Thursday, 13 December 2012

A victory for the Counihan Family

Brent Council have agreed to reinstate Housing Benefit for the Counihan family on 26th November. This is a great victory for Izzie, Anthony and Sarah and their tremendous courage in refusing to give up. It's also a victory for people power in Brent and for the tremendous fighting campaign that has been built in Kilburn. The next step is to help the family secure decent housing. Many thanks to our supporters from far and near. We need more vitories like this one for the Irish community groups in Britain.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

1. Brent Council locks the public out of Council meeting in response to Counihan family protests Counihan campaign supporters arrived at the public meeting of Brent Council meeting on 19-11 to be greeted by crash barriers, hired security guards and the police in attendance, all to keep our supporters out of a public session of Brent Council. Brent Housing’s latest advice to the family of five children who were all born in Brent , is that they should go and live in an empty field in the West of Ireland and that Anthony Counihan should commute from Galway to his work as a bus driver in Cricklewood. The Counihan campaign are calling on Brent Council to reinstate Housing Benefit for the Counihans to assist them with social housing and to set a budget which meets the needs of local people in Brent and to not impose a further £100 million of cuts in Brent. Brent had turned the Town Hall into a people free zone in response to our previous protest when we had sung “ You can’t kick this family out of Brent “. Counihan supporters had intended a silent protest holding up posters but we and other campaigners from Brent Fightback were denied entry to the public session of Brent Council . Sarah Counihan aged 15 handed this letter to Muhammed Butt leader of Brent Council after being forcibly prevented from attending the council meeting. “I think it’s very unjust that myself and my immediate family were not allowed into the meeting. (Apologies for the writing my hand is cold!) Our plan for tonight's meeting was to sit in silence. The meeting was disrupted last week as we are never listened to. We have rights to ask to be put on the agenda and we are always denied this We have stayed out in the cold trying to get to talk to you or a councillor. Our emails are still being ignored and this is not right. We have an Early Day Motion submitted by John McDonnell, because we feel it’s hard to be listened to by Brent council, so we had to go the extra mile to he heard. Thank you for reading. A response would mean a lot, as we would feel we have gotten some where. Many thanks, Sarah Counihan-Sanchez” 2. Great Support for the Counihan Campaign at benefit night in Prince Of Wales, Kilburn Park The people of Kilburn showed their support for the Counihan Campaign on Friday 23-11 at a benefit in the Prince Of Wales, Kilburn Park where we raised £259 for the campaign. The entertainment was organised by Sarah Counihan, 15 the Queen’s Park Community School band played two great sets Lucia Sanchez danced two jigs and Carol and Donna did a great job on the raffle. We certainly have some talented young people in Kilburn and it was a lovely night at the Prince Of Wales. 3. Future Counihan Campaign Events Sat 1/12/12 1pm - Demonstration on Kilburn High Road to South Kilburn Estate. Housing for the Counihans! No cuts in Brent! Assemble Kilburn Tube 1pm. All supporters and organisations welcome . Thursday 6th December 6.30 pm- Counihan Campaign Public meeting at 55 Chichester Road, Kilburn, London NW6 5QW. All welcome.I attach the new leaflet for our events on the 1st and 6th We are on Facebook: Counihan Battlebus You can support the Counihan Family Campaign by making a Paypal donation at Jim McIntyre 07958 157392 -- Regards Jim

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Dear All, An emergency protest took place outside the Irish Embassy in London on 14th November. The protest was a demand for the full abortion rights for women across Ireland. Savita Halappanavar was refused an abortion despite the fact that she was experiencing a painful and traumatic miscarriage. As a result, she died in Galway. This case has exposed further the medieval conditions facing women in Ireland, both north and south. Case X established the right to abortion when the woman's life was at risk 20 years ago but women in Ireland are still waiting for the full implementation of this judicial precedent. We demand full abortion rights for women across Ireland. Ruth Coppinger, the Socialist Party Councillor in Ireland stated: “This medieval state of affairs persists because of the cowardly inaction of successive governments since 1992 as well as the lethal foot dragging by this government who voted down a United Left Alliance backed bill that would have saved Savita's life and potentially the lives of other women. Legislation for X must proceed immediately to prevent this from happening again. Joe Higgins TD and others will seek a debate today in the Dáil over what has happened. However we cannot assume that this needless tragedy will bring the political establishment to their senses. People power pressure from below is what is required.” Yours fraternally Austin Harney.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Dear All, Although I have not received an electronic version detailing the tree planting event in memory of Terence MacSwiney in Southwark, I have a hard copy of a letter addressed to Megan Dobney, Secretary of the South East Regional Trades Union Congress, from the Cork Association in London. If anybody needs a hard copy, please do not hesitate to contact me. Nevertheless, I will provide details from the letter itself in italics. The tree planting ceremony will take place on Sunday, October 28th at 1.00 pm in the Mary Geraldine Harmsworth Park, Kennington Road, London SE1. The organiser is seeking help in ensuring the participation of certain London Trade Union Councils in the event. The reasons are provided at the bottom of the page. "The two trees being planted have been donated to the London Borough of Southwark by the Cork Association. This donation will fill gaps in a fine collection of trees which chronicles the arrival of tree species in Britain at the end of the last ice age. This tree planting will take place after the Terence MacSwiney Mass held each year in the St. George's Roman Catholic Cathedral, which is situated close to the Harmsworth Park. This Mass takes place on the Sunday nearest to October 25th, the date when Cork's Lord Mayor died in Brixton Prison in 1920 as he entered the 74th day of a hunger strike. The Mass for Terence MacSwiney continued to be held in St. George's during the difficult period in Anglo - Irish relations which prevailed from 1968/1969 to the siging of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998. The Mayor of Southwark will plant one of the two trees and a representative of Cork City Council will be present at the event. The second tree will be jointly planted by two secondary school students from North Monastery CBS (Terence MacSwiney's old school in Cork) and two pupils from a Southwark Secondary School. The organiser stated in his letter that he would provide the reasons for the longstanding ties of friendship between the people of Southwark and Ireland which arise from events connected with the death of Terence Mac Swiney. Large numbers of Irish migrants settled in Southwark in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and contributed to the development of the area. This inward migration of Irish people continued into the twentieth century until the late 1960s. Particularly, close ties were forged between Southwark and Cork following the death of Terence MacSwiney. The MacSwiney family needed a large venue in London for obsequies connected with the death of the Lord Mayor. Bishop (later Archbishop) Peter Amigo kindly permitted Terence Mac Swiney's remains to lie in a state in St. George's Cathedral. The British government had urged Bishop Amigo to deny the MacSwiney family access to the Cathedral's facilities. However, the Bishop resisted this pressure pointing out that the Lord Mayor was a Catholic and entitled to the services of his church. Alderman George Alfed Isaacs, the Mayor of Southwark and a full time official of a print worker's trade union, led a party of four other London mayors as Terence MacSwiney's remains were taken in possession from St.George's Cathedral to Euston Station for the journey to Ireland. This participation of mayors from the metropolitan boroughs of Fulham, Lambeth, Poplar, Southwark and Stepney was a fine act of solidarity with the Irish people at a time when the two countries were locked in conflict. Bishop Amigo was indefatigable in his efforts to promote peace. He wrote letters to the London Times about untoward events taking place in Ireland and opposed Lloyd George's plicy of repression in the island. The Bishop urged the British government to enter into negotiations with the fledgling Irish administration with a view to settling the Anglo - Irish conflict. St. George's was destroyed by incendiary bombs during World War II and Irish people acknowledged a debt of gratitude when they helped in the post - war reconstruction of the Cathedral. Church gate collections were held throughout Ireland to help defray the cost of rebuilding St. George's - Irish people had not forgotten the friendship shown by Bishop Amigo to the MacSwiney family four decades previously and contributed gerously towards the cost of rebuilding of this English Cathedral. When St. George's was formally reopened in 1958 An Toiseach de Valera and Cork's Lord Mayor came to this event as did many other Irish dignitaries. The Brugha/MacSwiney family were, also, present at the reopening of St. George's and remain in contact with the Cathedral to this day. The Cork Association is keen to acknowledge the links between Southwark and Cork, and the forthcoming tree planting in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park will celebrate these bonds of friendship forged some ninety - two years ago. The Association would very much appreciate a message of support from SERTUC for this tree planting venture. The Association would, also, value your help in getting the active participation of the local Hammersmith, Lambeth, Souhtwark and Tower Hamlets Trades Union Councils because of the involvement of the labour movement in Fulham, Lambeth, Sothwark, Tepney and Polar in the 1920 procession which took Terence MacSwiney's coffin to Euston station. Dagenham and Barking have strong links to Cork because of the Ford facotry in metropolitan Essex and the Ford works in Ireland. It would be excellent if the Barking and Dagenham Trades Union Council could, also, participate in the forthcoming tree planting in Southwark. The Association is particularly keen to get the local trades union council banners present on display at the actual tree planting." Kind regards Austin Harney, Secretary of Barnet Trades Union Council

Friday, 12 October 2012

Dear All, I wish to enclose a statement from the Travellers' Solidarity Network as it be the first anniversary since the evictions of the Pavees and British Roma community from Dale Farm. Kind regards Austin Harney, Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts. Just one week from today, we're taking action in solidarity with the families of Dale Farm, and Traveller families across the country who face racism and state violence wherever they go. Join us to expose the role the government plays in attacking Travellers' rights and criminalising entire communities. Friday 19th October, 1pm at Victoria Station, London Mass Action - Dale Farm Anniversary - Evict the Deparment for Communities and Local Government! One Year Ago, at dawn on 19 October 2011, hundreds of riot police and bailiffs stormed the Dale Farm Traveller community to carry out one of the largest and most brutal evictions in UK history. Eric Pickles’ Department for Communities and Local Government funded the Dale Farm eviction to the tune of £1.2 million. They are also leading the wholesale attack on Gypsy and Traveller rights, abolishing local government targets for the provision of sites and strengthening powers to evict through the Localism Act. It is time to fight back! Join the Traveller Solidarity Network's mass action to evict the Department for Communities and Local Government - the eviction to end all evictions! Share via Facebook: Contact for more information about helping out and crash space. Watch the promo video and read blog updates: Follow Traveller Solidarity on Twitter: @TravellerSol Thinking about coming to the action, but want to find out more? Come to the action briefing at for an overview and Q&As about the protest! Tuesday 16th October 8pm-8.30pm at Cuts Cafe, 1 Stamford St, SE1 9NT _______________________________________________ Travellersolidarity mailing list

Monday, 8 October 2012

Dear All, I enclose an article that I submitted to the Irish Post and the Irish World on the march that took place in Belfast on 6th October. Kind regards Austin Harney. A peaceful Trade Union march appealed to communities in the Shankhill and Falls Roads of Belfast. Despite the recent disturbances, Trade Unions organised a peaceful march in Belfast with a campaign group called "Youth Fight for Jobs" on Saturday 6th October. This demonstration intended to appeal to all working communities as one in five young people are unemployed due to the latest austerity measures. The march began with a rally at the Customs House Square in order to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Outdoor Relief Strike. There were a number of speakers at this rally from PCS, NIPSA, as well as Jim Kelly, General Secretary of UNITE in Ireland. During the thirties, many unemployed people were reduced to the level of begging "Guardians" (representatives of the rich) for poverty benefits (outdoor relief). But in October 1932, thousands of outdoor relief workers in Belfast went on strike, resulting in a riot that united Catholic and Protestant workers. After two weeks of struggle, the workers on the Falls and Shankhill Roads won significant concessions! Today, the march demonstrated the importance of this event by proceeding through the city centre and smoothly up the Loyalist district of the Shankhill Road. We saw only one armoured police vehicle and two motorcycles escorting us. But some of the passing cars in this Loyalist area sounded their hooters in support. We, then, stopped for ten minutes at the gates of the peacewall into the Nationalist area of the Falls Road. This occasion was to remember the two workers, one protestant and one catholic, who were killed by the police quelling of the riot. Afterwards, we walked down the Falls Road and finished with a rally at the City Hall. Much of the speeches denounced the austerity measures such as Workfare Scheme that is forcing unemployed young people into cheap or even free labour and undermining real jobs. These polices include cuts to education and attacks on workers' rights. No doubt, Trade Unions can play a key role in uniting workers of all communities against austerity in Northern Ireland! All Irish community groups in Britain, facing cuts, can, also, build on important events like this memorable one in Belfast! Austin Harney, Chair of CRAIC (Campaign for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities) Fighting the Cuts.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Dear All,

I ask as many people to attend the demonstration on Saturday in seeking justice for the Counihan family. Please srefer to the message from the Counihan Family Campaign.

Yours fraternally

Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.
Dear friend,

Brent Council's latest advice to the Counihan Family is that they should go and live in an empty field in the West of Ireland without sanitation. You can support the family by joining us on the Kilburn March for the Counihans on October 6th.

We will meet at Kilburn Square on Saturday October 6th at 2.30pm and march to the South Kilburn Estate. We will have speakers both before and after the march.

Please reply if you can come. If you are in an organisation please can you sponsor the event by emailing us and come with your banner. All organisations who support the campaign will have speaking rights.

Please let me know if you need more information.

Jimmy Mac
Counihan Family Campaign

We are on Facebook: Counihan Battlebus
You can support the Counihan family campaign by making a Paypal donation by clicking this link


  • October 6th poster V2.pdf
Download All

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Dear All,
I wish to enclose details of the March in Belfast against Austerity on 6th October. As we understand the ConDem Coalition is forcing the Northern Ireland Assemby to cut its budget severely of which will hit many community groups, there.
I, myself, will be attending this March!
Yours fraternally
Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.
The Northern Ireland Public Service Alliance - the largest trade union in Northern Ireland - has today endorsed the March for a Future called by Youth Fight for Jobs in Belfast on 6th October. The protest march against youth unemployment and cuts to education will take place during the eightieth anniversary of the Belfast Outdoor Relief Strike, which united Protestant and Catholic workers in struggle against the Poor Laws.
Pádraig Mulholland, President of NIPSA, said: -
"The £4.3 billion cuts agenda of the Assembly Executive threatens to devastate the public services which we all rely upon, undermine the economy and destroy 40,000 jobs in the public sector alone - that's 40,000 fewer jobs available for young people leaving education. We already have mass youth unemployment in many areas. NIPSA is committed to fighting to protect jobs and conditions, not just for our current members but for those who will need them in the future."
"Also, at a time when sectarian division is raising its head, we need to remember struggles like the Outdoor Relief Strike and say that working-class communities - Catholic and Protestant - have the same interests and are strongest when they stand united. That's why we're supporting this excellent initiative by Youth Fight for Jobs and call on our members and all trade unionists to join the march!"
Neil Moore, Acting Secretary of Youth Fight for Jobs NI, added: -
"We are delighted that NIPSA has come behind the march. We have got great support from the trade union movement - including from Unite, the biggest union in Britain and Ireland - from community activists and young people. There is a growing momentum behind the March for a Future and it can be an inspirational event, bringing young people and workers together from across the sectarian divide to fight for our common interests."
The march will assemble at 1.30pm on Saturday 6th October in Custom House Square - where the Outdoor Relief Strike was called - before symbolically marching up the Shankill and crossing the peaceline to the Falls

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Dear All,

I enclose a youtube version of the brutal evictions that took place in Dale Farm on 19th October, last year.

It is about time that all Irish community groups joined in these campaigns against the discrimination and evictions of Travellers.

If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours fraternally

Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Dear All,

I wish to enclose a statement by George Ferguson, a mayoral candidate for Bristol, that has made a slur on the Irish community. His other remarks are not only racially patronising but there are outrageous responses on twitter. It is without doubt that many of our politicians are completely out of touch with Irish issues and will continue to carry out further cuts that will hit our community groups in Britain.

Yours fraternally

Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Dear All,
I wish to send a message from the Facebook account of Save the Cock Tavern, an Irish Pub on a side road between Euston and Kings Cross.
Yours fraternally
Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.
The Cock Tavern is again under threat. Two years ago a massive campaign was successful in preventing the police from taking away Sheila's license. Now, despite having 12 years left to run on her lease, the pub's owners are embarked on a campaign of dirty tricks to kick her out.

Sheila's only "crime" is to run a successful working class pub in an area which is undergoing widespread development and gentrification. The owners want to close the pub and convert it into luxury housing for outsiders. Sheila has managed to turn the pub into a going concern without changing its nature or alienating her customers. It is that very rare thing - a genuine community pub.

The importance of Sheila, and The Cock Tavern, to the community was recently recognised by the Mayor of London. Completely out of the blue, and unsolicited by Sheila, she was awarded a certificate for services to local people. This has nothing to do with party politics, it was simply a refle...
ction of the affection with which her customers regard Sheila.

Now it's time for Sheila's friends and customers to do our bit for her - we cannot allow a faceless, offshore company to take away a vital community resource just so they can make millions through property development.

Please spread the word and support our campaign.

Dear All,
I wish to forward a statement by Gerry Downing from UNITE during the month of July. Updated news will be produced in due course.
Yours fraternally
Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.

Dear Editor,
I wish to highlight the plight of the Counihan family, Isabel and Anthony and their five children, Vinnie, Aidan, AJ, Orla and Sarah have been shunted out of the Brent to temporary housing in Ealing where they have been left since April 2012 waiting for the Council to even make a decision on their situation, let alone re-house them in Brent. A 25-strong picket brought their plight at the Brent Council Executive meeting on 16th July. Of course the shortage of affordable housing in the borough is all the fault of the bad Mister Cameron, they object but a Labour Council must attempt to mobilise the workers and Labour party members to fight these attacks.
Brent Council have not only washed their hands of the family - they have begun to persecute them to drive them out. They did not tell them they had an option to remain council tenants when they moved to Ireland in 2009 and placed them in Priory Road NW6 at £690 per week when they had to return a year later. They paid £230 per week of this rent and HB the rest.
In 2010 Anthony inherited 9.5 acres in Galway from his late father. The land has no planning permission and attempts to sell it failed. They rented it to a local farmer for €1,200 per year, which they immediately declared to the Council.
How 'foolish' they were to tell the truth it turned out - only corrupt and lying bankers, press barons, police chiefs and fraudulent expenses-claiming politicians can prosper in Cameron's Britain!
Brent initially accepted the €1,200 as income but then declared the land as 'asset', cut all HB and sent them a bill for almost £70,000, later reduced to £46,000. They were evicted and put in a house in Ealing at £500. Three of the five children have developed severe stress related problems and the latest outrage has prompted Anthony to write to Perry Singh, the Brent Housing officer:
"Our youngest child who has Autism has now had his Statement of Educational needs sent to Ealing & he is a Brent child. My wife is now on Valium from her doctor. We have been in limbo now for 7 months how is anyone meant to cope with this ongoing stress?
We would have fallen a long time ago if it wasn't for the support from The London Irish Centre (Lesley Ryan) & various others supporting us including my workers union. Do you expect me to pay £500 a week rent went I barely make £400 a week driving a bus. (A key worker in Brent, London). What are you trying to do to my family, a decision has been coming for 2 months now and were still waiting."
We ask you to join us in supporting the Counihans and invite other people facing similar injustices to come forward and challenge together the vicious policies and practices of the council.
Council Leader Butt met Anthony and Leslie Ryan from the Irish Advisory Centre after the Executive meeting and agreed to examine the case personally. We hope he will be of more help than the Council has been up to now.

Sincerely Gerry Downing
Dear All,
The Irish Night at the TUC Conference went well on 10th September. We had three guest speakers: Phien O'Reachtigan from Dale Farm, Paul Maskey (Sinn Fein MP for West Belfast) and Billy Hayes (General Secretary of the CWU). Peter Bunting (General Secretary of the Irish Confress of Trades Unions) arrived. We, even, had offers from Trade Unions to fund future Irish Nights at TUC Conferences. As the website has been established tonight, I will try and broaden "CRAIC (Campaign for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities) Fighting the Cuts. Our movement has been in operation since June 2011 and will continue to expand.
Many thanks
Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.
Dear All,

The Irish Night at the PCS Conference, on 22nd May, was a great success! We sold more than 150 tickets at the price of £5 each. Many, certainly enjoyed the music by the Saoirse Irish band from Wexford. The event took place at the Fortune of War bar on the beach in Brighton and it was, certainly, very warm that evening.

I made the introductory speech on behalf of "CRAIC (Campaign for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities) Fighting the Cuts." The intention of our campaign is to fight the recent cuts that are affecting Irish Community groups in Britain such as the closure of Irish centres and evictions of Travellers. In addition, we are committed to fighting poverty and austerity in Ireland as well as campaigning against cuts in public services in Northern Ireland. Our main guest speaker was Mike O'Brien from the United Left Alliance who updated us on the recent austerity hitting the Irish people and there is every reason that we should encourage all our relatives across the Irish Sea to vote "No" in the referendum on Thursday.

I would like to thank everyone who came to the Irish Night as well as those people who helped in selling the tickets at conference. A breakthrough in terms of finances was easily achieved and I will provide a breakdown of the accounts at the AGM of which we have planned for the end of June.

Hopefully, I will be organising more events and intend to start expanding our campaign.

If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours fraternally

Austin Harney,
Chair of CRAIC Fighting the Cuts.
We are a group of Trade Union and Community activists working in the UK, concerned about about the wlefare and security of Irish Workers but, also, the treatment of Irish people facing austerity, emigration, job cuts as well as attacks on pay and Irish culture.  If you wish to join, please visit our website. We are a non - exclusive group and any support is welcome!
Our Mission

 (1) To campaign and defend jobs and services.

(2) To highlight the disproportionate and adverse impact that the cuts will have on Irish communities in Britain.
(3) To provide a campaigning platform in order to fight against cuts in jobs and services, including any adverse disproportionate impact on Irish communities, thereby preserving their services for future generations!

(4) To work in partnership and build alliances with others facing and fighting similar attacks.

(5) To fully engage with various Irish community groups and the Irish community throughout Britain.

(6) To fight poverty and austerity in Ireland.
Campaign for the Rights and Actions of Irish Communities (CRAIC) Fighting the Cuts is a new coalition opposed to the government's plans that affect the entire Irish Diaspora in Britain. The campaign is determined to defend both jobs and services for the Irish communities that include public sector workers, community third sector organisations,  and employees in non - unionised industries. In addition, we aim to fight poverty and austerity in Ireland.

Welcome to CRAIC - Fighting the Cuts

Welcome to the CRAIC - Fighting the Cuts - website.

We will post stories about Irish communities fighting the cuts - in the UK and in Ireland.

You can contact us on email: