Labour Party must return to being equality and human rights defenders

It is the job of politicians to defend equality and human rights structures precisely because it’s not a populist issue. Austerity has brought increased levels of unemployment and increasing levels of discrimination. It is precisely during this period of economic crisis and consequent austerity that the effective and independent functioning of our statutory infrastructure to address discrimination and promote equality is even more critical.

A crisis to fight the crisis

Back in 2007 I wrote an article for An Phoblacht about a debate within Sinn Féin on taking a position on coalition with Fianna Fáil.

I ventured a view that having upwards of 20 TDs elected would not of itself necessarily move the aims and objectives of the party forward if other factors influencing power in the State were not adequately addressed. Nothing new or earth shattering there. With all the reactionary forces that are marshalled to resist progressive change, it has always been necessary to have a subversive mindset when trying to fight for a civilised future.

Does class still matter to the Labour Party?

Sociologist Ulrich Beck has made the claim that class is dead, and in his work preferred to concentrate on the choices made by individuals. In the Irish Times on Saturday 2 June Brian Hayes of Fine Gael made similar claims in relation to class. With regard to the vote on the Fiscal Treaty, the paper quotes Hayes as saying, “I think every vote is about self interest”.


Having successfully passed the ‘Stability’ Treaty referendum, the Irish people can now turn to the serious business of the summer – Euro 2012. The low turnout in the referendum says much about the general apathy and confusion of the Irish public at a time of great economic distress, but relief is just around the corner.

The Fiscal Compact treaty - a sheep in wolf’s clothing?

The debate on the Fiscal Compact treaty in Ireland has been dominated by duel scaremongering arguments; the threat of institutionalised austerity on one side and the threat of discontinued funding on the other. The result has been a complete lack of debate on the actual content of the treaty. The Yes side claim that it will bring stability. The No side claim that it would enshrine austerity into the Irish constitution and allow the EU to dictate our national budget.

Austerity will crush the labour movement

The crisis that has brought us to the dire economic situation we face today is not one caused by a few rogue bankers or reckless policy decisions made by successive finance ministers.

The elephant in the room that most media commentators and virtually all politicians choose to ignore is ideology. The austerity measures laid down by the troika continue in the vein laid out under the neoliberal revival of the 1980s and 1990s.

Let the Household Charge boycott be our referendum on Troika demands

We are bombarded with warnings that if the Household Charge of €100 isn’t paid by 31 March 31 the penalties will kick in – but what are the penalties? Delay until 30 June and it’s 10%, that’s €10; delay until 31 December and it’s 20%, that’s €20; delay beyond that and it’s 30% and 1% per month. So, I ask: what’s the panic? If you pay now your money is gone; if you don’t want to pay and you aren’t yet certain about making a stand, why not hold off for a few months? Yes, you're risking €10 – it might turn out to be the best tenner you (n)ever spent.