DSD “You need to tell us” campaign is an attack on working class communities.

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The recent campaign, launched by Stormont’s Department for Social Development, calling blatantly for people to inform on benefits claimants, is an appalling indictment on the failure of that institution to create a decent society, and a feeble attempt to divert attention from the savage and unfair cutbacks which working class people are facing into.

Sean Carlin of the Irish Republican Socialist party continues “The crass nature of the message contained in this publicity campaign, is further proof (if any more were needed) that the Stormont government is being led by the nose by a hypocritical Tory government, doing the bidding of their Millionaire allies who seek to dodge Billions in Corporation Tax a year, while pointing a disapproving finger at poor and vulnerable families trying to keep their heads above water.”

Mr Carlin said “Throughout the course of Irish history, Informers have been castigated as morally bankrupt and belonging to the lowest rungs of our society.  At a time in which families are facing into desperate hardship and are forced into desperate measures, the practice of Informing to the government should be as contemptible and condemnable to our communities as at any time in our past.

In recent days, one such poster calling on people to inform was erected on the International Wall on Belfast’s Falls Road, a space recognised as one in which activists express the best aspects of our radical and progressive past and present, in the form of slogans, paintings and murals.”

Mr Carlin finishes “The placing of such an appalling message at this junction was a snub to all right thinking people of west Belfast. We understand the frustration of such people, and call for these offensive posters to be removed immediately.”

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End the criminalisation of LGBT people.

  The Irish Republican Socialist Party condemns the DUPs proposed bill which would allow discrimination against LGBT people under the guise of “religious conscience”, and we condemn the Catholic hierarchy’s support for this hideous assault on LGBT people. When Ashers Baking … Continue reading

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The mask slips. Political Policing in the 26 Counties.

 

Irish Republican Socialist Partys Dublin Secretary John Roche, reacting to the arrest of party colleague Tommy Kelly, has condemned his arrest and the recent spate of politically motivated raids in Dublin. Mr Roche was speaking after Tommy Kelly was released following his arrest as part of the state’s response to the protest last month in which Joan Burton was delayed for a number of hours.

Mr Roche reacting to the news of the arrests said, “Twenty four people, including IRSP member Tommy Kelly, were arrested during the past week in a series of politically motivated raids which some have likened to the actions of the Gardai’s so-called ‘Heavy Gang’ of the 1970s. The nature of the arrests and the fact that those opposed to the introduction of unfair and unjust water charges were targeted clearly shows the political nature of the operation. Republican Socialists are no strangers to political policing and politically motivated internment we have encountered it since the formation of the Republican Socialist Movement in 1974. Its a sign of weakness it means they are scared of what you represent and thats a good thing, they should be scared.”

He continued, “In reality these arrests were nothing to do with the protest which affected Joan Burton. They were in fact the response of a desperate state which is terrified of losing control over the people. They were an ill-judged attempt at intimidation and as such will lead to failure. The fact remains that those who stand with the marginalised and poor were targeted for special attention by armed and aggressive representatives of the state during early morning raids. Two children were among those who were subject to the actions of the police state during that operation in what was clearly an attempt to silence opposition to water charges within working class communities who have begun to.”

He went on, “These arrests and associated intimidation of anti-austerity activists will not succeed in breaking the will of the people as they were designed to do. The Irish working class have had enough of paying for the extravagances of those who wilfully gambled away the nation’s resources and finances. We stand with the people and will continue to act in solidarity with those under economic attack from the state.”

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“Welfare to Work” program Steps to Success have 900 free workers on its books in Strabane alone.

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“Welfare to Work” program Steps to Success have 900 free workers on its books in Strabane alone.

 

The Irish Republican Socialist Party is calling for people to have greater awareness of what’s happening with the Steps to Success program currently being forced on people all across the northern occupied counties. Unemployed workers are being targeted as a source of free labour for the private sector, subsidized by public money. Being forced onto these “Welfare to Work” schemes prohibit the opportunity for finding meaningful employment with no real jobs created only a conveyor belt of publically funded workers for private profit.

 

Michael McLaughlin of the IRSP continues “Essentially what we have here is a vast pool of labour to be exploited by the private sector. Although the program is currently facing problems getting placements for participants some of the stories we are hearing from people currently on placements are degrading. What will also happen is that unemployment figures will fall drastically giving an unrealistic picture of real unemployment which will be spinned by Stormont political parties as a reduction when in actual fact is anything but?”

 

Mr McLaughlin said “Put yourself in the place of an unscrupulous large corporation only interested in profit margins. Do you create a full time position for a worker, with all the benefits of full employment, or do you get a worker in on a “welfare to work” scheme that is subsidized by the public purse, essentially free labour for your business? I know of many large corporations who would only be too glad to exploit young unemployed people in this way, with no chance of real employment at the end of it. Once you have served your 12 month sentence for “steps to success” your back on the dole and the next scheme participant is sub-contracted in your old position.”

 

Mr McLaughlin finishes “Since the IRSP launched its campaign to expose the “steps to success” program on social media we have been inundated with personal stories from people currently on the scheme. Everyone we have spoken to has had a negative experience. One 40 year old woman was forced to commute a 30 mile round trip to a McDonald’s fast food restaurant for which she was given £1.62 per hour. In another case a 28 year old was threatened by the private company Rutledge ,delivering “steps to success”, that if he didn’t attend the highly unsuitable placement they provided for him he would lose his Jobseekers and Housing Benefit for 6 months, effectively driving him into abject poverty and homelessness.. We need to continue to raise public awareness of how Stormont are not only letting this happen but are culpable in the administration of it.”

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PLA / INLA Volunteer Hugh Ferguson Commemoration. Belfast. Sunday 22nd February

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Several hundred people braved wet and windy conditions to attend the 40th anniversary march and commemoration of Comrade Hugh Ferguson, chairperson of Whiterock IRSP and Volunteer in the Peoples Liberation Army. The first fallen martyr of the INLA.

Led by a colour party (made up of his old comrades and Belfast RSM veterans) Hugh Ferguson’s family kindly participated as wreath bearers, closely followed by the James Connolly Republican Socialist flute band from Derry City.

Following a march around the narrow streets of the Whiterock estate, those assembled came to a halt at the Ferguson/O’Niell memorial plaque, where under the misty slopes of the black mountain, a commemoration service was held by the Irish Republican Socialist Party.

Wreaths were laid on behalf of the Ferguson family, Staff & Volunteers of the INLA, the IRSP Ard Comhairle and Whiterock/Ballymurphy IRSP.

Following a memorial speech and tribute from Gerard Foster of Befast IRSP, the lowering of the flags commenced in line with a lament.

The commemoration concluded with the playing of Amhrán na bhFiann.

Below is the full text of the speech delivered by Gerry Foster of Belfast IRSP.

Friends and Comrades, first of all I would like to thank everybody who has gathered here today to remember our Friend and Comrade Volunteer Hugh Ferguson.

I would also wish to extend a special welcome to Hugh’s family who are also here as I am sure this is a difficult time for them. It has been forty long years since that fateful day in February 1975 when Hugh was murdered, and I am sure occasions like these can bring back sad and painful memories for them all.

Standing here today I am sure that each and every one of you who knew Hugh have your own sad but good memories of our comrade before he met his untimely death as he was a person whose personality was infectious.

Fergie was a young man in his prime, vibrant and full of life, but with ideals and beliefs that others looked up to. Ideals that with his untimely death, only spurred others on to believe in and to further ostracise those who ended his short life so callously.

Growing up at his home in Whiterock Parade, Hugh joined Na Fianna Éireann in the first years of the conflict aged only 14. Possessing what was both a rare and keen insight into the root causes of the Irish freedom struggle, he also developed a passion for community work, assisting and organising initiatives aimed at empowering local people and engineering a sense of self-worth amongst the disadvantaged youths of West Belfast.

A hard worker, Hugh Ferguson could turn his hand at construction as well as a mechanic; he often worked at the nearby Maguires garage as well as from home and in the streets around which he grew up.

Recognising the link between the struggle for Irish Freedom and the struggle for Working Class emancipation, Hugh became both a committed Socialist and a Volunteer in the IRA. He soon gained confidence and skills as both an activist and as an orator within the early Republican Clubs and at street level.

And following the now well documented and vital debate within the Official Republican Movement, Hugh Ferguson sided firmly with the tendency that recognised an urgent need to physically confront British imperialism in Ireland. Standing by this belief – and along with fellow comrades – he helped to form the Irish Republican Socialist Party with Seamus Costello in 1974.

He soon became the chairperson of Whiterock IRSP, and an unapologetic member of the ‘Peoples Liberation Army’, the forerunner to the Irish National Liberation Army pledged to defend the party of Connolly from physical attack.

Hugh Ferguson was a young man of vision when he was gunned down by his former comrades in the Official IRA. He was murdered simply because of his membership of the Republican Socialist Movement. There is no way of knowing what the future would have brought for Hugh but at the time in 1975 he was a firm believer in the values and beliefs of Seamus Costello, the founder of the RSM who himself was to be assassinated a few short years later by that same group that murdered Hugh. Little did the RSM know that in the following few months they would lose another two comrades in circumstances similar to that of Volunteer Hugh Ferguson simply because they were members of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement.

For the people who did not know Hugh, he was a young man of values and a credit to his local community.

Because of his beliefs and that of the sacrifice he made, his memory will always live on.

As I have mentioned previously Hugh died forty years ago simply because of his membership of The IRSP. His death was part of a pogrom that was intended to stifle, hinder and ultimately destroy any progress that Party was to make in the Political Arena. The very fact that we are standing here today proves that the RSM is still here so therefore that pogrom failed.

Hugh was a prodigious worker for the local community but he also lived, dreamed and worked for the establishment of a Socialist Republic.

Through times may change, and others may change to adapt, may wear the clothes they once rejected or my grace the corridors of power, I think it would be true to say that Hugh would not have deviated from the Revolutionary path. Today may require different tactics but not different principles.

Hugh epitomised the revolutionary spirit of the Irish Working Class from selling papers, organising, talking, persuading and cajoling comrades into giving even more to the Revolution.

It is particularly right and fitting that local people have come out to honour Comrade Hugh Ferguson, who stands as an example to all radical thinkers and in particular to the youths of the Whiterock area here, who can be rightfully proud of one of their own, who, in the unselfish tradition of Revolutionary Irish Republicanism, gave up his life for a higher ideal.

I am proud to say that even after all these years the name and memory of Hugh Ferguson is still proudly remembered by everyone here today, and long may it be so.

Before I finish with the National Anthem I would just like to thank the James Connolly Band who travelled down from Derry, The Colour Party, Wreath Layers and to Hugh’s old comrades from this area who organised today’s event. Thanks to the family of Hugh and to the people who kindly allow us to commemorate Hugh’s memory at this plaque. Again thank you all for attending here today to honour a brave comrade as the sacrifice he made shall never be forgotten. Thank You

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IRSP Condemns Latest Homophobic Attacks on Vulnerable North Belfast Man

The Irish Republican Socialist Party strongly condemns the latest homophobic attacks on North Belfast man, Paul Finlay-Dickson, forcing him to leave his home.  Paul lost his civil partner Maurice in January after a terminal illness.

IRSP spokesperson, Alex McGuigan, stated today that,

“the series of past attacks on Paul and even on his then dying partner are a crime against humanity and have no place in any modern society.  The IRSP has a proud record of supporting the rights of the LGBT community since it’s foundation over 40 years ago while other parties studiously ignored or worse, adopted reactionary positions towards LGBT peoples’ rights.”

The spokesperson continued,

“the clauses contained in the DUP’s so-called “Freedom of Conscience Bill” has sought to normalise and legalise homophobia in the 6 counties and seeks to de-humanise people based on their sexual orientation.  In reality, a party that seeks to legalise homophobia must accept that homophobic attacks are the natural progression.  It goes without saying that the IRSP views the so-called ‘Freedom of Conscience Bill” as a proposed charter for bigotry.”

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Posted in Statements

Vol. Hugh Ferguson’s 40th Anniversary Commemoration – Sunday 22 February, Belfast


INLA Volunteer Hugh Ferguson

The INLA Volunteer Hugh Ferguson commemoration march will assemble at Britton’s Parade Shops, off the Whiterock Road, Belfast at 1.30pm on Sunday, 22 February to start at 2pm.  The march will make its way around the Whiterock ending at Hugh’s memorial plague; where there will be a short wreath laying ceremony and speech.

All available IRSP members and supporters in the greater Belfast area are asked to attend.  Family members are especially welcomed

This is a very important commemoration as Volunteer Hugh Ferguson was the first of the Irish Republican Socialist Movement’s members to be killed after it was formed in December, 1974.  INLA Volunteer Hugh Ferguson, aged only 19, who was also Chairperson of the Irish Republican Socialist Party Whiterock Cumann, was shot dead in his workplace on the 20 February 1975 by the Official IRA who had been launching a series of attacks on the then fledgling Republican Socialist Movement, unsuccessfully attempting to wipe it out in it’s infancy.  It was due to the courage of ordinary working class people like Hugh Ferguson and other comrades like him who ensured that the IRSM survived the first of many onslaughts on it’s existence and continues to thrive today 40 years later.

Saoirse go deo!

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Posted in Belfast, Commemorations, Events, Fallen Volunteers

Belfast IRSP’s Successful White-line picket in support of Irish Political Prisoners

 IRSP white-line picket at Beechmount

IRSP white-line picket at Beechmount

Belfast Irish Republican Socialist Party held a highly successful white-line picket in support of Irish Republican prisoners today.  The well attended white-line picket, which stretched from the junction of the Falls Road/Donegal Road to the Beechmount area, drew solid support from both pedestrians and motorists.  Speaking at today’s protest, Belfast IRSP spokesperson, Alex Mcguigan, stated,

“the IRSP, throughout it’s 40 years existence, has always had a proud tradition of being at the forefront in campaigning for Irish Republican prisoners’ human rights. Three of our Irish National Liberation Army volunteers, along with seven of their fellow IRA POW’s, bravely laid down their lives to be rightfully treated as political prisoners during the Hunger Strike of 1981.  Some of our most dynamic activists who were at the forefront of setting up the RAC’s/H Block-Armagh Committees’ campaigns outside the gaols were assassinated by British military death-squads.  In today’s political climate we refuse to accept the revisionist notion pushed by pro-establishment parties that there are no political prisoners in gaols in Ireland.  We will always be ready to challenge such blatant fiction and continue to campaign on behalf of Irish political prisoners’ human rights on an unconditional basis.”

The IRSP extends it’s gratitude to members, supporters and members of the public who made today’s white-line picket such an outstanding success.  Saoirse go deo!

IRSP white-line picket at the Falls Rd/Donegal Rd junction

IRSP white-line picket at the Falls Rd/Donegal Rd junction

Posted in Campaigns, Political Prisoners, Uncategorized

Sinn Féin have lied to the people. The people must now take to the streets!

 

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It now appears certain that the Stormont Executive have agreed to the implementation of Tory cuts in full.

Last month the IRSP challenged Sinn Féin ,the party who claim to oppose austerity, to reveal whether or not – under the Stormont House Deal – they had agreed to the destruction of Disability Living Allowance, the subsequent degradation of Carers Allowance, the introduction of a benefits cap, and the ending of Severe Disability Premiums via the deliberately deceptive ‘Universal Credit’ system, all of the core attacks which made up the savage Tory Welfare Reform Bill.

All of the above were vital elements in ensuring that the most vulnerable individuals and families in our society, including those disproportionately marginalised due to years of political conflict, kept their heads above water and could live with a modicum of dignity.

Since our request, Sinn Féin have not only refused to clarify what measures they had agreed to, they chose instead to cynically drip fed misinformation to the public, through an array of non-informative press-releases, empty sloganeering and vaguely worded media interviews, designed to lure working class communities into a false sense of security and stall grass roots and Trade Union attempts to build effective street based opposition.

In truth they had agreed to all of the above, and more. Not only have they capitulated to the bulk of Tory Demands, they have also accepted Ian Duncan Smiths appallingly conceived ‘Bedroom tax’, a complete and total U-Turn on Martin McGuiness’ 2013 promise to ‘resist this onslaught on the most vulnerable’.

Working Class people in the North are now facing into a nightmare and one inspired by the worst imaginations of Tory Social planning.

Claims by Sinn Féin and others to have ensured ‘protection for the most vulnerable ‘deserve to be treated as no more than contemptible drivel. The financial fate of our most vulnerable, will now be handed to contracted private assessment firms, such as the massively discredited ‘Atos’ and ‘Maximus’ co-operations, who at the bidding of right-wing governments, tour the world to declare ill and dying people ‘fit for work’.

Nor can any comfort be drawn from the sugar-coated promise of ‘Financial Support Schemes’. Even the most basic insight into the Benefits System will recognise such schemes to be no more than a re-manifestation of the currently existing and already woefully inadequate Social Fund.

While Sinn Féin boast about the availability of £565 Million over the next five years, let us remember that £140 Million was paid out by the Social Fund only last year, in the form of Crisis Loans, Funeral Payments and Community Care Grants.

What was previously lauded by Sinn Féin as ‘protection for the most vulnerable’ can now be revealed as no more than a targeted retention of the above said schemes. An appalling failure to stand up for the people against a Tory onslaught, an insult of our intelligence if anything.

All of the established parties have agreed to tearing the heart out of an already inadequate benefits system, and the poorest will now suffer dreadfully as a result.

Sinn Féin; the party who loudly promised to act as the bulwark against this onslaught have had their words exposed as hot air. For the sake of political power they have capitulated to the enemies of the Working Class, and the futility of their constitutional project has once again been exposed for what it is. Stormont remains a tool of Westminster and the international business elite, it deserves only the contempt of the Irish Working Class.

The Irish Republican Socialist Party now call on the people to take to the streets, to join with the grass roots and fighting Trade Unionists, to resist the career politicians and their anti-Social ‘Stormont House Deal’.

The establishment parties have betrayed your trust and condemned you to poverty.

Let us repay their betrayal with our united resistance.

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IRSP News Years Statement 2015

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The Irish Republican Socialist Party sends New Year gestures of comradeship and solidarity to all of our members, our imprisoned comrades and supporters across Ireland and the world.

 

As we await what promises to be a year of vital importance to the struggle for the emancipation of our people and class, we look forward to working with you all over the coming twelve months, anticipating and predicting further consolidation and advancement of the Irish Republican Socialist agenda in 2015.

 

In recent times we have initiated a process of consolidation and re-activation of party structures nationwide, aware that ours is the movement which kept the flame of principled working class struggle alive in Ireland throughout many dark and dangerous decades. It is inconceivable to us that the class struggle which our people face today could be fought without significant principled input from the IRSP, and as such we fully intend to continue building the party of Connolly in the year 2015.

 

We acknowledge the immeasurable hard work and sacrifice that has gone into sustaining and developing every branch of our movement, we thank each and every comrade who has played even the smallest part in this. We also take this opportunity to pay particular tribute to the Irish National Liberation Army, who along with articulating and maintaining an ideologically sound military position, have again steadfastly stood by the political analysis of the IRSP in recent years.

 

As we approach the immensely significant anniversary of Easter 1916, we thank the INLA for their continued endorsement of our party’s revolutionary agenda.
You have maintained the principles, spirit and legacy of the Citizens Army, with a great deal of sacrifice and against herculean odds; an achievement which will be publically acknowledged by our party as we take our place with the many others to celebrate the anniversary of 1916.

 

The island is changing slowly, the once thought irreproachable social and political economic ideological pillars, which the Irish Free State capitalist establishment, and its political class, have built their cleptocracy upon; are beginning to be questioned with greater frequency and on a grander scale.

 

This must be recognised as a time of pivotal importance and potential for Republican Socialism. Our role in these times is to assist the working class in the process of empowerment and struggle, as far as the IRSP are concerned this is our foremost aim.

 

We caution that any party or movement who would seek to capitalise on the new social momentum – solely in order to build their own profile – should beware of the destructive affect any such manoeuvring will have upon the Irish class struggle. We propose genuine Revolutionary unity such as which can be built only on mutual respect and transparency.
Any process lacking these basic components is not unity at all and is in fact doomed to failure. Our people deserve better than that, we are confident they will get better than that.

 

Likewise, British occupied Ireland is on the verge of a fresh class awakening. Former anti-imperialist revolutionaries – now administering colonial rule – have found themselves on the wrong side in the class war. Sharing power with a right wing sectarian and fundamentalist religious cult, hand in hand we see them administering anti-working class neoliberal economic policy.

 

In both Stormont and Leinster house, they have thrown our most vulnerable to the wolves.

 

Yet we now have the potential, to use the current political environment in order to break down the old sectarian enmities which our national and class enemies have encouraged and relied on to keep our people in a state of subjection and poverty. It is the intention of the IRSP to make progress in this area also.

 

Arming our communities with the information they need to successfully combat the right wing agenda being espoused by Stormont and Leinster House, is paramount to the IRSP in 2015. Our revolutionary ideology is the most potent weapon in our arsenal and we must utilise it to convince our communities of the republican socialist alternative, so once again they – the masses- can be part of the struggle for national liberation and socialism in Ireland.

 

We take this opportunity to categorically state once again. There is no parliamentary road to socialism, because socialism cannot be created by seizing the bourgeois state apparatus. Nor is there an exclusively armed militaristic road to socialism nor Irish Freedom of any form, because social revolution requires the active participation of the masses; and therefore a socialist republic can only be established through the mass revolutionary actions of the working class.

 

While the IRSP recognises the right of the Irish working class to engage in whatever form of struggle it deems appropriate. We must beware of those who shirk from one of the main pillars of republican socialism, the complete and total obliteration of capitalism.

 

As our class becomes open to alternative methods for organising society the IRSP intends to use 2015 to develop, publish and articulate our vision of a united, socialist, secular, sustainable and stable republic. We must strive to convince the people of the merits in our political programme.

 

An Irish Workers Republic must be transferred from the pages of our policy into the consciousness of our class; this is our central task in the coming year.

 

The Republican Socialist tendency must dispel the myth that representative democracy, a system which inevitably leads to cleptocracey, is a concept that is truly of the people. Electing politicians once every four years to think and make decisions on behalf of the people is the antithesis of real democracy. Only an Irish workers democratic system with the full participation of the people, with workers control over its combined legislative, executive and judiciary systems, can we hope to “cherish all of the children of the nation equally”, a concept which shall not be reduced to a sound bite, in 2015.

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