Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú Goes to Europe

Within hours of being at the launch of the Border Communities Against Brexit (BCAB) new poster at Killeen, Louth councillor Ruairi O Murchu was joined by members of the award-winning campaign group in Brussels where a number of events marking the 20th anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement were held.

Cllr. O Murchu, who represents Dundalk South, was among a number of guest invited to the European Parliament earlier this week by the GUE/NGL grouping, of which Sinn Fein is

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú with the 4 SF MEPs

a member.

MEP Martina Anderson launched a photographic exhibition at the parliament in Brussels to mark the anniversary and a number of groups from Ireland, including the BCAB, members of the LGBT community, representatives of the Irish Language and victims’ groups.

On the second day of his visit, Cllr. O Murchu joined the discussion with GUE/NGL parliamentarians and other invited guests, including former Ulster Unionist John McCallister, where the positives of the Good Friday Agreement and the challenges it faces were discussed.

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú with Matt Carthy MEP

The Dundalk councillor spoke at the event about living in a border area and the many threats posed by Brexit. He said: ‘It has been very clear that the EU as a whole recognises and supports the Good Friday Agreement and its vital importance to Ireland in the future.

‘No matter what happens when Britain leaves the EU, it is imperative that the agreement is protected and so far, the EU negotiators have made that clear to their British counterparts.

‘The threat of a hard border in the not-too-distant future looms large and it is vital that regulatory alignment exists North and South in a post-Brexit context’.

 

SF Councillors Stand with Irish Life Staff

Cllrs Ó Murchú & Campbell with staff from Irish Life

Dundalk councillors Ruairi O Murchu and Anne Campbell have given their support to the striking workers at Irish Life.

A majority of the 180-strong Dundalk workforce at the country’s largest pension provider took part in the one-day stoppage, along with their colleagues in the Irish Life centre in Dublin, in protest at plans by the multi-million euro firm to take employees out of the defined benefit pension scheme and put them into the defined contribution one instead.

The Sinn Fein councillors spent time with the striking workers, who are members of the Unite union, hearing how the proposed changes will affect the employees in Dundalk, some of whom have been with the company since it first opened here nearly 17 years ago.

In a joint statement, Cllrs. O Murchu and Campbell said: ‘We went to the Irish Life picket line today to support the Dundalk workers of the company who are facing a situation where they believe they could lose 30% of their pension entitlements.

‘It was clear to see that the strike was being well-supported by the local community, judging by the sounding of car horns and waves from those driving by on the Inner Relief Road.

‘We spoke to a number of the workers, some of whom joined the company after 2007 and were put into the defined contribution scheme, and they were very supportive of their colleagues who face losing their defined benefit pension.

‘Some of them told us that the defined benefit pension promise was one of the reasons they had remained at the company for so long.

‘Sinn Fein stands with the Irish Life workers and we call on the company, which made around €200 million profit last year and which is, ironically, Ireland’s biggest pension provider, to engage with the Dundalk and Dublin workers immediately in a bid to come to a properly-negotiated and fair settlement’.

 

Louth SF at National Homeless Protest

Louth Sinn Féin Councillors Joanna Byrne and Ruairí Ó Murchú joined a huge Sinn Féin contingent in Dublin on Saturday afternoon to support the National Homeless and Housing Coalition’s (NHHC) mass housing protest.

The national day of action, organised by the NHHC, was supported by organisations such as Focus Ireland, the Peter McVerry Trust, the Simon Communites, along with a number of activist and trade union groups, actors, musicians and political parties – including Sinn Féin.

Saturday’s protest saw people come out in their thousands to demonstrate against record homelessness figures and the fact our country is facing a national housing emergency.

Speaking after the protest Cllr Joanna Byrne and Chairperson of Louth County Council’s Housing Strategic Policy Committee said:

“A mobilisation of this size has to send a clear message to the government to make housing a right, not a privilege. The latest figures show that there are nearly 10,000 people in this country that are homeless, including 3,755 children. Month by month these figures are rising, it is gone beyond frightening at this stage and these people are the reason we are here today, these are the people we are standing in solidarity with today. This needs to be recognised as a national emergency and dealt with accordingly. The government need to increase investment in homelessness prevention and tenancy sustainment and provide more protection for tenants at risk of homelessness to even try and get a handle on this crisis.”

Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú, Sinn Féin’s General Election candidate for Louth stated that “until there is a change in government policy this crisis will continue to get worse. The government’s over-reliance on the private rental sector to meet social housing needs, combined with rising rents and no rent certainty has played a major part in this crisis, this needs to change. Focus needs to be on building social and affordable homes, mixed-tenure public housing estates on public lands, funded by central government and built by local authorities.”

Joanna Byrne and Ruairí Ó Murchú joined Uachtarán Shinn Féin Mary Lou McDonald, along with the parties spokesperson on Housing Eoin O’Broin behind the banner leading the Sinn Féin section of the protest.

Elected Reps and activists from all around the country followed behind making the huge Sinn Féin presence felt and were the largest Political Party supporting the event.

 

 

Louth Easter 1916 Commemorations attract large numbers

 Republicans throughout Louth turned out in large numbers to remember the Easter Rising and also pay tribute to all of those who, in every decade since 1916, stood by Ireland and stood by the ideals of those who died in 1916.

In Dundalk Imelda Munster TD was the main speaker and reflected on how it was 100 years since women over 30 and working class men over the age of 21 got the vote. She said “this, the reaction to the executions of our leaders in 1916 combined with Sinn Féin successfully leading a campaign against conscription in Ireland in 1918 and a number of other political factors,  seen the vast majority of citizens turn their backs on Britain and vote for Irish Republicans.”

It also seen the election of the first woman to Westminster, Countess Markievicz.

Imelda, being the first woman elected to the Dáil in Louth then said, “we still don’t go to Westminster and the 7 nationalist seats are now 7 Republican seats. The orange state is gone. The Unionist majority in the North has gone. Citizens are turning away from the forces of old conservative Ireland. We are no longer just orange and green – we are a rainbow of colours and identities. We are building a new Ireland that includes everyone and are striving to leave no-one behind.”

Imelda Munster TD went on to talk about realising the goals of the leaders of 1916 and how we go about achieving this. “This new Ireland must be about more than just adding or joining the north to the south. We do not want a 32 county free state. We want a new Republic. The Republic of Wolfe Tone, James Connolly, Constance Markievicz, Mairead Farrell, Bobby Sands and Martin McGuinness.

“In the words of Maire Drumm, “We must take no steps backward, our steps must be onward, for if we don’t, the martyrs that died for you, for me, for this country will haunt us forever.””

The TD then outlined what kind of Ireland we wanted, one of equality for all and a rights based society where no-one is left behind. “Delivering Irish Unity is the key to building a new Ireland. That is where it starts.”

Imelda Munster then talked about Brexit and the challenges ahead. “groups that are seeking to impose Brexit and place an EU frontier or a ‘hard border’ across our island, they want to drag us back into the dark days again when we couldn’t even drive up the road here to Newry without having to be interrogated by men in foreign uniforms as to where we were going and why?

“These people do not care for you, me, our citizens, our rights or our economy. They are now attacking the Good Friday Agreement. An Agreement that belongs to the people of Ireland, not the Tories in London.”

Speaking to the large crowd Munster warned of the work ahead:

“We face many challenges in the very near future:

  • A referendum to remove article 8 from the constitution.
  • We need to prepare and win the coming elections.
  • We need to settle Brexit with preferably a United Ireland by moving the border to the Irish Sea or at the very least, to secure special status for the North within the EU
  • We need to secure and win a referendum on Irish unity.
  • We need to have the institutions re-established in the North, with Michelle O’Neill as joint first minister. We need to secure the right of citizens to marriage equality, to language rights.
  • We need to promote the cause of reconciliation.

“The Challenges are great but we are greater. We must mobilise people and organise for change.”

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú who was chairing the event in Dundalk called on Leo Varadkar and the Dublin Government to move to recognise the State of Palestine and to immediately expel the Israeli Ambassador from Ireland following the massacre of 16 people in Gaza by the Israeli military.

The organisers of the events in Louth wish to thank those who helped ensure that each parade and wreath laying ceremony was a dignified and fitting tribute to the memory of our patriot dead. They want to thank the speakers Imelda Munster TD and Cllr Ruairí Ó Murchú, the colour parties, the Martin Doco Band from Scotland, the stewards, those who erected the flags and PA systems and to the many hundreds who attended the parades. Míle buíochas.

 

Drogheda Easter Comm: Ó Murchú Calls for Israeli Amb. Expulsion

Republicans throughout Louth turned out in large numbers to remember the Easter Rising of 1916 and also pay tribute to all of those who, in every decade since 1916, stood by Ireland and stood by the Republic.

Councillor Ruairí Ó Murchú, who is Sinn Féin’s General Election candidate was speaking in Drogheda on Easter Sunday morning to a large crowd. He remembered people from the Drogheda area “like John Moran and Sinn Féin Councillor Thomas Halpin who were taken from their homes and shot by the Black and Tans in 1921. We also recall Tim Flanaghan, Liam Leech, Barney Daly and the Republicans who fell during the absolute tragedy that was the Civil War.”

Ruairi Ó Murchú, Joanna Byrne, Imelda Munster and writer Laurence McKeown

Cllr Ó Murchú also paid tribute to other self-determination struggles throughout the world. “We salute the Basque and the Catalonian liberation Struggle which is presently facing the anti-democratic repression of the Spanish State.”

Cllr Ó Murchú also told those gathered that “Irish Republicans stand with Palestine.” He called on “Leo Varadkar and the Dublin Government to move to recognise the State of Palestine and to expel the Israeli ambassador out of Ireland following the massacre of sixteen Palestinians in Gaza by the Israeli military.”

Looking to the future, Cllr Ó Murchú said “a 32 county democratic Republic, prosperous, with real equality of opportunity and outcome in all aspects of life, for all its people is the only rightful payment we owe to the martyrs who gave their lives for Irish freedom.”

The event was chaired by Drogheda Councillor Joanna Byrne.