As part of the See Change – Green Ribbon Campaign running for the month of May, this event has been organised. The aim of the campaign is to get people talking about Mental Health and stop the Stigma associated with it. Everyone is welcome to attend, admission is free.
The man was all shot through that came today
Into the barrack square;
A soldier I – I am not proud to say
We killed him there;
They brought him from the prison hospital;
To see him in that chair…
His wounds were opened out and round that chair
Was one red lake;
I swear his lips said ‘Fire!’ when all was still
Before my rifle spat
That cursed lead – and I was picked to kill
A man like that!
-Liam Mac Gabhann
On this day one hundred years ago, James Connolly, socialist and republican, being unable to stand was instead tied to a chair and shot in Kilmainham jail.
When news of this leaked, it evoked disbelief, anger and pity among the general population.
But Connolly was no naïve revolutionary. He was a military man, having served in the British army and since acted as Commandant of the Irish Citizen’s Army and Commandant General of the Dublin Division during Easter Week. He was a soldier and he died, unafeared, a soldier’s death. Foreseeing his own death in the cause of Irish freedom he said;
“As a Socialist I am prepared to do all one man can do to achieve for our motherland her rightful heritage – independence”
In order to achieve his twin aims of an Ireland that was free and equal for all, he was ready to die. But Connolly was no starry-eyed romantic, rather he was guided by the starry plough and the very real and untapped power of the workers of Ireland united as one.
Connolly read the work of Karl Marx and Friederich Engels and having spent a number of years in America, was very influenced by the radical Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) or “The Wobblies” as they were also known.
At the outset of World War I, Connolly made known his opposition to the war which he saw for what it was- an imperialist’s squabble over control of their colonies, workers being used as pawns in a rich man’s game. These phony calls of imperialist nationalism would eventually lead millions of working class men to their slaughter in the fields of Europe, many of them Irish. Instead Connolly urged his fellow trade unionists not to let workers be ill-used against each other in this patriot game. He realised the real potential of the workers on all sides to work together and instead overthrow their masters. His sentiments on the subject probably best summed up in that rallying cry,
“The great are only great because we are on our knees. Let us arise!”
AN IRISH SOCIALIST AND REPUBLICAN
Having discouraged workers’ involvement in such patriot games as “nationalism” of big powers in World War I, Connolly’s ardent republicanism in Ireland might then seem incongruous. How could Connolly discourage Nationalism and support the cause of Irish nationalism? He rightly distinguished between the nationalism of the oppressed and that of the oppressor.
One of Connolly’s central achievements was his understanding of the Irish struggle for independence in the context of the British colonialism of the day. In his 1897 pamphlet, “Socialism and Nationalism”, he explained this philosophy.
“If you remove the English army to-morrow and hoist the green flag over Dublin Castle, unless you set about the organisation of the Socialist Republic your efforts would be in vain.
England would still rule you. She would rule you through her capitalists, through her landlords, through her financiers, through the whole array of commercial and individualist institutions she has planted in this country and watered with the tears of our mothers and the blood of our martyrs.”
Connolly understood well that rather than being mutually exclusive the causes of socialism and republicanism in Ireland, an oppressed country, were in fact absolutely dependent on each other.
“The Cause of Labour is the cause of Ireland, the cause of Ireland is the cause of Labour”.
Before the ill-fated rising he warned that partition in Ireland would have a regressive impact on the cause of social justice on the whole island of Ireland.
“Such a scheme…would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the Irish Labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements whilst it endured.”
Connolly had a habit of being prophetic. In the divided Ireland of today, the highest child poverty rates in the UK are to be found in the city of Belfast while the sovereignty of the Republic has effectively been sold to Brussels and the government’s power to provide for the social and economic welfare of its own citizens has been ceded to a foreign power. A new form of colonialism in the 21st century. This further explains how the socialist Connolly was such a committed republican, prepared to die for a 32 County Workers’ Republic.
In his short life, Connolly published a number of books and pamphlets on the questions of nationalism and socialism.
Connolly had a number of children with his wife Lillie and at least two of children became active in socialist republican politics, Nora and Roddy. Nora was a member of the Belfast Fianna and helped found Cumann na mBan. She was also heavily involved in preparations for the 1916 rising, travelling to American to meet John Devoy and smuggling Liam Mellows back to Ireland following his deportation to England. She remained an active republican all her life, taking part in the War of Independence and being imprisoned by the Free State government during the Civil War.
“WOMEN ARE THE SLAVE OF THE SLAVE” -Connolly
Connolly, being influenced by other prominent socialists at the time, was a fervent feminist. Female volunteers were accepted as full members and combatants in Connolly’s Irish Citizen Army. Indeed, Countess Markevicz was in full command in the College of Surgeons/Stephens Green during Easter Week with Michael Malin as her second.
The campaign for universal suffrage was in full flow during Connolly’s years in Ireland and Connolly was a strong supporter of the cause. Of him Frances Sheehy-Skeffington said,
“Mr. James Connolly… is the soundest and most thorough-going feminist among all the Irish labour men…He has done more, by speech and writing, than any other man to bring about that strong feeling of sympathy for the suffragist cause which now exists among the Irish Labour Party.”
Connolly was not afraid either to tackle the issue of women’s liberation with the Catholic Church exposing the Pope for denouncing the women’s suffrage movement a view which can only have been very unpopular at the time.
THE TIPPERARY CONNECTION
Connolly was no stranger to Tipperary and founded the Labour Party with Larkin at the Irish Trade Union Council Congress in Clonmel 1912 which was held in the Workmen’s Boat Club in Irishtown and in the Town Hall.
The Labour Party which he and Larkin founded was an-All Ireland 32 County Labour Party representative of trade unions North and South. The 26-county Labour party of today is but a ruin, due to the damage done by leaders who rejected the Connolly position.
His influence and that of the early labour movement in general was particularly powerful in Munster where the message of equality and fairness spoke to thousands of factory workers and farm labourers in particular. During the War of Independence in the years that followed the rising, Ernie O’Malley wrote of the “red brigandage at large in Munster” where land seizures and take-overs of creameries were common-place. One such take-over took place at the creamery on Suir Island in Clonmel, the “Clonmel Soviet” in the last week of April, 1922.
Connolly’s vision of a future Ireland was an equal Ireland. An Ireland where every person was equal, man and woman, worker and factory owner, where no-one was above anyone else.
A simple idea but a revolutionary one. And an idea which is not universally popular even in the Ireland of today because it changes the status quo.
But the spirit of Connolly lives on in initiatives like the Right to Change movement which we at Workers and Unemployed Action are proud founder members of.
At Workers & Unemployed Action we remember Connolly today and every day. He is the guiding light in our everyday work and the driving force behind each and every campaign we wage for a more equal and just Ireland.
Rest in peace James Connolly.
Despite the weather, there was a huge turnout in support of Mental Health Reform outside Leinster House this afternoon. It was a very emotional and powerful demonstration. More investment in our services is vital and these cuts must be reversed. #iscuisme #IAmAReason
Seamus Healy TD – 0872802199
I stood in the recent general election as a Right2Water and Right2Change candidate and have been involved in the movement since the initial stages. I congratulate all water campaigners around the country who in the past two and a half or three years stood up to be counted. Hundreds of thousands of people went out onto the streets. Community campaigners, anti-metering protestors and those who fought Irish Water on every street and estate and in every village, town and city stood up to be counted. They also stood up to the political parties. People power has won its first victory against water charges. Those involved have forced the political parties to retreat. The emerging deal – a fudge – is the first victory as the Government and Fianna Fáil have been forced to back down, but they did not do so voluntarily. They did it under the pressure exerted by people power. A word of caution to everyone involved in the campaign: he or she should stay organised and continue to resist metering. The political parties are treacherous and may attempt to reintroduce water charges. Today’s bad tempered rant by the caretaker Minister, Deputy Alan Kelly, may be an indication of what is to come. If we stay organised and continue to resist metering, however, water charges will be dead and buried.
As we have said from the beginning, water charges are unjust and represent double taxation. They were the straw that broke the camel’s back among people who had been devastated by austerity, in particular low and middle income families. A motion on the Order Paper that has been signed by 39 Deputies calls for the abolition of water charges and the enshrining in the Constitution of the public ownership of water infrastructure. It should be debated urgently, but, unfortunately, Fianna Fáil has agreed with Fine Gael to prevent that from happening. I appeal to Fianna Fáil, the Members of which where elected on a pledge to end water charges, to allow the motion to be tabled and voted on, as there is a majority in the House in favour of abolishing water charges. Irish Water must be abolished as it has been a disaster for ordinary people. We must also ensure the many people who paid their water charges under duress – the elderly people who were afraid and people who were ill and worried certainly did not pay voluntarily – will have their money refunded. It is important that the legislation underpinning domestic water charges is repealed. I appeal to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael to allow the motion on the Order Paper to be debated and voted on so as to put water charges and Irish Water to bed once and for all.
Healy Demands immediate opening of Existing vacant 40 bed Hospital Unit at Our Lady’s Hospital, Cashel.
Deputy Seamus Healy has again raised the scandal of a closed 40 bed unit at Our Lady’s Hospital Cashel while at the same time South Tipperary General Hospital is bursting at the seams.
Deputy Healy has raised the issue of overcrowding at South Tipperary General Hospital twice in the Dáil at the election of Taoiseach and is again raising this issue ahead of a debate on health in the Dáil tomorrow where he will again be calling for urgent action.
It is long since passed the time when the trolley crisis at the hospital must be tackled.
On the 10th March, the first day of the vote on the election of Taoiseach, there were 44 patients on trolleys at South Tipperary General Hospital, the highest number in the country. On the second day of the vote for Taoiseach there were 38 patients on trolleys and the numbers have been consistently high since well before Christmas.
It’s not as if there isn’t a solution to the problem. There is a very obvious solution.
There is an existing 40 bed hospital unit, moth balled, closed and lying idle at Our Lady’s Hospital, Cashel.
Deputy Healy is demanding that this unit be opened immediately to relieve the crisis at South Tipperary General Hospital.
It is not good enough that patients must lie for days on trolleys at South Tipperary General Hospital while the Health Service Executive does nothing.
Patients have no privacy and little or no access to wash and bathroom facilities.
The Emergency Department crisis is now affecting the whole hospital. The occupancy of the 79 medical beds is now running at 150% and general surgery and gynaecology procedures are being cancelled.
The whole hospital is now running at way above capacity, in the region of 130%, putting huge pressure on patients and staff and raising the issue of safety.
It is time to solve this situation once and for all and the solution is available and obvious – the opening of the Cashel Unit.
I will again be raising this issue in the Dáil tomorrow.
Seamus Healy T.D.19/4/2016
Tel 087 2802199
– Social Entrepreneurs Ireland call for entries closes 7th April –
With the deadline fast approaching, Social Entrepreneurs Ireland (SEI) is calling on Tipperary based social entrepreneurs to apply to their 2016 Awards Programme. With €600,000 in support on offer, SEI is searching for people with innovative ideas to some of Ireland’s biggest social and environmental problems.
SEI has a history of supporting home-grown social enterprises, investing nearly €6.3 million in 190 social entrepreneurs since 2004. These investments have been made in a variety of areas ranging from adult education, the provision of emergency services in rural Ireland, voter engagement, food waste, and many more. SEI supported projects have worked with more than 380,000 people around the country, creating 1,080 jobs in the process.
This year SEI are providing €600,000 in funding and support to nine social entrepreneurs and their high potential social start-ups. In addition, successful applicants will be provided with access to professional supports, mentoring, and training.
Speaking about the 2016 Awards Programme, Darren Ryan, Chief Executive of Social Entrepreneurs Ireland said “Just as entrepreneurs can drive change in business, social entrepreneurs can bring about real change in society. This year we are calling on people all around Ireland to consider if their big idea has the potential to change Ireland. If so, we want to hear from them.”
DCC plc, one of Ireland’s largest public companies, has partnered with SEI in their search for the country’s leading social entrepreneurs over the past five years. Tommy Breen, CEO of DCC plc said “We strongly believe in the work carried out by Social Entrepreneurs Ireland and we’re delighted to be supporting their Awards Programme again this year. It is a great privilege to play a role in assisting Ireland’s brightest and most ambitious entrepreneurs who are dedicated to making a positive impact on our society.”
The deadline for applications to the SEI Awards Programme is 5pm on Thursday, 7th April. Full details on the application process and eligibility criteria can be found online at www.socialentrepreneurs.ie.