Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Monday, 28 July 2008

Radical, Refreshing, Relevant: The Politics of Labour Youth Now Online

Labour Youth have recently published their pamphlet, "The Politics of Labour Youth," online, outlining the vision and analysis that form the basis of modern democratic socialist thought.

It is entirely worthwhile for anyone with an interest on our politics to read through the full pamphlet, which at seven pages and in easily-accessible language will take a few minutes at most. But I thought I would take some quotes directly from it to highlight the difference of Labour Youth's analysis; radically different, and at the same time utterly relevant to modern life. And I, for one, am proud to stand by these politics as a campaigner, a Labour member and a candidate for election.

About Labour Youth
"Our organisation is determined to play its part in providing a formidable opposition to inequality, discrimination, war mongering and environmental destruction. We hope to build, in co-operation with others, a Socialist future where genuine democratic control over economic, political and social life becomes a reality for all people."

Labour Youth and the Labour Party
"Labour Youth believes in a fully democratic and inclusive Labour Party. We strive to use all avenues available to us to promote our political approach. We view the Labour Party's national conferences as being particularly important."

"We are committed to a Labour led government. We oppose the concept of Labour entering into a coalition as a minority partner to either Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael. We argue that coalition formations on the basis of FF/FG domination damage Labour party support and prevent the development of a genuine left alternative in Irish politics."

Left Co-operation
"Unity and co-operation throughout the left is a core objective of Labour Youth. We do not expect agreement on every issue but we believe that where agreement does exist, genuine political engagement and co-operation is essential. In addition to making links with others on the political left, we strive to establish good working relations with Trade Unions, community groups and other social movements."

Internationalism
"We played our part in the mass movement against the Iraq war and we insist that Ireland’s shameful role in supporting this war, as represented by the facilities on hire to the US military at Shannon airport, must be brought to an end."

"We stand for a fair, transparent and compassionate asylum system in Ireland and support anti-deportation campaigns."

"We believe that the natural resources of our planet should be owned by and operate in the interests of us all - not for the mega-profits of powerful elites."

Labour Youth, Economics and the Environment
"Labour Youth is in favour of the polluter pays principle. However, pollution begins at the point
of production, not the point of consumption. In practice, this means big business and industry
must be held to account for the waste it produces. For example, industry must be held to account for the vast packaging that is now produced."

"With regard to Climate Change, we see the Irish government's policy of buying Carbon credits
from poorer countries of the world as a form of environmental imperialism. It is true of course
that everybody must play their full part in the fight against Climate Change. However, we must
not be distracted away from the root caused of the problem. The massive oil companies, for
example, will not respond to moral pressure. The pursuit of ever great profits from the ever
increasing major carbon producers means that we can not follow a 'free market' policy to continue unchecked and expect action on Climate Change."

"Investment in public transport in Ireland remains lower than anywhere else in Europe. This
investment must be put in place if carbon emissions are to be tackled and provides an example
of why relying on ‘free market’ policies to tackle climate change will not work."

The Socialist Future
"The possibility of Socialism is often excluded from mainstream political debate. However, the rise of the Left in Latin America, particularly the success of the Venezuelan Revolution, has succeeded in putting the possibility of a Socialist future back on the agenda. The agenda of that Revolution - led by the people; the grassroots of all activism, working in close co-operation with President Hugo Chavez - has great relevance for people all over the world. The use of natural resources to fund public services, the expansion of public ownership, the vast schemes to eliminate poverty and illiteracy, the extension of democratic control and the establishment of an independent, antiimperialist foreign policy are some features of the "21st century Socialism" of the Venezuelan model and we applaud them."

"We are determined to work with others to develop and promote a model of 21st century Socialism for Ireland. We insist that public ownership is put back on the agenda. Why shouldn't the vast oil and gas reserves that exist off the west coast of Ireland be used for the public
good - i.e. funding for health, education, housing and the elimination of poverty - rather
than given away for nothing to Shell and Statoil?"

"The housing and health crises did not take place on their own. They have taken place because of
the ruthless application of the neo-liberal model which facilitates private profit for a few and
leaves the rest reliant on the 'free market.'"

"We reject the marketisation of public services, arguing instead for public investment over the
subsidisation of private profit and demand an increased say for communities in how public
services are run."

"In housing, we want to see a massive extension of social and affordable housing schemes and a sharp reigning in of the development lobby because we believe that housing is a right, not a commodity we should rely on the 'Free market' to provide. We extend this rights based approach to all public services."

"We invite you to work with us in building a new Republic based on the fundamental principles of solidarity and equality. This New Republic will not come into being unless people organise for it and it will not be realised without opposition from those who continue to exploit the vulnerable in our society."

Two particular attributed quotes stand out.

"The only true prophets are those who carve out their own future"
James Connolly, founder of the Labour Party

"The banner of Socialism should be raised whenever and wherever Labour Party members meet"
Labour Party President, Michael D Higgins TD.

Click here to read this worthwhile pamphlet, and if you are interested in joining Labour Youth, please click here or contact me for more information.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Press Release - Labour candidate Looney slams “cynical” Ashleaf redevelopment

Dermot Looney, Labour’s local area representative in Dublin 12 and a candidate in next year’s local elections, has slammed proposals to redevelop the Ashleaf Shopping Centre at Crumlin Cross. An application made to increase retail space in the centre, along with providing 40 residential units and 80 ‘apart-hotel’ spaces, is currently in front of South Dublin County Planners.

Local-based Looney has joined with Labour representatives Councillor Eamonn Walsh and Mary Upton TD in opposing the proposed 5-storey development, which would put massive strain on local public utilities, traffic and parking in an area already under considerable strain. As well as noting concerns with an level of development and height unsuitable for the area, and an inappropriate mix of residential units, Looney has also criticised the developers for citing sick children as part of the rationale for the project.

Page 4, Section 1.6 of the Planning Report included with the application states, in terms of a rationale for these proposals, that the “apart-hotel…aims to serve, in part, the visitors of the patients of Our Lady’s Children Hospital, Crumlin, particularly for the parents/guardians of children who are receiving short, medium and long-term care.”

“Notwithstanding the current government policy to move the children’s hospital to the Mater,” Looney noted in his submission to South Dublin County Council, “this is a laughably cynical attempt to provide a humanitarian platform for what is, solely and exclusively, a profit motive.”

“This is a shameful attempt to pull on heart strings by the developer and rings very hollow with local people who face the threat of totally unsuitable development at the Ashleaf.”

“I am glad to join with local residents in standing firmly against these proposals and am confident that the planners will take on board our concerns as to the height of the new centre, traffic, parking, utilities, the environment and the family-unfriendly mix of residential units in rejecting these proposals outright,” Looney said.

ENDS

Dermot Looney’s submission to the Council is available on request. The application in full is available at http://www.sdublincoco.ie/index.aspx?pageid=144&regref=SD08A/0430

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Press Release - Labour confirm Looney for Tallaght Central Ward

The Labour Party have confirmed 25 year-old Dermot Looney, a Greenhills-based community campaigner, as a candidate for the new Tallaght Central Ward in next year’s local elections. Looney had previously been selected for the old Terenure-Rathfarnham Ward as a replacement for retiring Councillor Eamonn Walsh (pictured with Looney, left).

Following the extensive boundary revisions for South Dublin County Council in June, Looney has now been chosen for the Tallaght Central Ward, which extends from Templeogue in the east through Greenhills, Kilnamanagh, Tallaght Village, Kingswood, Belgard, Springfield and Fettercairn. Looney’s running mates have been confirmed as Templeogue-based Pamela Kearns and Tymon-based Mick Duff.

The Labour Youth activist, who has a long record of involvement in local development and public services campaigns, is the youngest Labour candidate in Ireland and hit the headlines last month with his call to lower the voting age for local and European elections from 18 to 16. He is also making waves online, where his campaign website, blog and activism on social networking sites such as bebo and Facebook are opening up new channels of communication with voters.

“I am deeply honoured to have been chosen by the Labour Party for the new ward of Tallaght Central,” noted Looney. “Despite the name, there are considerable parts of Dublin 12 and Dublin 6w in this new ward and it is crucial that people in Greenhills, Templeogue and other areas outside what is understood as Tallaght receive the best representation in their new context.”

“Plenty of local candidates have complained about the boundary changes but it is my belief that politics, not geography, should form the basis of the campaign over the next 10 months. I stand above all for the expansion of public services, for an expansion of local democracy and for community-led solutions to development issues - and I want those who share those values to join up with our campaign for change,” Looney said.

“I am overwhelmed with the response of local people to my campaign so far and am confident that Labour will live up to the challenge in the months ahead with three candidates rooted in the lives of their communities.”

ENDS

Monday, 21 July 2008

Lower the Voting Age - Video

Featuring myself, Councillor Eric Byrne (Labour, Dublin City Council, Crumlin-Kimmage) and local Labour Youth member Colm Lawless (16).

Badly Drawn Roy

I wanted to share with you all this magical local film from Youtube.

"The film is set in a working class suburb of Dublin. Roy, Ireland's only animated character was born into an ordinary 'live action' family. This fly on the wall documentary film allows exclusive access into Roy's life where we learn of the prejudices he must overcome on a daily basis."