20 April 2006 Edition
Easter Lily ban, Shoot-to-kill, 1916 - Pandora's box and Hauliers' arrogance
Easter Lily ban
Over the last twenty years I have done my best to commemorate the Easter Rising in my own small way. This took the form of selling Easter Lilies in my local. Recently the establishment came under new ownership and last week during my collection I met the new proprietor who immediately barred me for selling "dem tings"
While this incident pales into insignificance when compared to the vitriol and oppression directed at republicans over the years, it is however a metaphor for the state of the country today. On the one hand there are those of us who have always advocated the principles set out in the Proclamation, on the other the establishment and big business espouse the values of capitalism, materialism and greed. As they fumble in the greasy till they have become the anathema of the teachings of Pearse and Connolloy. The onset of the so called Celtic Tiger has emboldened these people to the extent that this grubby little man can bar me for selling "dem things"
Oak Road, Donnycarney, Dublin 9
The shooting dead of Stephen Cowell by the PSNI in County Down last Sunday is eerily reminiscent of the 2003 shooting of Neil McConville in Antrim. In both cases the young men were unarmed. In both cases attempts were made to suggest that they had attempted to run the checkpoint, false in the case of McConville and almost certainly false in the case of Cowell. Another disturbing similarity is that in both cases the PSNI would have assumed they were dealing with nationalists, mistakenly as it turns out in the case of Cowell who had been wearing a Celtic soccer jersey. Taken together with last month's incident on the Glen Road in West Belfast, where the PSNI yet again opened fire on a suspect vehicle, the picture that emerges is of a policy of shoot-to-kill.
In this the PSNI are showing a clear continuity with the operational culture of its predecessor the RUC. Under these conditions recognition of this force is not an option. Southern commentators who would have Sinn Féin sign up to policing ignore the nature of the PSNI. There has been very little commentary on the activities of the Mount Vernon UVF gang which is so heavily infiltrated they must be seen as an arm of the PSNI. Instead we get a load of self-serving, sanctimonious crap about how intransigent republicans are for not signing up to policing. These commentators may be able to ignore the facts for convenience sake. Northern nationalists will not.
Crumlin , Dublin
1916 - Pandora's box
An estimated 120,000 people showed up at the State's Easter commemoration. Rather than congratulate themselves, however, they should be afraid, very very afraid. In celebrating the rising while at the same time trampling on its ideals they attempt a conjourous trick which is impossible to pull off. The Southern elite are the antithesis of 1916 and their earlier reluctance to celebrate it was an appropriate response from a state which tramples on workers' rights, cant/won't ensure the health and well being of its citizens, can't/won't provide it's citizens with housing, social or affordable, allows its children to die travelling to school in substandard buses and is so mired in graft and corruption they make Tammany Hall look like philanthropists.
It is to be hoped that by opening up the Pandora's box of 1916 the chasm between the aspirations expressed in the Proclamation and the reality of modern Ireland will be brought into sharp contrast. A significant section of the Southern elite differ tactically with those who think it can be manipulated. It is not just a latent pro-Britishness and post colonial self-loathing which motivates this opposition but also a recognition that the values of 1916 would destroy them.
Newbridge, County Kildare
The completion of Dublin's port tunnel has allowed the council to introduce a limited ban - many argue too limited - on the movement of heavy goods vehicles in and around the city. The response of the hauliers has been to threaten the city with talk of blockades and in this they have been supported by IBEC. The arrogance here is astounding. Here we have an organisation that is resolutely anti-union and has supported the lowest anti-union tactics employed by an increasingly aggressive generation of management in this country. Yet, when they feel that the interests, i.e. pockets, of their members are threatened they think nothing of closing down the city. The state will of course take no action against these people as we all know that business is above the law.
If it comes to this kind of tactic I would appeal to people to remember that this action is endorsed by IBEC. If you find the road blocked remember that you have a right to travel the road and by extension a right to remove anyone deliberately blocking the road. I am reminded of the Irish Ferries use of a private security to forcibly remove workers from their ships. Perhaps it is time for ordinary citizens and workers to adopt similar tactics.