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Showing posts from September, 2022

We Need strong Trade Unions

  We Need Strong Trade Unions                    Gerry OShea Two recent stories come to mind when I think of the vital importance of trade union membership. First, I talked to my friend John OShea at a memorial mass a couple of months ago about his recent retirement as a carpenter. John is not related to me although we grew up a few miles apart near the beautiful town of Kenmare in the southwest corner of Ireland.   He is still a vibrant young man at 60, so I wondered why he bowed out so early. John explained that he had worked for 34 years mainly with Eurotech, always in union jobs. His union-negotiated pension provides a good retirement income that allows him to retire and spend more time with his family as well as pursuing wider interests. By contrast, I was approached last year by a former colleague at work who was distraught about her father. I never met this man, but his daughter described him in glowing terms as someone who often worked two jobs to provide for his wife and t

Irish Partition - Present and Future

    Irish Partition – Present and Future        Gerry OShea In his famous tragedy Macbeth Shakespeare issues a clear warning to power-hungry leaders about the consequences of their devious actions. “Things bad begun make strong themselves by ill.” The partition of Ireland got off to a very poor start because not even one nationalist leader was consulted at any stage about truncating the island. The other community, unionists, led by James Craig and Edward Carson, had veto power over the negotiations in Westminster, but the minority Catholic population in Ulster had no say in the deliberations about the future governance of their province. The sectarian dividing line created by the passage of the Government of Ireland Act in Westminster in December, 1920 impacted both communities living in all parts of the island. Protestants outside of Ulster worried how their rights would be protected in the promised nationalist parliament in Dublin where they would be a minority, cut off from