The 24 hour strike by UNISON members to defend Health and
Education Services in Northern Ireland is an indication of the scale of the
crisis in the public sector. But its also the most significant trade
union struggle to hit the North since the onset of the current economic
According to press reports the Fine Gael and Labour
parliamentary “think ins” this week were upbeat and confident. Although
the Irish Times reports that both parties were warned “to brace
themselves for the bumpy ride ahead”. There has been talk
about Enda’s “honeymoon period” over the last few months. Although in
large measure the new coalition is benefitting from not being Fianna Fáil or the Green Party, while Enda Kenny is doing well in the polls for being neither Brian Cowen nor Brian Lenihan.
Last weekend in Ireland, a Labour minister used the Sunday press to launch an attack on unemployed youth. Readers here will recognise the same arguements she makes as those which have been made over the years by assorted Tories and Blairites in our own movement. They must be opposed. Fightback, the Irish Marxist voice, reports on this disgraceful attack.
PSNI sources as saying that
there was no “paramilitary” involvement in Friday night's rioting in
Belfast's Castlereagh Street and Albertbridge Road, but it’s
clear also that events a couple of weeks ago in the Short Strand have
contributed to what looks like an explosive situation moving into the
marching season, no matter whether the loyalists were there or not.