Sunday, June 28, 2009

Balbriggan Sinn Féin opposes the cuts at Crumlin Childrens' Hospital

Fergus Byrne and members of Sinn Féin from the Balbriggan area joined with crowds protesting at the cuts planned for Crumlin Children's Hospital.

The impact of the cuts imposed by this government on our children’s healthcare is stark. Mary Harney remains wedded to the PDs failed privatisation agenda and she continues on hand in hand with her government partners Fianna Fáil and the Green’s.

The HSE has increased it’s spend on private hospital procedures for children over a recent year period by an astonishing 8,400%. In 2004 the HSE spent €54,536 on sub-contracting operations on children to private hospitals. By 2008 that figure had risen to over 4.5 million euro. In total the government has diverted €16.5 million euro between 2004 and 2008 away from public health service provision for children
to private hospitals.

Health Minister Mary Harney has imposed a range of savage cutbacks on Crumlin and Tallaght Children’s Hospital including the closure of an operating theatre which will result in the delay or cancellation of more than 2,000 operations and the closure of two wards in Crumlin due to a miserly €9.6 shortfall in funding from government. Take this shortfall in the context of the most recent government Anglo bail out of €4 billion and it is clear where this governments priorities lie.

Our Lady’s is a national centre of excellence for the care of children yet the government refuses to adequately fund its needs to operate effectively.

Privatisation of public services does not work. It didn’t work during the celtic tiger’s years and it will not work during the recession. If
billions of euro can be found at a moments notice to bail out a bad bank like Anglo then a similar commitment and approach needs to be embraced by this government to our children’s healthcare.

From the days of Dev Fianna Fáil’s record when it comes to the care and well being of our children, particularly the most vulnerable, is disgraceful. They have never cherished all of the children equally nor have they prioritised their education, their care and their health.

We in Balbriggan Sinn Féin say that the money was there to save the bankers and property developers, so why is it not there to save our children?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Remembering the Past: Theobald Wolfe Tone


THEOBALD Wolfe Tone was born at 44 Stafford Street (now Wolfe Tone Street), Dublin, in 1763. His father was a coachmaker and the family was relatively prosperous. Tone studied law at Trinity College Dublin and in London but never practised. His adventurous character drew him to military affairs and to politics.

Observing Irish politics, reading Irish history and hearing news of the revolution in France in 1789, Tone quickly made what he called “a great discovery”. He concluded that “the influence of England was the radical vice of our Government, and consequently that Ireland would never be either free, prosperous or happy until she was independent”. His first pamphlet (The Spanish War) was published in 1790 and argued for Irish neutrality and non-involvement in Britain’s wars.

In 1791, Tone addressed a pamphlet to the Dissenters, the Irish Presbyterians, whom he described as “patriotic and enlightened” but still subject to prejudices. An Argument on Behalf of the Catholics of Ireland urged their support for full civil rights for the majority of their fellow Irish people. In his autobiography, Tone described his purpose:
“To subvert the tyranny of our execrable government, to break the connection with England, the never-failing source of all our political evils, and to assert the independence of my country – there were my objects.
“To unite the whole people of Ireland, to abolish the memory of all past dissensions, and to substitute the common name of Irishman in place of the denominations of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter – these were my means.”


That same year, Tone was one of the founders of the Society of United Irishmen.
Beginning in Dublin and Belfast, the society quickly spread across the country. The society asserted that “in the present great era of reform... all government is acknowledged to originate from the people, and to be so far only obligatory as it protects their rights and promotes their welfare”.

The society called for the “radical reform of the representation of the people in parliament” and unity of the people to counteract the influence of England. This first declaration fell short of calling for separation from England but Tone wrote to his friend, Thomas Russell, saying that the need for Irish independence was “my most decided opinion”.

The British Government saw the danger to its regime from the United Irishmen and it attempted to sew divisions among the Irish people and to suppress the Society. The wealthy Catholics and their hierarchy were mollified with the establishment of Maynooth College in 1795, sustained by English grants in return for pledges of loyalty to the English connection. At the same time, the Orange Order was established to stir up sectarian hatred, especially in Ulster.

Tone was forced into exile in America 1795. Before his departure he met with Thomas Russell, Henry Joy McCracken and others on Cave Hill in Belfast and they pledged “never to desist until we had subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted our independence”.

From America, Tone went to France, where he persuaded the revolutionary government to aid the Irish struggle for freedom. In 1796, he sailed for Ireland with a French fleet, reaching as far as Bantry Bay before being forced by storms to return to France.

Undaunted, Tone continued to lobby for French forces and, on 16 September 1798, he sailed with a small fleet to Lough Swilly. He was captured and taken prisoner to Dublin where he died in British custody on 19 November 1798.

Wolfe Tone is still regarded as the founding figure of Irish republicanism because of his pioneering commitment to a democratic, non-sectarian Ireland and his ceaseless effort and ultimate sacrifice for Irish freedom.

Theobald Wolfe Tone was born on 20 June 1763, 246 years ago this week.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Fund raiser night on Friday 12th June for Coláiste Ghlór na Mara

It is great to see the continued growth in the Gaelscoil movement in Ireland as a whole and North County Dublin in particular. There are gaelscoileanna established across the area and the latest was Gaelscoil Ros -Eo which opened in September of 2008. The next step now is to create a post primary school to meet the needs of children currently going through the Irish language primary school system and it is great to see the work being done by the founding committee (Coiste bunaithe) for such a school in Balbriggan. There is a fundraiser for the school on Friday 12th June and details are below.

If you wish to register your child for the school, or find out more information then please go to the school's website at and leave a message.

Ceilí Night – O’Dwyers GAA Clubhouse 12th June

Please support a FUNdraising night for the establishment of Coláiste Ghlór na Mara, taking place at the Clubhouse of O’Dwyers GAA in Balbriggan.

There will be musicians coming from all parts of the country, dancers & raffles for prizes amongst other things.

Coláiste Ghlor na Mara is a proposed Meanscoil (post primary), to sever the people of North Fingal, East Meath & beyond. The School will be situated in Balbriggan, as this is a central location to the feeder Gaelscoileanna in the area.

A meeting was called by Cllr. Stephen Kilgallon in September 2008 following discussion with parents of Gaelscoil pupils to asses the public interest in establishing a school. A founding committee was formed and the process of applying to the Department of Education was commenced.

The founding committee hosted meetings with potential patrons, after assessment the committee decided to go forward with Foras Patrúnachta as the Patron. At the same time a discussion on the school name arrived at the Coláiste Ghlór na Mara (The Voice of the Sea).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Get out and vote - Remember how many people around the world would like to have that opportunity.

Well, it's June 5th 2009 and it is the day when the people have the chance to really alter the direction our country is going.

Many people are angry at the state of affairs this country is in at the moment and the terrible legacy that Fianna Fáil misrule has left us with. However, regardless of how bad the situation here is I would also like to point out how fortunate we are to live in a country where we have the right to vote for our leaders. 20 years ago the people of China demanded that right and they were shot down in the streets. In 1956 the people of Hungry rose up and demanded free elections and they were crushed by the soviet army. In 1968 the people of Prague demanded democracy and they suffered the same fate.

All over the world people fight for and die because they believe in democracy and they demand the right to vote in free and fair elections and we should look at our country's own history and support these people.

Clearly, the country we live in is far from perfect and our past governments have left us in a situation where many serious issues have never been fully addressed. In 2009 we need to deal with mass unemployment, an unfair tax system, social inequality, small numbers of working class children getting into third level education, a divided country, poor school buildings, lack of community facilities, cuts in welfare benefits etc.

We in Sinn Féin believe that we can tackle these problems and create a better, fairer Ireland if we the people decide that we want to. We do not have to put up with the current state of affairs and we can change our country for the better. What we need are parties in local and national government who believe in a better Ireland and who are dedicated to principles of justice and equality.

Today is the day when we have the RIGHT TO VOTE. So I would encourage anybody who reads this article to go out and vote, even for parties other than Sinn Fein. Use your vote to change the direction this country is going, and perhaps more importantly use your vote to ensure that we demonstrate the we have vibrant democracy that other people around the world can aspire to.