Owen Connolly interviews Liam O’Sullivan of Trasna na Tíre – Ireland’s online history lecture series, adapted to work with the restrictions of the lockdown. ‘We bring in experts from outside our locality to explain aspects of our history to us.’
Owen Connolly talks to Stevie Nolan of Trademark Belfast, the anti-sectarian unit of the Irish Labour movement. ‘Our role for the last 25 years has been in the peace process. In particular, we deal with sectarian conflicts in the workplace.’
After a century of batting the electoral ball between two right-wing parties, in the last three elections, we voted in unprecedented numbers against the ‘ruling’ parties of the last hundred years and for outsiders, non-politicians, single-issue warriors, and the like. The effective message from the electorate was a pox on all your houses.
Let’s be clear, homelessness is a policy-driven crisis. Bedrock Fine Gael ideology does not want government in the business of building public housing, because it interferes with the free market. The ‘logic’ is that, without government interference, supply-and-demand in a free marketplace will solve the problem. Except that it hasn’t.
Recently there has been a worrying growth in active and headline-grabbing intolerance towards asylum seekers. Pressure groups are increasing efforts to build social and political walls around our communities and country. Globalisation has reduced continents to parishes and a worldwide bout of parochialism has taken hold.
It’s not an exaggeration to say this last year has been among the most meaningful and enjoyable of my life. I’ve wanted to return to teaching for a long time, and so when I read that a solidarity organization in El Salvador was recruiting ESL teachers, I jumped at the opportunity.