Sunday, 21 April 2013

Spanish Civil War – Belfast Commemoration Mural

© Joe ÓNéill
L-R Gerard Murray, (Teach Na Fáilte) and historian, John Quinn.

“It isn’t often you hear the Wolff Tone Commemoration, Shankill Road Belfast Branch, and Bodenstown”, mentioned in the same sentence, said Gerard Murray, Representative of Teach Na Fáilte, as he delivered the opening remarks at the official unveiling of the mural to commemorate men from Belfast, who fought on the Republican side during the Spanish Civil War.

The mural, by artist Francis Maher, is based on an iconic photo of Belfast socialists who marched at the Republican Bodenstown Commemoration in 1934. Many of these men were prominent in organising the Outdoor Relief Strikes in 1932, when the working class from the Shankill and the Falls roads in Belfast, united to fight for better wages and conditions for the thousands of unemployed put to work on the Stormont government’s Outdoor Relief Projects. Many of these men from the Socialist movement, who sailed to Spain, gave their lives in defence of the Spanish Republic alongside IRA veterans from all 32 counties.

The mural is located on Northumberland Street which connects the Shankill and Falls roads.

Viva la Quince Brigada 
by Christy Moore

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Gong Hey Fat Choy - Ó Béal Feirste

© Joe ÓNéill
Gong Hey Fat Choy @Belfast City Hall

There they go again. The elected tyrants in Belfast City Hall. Celebrating a Chinese heathen festival at our City Hall, in “Our Wee Country”. Where is it all going to end, I ask myself? 
Down with this sort of thing!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

© Joe ÓNéill MLK Annual March & Celebration San Francisco

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Peter Robinson – Willie Frazer - Veterans of Foreign Wars

Our two intrepid Heroes 
Peter Robinson (Inset) & Willie Frazer, being restrained by the PSNI
Monkey See, Monkey Do 

The Minister for Justice in the Irish Republic, Alan Shatter, has said the Gardai, (Irish Police) are ready for any eventuality that may occur when an estimated 150 Loyalists protestors are to descend on Dublin this Saturday, to demand that the Irish flag be removed from the Irish Parliament Building, Leinster House. 
The march is to be organised by a new grouping, “People’s Forum” one of whose leaders, Willie Frazer, led the “Love Ulster” march in Dublin over 6 years ago, which left a trail of looting, public disorder, and rioting in Dublin’s city centre.
Loyalists have been protesting across Northern Ireland since December 3, when the Belfast City Council voted to fly the Union flag on designated days only, as opposed to the previous policy of the year round.
Seems like in Northern Ireland history keeps repeating itself. First Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive, Peter Robinson, was also fond of the odd incursion into “enemy territory”. (See his Wikipedia profile below)
Perhaps when all is said and done, this is only a case of monkey see, monkey do.

Invasion of Clontibret
On 7 August 1986, in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Robinson led a group of 500 loyalists into the village of Clontibret in County Monaghan in the Republic of Ireland. The loyalists attacked the unmanned Garda station in the village and daubbed loyalist slogans on the walls. They then held a quasi-military parade along the main street and attacked two Gardaí. More Gardaí arrived shortly after and fired shots in the air, scattering the loyalist crowd. Robinson was arrested and held at Monaghan Garda station. He pleaded guilty to unlawful assembly and was fined IR£17500 in a Drogheda court to escape a prison sentence. As a result, Robinson briefly resigned from the DUP deputy leadership.[22] There was also violence both before and after a court appearance in Dundalk, including Ian Paisley being attacked with stones and petrol bombs after Jim Wells and other Robinson supporters waved flags and sang Loyalist songs.[23] At his trial the judge described him as "a senior extremist politician".[24][25]

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Merry Christmas – Nollaig Shona Duit

The World of Odd Bodkins.
AKA Dan ÓNéill. 

ODD BODKINS ON Soñar. Vol. 3 No.4

© Dan ÓNéill

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Northern Ireland Peace Call Amid Violent Demonstrations

© Joe ÓNéill
Citizens demonstrate for Peace in Belfast amid Northern Ireland Flag Protests

Hundreds of people of all ages turned out this morning at Belfast City Hall to demonstrate for Peace, amid the ongoing street demonstrations, which have sometimes turned to violence, by those opposed to the policy of having the Union Flag at Belfast City Hall, flown on designated days, as opposed to the previous policy of it flying 365/24/7.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Irish National Caucus Launch Holy Land Principles

© Joe ÓNéill
Two old Mac Bride Campaigners Fr. Sean McManus and Joe ÓNéill.

The Washington DC based priest, Fr. Seán McManus, who launched the Mac Bride Principles Campaign has announced that he will launch The Holy Land Principles – a corporate code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Band, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).

'Isn’t it very striking? The elected officials who led the campaign to end anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland were not Irish- Americans, but Jewish-Americans, African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Hispanic Americans and others! To me, that is the great moral lesson of the Mac Bride Campaign.'(Fr. Seán McManus)

The full text of the press release by the Irish National Caucus reads:
Holy Land Principles Launched
First MacBride … Now Holy Land
Capitol Hill. Monday, December 10, 2012 – The same man who launched the MacBride Principles on November 5, 1984 has now launched the Holy Land Principles – a corporate code of conduct for U.S. companies doing business in the Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Bank, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).
Fr. Sean McManus – president of the Capitol Hill-based Irish National Caucus, and of the recently formed Holy Land Principles, Inc. – said: “The MacBride Principles campaign is considered the most effective campaign ever against anti-Catholic discrimination in Northern Ireland. And similarly, I am hoping that the Holy Land Principles will persuade American companies to adhere to fair employment in the Holy Land. If Catholics in Northern Ireland deserve these Principles, who is going to claim Palestinian Muslims and Christians do not?”
Fr. McManus, who has recently returned from the Holy Land, said: “American principles must follow American investment – everywhere. No exceptions! Irrespective of how Americans view the problem there, one thing is surely right: American investment dollars should not subsidize anti-Palestinian discrimination in The Holy Land. And, therefore, I am confident that Americans will want all the 573 companies doing business there to sign the Holy Land Principles.” [ SEE PRINCIPLES BELOW].
 Like the MacBride Principles, the Holy Land Principles do not call for disinvestment, divestment or reverse discrimination.
Holy Land Principles, Inc., has been established as a non-profit organization to promote the Principles.
It will be of interest to see if potential opponents of the Holy Land Principles will make the same misjudgement as the British Government admitted to making in 1999. A senior official in the Department of Economic Development (DED) said: “We did not take him [Fr. McManus] very seriously at first but the MacBride Principles have caused serious problems and cost millions to try and counteract.”
To further promote the new Principles, Fr. McManus has brought out a new edition of his Memoirs: My American Struggle for Justice in Northern Ireland ... And The Holy Land. In the book, which now has 424 pages, he draws a close parallel between how the British Government partitioned both Ireland and Palestine.
 Fr. McManus mapped out the plan of campaign: 
“The basic strategy of the campaign is to persuade all the 573 U.S. companies in The Holy Land to sign the Principles. They sign by agreeing in writing ‘to make all lawful efforts to implement the Fair Employment Practices embodied in the Holy Land Principles in their operations in The Holy Land’ – the very same language used by companies signing the MacBride Principles.
1. The campaign will be conducted through Shareholders’ Resolutions and through public education.
2. This book with a personalized letter will be sent to the CEOs of all 573 companies, plus their Investor Relations Contact.
3. This book with a personalized letter will be sent to all Members of Congress, House and Senate, and all key media personnel.
 4. An extensive Direct Mail campaign will be conducted to prospective supporters – Irish-Americans, Arab-Americans and the faith and social-justice communities.” 
Holy Land Principles
American principles following American investment 
A Corporate Code of Conduct for U.S. Companies in The Holy Land

American companies have a responsibility to maximize the profits of their shareholders.  And shareholders have the right and responsibility to insist that their profits are earned through ethical corporate practices – that they avoid discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious identity.
 Moreover, ethical investment not only benefits society but also creates stronger and more sustainable profits for their shareholders.
In the tradition of the Sullivan Principles (South Africa) and the MacBride Principles (Northern Ireland), the Holy Land Principles seek to ensure that American dollars do not support discrimination, human rights abuses, or violations of international law in The Holy Land (Israel/Palestine, The West Bank, The Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem).
The Principles do not call for disinvestment, divestment or reverse discrimination.
Responsible corporate conduct is especially urgent today because of the deprivations and sufferings caused by the conflict.
 By endorsing the Holy Land Principles, corporations will enhance America’s security as people in the Middle East see that American companies support equality and fairness for all.
The Holy Land Principles call on American companies conducting business in The Holy Land to:
 1. Adhere to equal and fair employment practices in hiring, compensation, training, professional education, advancement and governance without discrimination based on racial, ethnic or religious identity.
2. Identify underrepresented employee groups and initiate active recruitment efforts to increase the number of underrepresented employees to a level proportional to their representation in society.
 3. Make every reasonable effort to ensure that all employees have the ability to easily, openly and equally travel to and access corporate facilities.
4. Maintain a work environment that is respectful of all racial, ethnic and religious groups.
 5. Work with governmental and community authorities, and support local initiatives to eliminate disparities among racial, ethnic and religious groups in government spending on education, training, access to health care and housing.
6. Not make military service a precondition or qualification for employment for any position, other than those positions that specifically require such experience, for the fulfilment of an employee’s particular responsibilities.
 7. Not accept subsidies, tax incentives or other benefits that lead to the direct advantage of one racial, ethnic or religious group over another.
8. Appoint staff to monitor, oversee, set timetables, and publicly report on their progress in implementing the Holy Land Principles.

Holy Land Principles, Inc.
Capitol Hill • P.O. Box 15128  •  Washington, DC 20003-0849 
Phone: 202-488-0107  •  Fax: 202-488-7537

Irish National Caucus 
P.O. BOX 15128 
Capitol Hill 
Washington, DC 20003-0849 
Tel. 202-544-0568 
Fax. 202-488-7537