On a number of occasions, as various milestones were passed, the Debenhams shop stewards have said that they did not set out to break records. However, to sustain a struggle for a year in the freakish circumstances of a pandemic and a lockdown is remarkable and further seals the place of the Debenhams workers in Irish labour history.
In 2020, as the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic raged, students campaigned using coordinated social media actions, petitions and huge online rallies, to cancel the Leaving Cert and won. Now in early 2021, student action has put the cancellation of the Leaving Cert on the agenda, pressured opposition parties to somewhat support students’ demands, and cornered the government into making a decision . With sustained coordinated action, we can fight not only to win cancellation of the traditional leaving cert this year, but point towards what kind of education system is needed.
The beginning of 2021 has seen a significant increase in the number of Covid-19 cases across Ireland, North and South. Both states have infection rates among the worst in the world, as the Stormont Executive and Irish government continue to fail working people with their mishandling of the pandemic.
Communities in Blanchardstown are in shock after the fatal shooting by the Gardaí of 27-year-old George Nkencho in Clonee on 30 December, devastating his family and friends.
The government decision to seal the Mother and Baby Homes archives for 30 years has been met with huge backlash from working-class communities. The move to seal the documents for three decades, despite survivors concerns, can be regarded as another form of abuse on working-class women – with survivors noting that for those impacted “consent was taken from them when they were in institutions, and was being taken away again”.
In the deepest sense, it is more of the same and a betrayal by the Greens of the vote for change they benefited from in February and in last year’s local and European elections. Fine Gael, who led the last Government, and Fianna Fáil, who propped it up, are the two biggest parties in this one.