carried the full suite of social attributes. He was by turn combative, argumentative and aggressive, the characteristics that made him a great sportsman. He was also loyal, committed and honest, those that made him a formidable politician. He could also be hilariously funny, and equipped with a spellbinding smile, he could overwhelm you with charm. He was a man who loved words, the bigger the better. He was also an engaging storyteller and had no time at all for mindless chit-chat. ‘I have to go and meet a man’ was code for ‘this conversation is over’, and with a decisive abruptness he’d be gone. Somewhere in the depths of last Friday morning he went to ‘meet a man’ for the last time and left us with that customary abruptness. We might have expected no less. Athy is somehow incomplete without him. So let his epithet be his most repeated mantra; “I love this ould Town”

Paddy is survived by his sister Annie, brothers Noel, John and Brendan.

May god be good to his valiant soul.

Ps. an interview with paddy after the 2009 local election can be seen on 'Youtube'. Type in ‘Councillor Paddy Wright’.

Francis Corr

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Kelly calls for action on hospital crisis

Wexford Sinn Féin general election candidate, cllr Anthony Kelly, has urged the government to reverse cuts to the health service immediately after it was revealed that hospital A&E units are already being over ran.

“We have a record-breaking number of 569 patients on trolleys and chairs in our public hospital A&E departments but this situation is set to worsen as a result of the cuts imposed in the Budget," Cllr Kelly said, "We have had over 1500 acute hospital beds closed due to cuts even before Budget 2011."

“The Fianna Fáil/Green Government has taken €765 million out of the public health budget for 2011 and its four-year plan would take a total of €1.4 billion by 2014."

Cllr Kelly said that this would leave the Irish health service wiped out. He restated that if Sinn Féin enters government, these cuts will be stopped.


Friday, January 7, 2011

Anthony Kelly - Wexfords Hope

This Blog has never been afraid to air its delight at the selection of Anthony Kelly as Sinn Féin candidate in the coming general election. We believe Anthony is a great worker, and a true representative of the people of Wexford.

This will be Anthonys first time running in a general election, so maybe some of our friends outside the Wexford district might not know Anthony the way the people who he has served as a Wexford Borough councillor would.

So, who is Anthony Kelly?

Anthony Kelly is a native of Wexford town, coming originally from Hill Street. Anthony’s late brother Phil was a popular Wexford town alderman, and it was only a matter of time before Anthony would follow in Phil’s footsteps.

In 1999 Anthony was elected to Wexford Borough council, and has been re-elected in every subsequent election to date. Anthony had already been involved in initiating a number of residents associations in the Wexford area prior to his election, and threw himself into community work thereafter.

Having served his apprenticeship for three terms in local politics, Anthony is now ready to step up to the national level, and fight for the people of Wexford.

Anthony has long believed that Wexford’s five sitting Tds have not served the people of the county to the best of their ability. The loss of the Rosslare to Waterford Rail Link, continued threats of downgrading to Wexford General Hospital and the uncertainty of the future of the county’s full time psychiatric unit has led Anthony to label Wexford the Forgotten County.

Anthony has a particular interest in Wexford’s health service. He was a member of the committee which organised the hospital Protest Rally in May 2010. Over six thousand people turned up on that day to voice their concern over any downgrading of our county’s hospital. Anthony will fight to prevent that downgrading, regardless of the result of this election.

Anthony Kelly is a proud Wexford man, who is committed to delivering a better future for the people of county Wexford.

He cant do it by himself. He needs your help. Hes need your votes, your support, your endorsement. Change can come if we work together now.

Make the Big Change Wexford.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reform or Rhetoric?

Labour leader Eamon Gilmore has unveiled a new plan which he claims is a radical document that will usher in political reform and a better society.

Forgive me if this blog is a bit sceptical upon hearing such talk from a man intent on entering government with the most conservative, pro cuts party in Irish politics - Fine Gael.

So, does this plan offer real reform?

Or does it present an opportunity for the Labour party's most gifted orator to blow some steam?

It seems that Eamon Gilmore is trying to cast himself as the Barack Obama of the coming election. The question is, will the Irish people be shouting Yes we can at Eamon in early March?

Lets look at the facts.

The Labour party have ruled out government with Fianna Fail and Sinn Féin. They have refused to rule out such coalition with Fine Gael, and have even refused to deny suggestions that they will form the next government with the blueshirts. Can this coaltion give the Irish people the change they need? The change that they deserve?
No, they cant.

The labour party have said that they will abolish the Seanad within the lifespan of the next government. However Fine Gaels policy on the abolishment of the Seanad is far from clear. In fact, only six of the party's fifteen senators have endorsed Enda Kennys stance to abolish it. Can the Labour party as junior member to in a Fine Gael led government implement this promise?
No, they cant.

Labour say that they oppose the recent cuts to social welfare and the minimum wage, and will prevent further cuts if they enter government. Fine Gael support said cuts, and have promised more. Can these two parties really work together?
No, they cant.

The truth is that only one party offers radical changes to Irish society, and is prepared to see through the political reform that is needed. Unless the labour party changes their bizarre stance on coalition with Sinn Féin (perhaps a throwback to their days as the political wing of OIRA) then they cannot be taken serious as an "alternative" party.

As it stands, there is only one opposition party in Ireland - Sinn Féin.

Can the snubs and snide remarks of people like Eamon Gilmore derail the Sinn Féin movement for Change?
No, they cant!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Are you entitled to a council house?

Local authorities in Ireland are the main provider of social housing for people who need housing and cannot afford to buy their own homes. Local authority housing is allocated according to housing need, and rents are based on your ability to pay.

If you think you may qualify, you should apply to your local authority, which will take account of factors such as your household size, income, your present accommodation (if any), the condition of that accommodation and any special circumstances, including age, disability, medical circumstances, etc. Some local authorities in Ireland impose an income limit on applicants. Someone from the local authority may visit you to assess your present housing circumstances.

There is nothing to stop you applying to more than one local authority, for example, you might register on a county council list, in addition to an urban district council in that area. Local authorities have the power to accept applications from people who do not live in their area, but practice varies from area to area.

If you are accepted by the local authority as being in need of housing, you are then placed in the local authority housing waiting list. Each local authority draws up its own rules for deciding order of priority on the waiting list, called "'schemes of letting priorities". You can get a copy from your local authority. Some local authorities operate a points system. Each household on the waiting list is given a number of points depending on its circumstances. The greater your housing need, the more points you get.

You may be able to specify areas where you would like to live, but you should remember that if you choose a popular area, you may wait longer for an offer of housing than if you choose a less popular area.

As houses become available to your local authority for letting (renting out), they are allocated from the waiting list in order of priority, taking account of all the relevant circumstances. If you want to know your position on the waiting list, your local authority will inform you. You should remember that your position may go up or down depending on the circumstances of other people on the housing waiting list and as your own circumstances change. In practice, priority is generally given to families and elderly people rather than single people or couples without children.

If you are offered a house you do not want, you can refuse it. But if the local authority thinks that you do not have a good reason for refusing the offer of the house, it may reduce your priority on the waiting list, particularly if you refuse more than one offer.

Local authority housing is unfurnished. If you are offered a local authority home and you do not have and cannot afford to buy furniture or appliances, you may be eligible for help from the HSE's local Community Welfare Officer.

If you need help on this or any other issue effecting you, please contact your local Sinn Féin elected representative, or local cumann. We are there to help.

Make the Big Change in 2011

Gerry Adams - Louth
Many Irish people will be glad to see the back of 2010. It was a year that saw Irish unemployment, emigration, poverty, and general dissatisfaction with their political leaders reach new heights. It was also a year that saw mass protests against this government across the nation.

A year when people stood against these incompetent gombeen politicians who control our country.

A year when these same incompetents ordered gardaí to attack student protesters on the streets of our capital.

David Cullinane - Waterford
We had a man drive a cement lorry into Dail Éireann, and another who blocked the gates with a crane. We had a motorcycle cop captured on video trying to assault an elected member of Leinster House - Angus O' Snodaigh of Sinn Féin.

The rest of the world has been watching for months, waiting for the people of Ireland to cross the line and remove this unfit government from power. It hasn't happened. Yet.

Mary Lou McDonald- Dublin Central
In a few short months we'll all have our opportunity to get rid of them. A general election is expected as early as March. This election will be the most important for years. It will give the Irish people a chance to make a massive change to our corrupted society, a change which can echo across this island for decades.

Ireland needs change.

For change, we must elect an opposition party, that is not afraid to take on the gombeen men. A party that will not be bought, and can not be broke.

AnthonyKelly - Wexford
There is only one true opposition party left in Ireland.

They were the ones who successfully forced Fianna Fail to call the Donegal By-election, restoring at least some democracy to this nation.

They were the ones who stood defiantly against the IMF and again forced the government into action, this tme to call a vote in Leinster House on the IMF package.

Kathyrn Reilly - Cavan/Monaghan
They were the only ones to refuse to take part in the cruel consensus for cuts, which saw Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, the Greens and Labour conspire to cut the lifestyle of the ordinary Irish person in order to save toxic banks.

They are Sinn Féin - Irelands first and last opposition party. Change can come in 2011. If you want to make it happen, vote for Sinn Féin. Encourage others to vote Sinn Féin. Come out and help promote SF in your area, by putting up posters or canvassing.

Lets Make the Big Change in 2011.