Monthly Archives: July 2013

The Shorts hang ’em flog ’em 7″

The Shorts
Hang Em Flog Em
Suspect Device Records


I have just purchased a 12″ picture frame. One of those that fits a record sleeve perfectly. My 12″ vinyl collection counts to its hundred and I’ve spent some good times trying to decide if there is an alternative to the first record I’ve picked out to go into the frame.

In reality there is no contest. Minor Threat Out of step symbolises so much to me. Ironically The Shorts remind me on Minor Threat with their short sharp songs. Punchy lines and sing along at parts. There are 7 songs but it’s not solely about the music for the Shorts. Their songs are scenes from their lives, be that about Bear Grylls or the UK Government. This a band from our punk rock community for the punk community.

“I Open My Eyes and I see – Inspiration” as if they were singing about themselves


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Hope Show Number 30 – the lowdown

1. Damien Dempsey – Dublin Town
2. 11Paranoias – Reapers Ruin
3. Sonic Youth – Catholic Block
4. Paranoid Visions – Poles Apart
5. Integrity – Suicide Black Snake
6. The Hives – T.H.E. H.I.V.E.S.
7. Black Eyes – Someone Has His Fingers Broken
8. Grant Hart – Awake, Arise
9. The Ex – Walt’s Disneyland
10. Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Angles
11. Glimmermen – This town
12. Soccer 96 – Aquarius
13. Who Shot Who – No Treaty No Mercy
14. Rudimentary Peni – The Horrors IN the Museum

Damien Dempsey is Ireleands Vegemite, you love him or hate him, no inbetween. I think he’s great. He grew up near my home and I feel he is one of ours. Dublin Town is about my town. “This is a love song, cos I love my people” I cringe with delight and pride whenever I hear this.

11Paranoias is from their debut album, superunatural, kind of like dublin these days. It is dark and heavy and strangely alluring. It is doomy but when the headphones are on it is somewhere to get lost

Catholic Block is a song from my youth, I saw Sonic Youth in McGOnagles, it was one of many great gigs in that long lost Dublin venue. I think I will do a show on them soon.

I did see Paranoid Visions in McGonagles and most other now closed down venues in Dublin. I have been singing the prasies of their latest album, escape from the austerity complex for quite a while now and Poles Apart is from this

Integrity are coming to Dublin this week, it is adding to a heavy show tonight and there will be some heaviness going down at fibbers this week

There’s something about the Hives that I love and it’s not the suits that they wear. T.H.E. H.I.V.E.S. is from their Black and white album which is a real rocker

This Hives song reminds me a bit of Black Eyes, kind of a distant disco relation but I like to have any excuse to play Black Eyes. Someone Has His Fingers Broken has me jumping around this room. great music for headphones.

So what about Grant Hart? Can you believe he has a new album out? Called the Argument? Awake, Arise is from this. It doesn’t disappoint

When the ex and dog faced hermans came to town back on November 5 1991 i had acheived all I needed to in life up to that point. I’d seen all i needed to see and woould have gladly travelled on that custom bus the bands were using to travel around Europe. Of course I’m glad now I chose to stay in glorious Dublin town as my life took a glorious journey but that night November 5 I will rembmer for ever. They didn’t play Walt’s Disneyland as the album this is on, Dizzy Spells, didn’t come out until a decade later but their two shows in Dublin that night were memorable, life affirming. You’d have to have been there, truly remarkable

Dan Le Sac and scroobius Pip are coming back to dublin in October Try and get there if you can

Glimmermen have a new album out. It is being launched in a couple of weeks. Self released local boys, any chance you can buy it?

Soccer 96 are from Brighton, nearly my favourite UK city. There is a compilation out now called Sea Monsters. It is the third year in a row to see such a comp Soccer 96 is a band name, to catch anyones eye. Mexico wasn’t it?

I saw Who Shot Who last year and the lead singer was dressed as a prioest, I knew he wasn’t one but I still wanted to confess my sins to the man, thankfully I only told him how long it was since my last confession and he let me pass with no treaty nomercy.

I’ve never seen Rudimentary Peni live but would have loved to. Cacaphony album has just been re-released on Southern and is a class album. I could have played any of the 30 tracks but the horrors in the museum gives a good indication of the band

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what difference does a fortnight make

So I go away for 2 weeks and purposely avoid news. I had great excitement in store when I sat down after a 2 week drought (no not the weather damn you, but that is all over the print) to absorb what has happened in my absence.

Frozen Blackberries are carrying hepatitis A, one down for the vegans. Mad Cow disease was found in Beaumount hospital, 1-1 unfortuntaley it could have been passed on to anyone operated on with the same utensils, 2-1

Former Taoiseach Sean Lemass accidentally killed his 2 year old brother in 1916, current Minister of State for Jobs owes €2.5 million along with his wife, to Danske Bank. At least they know what it feels like for the thousands of householders unable to pay back their debt. In the meantime the National debt has risen, despite all the Austerity measures (watch that story grow before the budget) and political parties have been having a right old spat over abortion legislation that the people voted by referendum to have enacted over 20 years ago…….

Unions have been quietly creeping over the line for Haddington Road agreement in the face of legislation to cut their pay and implement longer hours. Surely this is the most anti-worker act since trade unions have entered into the negotiating world. Oh hang on, ireland is yet to enact legislation guaranteeing a worker access to a trade union. The referendum to abolish the Seanad is being held in October, hopefully there will be a date on its abolition so either way the people can decide. The Senators and TDs have all gone on Summer holidays from Leinster House. They held their end of term parties in various establishments around the area. Thankfully no newspapers had front page pictures from 2 in the morning which would have been the case for Junior cert students. There was some stories over antics in the Dail after some drinking (but not excessive mind you) during the debate on Abortion legislation. Strange that people can so openly drink on the job as they decide the laws of the country.

There may be a new political party, maybe 2 one on the right and one for equilibrium on the left. Really nothing has changed austerity is still the buzz word.

The sun gets mentioned everywhere, people just can’t handle it shining, it even made the editorial of the Irish Times.

Thankfully peace talks continue in Colombia and may resume between Israel and palestine. Overall a quiet period eh? I just dont want to mention Anglo Irish Bank and the billions of euro in its entrails.


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100 year old man going strong

The one hundred year old man who climbed out of the window and disappeared published by Hesperus Press

It’s been a long time since I was in school. Back in those days it was something that got in the way of playing football or playing cards or hanging around talking about football or cards. There were some some subjects I took a passing interest in and the older and wiser head now wishes I paid a bit more attention to these. The subjects were namely history and English. They were probably the only two classes I stopped daydreaming for, doesn’t mean I did anything more but at least I listened….. Sometimes

Of course with history i thought I knew best and preferred modern stuff to all the talk about Romans and Greeks. I scoffed at the tsar of Russia, laughed at hitler and did spend a few minutes thinking about the mess in Korea and china but then thought about what was happening in ireland instead. It was when I joined the school of punk rock that I got interested in Paris 1968 or the Spanish civil war. That showed another world was possible. I then got interested in modern day politics and how corruption is still very much rife.

This book charts many events of the 20th century and has one person Allan karllson hanging out with Stalin, Mao tae tsung, us president Truman and many others. But it is a story of this Mans life and travels much more than discussing the history of the past.

It also tells the tale of how Allan stepped out of the window of his retirement home when he was 100 and embarked on another journey. The journey leads from
One bizarre event to another and whilst leafing through the pages my imagination was running wild. This is the screenplay for an amazing movie. A lovely tale of life and how to live it whilst taking incidents from the past and explaining the tragedy in 1 or 2 sentences. If only mr ward was Able to explain history and English like this back in the day

niall hope


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The family fang – reviewed

The family fang by Kevin Wilson published by picador books

This is a smart story. The concept behind the whole thing is compelling. 2 people interested in challenging people’s perceptions in the name of art become husband and wife (for real after many times doing it for their art) and have a family.

The conundrum that follows is the plot that holds this book together. They were artists before being parents, can that order ever change? They bring their children into their world and have them as active participants in their prank world for exhibitionism. Child A and B then become young adults and seek to experience the world outside the fang creative art way. This is when the parents really need to decide what is more important

Along the way there is reference to black flag and bad brains which is enough to pique my interest for a hundred pages and some scenes of madness that makes you wish you had been there to witness it. Except it never happened of course, this is a book after all. Flash mobs created for the art world on an unsuspecting public by the family fang are described in great detail.

My problem was I didn’t get to like the two kids. Buster became a failed writer and Annie a failed actress. It didn’t matter to me whether they cold turn things round. Their failures brought them back to their parents and the story takes off from there.

It had enough to want me to keep going to page 396 but my relation was to the parents who had the dilemma and I kept flicking to see what ultimate art experience lay in store for them, if any. I didn’t really care how it effected their children and what it brought into their adult lives. Maybe you would though.

6/10 one for the charity shop or library for sure



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Hope show 29 – the lowdown


1. The MEKONS – Corporal Chalkie
2. Joe Solo – Aint a got a nothin
3. Ramones – Judy Is a Punk
4. Fugazi Place Position
5. Rites Of Spring – Drink Deep
6. Fawn SPots – Spanish Glass
7. Arcwelder – Everest
8. Leftover Crack – Supermarket Song
9. Star Fucking Hipsters – Immigrants & Hypocrites
10. Subhumans – Reason for Existence
11. Tristan Psionic – black psabbath psong
12. Allo Darlin’ – Let’s Go Swimming
13. The Wedding Present – Brassneck
14. Belle and sebastien – I fought in a war
15. Bis – Tell It to the kids
15. Tempermental Miss Elayneous – Dominoes
16. Jinx Lennon – Big Protest Day
17. Minor Threat – Straight Edge

The Mekons have an album called Punk Rock. Punk Rock music isn’t always two chords and a mouthful of vitriol. The mekons were punk rock, there sound far from it. Corporal Chalkie is the second song from that Punk Rock album and I love it. I love it all

I love Joe Solo, I could play him every week. he is punk rock but doesn’t sound it either. “I’d rather die trying than just sit arouhnd singing the blues”

Punk rock and the ramones go together like strawberries and swedish glace, Judy sure is a punk

dO fUGAZI sound Punk Rock? I think so, they live it and everything abuot them is punk to me. I should have a fugazi link somewhere in every show. Maybe I will!!

And then there’s rites of spring. I was trying to talk to my daughter about emo the other day and could go no further than rites of spring. She looked at me like I was an old man telling tales, maybe I am but rites of spring were damn emotional when no-ne else was and that WAS punk rock

I get excited listening to Fawn Spots. I love this 7″ that loderthanwar released. They have an album toaccompany itand when I get the funds to pay international postage I will play some songs off it.

Arcwelder are another band I love. I was honoured with the chance to see them twice in my life. Two memorable gigs. Everest is amuch ignroed album by them and Never The Same is a worthy opening track

I saw Leftover Crack live once and they left an effect. I thought the songs were amazing but there was something forgettable about the band. It got me thinking about bands and their reasosn for existence, maybe the Subhumans are better at questioning it than me. Before I play them I have a song from another of Stza’s (singer from Leftover Crack) bands – Star Fucking Hypocrites. But if you wanna change the world and make it a better place, start with the people at your gig.

I saw tristan Psionic in Toronto when I was over there in 1995 and was quite taken. They had their own label, SOnic Unyon and were quite a force in the independent music scene in Hamilton Ontario, home of DOnut Rock City

Allo Darlin’ are delightful live, no other word for it. Their s/t album is also delightful so ‘Let’s Go Swimming’ is in celebration of this sun ( I had to mention it somewhere didn’t I?)

It takes a lot for me to play a song on a major label. I try to limit it to as few as possible but the Wessing Present have given up the ghost on RCA records (or is it the other way round?) Brassneck is a single from their days dancin’ with the man but it’s a great song. Haven’t seen them live since their George Best album but I’d say they’re still a class act.

Belle and Sebastien I just love, the sun is shining and it always does for me when Belle and Sebasiten are playing in my head.

Bis were a joy when they played Dublin with Bikini Kill and Team Dresch one Saturday afternoon in Charlies Bar. It was a funny gig, queues around the corner of people trying to get in while we were arguing with the bar owners about removing Heineken bunting placed around the venue. They couldn’t quite understand why we’d care that a multinational beer company could decorate our space, but we did care and we removed those damn banners, and no doubt Heineken haven’t recovered since !!!!!!!!!

Tempermental Miss Elayneous is from Finglas in Dublin. How hard must it be being a rapper from Dublin? Elaine does it with a swagger and a conscience and that is such a plus. Her gig earlier in the year with Jinx Lennon was a great night, pity you didn’t see it. You may have seen him play at the ICTU sponsored Anti-Austerity protest, the hundreds of thousands on the streets in Ireland that day reeally changed policy eh?


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Hope Show 28 – the lowdown

1. Deathfix – Playboy
2. Wugazi – Killa Hill
3. Sage Francis – Jah Didn’t Kill Johnny
4. A Death In The Family – SOmethings Out of Tune
5. Pilger – Disatisfied
6. Against ME – Slurring the Rhythms
7. Shorebirds – Upside Down
8. Bedford Fall – Whos Coat is that Jacket?
9. Dillinger Four – Fired Side Chat
10. Buzzcocks – Promises
11. Andy Moor – Alex
12. Heathers – Whats Your Damage
13. Billy Bragg – There Is Power iN A Union
14. Shadowy Men On Shadowy Planet – (Relax) You will think You are a chicken
15. Atom ANd His Package – Thresholds to Adult Living
16. restarts – Frustration
17. Paranoid Visions – Poles Apart
18. Holy Rollers – Ride My Sky
19. Seein’ Red – I hate You
20. The Redneck Manifesto – Smile More
21. Hard Skin – That’s Bollocks Mate

I will be honest I am only listening to Deathfix because they are on Dischord and feature Brendan Canty on drums. I am glad I’ve come across them as their new self tiled album is a joy to listen to, not my usual punk rock fix and more in line with Medications than Rites of Spring but joyful in these not so joyful times. Wugazi is what the kids call a mash up. Wu Tang Clan and Fugazi – Killa Hill is some such mash up

I first heard of Sage Francis when my friend John introduced him to me by advising me to go and see him in Whelans. Hip hop and vegetarian and a fan of Johnny Cash, what’s not to like? Johnny cash dying was a bit like a Death In The Family. I never knew him, didn’t listen to him that much but like Joe Strummer he seemed on our side. I could be wrong, I hope I’m not. Somethings Out of Tune is from their This Microscopic War album which is worth 45 minutes of your long life.

Pilger are from Southampton and 2 of them are in the Shorts. I got the Shorts 7″ during the week but couldn’t get it digital in time for the show so I’ve gone with a dedication to them with disatisfied by Pilger.

I will never forget the first time I saw Against Me live. It was such an uplifting experience. We roared together and were ready to take on the world. Thankfully I didn’t jump on their train as it crashed along the way (with their New Wave album, I would suggest) but As the Eternal Cowboy is and always will be a classic album and a sign of how we can change the world.

Shorebirds have people who used to be in Latterman and Jawbreaker. That’s a recommendation in itself. The album It’s Gonna Get Ugly is worth a show in itself so for tonight I went with Upside Down. It’s on the excellent Yo-Yo records. Bedford Falls have a slight Jawbreaker Feel but more
replacements to be honest. They’ve 2 albums and this is from their Savings And Loan album on Boss Tuneage . I hope to be interviewing Aston who runs this label in a couple of weeks.
Dillinger Four are always worth a listen – anthemic punk rock. Situationist Comedy is one of their best albums and fired-Side Chat doesn’t disappoint.

I attended ICTU BDC this week in Belfast and was reminded of this Buzzcocks song. Promises is dedicated to the trade union movement.

We shouldn’t loose the faith however and Andy Moor from the EX and Dog Faced
Hermans brings me back. This is from his Marker album which his solely Andy and his guitar. Two people who play guitar and sing are Heathers from Dublin. They seem to be everywhere in Ireland since their song was used in a Bord Failte ad but What’s Your Damage is a reminder of how good that debut album Here, Not There really was.

Billy Bragg reminds me again no to loose the faith and tells us all there is power in a union. I went to Canada years ago and discovered Shadowy Men on A Shadowy Planet. Surf Music they call it. Has me surfing in my chair. Atom and His Package has that surfy breezy feel with songs that mean something without you even knowing it. Restarts are always singing about something – frustration sums up my week. Holy Rollers were amazing when they played Barnstormers in Dublin in the early 90’s. I was going through some of my vinyl yesterday and they kept appearing. This is Ride My sky from their self-titled album.
Seein Red are the second band of the show from the Netherlands and I hate you is dedicated to FEMPI legislation which means all public servants in Ireland must know work longer days from July 1.

The Redneck Manifesto remind me to Smile More and you can’t but smile listening to them or Hard Skin who are ending off tonights show. Thanks for listening and all that. Keep on Keeping On

niall hope

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ICTU BDC Day 3 July 2013

Day 3

Day 3 ICTU conference July 2013

“History will look back on this being a defining conference for the trade union movement” David Begg told us at the end of this session. A session that saw a further 14 motions pass almost unanimously, including 2 emergency ones. I don’t think that is the history defining moment the General Secretary of congress meant. Nope, it is the motion that allows ICTU to look at the way the trade union movement is organised. This could see a streamlining in the number of unions in this country but it still needs us to address the issues facing working (and increasing numbers of unemployed) people.

Derek Keenan from ICTU youth committee explained that the “demographic time mob is exploding as young people are not becoming members. Sections of youth identify more with Michael o’Leary than 1913. The era of Social Partnership has allowed our movement to become self serving. the movement needs to show a radical way. It is imperative that we become relevant to young workers.”

Today we heard that the extent of casualisation in the workforce is unsettling. It’s not just in areas like retail. Where people may get a minimum wage but don’t work enough hours to earn a living wage. The teaching profession sees “employers lying for loopholes to avoid contracts” so the TUI told us. Teachers are working on zero hours contracts, they are experiencing bullying in the workplace and it suddenly seems a different profession. IBOA general secretary Larry Broderick spoke eloquently on the banking profession. It seems that the banks are out for three things, Larry told us.
1/ Screw customers
2/ screw staff
3/ screw the country.
Recent calls for a banking enquiry ring hollow for the IBOA as they have Ben calling for it for years.

There were more calls for us to “Apportion blame for what has happened to those responsible. Develop the toolkit through NERI.” Eoin Ronayne from CPSU told us. “If Govt aren’t listening then we need to look at how we are doing business.

David Evans, president of TUC in Wales, paired a similar story, only the Welsh assembly aren’t looking to privatise services. “People are struggling and day to day communities see this crisis worsen.

And then we came to what could have been the elephant in the room. FEMPI or Financial Emergency Measures Provision Act . Jimmy kelly from unite explained “govt agrees here is a war going on and this is an opportunity to unite the organisation” Eoin Ronayne exclaimed “this is nota public sector issue. It is incumbent on the movement to see the repeal of this legislation. What is next?” Dave Hughes from INMO was similar speaking about precedent. “Every negotiation will have this threat”. And so it continued, speaker after speaker bemoaning the fact that govt legislated and this needs to be repealed. “This is akin to blackmail” said Pat King of ASTI. Even unions who voted yes to croke park 2 were in agreement. PSEU’s Tom Geraghty was windering why this was needed as unions will be in Haddington Road, however “the sort of change we will be seeking is through sheer hard work of trade union leadership”

The issue of Private v Public Sector arose and words were used to deal with it. One only hopes that “best strategy is the be united under one agreement” or when an injury to a “shop worker is akin to an injury to a nurse is akin to an injury to a building worker is akin to a teacher” will really be the case when we get back to the reality of dealing with our employers.

Conference continued in the vein of suggesting a united trade union movement in the future. Many questions were raised, a lot of discussion around how to get people involved. The best answer is to try and involve them. Engage with the membership and they will feel you are relevant, be involved in communities, let people see that this organisation representing 800,000 people (and their families) is a real social movement. We can become the media, start with blogs and twitter and social media. Work into union mags, work towards a newspaper, create your own tv.

As NIPSA put it so much better than me “There is still an echo of Jim Larkin in our movement and still some fight. We are facing a significant fight. We have to change direction and not accept any more attacks”


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ICTU BDC Day 2 July 2013

And so it continues. Day 2 of ICTU conference saw us listen to and unanimously vote on 17 motions, only one motion had a dissenting voice and that was down to requesting stronger wording from the proposers. 28 motions so far and one that stirred up debate?

Today saw some interesting contributions from guest speakers. Unfortunately the Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore, couldn’t make it as planned as conference was told he had a more pressing engagement in the European Parliament. Martin McGuinness, Northern Irelands Deputy First Minister spoke eloquently on Northern Society. He had to be careful as Peter Bunting from ICTU had laid down a pretty good marker. There were strong contributions and the reminder that the “reality is for our members is that you will see landrovers on the streets as they go home. Sectarianism hasn’t gone away and we need to deal with that”. We also heard how “Poverty is increasing day by day” and how it is important for the trade union movement to “Take responsibility and make our communities, society and workplace better places”. The real question that kept appearing is HOW to do this?

Some startling figures appeared throughout the day. 10,000 older people in Ireland face the spectre of abuse. 35% of women have been on the receiving end of physical or sexual abuse. Again a real symbol of society is how it treats the elderly and more vulnerable. Foodbanks are a common experience in SCotland and the Scotish TUC have been visiting these. We were treated to a class in George Orwell “He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future” and were told to “deepen the relationship between communities and union”. “Trade Unions are still here because of our enduring values of collectivism and solidarity” and we need to stay here.

There was a lot of discussion around Equality and Community. Trademark came in for special mention for the work they do in bridging gap between the union movement and communities. “There is a huge and unacceptable gap between men and women at decision making roles in Trade Unions” Considering women make up 52% of the membership it is still a disparity that needs work on. “There is a myth among women that we are ok. We are not.” Patricia McKeown from Unison told the Floor that “Women have been fighting for Centuries. We have a long way to go”. The gender pay gap stands at just over 17% (59 days of a working year). One notable comment was “Let’s not just support this motion, let’s do something about it”. Another was “Let’s come back in two years and talk about what actions we have taken and not about the pain and suffering inflicted on members.” Messages for the incoming Executive Council who were being voted on today.

It is strange to hear that whilst Ireland recognises trade unions we still as a country allow employers the right to ignore and prevent their workforce from joining one. Collective Bargaining is in the Programme For Govt and poignantly 100 years after the lockout of 1913 this is still an issue for the trade union movement in Ireland.

Mandate promoted their Fair Shop campaign. Ironically their website is now down but hopefully that will be rectified soon. They spoke of what we can do as consumers and actively use places that recognise trade unions in the way the Fair Hotels scheme is run.

All in all another interesting day but what’s missing is the lack of real debate. Either we are all on the same page looking to engage or empower our membership or we like to talk the talk and walking the walk is representing the people who pay their union fees which can’t be done up here.


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ICTU Conference Belfast July 2013

Day 1

It was with some trepidation and excitement that I attend my first ICTU conference. I have been involved in trade unions in various shapes and guises since entering the workforce in 1987. I have stepped up this involvement in recent years and have been on the edge of the ICTU family. This was my maiden voyage to the biennial event that is their policy making and shaping event.

I read the documentation with great interest and my first impressions is that nothing was too contentious. It gave a chance for the membership to rubber stamp their feelings on austerity but also helped get some ideas out there between the rhetoric and enable rank and file union members to organise within their trade union.
As Paddy Mackell – Belfast Trades Council stated in his opening address to the packed Assembly Rooms.
“Current Economic Situation has completely failed working people”. He then went on to make some interesting statements including quoting Dr Conor McCabe “We don’t need an onshore tax haven”.

And that set the tone for Day One. ICTU outgoing President Eugene McGlone explained that ICTU has a combined membership of nearly 800,000 people.
“It is our responsibility to ensure 3/4 million people (ICTU membership) are listened to”, we need to “Create a climate for change” and “Create a fuller understanding of the need to organise” and that we should ensure that “Solidarity works to our benefit”
As the Trade Union movement in an integral part of our social fabric we should engage with it however “the movement must always be responsive to our class, we’re manifestations of our communities.”

The reference to class is very interesting. The trade union movement came from a class structure and the need to ensure that the working class were dealt fairly by their employer. It is arguable in Irish Society today that class structure is still there. Where is the line between Working and Middle Class? Do the working class aspire to break from their structure to be part of a middle class? Are workers there to be represented no matter what their standing is in society? It is one that I don’t know the answer to and no doubt has many academics scratching their middle class heads.

Anyway this conference isn’t gonna provide the answers to class in Ireland. However ICTU General Secretary David Begg did try and provide some answers to the route that society is heading. He told the audience that we are at a “critical juncture in the economic situation…this is a crisis which could have been avoided….there is irrefutable evidence that austerity isn’t working.” David pointed out that personal expenditure is down by 3% in the last 12 months and many other facts relating to the austere policies spreading through society. He asked “how can policy makers deny this” and stated that “Solidarity is the cement that binds us together”. As the trade union movement has been stating since 2008 there is a better fairer way and “Now is the opportunity to press our case for alternatives way forward.”
SIPTU President Jack O’Connor also spoke eloquently of austerity “One sided austerity has utterly failed, there is no disguising this matter.”
Mick O’Reilly from Dublin Council of Trade Unions was as vociferous and emotive as Jack when he called on members to “have the courage to resist Austerity”. DCTU are trying to involve Community Groups and in a candid speech Mick stated that “we don’t have all the answers” but “we have to explain to our members what is happening. We can use policies as a weapon”. Mick called on the “trade union movement to be transformative and develop our own media.” He called on government to “Repudiate the debt and start organising.” In a statement of fact he recognised that “Our members are not clammering at the door looking for industrial action but we have to show them the confidence to do this.”

There were calls for workers to be more involved in running society, socialise the economy with the creation of worker led businesses. The obvious was stated many times “Huge despair and disillusionment amongst trade union membership. We need to give our members the information”

From a Public Sector perspective it was noted that due to the ban on recruitment there has been very little employment of the Disabled in society as the Public Sector is the only real employers of people with disabilities. Eugene Mc Glone said in relation to Haddington Road Agreement “No Govt should have the power to legislate away our terms and conditions” . The reality is however that they do and no proposal was put forward to counteract this.

There was a closed session on the future of trade unions in Ireland which will eventually lead to some change in structures and there was recognition that working members can be educated in their roles by retired workers. Value needs to be put on the knowledge and work of retired workers, they are today what our future is tomorrow.

All in all an interesting day. You can’t but be moved by some of the rousing talk given at the podium. What that will equate to in the coalface of the workplace is the burning question. However the direction of the trade union movement is that austerity isn’t working and the family that is ICTU will continue to try and press this home at every opportunity (verbally at least). I took from the day that we need to engage the union membership with our work, they are the union and they need to know this, we are the media and we are the conduit for this information.


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