Sinn Féin needs to become radical again

The areas with the highest unemployment and the worst health issues are republican heartlands. That equation is a poor reflection on those who have had the votes and the power for enough years to change those statistics, at least partially 

SCRIPTURE tells us to “let the dead bury their dead”. Sinn Féin used to call not just for a United Ireland but for a socialist republic.

Universal Credit designed by the Tories delivered to you by Shame Féin and the DUP


A policy, if my memory serves me right, most often articulated by Gerry Adams himself. For good reasons, the socialist part of that designation dissipated as the peace agreement became more prominent. With Sinn Féin in government for several years and now the main opposition party in the south, there is a strong argument for resurrecting a dollop of that effective social policy which Sinn Féin claimed was its forté. The claim, unfortunately, sits uncomfortably with the continuing revelation that their most loyal supporters are amongst the poorest and most deprived (and that’s a fact). The areas with the highest unemployment and the worst health issues are republican heartlands. That equation is a poor reflection on those who have had the votes and the power for enough years to change those statistics, at least partially.

The Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO) report on addiction services, published this week, is only the latest exposé of these realities. The report concentrates on the inadequacies of the department of health and the health trusts. It outlines that the available services are insufficient and that the outcomes of the services are mostly unmeasured. In fact, the data coming from the service is so uncertain that the department cannot publish it and therefore there is little clarity as to whether the services being offered are doing any good. But the most depressing revelation is that the death rate from alcohol and drug problems is four and a half times greater in deprived areas and that hospital admissions for alcohol and drugs is four times greater than in more advantaged areas. The drugs in question are a mixture of illegal and medically prescribed, but alcohol remains the greatest killer.

Gerry Adams (TD) ex-President of Sinn Féin wearing his Poppy lapel honouring the British army who executed his comrades


Put addiction into the middle of unemployment and poor health and the result is a cocktail of problems that would test the commitment and the ingenuity of any political system. But the difficulty and complexity is surely a reason to be more incisive and clinical in response. Following through with the addiction metaphor, recovery only begins when the problem is honestly admitted. Shame Féin shows little inclination to admit that too many of the constituencies that they represent, especially in Belfast and Derry, continue to be the most deprived on this island. Deprived communities need employment and jobs, not just improvements in welfare benefits. Scotland, interestingly, is having a close look at universal basic income as a means of giving people dignity as well as a decent income. It is a scheme whereby each citizen receives a guaranteed minimum income, employed or not.

Child poverty, Universal Basic Income,

Deprived communities also need and desire law, order and discipline even more than more privileged communities. It is what provides stability and security. They need political leaders who not only challenge policies that sustain inequality and poverty but also challenge the people themselves to rise above apathy and lethargy. They need leaders who believe in their constituents enough to believe they do not have to be at the top of every negative measurement on employment and health. Sinn Féin are rightly credited with being hard workers. Their local constituency offices are a hive of activity, responding to enquiries and requests from constituents. But business is no substitute for effectiveness. The party has been long enough now to be examined and marked on outcomes. Has the standard of living in working class nationalist/republican areas improved? The answer, unfortunately, is a resounding no. Those are the areas that bore the brunt of the years of the Troubles.  They should not be expected to also bear the disappointment of the peace. Sinn Féin need to become much more radical in examining their performance.

With many thanks to: The Irish News and Denis Bradley for his Opinion piece which was published in The Irish News on Friday July 3rd 2020 for the original posting.

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Understanding Corporations and how they work!































































































With many thanks to: Photo credit: NewstalkZB

BREXIT who decides?

October edition of Socialist Voice monthly publication of the Communist Party of Ireland now available from Connolly Books and online here:

Articles on Brexit, 8th Amendment, Dublin Bus privatisation, European Union, Art and Poetry

With many thanks to: The Communist Party of Ireland. 

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THE WORKERS’ PARTY OF IRELAND Oration by Sean Garland at funeral of Comrade Noel Cullen


Tribute to Comrade and Friend Noel Cullen, who died on Saturday 26th May 2012, by Sean Garland, National Treasurer, the Workers’ Party of Ireland, at Noel’s funeral in Glasnevin Crematorium, Dublin.

May I first express on behalf of the Ard Comhairle, members and supporters of the Workers’ Party our most sincere sympathy to Noel’s mother Ellen, his son Jake and daughter Riona, to his sisters Bernie and her husband Brian, to Marie and her husband John, to Catherine and her husband Padraic, to his brothers Donal and his wife Helen, and to Brian and his wife Debbie and to all the extended family especially Jamie, Jody, Kieron, Ruairi, Kathy, Sean and Oisin, to Neil, Ross and Kathleen and to Donna and Robert.  He loved them all as they have shown how much they have loved him, most especially over the past difficult years.


Noel’s death at such an early age was and indeed is a great shock to his family and to a wide and great number of friends and comrades.  We know that the past years since he was diagnosed with cancer were years of strain and stress on Noel and his family.  But we also know that it was through his calm and determined attitude, greatly helped by all his family, that he was able to play a part in his children’s life and also in the activity of the Workers’ Party.


The last time I met with Noel was in Arbour Hill with the Workers Party Easter Week commemoration.   He was his usual quiet self, concerned as to how I was and how was the party doing.  This was typical of a man always generous and caring about others.


For Noel politics, and especially class politics, was and remained to the end the most important issue in this society.  He had learned long ago that this society was based on greed and inequality and until we had a truly Democratic, Secular Socialist Republic we would always have inequality, poverty and injustice.  Voltaire, the Great French philosopher of the 18th century, said it for his day :-“The poor are poor because they are robbed and robbed because they are poor” But then Marx came along and clarified this quote when he stated, “You are poor because of the economic system under which you live and under which you are governed, Capitalism.  You will always be poor under this system which places the privileges of the few above the rights of the many, it is this system of Capitalism which must be changed forever”.


Noel’s long history as a political activist began when he joined the Irish Democratic Youth Movement, the youth wing of the Workers’ Party.  He along with many others, as our late friend and comrade Tomás Mac Giolla stated, “built the finest political movement this country had ever seen”.  It had the potential to build a society where the working class would reap the benefits of their labour.  In common with many of his comrades, Noel felt deeply the betrayal of the party by members of the leadership who for opportunistic reasons sought to liquidate the party and carve out for themselves positions of power and privilege.  That some of them have got their reward today it is true but it is at the expense of workers and families who have paid and continue to pay the price of their treachery.


Comrade Noel Cullen stands out as an unique comrade and friend.  He knew what he and his party stood for and whatever the difficulties it faced Noel was confident, as we are, that success could be achieved.  A comrade of great determination, Noel could be relied upon in any and every emergency.  He never got excited and was always able to discuss every issue in a calm and rational manner.


We, Noel’s family, friends and comrades have lost a wonderful human being who was a bulwark against pessimism, deceit and division.  The love and respect that I have seen Noel’s family express at his passing has been most wonderful for it is a true demonstration of the impact Noel has made in his short life.  The famous English poet Emily Dickinson stated, “That is only comes once is what makes life so sweet”.  I believe this to be true and I know that Noel, from my association with him over many years of struggle in the common cause of Socialism, held the same view.


Noel was in the tradition of Tone and Connolly, of Liam Mellows and Frank Ryan, of Cathal Goulding and Tomás Mac Giolla, who all sought to unite workers of every religion and of none. He had no time for those who sought to divide workers and he was always hostile to sectarianism which has been used down the road to divide workers.  How do we fill the void left by Noel’s passing.  Frankly I don’t know, for we do not get many Noel Cullen’s passing our way.  I do know that Noel’s attitude to what has to be done in the coming days and years is reflected in the Wobblie poem from the United States in the 1920s which is still very relevant, and I quote:


“Mourn not the dead that in the cool earth lie

          dust unto dust,

The Calm sweet earth that mothers all who die –

As all of us must:

But rather mourn the apathetic throng

The cowed and the meek –

Who see the world’s great anguish and its wrong –

And dare not speak”


In looking back, at the time of their passing, over the life of a friend and comrade Noel, we are mindful of the loss he is to his family and to all of us.  We try to weigh the balance and say to ourselves, “did this man make an impact, did he play his part, did he make a contribution, not just to our country but to the world at large?”.  I will come back to this later.  Noel was an Irish Socialist Republican, he was a true internationalist.  He stood, with his late friend and comrade Seán Ó Cionnaith for the rights of the Palestinian people, for the people of Cuba and Korea, struggling against the might of US imperialism which has never stopped interfering in the affairs of sovereign nations.  Whether it be in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the aim of the United States is to dominate and to carry out its policies through client states on every continent. The world is waking up to the dangers of US imperialism and it was through the work of our late comrade Noel and many others that people learned as to who the enemy is of workers, capitalism.


I will conclude with an answer to the question I posed was Noel’s life a success and I believe I found it in a poem written by an American poet from the 19th century, Ralph Waldo Emerson.  It is called Success:




To laugh often and much;

to win the respect of

intelligent people and the

affection of children;

to earn the appreciation of

honest critics

and endure the betrayal

of false friends.

to appreciate beauty;

to find the best in others;

to leave the world a bit better

whether by a healthy child,

a garden patch or

a redeemed social condition;

to know that even one life

has breathed easier

because you have lived

this is to have succeeded


Going on Ralph Waldo Emerson’s standard we can truly say that Comrade Noel Cullen’s life was a great success.




Anti-socialist and Tea Party spokesperson Michele Bachmann announced she’s a citizen of Switzerland, a socialist nation with universal health care and marriage equality. On a related note, Bachmann’s family has received a quarter of a million dollars in farm subsidies, the very thing she rails against. We knew she was a bozo when she emerged on the national scene wanting to investigate anyone in Congress “who wasn’t patriotic.” Seems as this anti-socialist “patriot” takes government handouts AND chooses to be a citizen of a socialist country. It’s time for her constituents in Minnesota to dump her for someone who’ll better represent the people of her district instead of re-electing this goofy gadfly.

— with Robert Mitchell.




Cause of Imprisoned Women Raised on IWD – éirígí: For A Socialist Republic

Cause of Imprisoned Women Raised on IWD – éirígí: For A Socialist Republic.

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