PROSE AND CONS.
By prisoners from E1 Landing, Portlaoise Prison, 1999.
Acknowledgments : grateful thanks to the following for their help, support, assistance and encouragement – all those who helped with the typing and word processing over the past few months, many thanks to Cian Sharkhin, the editor of the book, Mr Bill Donoghue, Governor, Portlaoise, Mr Séan Wynne, supervising teacher, education unit, Portlaoise Prison and education staff, especially Zack, Helena and Jane. Education officers Bill Carroll and Dave McDonald, Rita Kelly, writer. And the print unit, Arbour Hill.
Deep within the life of every person there is expression. This collection, ‘Prose and Cons’, is the voice of that expression. Sad, humourous, lonely, bitter, joyful, angry, questioning, dedicated, rejected, content, reflective, philosophical – just some of the tones expressed throughout this unique volume. Of themes there are many, but love illuminates the pages of this fabulous collection of work.
The lads on E1 landing, Portlaoise Prison, have worked long hours to bring this book to fruition. I commend their enthusiasm and willingness to work, individually and together, in an interested and challenging manner. Writing is a craft. It involves the writer and his/her audience. I hope you enjoy reading these poems and stories , as I have enjoyed their journey to here, and I leave you with the words of the writer, Rita Kelly, from her recent poem, ‘Big House’ :
You cannot hear the activity of the living
you cannot hear life driving its articulated truck
you cannot see the bright smile of the lads
heading into the snooker hall close to the coliseum
or the woman with her cranky little pomeranian.
You cannot smell that oil and salt and sharpness
of the vinegar in its immediacy, as the young fellow leaves the chipper.”
With every good wish, Jane Meally, Creative Writing Tutor.
NOT “NATIONAL”, BUT WORTH SUPPORTING ANYWAY.
On Saturday, 29th August 2015, a demonstration will be held in Dublin to voice opposition to the on-going fiasco that is the double-tax on water. The organisers, although no doubt well-meaning (re their opposition, for now , anyway, to this double-tax), have described the up-coming protest as a “national demonstration” even though they are aware that the so-called ‘remit’ of the ‘Irish Water’ company does not extend to our six north-eastern counties. They have made this mistake before, but continue to refuse to amend their posters and leaflets etc to reflect the true (geographical) position of their own remit. I can usually work alongside that ‘Trot’ mentality but it grates on me, sometimes, as does the attitude of the trade union leadership in relation to this issue – for instance, on Friday 21st August last, SIPTU sent an email to subscribers re the water tax issue, in which they called for support for “…a national (sic) demonstration on the public water supply…concerning the future of the public water supply..” which is an attempt by that section of the trade union leadership to shift the focus of the protest away from the issue of unfair double-taxation to one of ‘distribution of water’. And considering that SIPTU is the trade union that represents the scab workers that are helping to impose this double tax, it’s no surprise that it should seek to shift that focus in any manner that it can.
Anyway : this new water company, with whom I am not registered as a ‘customer’, are now demanding that I pay them just under €130 for a ‘service’ that I have always paid for through general taxation and car tax etc but I won’t be paying. I’m one of the lucky few thousand in this corrupt little State that can actually afford to pay this double- tax but, as I point blank refuse to pay twice for any one service, I won’t be paying it. Misnomer as it most certainly is regarding the description of this up-coming protest, I’ll be there regardless – Saturday, 29th August 2015, 2pm at Houston Station. See ye then!
“WE SUPPORT THE USE OF ARMED STRUGGLE IN THE SIX COUNTIES…” – MARTIN McGUINNESS.
The following piece was published in the ‘Socialist Republic!’ newspaper in September 1986 and records some of the words of Martin McGuinness from a speech he delivered in Bodenstown on Sunday 22nd June of that year. That publication was ‘the newspaper of the Scottish Communist Republican Party (SCRP)’ , both of which are now apparently defunct as separate entities as, indeed, is McGuinness himself, in relation to Irish republicanism. Less than six months after he delivered the following speech, Martin McGuinness assisted other nationalists in splitting the Republican Movement.
Quote from Martin McGuinness, Sunday 22nd June, 1986, Bodenstown: “Despite the multi-million dollar hype of the (Hillsborough) Agreement, despite disinformation, despite the rewriting of Irish history by West Britons and British propaganda, more and more people are beginning to realise that internal tinkering with the six-county statelet solves nothing..”(…which is exactly what McGuinness and his nationalist colleagues are doing now – “internal tinkering with the six-county statelet.”)
IRELAND : “ONLY A SOCIALIST REPUBLIC CAN END DECADES OF WAR, INJUSTICE AND POVERTY” – Sinn Féin.
“We want a society free from multinational profiteering and foreign influence. We want a society that is truly non-aligned. Our aim is not to provide poets and song-writers with more ballads of defeat but to build a really revolutionary organisation that will change Irish society for the betterment of the oppressed, the deprived and the unemployed men and women of this country.”
Pointing to the unquenchable spirit of freedom of the Irish people, Martin McGuinness said : “This present resistance struggle has lasted longer than any other in the history of our country. We have experienced and withstood internment, torture, murder and martial law. Our people have shown a dedication, a heroism and a willingness to sacrifice everything in their fight for freedom that has inspired freedom-loving peoples throughout the world – black South Africans, Palestinians, Nicaraguans and Filipinos know all about Bobby Sands and Brighton.
The Irish people have proved that, no matter how militarily and technologically superior an oppressor can be, the will for freedom cannot be defeated. This movement will stand its ground. The IRA has said that the war will go on, and this movement will advance the struggle for what is rightfully ours – the freedom of Ireland and the establishment of the Republic.” (MORE LATER).
The British publishing group ‘Macmillan’ must have been sorely disappointed by the media’s reaction, or lack of it, to the launch last month of Paul Foot’s book ‘Who Framed Colin Wallace?’
By Eamonn McCann, from ‘Magill’ magazine, June 1989.
The British publishing group ‘Macmillan’ must have been sorely disappointed by the media’s reaction, or lack of it, to the launch last month of Paul Foot’s book, ‘Who Framed Colin Wallace?’ The book deals with the bizarre and, at least at first sight, incredible story of the former British Army ‘press officer’ in the North of Ireland who was convicted of manslaughter in Sussex in the early 1980’s and who has since protested his innocence and claimed that he was likely set-up in order to discredit his revelations of security force disinformation and dirty tricks in the early 1970’s. (‘1169…’ comment – those British ‘dirty tricks’ were not confined to the 1970’s and, indeed, are still on-going to this day).
The book was rushed into publication on May 9th this year (1989) so as to avoid being banned under Britain’s new ‘Official Secrets Act’ which came into force at midnight the following day. The new law would have covered information and documents included in the book relating to Wallace’s activities as a ‘black propagandist’ working out of Britiah Army headquarters in Lisburn.
The book was prepared and printed in secrecy and no review copies distributed until the launch in London hosted by Macmillan chairman, Lord Stockton. Macmillan had calculated that the absence of normal pre-publicity would be more than offset by the news value of the books hectic and secret preparation and its last-minute ‘escape’ before the latest shutters on official information slammed down…. (MORE LATER).
ANNUAL EVE OF ALL-IRELAND RALLY 2015.
“One of the largest public rallies seen in Dublin for years was held by Sinn Féin at the GPO on the eve of the All-Ireland Football Final. Headed by a Colour Party and a pipe band, a parade of more than 2,000 people marched from Parnell Square through the main city thoroughfare as a protest against the continued unjust imprisonment of Irishmen without charge or trial. Contingents from all over the country took part and many carried banners and placards including groups from England and Scotland. In the Ulster section was a strong representation of the Derry supporters who thronged the capital city for the Final. One placard they carried asked – ‘Why are Six-County Nationalists interned in the Curragh?’ …..” (From ‘An tÉireannach Aontaithe/The United Irishman’ newspaper, November 1958.)
The Annual Eve Of All-Ireland Rally will be held in Dublin on Saturday 19th September 2015. Those attending are asked to assemble at the Garden Of Remembrance at 1.45pm for the parade to the GPO in O’Connell Street at 2pm. All genuine republicans welcome!
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF SUPPORT FOR IRISH POW’S.
The 5th Annual International Day in Support of the Irish Prisoners of War held in Maghaberry, Portlaoise, and Hydebank jails will be held on the 24th, 25th and 26th of October 2015 ; this event, since 2011, has been held annually on the last weekend of October and, as in previous years, it is organised by the “International Committee to Support the Irish Prisoners of War”. The committee is supportive of all Irish Republican prisoners held in Irish and British jails.
The last weekend of October is a historical date for Irish Republicans ; on October 25th, 1917, the Ard-Fheis of Sinn Féin adopted a Republican Constitution and, three years later, Sinn Féin’s Lord Mayor of Cork, Terence MacSwiney, died after 74 days on hunger strike. Furthermore, Joseph Murphy died on hunger strike in Cork prison on that day. On October 27th 1980, the first H-Block hunger strike began and on October 26th 1976, Máire Drumm, Vice-President of Sinn Féin, was murdered in the Mater Hospital, Belfast, by a loyalist death squad. Finally, on the last day of October 1973, the helicopter escape from Mountjoy jail took place.
In 2015, as in previous years, to mark these historical events as well as highlighting the plight of today’s Irish Republican POW’s, protests and pickets will be organised by various organisations and concerned individuals in Ireland, England, Scotland, Continental Europe, USA, Australia, and elsewhere. If you want to add a city or country to that list, contact the Organising Committee. All international organisations, Irish republican activists and their supporters are invited to join preparations to make the 5th annual POW-Day a success.
We would appreciate if those who want to support the Irish Republican POW’s on October 24th, 25th and 26th 2015 would contact us as soon as possible.
E-mail: supportthepows AT irish-solidarity.net
ON THIS DATE (26TH AUGUST) 95 YEARS AGO : RIC BARRACKS RAIDED BY IRA.
The RIC barracks in Drumquin, County Tyrone – raided by the IRA on the 26th August 1920.
95 years ago on this date, the IRA attacked the then RIC barracks in Drumquin, County Tyrone, an operation which resulted in the death of one IRA man and one RIC man, and another uniformed member of that British force was injured and later received £500 compensation for his injuries. A large haul of arms was captured by the IRA Unit, which consisted of Sam O’Flaherty, John McGroarty, Michael Doherty, James Curran, Henry McGowan, Patrick McGlinchey, Dr. J.P. McGinley, Jim Dawson, Anthony Dawson, Eamon Gallagher, Hugh McGraughan, Hugh Sweeney, William McLaughlin, Patrick McMonagle, James McMonagle, Hugh McGrath, John McLaughlin, Edward McBrearty, J.J. Kelly, James McCarron, John Flaherty, Jim Hannigan, John Byrne, Edward Thomas Coyle and Michael Bogan. A statement given by IRA Company Captain Henry McGowan (from Navany, Ballybofey, Donegal) 4th Donegal Brigade, to the Bureau of Military History, on the 16th March 1957, read as follows :
“I was born at Navany, Ballybofey, County Donegal, in the year 1892 and received my primary education at Knock National School, a short distance from my home. In my young days I was very keen on soldiering and having no other outlet, I joined the British Army in 1911. By the spring of 1914 I found that I had enough of Barrack Square and peace-time soldiering. Availing of the opportunity then pertaining, I bought myself out for the sum of £18. At that time there was no indication that World War1 was imminent. Had I remained for another four months I would not get the opportunity of leaving. I returned home and settled down for two years or more. I developed a great admiration for the men who took part in the Rebellion of 1916.
Sometime later I became acquainted with a man named Dan Kelly, who had been arrested after Easter 1916 and served a term of imprisonment in Frongoch. Prior to his arrest, Kelly was a station master on the Derry-Lough Swilly Railway, but lost his job on account of his Sinn Féin activities. After his release he set up in business In Ballybofey. He then organised a Sinn Féin Club in Ballybofey ; I believe it was the first organised in Donegal. Kelly then organised a Company of the Irish Volunteers, most of the members being young men already attached to the Sinn Féin Club. I was appointed 0/C of the Company, probably due to my experience in the British Army. At this time the Companies operated on an independent parish basis. It was two years later that they were organised into Battalions and Brigades.
In 1918 the Company was busily engaged preparing for the General Election. Shortly before the election, Sinn Féin decided to support E.J. Kelly, the Nationalist candidate in this constituency, so as not to split the vote and thereby prevent the Unionist candidate from gaining the seat. It was agreed that the Nationalists would not contest the seat in Derry, where Fain McNeill was going forward as candidate. County and District Council elections were held some time afterwards. I was elected a member and appointed Chairman of theDistrict Council. By virtue of that I automatically became a member of the County Council. Shortly after my election I attended a meeting of the County Council, presided over by P. J. Ward, later Brigade O/C in South Donegal and a member of Dáil Éireann. At that meeting it was decided to withhold all monies from the Local Government Board, the County Council to be responsible for the financial administration within the County. After the elections were over the men in the Company were principally engaged in training, parades, route marches etc. We collected all shotguns in the area; in most cases they were handed up willingly. We got a few rifles in the collection, one a good service Lee Enfield, the property of a member of the British Army who had deserted. We also got a Mauser rifle but only a few rounds of suitable ammunition for it. In 1919 Companies were organised into Battalions and Brigades. Ernie O’Malley visited the area and carried out the organisation. Sam O’Flaherty, who up until then had been a student in the National University, was appointed Brigade O/C and I was appointed vice-O/C. A number of arrests of Staff Officers from time to time led to numerous changes on the Battalion and Brigade Staffs.
Acting on instructions received in Easter 1920, the following vacated R.I.C. barracks were burned : Convoy, Brockagh and Killeter. One vacant barracks in theBallybofey district was by this time occupied by civilians and was left untouched. The barracks at Castlefin, evacuated at a later date, was not burned for the same reason. In August, Seán O’Flaherty summoned a meeting of the Battalion Staff and Battalion Commanders. He informed us that he had information from a man named Tom Johnston who had recently resigned from the R.I.C. that the R.I.C. barrack in Drumquinn, County Tyrone, would be an easy target, as the R.I.C. garrison there were a careless lot. After discussion it was decided that a day1ight attack was more likely to be successful. August the 26th, which was called ‘fairday’ in Drumquin, was the date selected, as a party of strangers collecting in the town on fair day was unlikely to arouse suspicion. Men from Letterkenny, Castlefinn, Clady and Ballybofey Companies were instructed to travel by car to a point near Drumquin where final instructions would be issued. Each man was to be armed with a revolver, carry a stick and dress in such a way as would make him resemble a cattle buyer. Each party arrived at the appointed place. Johnston, the ex-R.I.C.man, met Sam O’Flaherty there and gave him any information he could collect about the location of the R.I.C. at that particular time. Unfortunately, O’Flaherty did not transmit this information in detail to each member of his party, which led to confusion later.
The general outline of the plan of attack was for the party to move into the town and, under the pretext of buying cattle, the main attacking force to get as near as possible to the R.I.C. barracks. More men were detailed to move through the town and hold up and disarm any R.I.C. who might be on patrol or, more likely, to be found in licenced premises. Another party was detailed to cut phone and telegraph wires. We were a bit early moving into the town; the fair was only beginning to gather. As a result, there was some delay before we could put our plan into effect. While waiting for the signal to move, I met an unarmed policeman who remarked “There is a lot of you buyers in town today”. I replied “Cattle have got a big raise in price and we have a big order to supply.” He seemed satisfied with my statement and moved off. When sufficient cattle had arrived in the fair we pretended to buy and moved with the cattle until we got into position outside the barrack. James Curran and myself were detailed to hold up an R.I.C.Constable standing at the barrack door. Our intention was to quietly order him to put up his hands, disarm and take him away. Just then, James McMonagle, from Letterkenny, rushed over to him and shouted “Hands Up”. The R.I.C. man turned suddenly and made a move as if he was about to grapple with McMonagle who immediately shot him through the head, and he fell dead in the doorway. The sound of the shot had the effect of alerting the R.I.C. inside. By the time we got into the day-room there were no R.I.C. there. I dashed into the kitchen, which was empty. I then searched the cells thinking that I would find a quantity of grenades stored there, but found none. Coming back to the day-room I got three rifles and a large quantity of ammunition which I
On reaching the front hall I found that the R.I.C. had taken up positions upstairs and were firing down into the hall. Next a grenade was tossed down, exploding in the hall and filling the place with fumes and dust. I got no instructions to rush the stairs at any time, neither did I fire any shots as I saw no target to fire at. Sam O’Flaherty then ordered us to withdraw, return to the cars and get away. In the rush to get away, Michael Doherty, Liscooley, Castlefin, 0/C of the 1st Battalion, who was on outpost duty in the town, was left behind. His absence was not discovered for some time afterwards. He eventually travelled home by train by a circuitous route. 0’Flaherty had issued instructions that our cars would leave Drumquin via the Newtownstewart road, turn left on to a bye-road and get out at Victoria Bridge, near Sion Mills. This route would take us to Clady and so avoid passing any R.I.C. barrack on the way. The cars conveying the Letterkenny party travelled by the direct route, passing through Castlederg, where there was an R.I.C. station. The cars were easily traced afterwards and the British forces had good information as to the identity of sane of the Volunteers in the attack. I travelled back with Sam O’Flaherty in a car owned and driven by John McGroarty from Killygordon. On arriving at a point near Killygordon, O’Flaherty and I left the car and, taking the captured rifles and ammunition with us, we moved,undercover of some hedges, in the direction of McGroarty’s home. McGroarty went ahead with the car and put it in his garage. We had only reached a garden, attached to McGroarty’s, when his sister came out and told us that the local R.I.C.Sergeant was about to call at the house.
I thought and felt at the time that it was foolish and cowardly for two armed men to be hiding from one R.I.C. man and said so to Sam Flaherty. He replied that we could not very well shoot an unarmed man in coldblood and that we could not take him prisoner as we could not hold him and, in addition, any such action would attract attention to McGroarty and be responsible for having his home burned. It transpired that the Sergeant had called to pay an account for car hire, due to John McGroarty. When he enquired where John was, Miss McGroarty told him he was workng at the flax crop. The Sergeant then left saying that he would see him later. McGroarty called at the barrack later in the evening and collected his money. There the Sergeant told him about the raid on Drumquin barrack. He also told him that he had instructions to check on all cars in his district and added that it was an easy task as McGroarty’s was the only car in the district and he had seen it in the garage that day when he called at his home….” (from here.)
On the 1st June 1922, the RIC changed its name and uniform and became known as the RUC which, in turn, was amalgamated into the ‘new’ PSNI on the 4th November 2001 – another tweaking of its name and uniform only, as the ‘police’ in that part of Ireland are still, overall, administered in the main by Westminster and are as anti-republican as ever. And such a partitionist ‘police force’ will never be acceptable to Irish republicans.
ON THIS DATE (26TH AUGUST) 102 YEARS AGO : THE DUBLIN ‘LOCK OUT’.
On the 26th of August 1913, a workers dispute in Dublin that was to last until May 1914 escalated : Dublin, at that time, lacked an industrial base and work in 1913 was generally of a casual nature with poor trade union organisation and slave wages ; a third of the city’s teeming population inhabited the city centre tenement slums – the overcrowding, squalor and inadequate sanitation combined with poor diet to give Dublin one of the highest infant death rates in Europe.
Violence and prostitution were further evidence of the degraded but desperate condition of the population. It was , in many ways, an unlikely seed-bed for trade-unionism : the social system was typified by insecurity of employment, personal daily struggles for survival and the frequent indifference of the longer established, but conservative, craft trade unions. The ‘New Unionism’, marked by its organisation of the unskilled and socialist zeal, had enjoyed a brief flourish in Dublin of the 1890’s but the odds were heavily stacked against permanent success and many union organisations had become moribund.
With James Larkin’s arrival in Ireland as Organiser for the National Union of Dock Labourers, the waterfront workers rose again, firstly in Belfast in 1907 and subsequently in other Irish ports. Disagreement with the Liverpool Executive of the National Union of Dock Labourers led to Larkin’s suspension and the launch of a specialist Dublin-based unskilled workers union, the Irish Transport and General Workers Union : from the beginning the new union proclaimed in its rule book a wide programme of industrial and political agitation to change society in the interests of the Irish working class. The employers, however, would not be silent observers.
Under the calculating leadership of William Martin Murphy, owner of the ‘Irish Independent’ newspaper and controller of the Dublin Tramways Company, over 400 employers combined in the ‘Dublin Employers Federation’ to deny the same right of combination to the city’s underprivileged. The ‘target’ was the threat, in class terms, of the message of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union so marvellously articulated by Jim Larkin’s street oratory. The crunch came on August 15th, 1913, when William Martin Murphy offered the ‘Independent’ newspaper’s ‘Despatch Department’ the choice of union – or job : they chose the Union, and were fired! Solidarity action saw the dispute escalate with further dismissals in Eason’s and on the trams and, at at 9.40am on Tuesday 26th August 1913, Dublin tram drivers and conductors abandoned their vehicles in protest at the anti-union activities of their employer, and daily street protests ensued. On the 31st August 1913 the police attacked an innocent crowd gathered to hear Jim Larkin address them in O’Connell Street, Dublin – the meeting had been banned by the authorities, and the ITGWU had transferred their activities to their social premises in Croydon Park, Clontarf, Dublin.
Scores were injured in the baton charge and public opinion was shocked at the scenes, so much so that questions were raised in the British House of Commons about it and the matter was debated at the British Trade Union Conference. Violence was not new for the beleaguered workers, however, as scabs were protected and pickets frequently attacked : James Nolan, James (John) Byrne, Alice Brady and Michael Byrne paid for their loyalty to the workers’ cause with their lives.
Support soon came on foot of the distress but Jim Larkin’s ‘Fiery Cross’ crusade in Britain, where he preached the ‘Divine Mission of Discontent’, generated rank and file rather than official reaction and assistance was limited to food and material support rather than sympathetic industrial action. James Connolly, now co-ordinating industrial matters, drew the port of Dublin shut as ‘tight as a drum’ and both sides settled for a long attritional war through the winter with the bosses relying on starvation and the workers on the simple message of ‘Each for all and all for each’. The Trade Union Council ‘Dublin Food Fund’ and other support marshalled by the Dublin Trades Council sustained the workers and there can have been few occasions as emotive as the landing of the food ships on the quays. The violence – physical, mental and emotional – that was used by the bosses against the working class prompted the then unemployed and starving population towards the need to be capable of defending themselves, and a ‘citizen army’ was founded. Intellectuals and many middle-class sympathisers rallied to the side of the workers, shocked at the awful conditions and horrified at the pig-headedness of the employers : however, the Catholic Church was less sympathetic and positively hostile to the notion of Dublin’s starved youngsters going to the ‘Godless’ homes of English sympathisers for the duration of the battle.
James Connolly wondered why souls were of greater concern than bellies!
In the face of uneven odds the Lock-Out began to crumble in January 1914 as the Building Labourers’ Union returned, as many others were to do, without signing the offending document re trade union membership. Some stuck it out until May 1914 but, in the end, the employers could and did claim victory as resistance collapsed – but they lacked the strength to enforce their victory, as the Irish Transport and General Workers Union survived ; in defeat, the ITGWU had gained many adherents and, more significantly, had laid the foundations that led James Connolly to conclude : “From the effects of this drawn battle both sides are still bearing heavy scars. How deep those scars are, none will ever reveal. But the working class has lost none of its aggressivness, none of its confidence, none of the hope in the ultimate triumph. No traitor amongst the ranks of that class has permanently gained, even materially, by his or her treachery. The flag of the Irish Transport and General Workers Union still flies proudly in the van of the Irish working class, and that working class still marches proudly and defiantly at the head of the gathering hosts who stand for a regenerated nation, resting upon a people industrially free…”
The 1913 Lock-Out tried to outlaw a culture which was counter to capitalism ; it failed partly because it was so crude and ham-fisted. Today’s attack is more subtle and all the more dangerous because of it ; we still have acute housing problems, unemployment, emigration, attacks on hard-won health, education and social services and new problems of urban decay, drug abuse, vandalism, crime and the alienation of our youth. To honour the memory of 1913 we must begin, on an individual basis, to commit ourselves to trade union activity, not just trade union membership*.
[Reposted, in the main, from a piece we first posted here in 2006.]
(*…but first, in my opinion and experience, we need a proper trade union infrastructure ie one not managed by a mirror-image of the bosses/factory owners and politicians that constantly try to attack our pay and conditions.)
NOT LIVING UP TO HER NAME!
O.M.G. But wouldn’t you be only mortified?!
The lovely couple featured in this short piece are known to us, as we ourselves and our friends have been ‘introduced’ to the pair of them and their friends and work colleagues many times over the years and, while we can’t say we fully enjoyed the experience, we do at least realise that those ‘meetings’ were unavoidable. This couple are of a similar mindset to each other, which explains their jobs and attitude, but they failed to understand – when in Rome etc (even if only for six weeks!) – that what was commonplace for them at home (ie their way of doing things in the territory they occupied [!] ) would be looked at with raised eyebrows elsewhere.
To describe your hosts as being stuck in the 1960’s and sneeringly dismiss your new abode as a village trying to be a country and then to opine, in public, that that ‘village’ is in agreement with you that the territory needs outsiders to run it is not the best way to make new friends in a new area. But it’s an easy mistake to make if you were a member of the ‘ruling class’ in the last place you lived in and, with that in mind, we were going to ask our readers to sign this petition in support of her but poor Amanda has been through enough already so we decided instead to just make an award to the woman –
– and, judging by her resignation letter (dated 17th August 2015) , Amanda seems to believe she hasn’t really committed any offence : “Further to our conversations in recent days, I am writing formally to hand in my resignation with immediate effect. Since I arrived in Anguilla, I have given the role my all and was working hard to improve policing on this island. I oversaw the policing of a safe and successful Summer Carnival, and arranged for specialised training for all CID officers and monthly professional development training for all officers. I had commenced work on increasing the visibility of the RAPF on the streets and focused on planning to tackle serious crimes. All of this was what I had come to Anguilla to do.
Following the newspaper article published in Belfast, I have been the subject of intense media and social media criticism with calls for my resignation, not because of the job I was trying to do, but because of quotes taken out of context. As soon as I saw the article I issued an honest and sincere apology for any offence caused, but the personal criticism has continued. This has now affected my health and I have been left with no alternative than to resign and leave Anguilla.
I am sorry that I have let people down who supported me and put faith in me to do this job. I should like to take this opportunity to thank the officers of the Royal Anguilla Police Force for their welcome and support. They do a difficult job in challenging circumstances. I wish them the very best for the future as they work to keep Anguilla safe and secure.
TAKING FURTHER ADVANTAGE OF AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN.
“Cant believe it , sick to my stomach , you always hear of dunnes treating there workers badly but i didnt think it was this bad, i got a 6 month contract and was kept on,was told i would be permanent when im there a year and a day, im there a year next week and today was called up to be told my contract was terminated immediately to hand over my key of my till and to leave the shop…..” (from here, posted on ‘Facebook’ on the 18th August last.)
Yet Dunnes management still attempt to promote their company as ‘decent’ – ‘Our success has only been possible thanks to the talented people who work for us. Each individual plays an essential role in continuing the growth and development of Dunnes Stores…..we offer a broad range of challenging, rewarding careers (and are) committed to exceeding expectations (with) opportunities for advancement and competitive salaries..’(from here.)
The above ‘Facebook’ post (from Lauren Smyth) highlights just how much Dunnes ‘value’ their employees, a sentiment echoed in a recent survey of those workers : ‘A survey of Dunnes Stores employees has found widespread dissatisfaction with their treatment by the company….over 1,300 employees (were asked) about their views on conditions within the store (and) 76% said they were on part-time flexible contracts, with 98% saying they wished for more stable working hours….’ (from here.)
Dunnes Stores and its owners/management have a track record in regards to bad industrial relations and seriously need to be encouraged to treat their staff with some decency – trade-union organised pickets and boycotts would be a good start, and the sooner the better.
..NARKY NEW YORK!
And there was only ever gonna be one winner – New York!
If you want to relax, get away from it all, stun yourself with your surroundings and (literally, for the most part!) cut yourself off from the outside world – then you’ll love the part of Galway that we were in! Myself and two of the daughters stayed in the same bungalow in Ballyconneely that we holidayed in last year and it was lovely – the landscape, the air, the quietness , the vast outdoors and nature itself.
But I missed the buzz. And the noise, the smells, the steel, the sweat, the concrete, the cheeky and ignorant and arrogant facade of New York City and its inhabitants and/or those that are just barely existing in that wannabe hell hole. Galway is great for a rest, but NYC is an experience, a ‘lifestyle’, where all human life slaps you in your senses and challenges you to hit back.
Anyway – good to be here again, and thank you for dropping by!
Thanks for reading, Sharon.