Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Letter to Mary Harney TD

Mary Harney TD, Minister for Health
Leinster House
Kildare Street
Dublin 2

12th November 2008
Dear Miss Harney,
I am writing to you to outline my opposition to your proposals with regard to co-location. I am a secondary school political activist with a strong experience in the health service. I have lost many relations, including my mother, and I know exactly how the Health Service works. I am disgusted at your plans to co-locate private hospitals on public lands, which undermine the integrity of patients and creates an unequal and bigoted system of health according to wealth. I experience daily how people struggle to pay for healthcare and I condemn your thinking that people with money should pay for their healthcare. After stripping pensioners of their automatic right to a medical card and now introducing a co-located hospital at Beaumont Hospital you have severely undermined the rights of the most disadvantaged in society.
I shiver at the thought of patients, who work hard and pay taxes, queuing in a waiting room for a disgraceful amount of time, staring outside the window at people receiving quality healthcare at the swipe of a credit card. Health is a right, not a privilege and you evidently fail to understand this. You have failed the Irish people with your right-wing policies and you have failed the pensioners who put their trust in you. The answer is a National Health Service, free at the point of entry, not right-wing neo liberal ideas, which have collapsed and failed in their own right. How dare you play with peoples’ lives.
We deserve a decent health service, and you have failed us. I call on you to resign from the office of Minister for Health and move on. If you cannot get the support of the youngest in society your time has come. Resign and spare the people of this nation who have not been “cherished equally”. The silence has been broken by the public and the health demonstrations are growing larger by the day. This is an indication that you have not performed as Minister and have misled the Irish populous. You should therefore resign.
Yours in disgust,

Colm Lawless

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Teanga Beo?

Below is an article I wrote for Labour Youth's Left Tribune Magazine


In this issue Colm Lawless, Labour Youth activist stands proudly on the podium and defends the
right to a true comprehensive Irish culture

At the dawn of the last century the Irish language was heavily in decline, and indeed today this remains the case. The Gaelic Revival period was instrumental in ensuring that our beautiful and unique mother tongue did not perish under heavy oppression from an alien dictatorship. However I find it truly alarming that in today’s world, our historic and cultural method of communication is in immediate danger of ceasing to exist. With just under 10% of the Irish population utilising Irish on a daily basis, this trend which was reversed by the Gaelic League and other language revival groups, is now beginning to reappear.
I am a firm believer in the advocating of pro-cultural movements, and I also concur that these are not as effective as they should rightly be, in our modern society. As a secondary school student, I experience the attitude of peers against the language, on the grounds that it is overly difficult, useless or otherwise. Never before have I been so saddened by the deterioration of our heritage and identity. Instances occur in which the language is shunned when spoken, abused when mentioned, discarded when necessary and optionalised, if our beloved “cultural political neighbours” gain power in a General Election. The government has been decisively incompetent in restoring this treasure of our nation. The lack of funding for the subject in schools is breathtaking. Our Minister for the Gaeltacht seems keen on promoting a draconian system of education which dismantles public appreciation for Irish. Shame on him.
Enda Kenny emerged from his caterpillar hole last year and declared that the Irish language should be made optional at Leaving Certificate level. I wonder did Mr Kenny examine the possibility that the language would we deemed insignificant should it be removed from compulsory education. He evidently has no bearing on the preciousness of our language, and clearly has no vision for its progression or its very existence. Research has shown that a language will prosper if it is required to live everyday life. In Wales for example, that particular language was drawn from the bucket of invaluable languages, destroyed by British colonialism, and resurrected into a powerful symbol of Welsh culture and pride. The Welsh government was instrumental in this revival, by reforming the education system in Wales, and also ensuring that it is used actively in daily life. Considering this to be a fact, why are we reducing the usage of Irish in public life, and in schools? I can understand the reasoning that some people dislike the language, but for it to disappear, would tear me apart and destroy our country’s heritage.
Ireland is a unique and beautiful country, rich in culture and rich in diversity. To remove Irish as a language is the first step towards an unthinkable world of cultural uniformity with other European states. Each country is entitled to her heritage and in a way has a responsibility to protect it. I would love to live in a world where every country has its own piece of identity, its own piece of meaning. What wonders it would bring for those who travel, and for those who are culturally minded. I love the idea that travelling to France or Germany or indeed England, will provide me with a feeling of uniqueness – something with a beauty to be explored. Ireland is very much in that sphere of thinking. Our beloved nation has such a rich culture to be explored, for tourists to observe in awe, for citizens to be proud of and proud to say “I am Irish”. The Irish language occupies an extremely important part of my mind and body. I compare such a love with that of a love between a mother and son, something that cannot be destroyed in life. I know that there are many around the country who could empathise and indeed some in the Labour Party, which has an excellent track-record in promoting the language.
The struggle to preserve our language is ongoing, and will not end in failure. There is a will within Ireland to keep her Gaelic roots alive, despite what people say. We need to become more active in this struggle, opposing flawed government strategies, implementing decent cultural revival programmes, increased funding to the ever-popular regions of the Gaeltacht, encouraging people to use the language and instigating a radical reform in the teaching of Irish, which is at an all-time low.
I believe that there is a liking for Irish among young and old. I may receive negative comments about Irish, though when I hear of people sobbing because they return from the Gaeltacht, I know the impact that the Irish language has bestowed on them – one of passion and love. We can defend our culture and language for future generations. I believe that only a Labour government can be effective in this change. Let us preserve our beautiful and inspiring language for all, including our friends from around the world, some of which have taken it upon themselves to engage with the language. Fair play to these people, you will not regret bestowing such an honourable tone upon yourself.

Candidate For National Secretary of Labour Youth

I hereby announce myself as a candidate for National Secretary of Labour Youth. If elected I will serve the organisation to the best of my ability. I have an array of experience in supporting Dermot Looney's local election in the Tallaght Central Ward. As a Dublin South-West constituent member of the Labour Party, I have been active in protests against the deplorable state of our healthcare system and I have fought against the re-introduction of college fees. If elected I promise to:

Value the opinions of all Labour Youth members.

Encourage participation at all levels of the organisation.

Serve the Youth Executive with the best of my ability.

I ask you to vote for me, Colm Lawless, for National Secretary of Labour Youth at Youth Conference, running from 7th-9th of November 2008.

If you wish to provide any suggestions, drop me an email and I will be glad to take them.

Colm Lawless
Candidate for National Secretary

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Le Parti Socialiste de la France

Dans le monde d'aujourd'hui, nous avons besoin d'un gouvernement socialiste en France. La droit, sous Monsieur Sarkozy, font des gains énormes. Ce n'est pas acceptable. Nicolas Sarkozy est contre les droits des travailleurs, contre les droits des immigrés et contre les valeurs de la République de France.

Adhérez au Parti Socialiste pour aider un candidat dans les élections du fûtur.

Adhérez ici:

Le Parti Socialiste est dans PES.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Danger of Obamamania

As we are all surely aware, Barack Obama is fronting the Democratic campaign for the White House. However, it is my strong view, that Mr Obama or Mr McCain have little to offer the US and little to offer Ireland. I find the Obama context more concerning. The radical shift of the Democrats to nominate Obama ahead of Edwards and Clinton demonstrates how much corporate lobbying has become fundamental to American politics. Many Irish people see Obama as a saviour, a new hope for the world. I beg to differ. Another common misconception is that Obama is a strong defender of the rights of immigrants, again I beg to differ. Mr Obama offers the world the following policies:

A White House that wishes to repatriate corporate taxes from American corporations operating overseas. In essence, Mr Obama is promoting a policy that will undermine the strength of European economies, more importantly it will see about the withdrawal of US companies from Ireland. A competent candidate would not attempt to de-stabalise the world economy and place hundreds of thousands of jobs at risk.

Secondly Obama is not as liberal on immigration as he claims. He voted against a Senate proposal to legalize some 20,000 Irish-American immigrants, some of whom had been resident in the US since the famine! I cannot conceive a legitimate reason for such bigotry with Obama. He is not the candidate with Socialist values - he is a puppet with quite right-wing ideals, that far outweigh his credibility as a campaigner for social justice.

John Edwards was the Socialist of the candidates - not Obama. We, as a Socialist Labour Party, should not be endorsing this man who daily contradicts our ideals. American politics is dominated by a corporate machine, by right-wing ideas and by candidates with fluffy speeches who inside are hollow people. We criticise the way by which the US government controls our economy, invades nations, abuses its workers and demonstrates little respect for social equality - why are we throwing our weight in behind a candidate who embraces the American capitalist system? This inherently contradicts our philosophy of Socialism and should never have been supported.