It is emerging that thousands of children were starved to death in state funded homes run by nuns in Ireland. The Daily Mail today carries a detailed report which quotes Philip Redmond, a survivor of Sean Ross Abbey Hospital, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary where of the 167 babies born in 1942, there were 72 deaths. Mr Redmond says "As far as Bessborough is concerned, there is little doubt in our minds that as many as 2,000 died while we believe another 1,200 died in Sean Ross Abbey" This figures are to be added to the estimated 796 bodies found in a waste tank in the grounds of then Tuam home - see the earlier piece on this page.
WSM reporters took part in the student march against Garda Brutality in Dublin called by Free Educations for Everyone and the Students in Solidarity networks. Over 600 people took part in the demonstration which marched from the Wolfe Tone statue to Pearse street police station.
The reality of the Orange Order is that it is a counter-revolutionary institution set up and maintained to target not just Catholics but also 'disloyal' Protestants. It's formation and spread was encouraged by the British state in the years leading up to the 1798 rebellion precisely in order to drive a wedge between ordinary Catholics and Protestants. The 12th of July was picked as the key date to provide an alternative attraction to the marking of Bastille day and in itself to mark the sectarian massacre that led to the formation of the Orange Order.
The September 11 attacks, the Afghan war that followed from it and the ongoing war in Israel/Palestine have once again raised the issue of Islam in the minds of many anarchists in Ireland and Britain. Not just because of the role Islam has in shaping those conflicts but also because militant Islam has become a far more noticeable presence on solidarity demonstrations.
On the 23rd of May 1798 the largest popular republican rising in Irish history began. Across the island tens of thousands fought under the banner of the United Irishmen. Hundreds of thousands had been sworn into the organization in the preceding four years. On four occasions revolutionary France sent thousands of troops to aid the rebellion, the United Irishmen had built contacts with revolutionary republicans across the globe, including the USA, France, Hamburg and England. The response of the British state to the rise of the United Irishmen was a brutal counterinsurgency campaign that stirred up sectarian conflict on the island. 1798 thus came to shape much of the political struggles that took place in the following centuries. [Article in Spanish]
This collection of articles looks at some of the highpoints in the development of Irish republicanism. The articles themselves are linked to below but you can also download them as a PDF booklet by following the instructions below. You are welcome to distribute copies of this booklet but do let me know that you are doing so.
The results of the 2001 Life and Times survey in the north of Ireland confirm that sectarian attitudes are spreading and deepening. In 1998 we warned that
"the structures proposed in the [Good Friday] agreement actually institutionalise sectarian divisions. Politicians elected to the proposed Assembly must declare themselves either 'unionist' or 'nationalist' - those who refuse will not have their votes counted in measuring the cross community support necessary for passing legislation. We are supposed to line up behind Catholic/Green or Protestant/Orange banners and seek the best deal for 'our community'. The concept of working class interests is not even considered".