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A piece written for the WSM web site and quickly edited by our newsroom

Media Baron Denis O'Brien Silences Nation

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The last 24 hours have demonstrated the truth of 'If you want to know who really rules you find out who you are not allowed to criticise'. As the image shows billionaire media mogul Denis O'Brien has managed to almost completely suppress stories about him in the few outlets he does not control.

Those media outlets he has ownership of seem to have somehow missed TD Catherine Murphy's revelation that somehow O'Brien had managed to only pay 1.25% interest on the 500 million he owed to IBRC (in effect to us) rather than the expected market rate of around 7.5%. The difference costs us about 30 million a year.

This isn't the first story of O'Brien getting a good deal from the IBRC. Almost a year ago the Irish Times reported "in a deal that again involved the writing down of bank debt. O’Brien took a controlling interest after he bought about €304 million of the Topaz Energy Group’s] loans from the State-owned Irish Bank Resolution Corporation (IBRC), in liquidation,for a reported €150 million."
 

Kildare Palestine Solidarity Action in Tesco - Boycott Israeli Goods

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Yesterday, members of the Kildare Palestine Solidarity Campaign carried out a boycott Israeli goods action in Tescos in Newbridge. This fairly straightforward action consists of a group entering the store with a trolley or two and filling them up with all the Israeli goods that they can find and then bringing these to the customer service desk and making a formal complaint to management.

Included in the haul were Israeli produced grapefruit, cosmetic products and baby potatoes which Tescos were asked by activists to cease purchasing and stocking due to the ongoing state of illegal occupation and apartheid in Palestine. This action follows on from the previous one in the same store that took place on Thursday 2nd April 2015.

Dunnes Stores Closes Store rather than Door in Gorey Co. Wexford

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Last Thursday the local branch of Dunnes stores in Gorey Co. Wexford, closed due to an injunction which was brought upon the store by banning the managing agent for the receiver of Gorey shopping center. The injunction was to close the door which leads directly to the car-park. The effect of the door was that customers bypassed the smaller shops in the shopping mall. Dunnes Stores never asked the management for permission to construct the door; it was a clear breach of the lease.
 

Decency for Dunnes Workers March in Newbridge, Kildare - Report

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Over 100 people, mainly Dunnes workers, marched from the town hall to Dunnes Stores in Newbridge, Co. Kildare on Thursday evening as part of the Decency for Dunnes Workers campaign which focuses on decent hours and earnings, job security, fair pay and representation and right to dignity at work. Marchers included members of the Scrap Water Charges Kildare group as well as a small, smartly dressed doggy. Mandate representatives and numerous local supporters were in attendance.

Belfast Solidarity Demonstration for Baltimore - No Justice, No Peace

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On May 5th the Belfast branch of the Workers Solidarity Movement organised a demo and protest in solidarity with Baltimore.

We arranged candles in a circle with flowers in the middle as a vigil to those who have been murdered as a result of police and state-sponsored violence and racism. We then played interviews from Baltimore and Black America out on a speaker in order to allow those directly affected to speak for themselves.

Every 28 hours a person of colour (POC) is murdered by the police force in America. So far 157 known POC have been murdered - we printed out their names to show that they are not just numbers or statistics. Instead of reporting this the media and those with privilege have decided that it is much more important to talk about looting. This is the narrative in a neo-liberal, racist, society that places profit over the lives of people. In a society that is founded upon violence to act violently is to act in self-defence. Freddie Gray didn’t have the opportunity to act in self-defence against the torture he endured which eventually killed him.

McDonalds Workers in New Zealand Win May Day Victory Over Zero Hours Contracts

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Congratulations to workers at McDonalds and their union, Unite in New Zealand/Aotearoa who have won their battle with the employer and ended zero hour contracts at the fast food giant!

The workers were due to strike today 1st of May, but McDonalds backed down at the last minute. From 1 October 2015, all McDonald's employees will be offered 80 per cent security of hours, up to a 32 hour weekly cap, based on the average of the previous fixed quarterly worked hours.

 

Derry Public Sector Cuts: Workplace and Community Solidarity, Not Electoral Promises

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As part of the forth coming series of strike actions next month by public sector workers across the north, trade unionists and community activists held solidarity march and rally in Derry today in an effort to highlight workers concerns. Speaker after speaker condemned continued attacks on working class communities by Stormont politicians united in their efforts to implement Tory Cuts ‘in the name of austerity’.

One final speaker, a Dublin based community activist engaged in the fight back South of the border, gave provoking examples of how working class communities their have rallied together, stood up and fought back on many different occasions over the past number of years, which in turn has inspired thousands to do the same.

Galway University: First Students' Union in Europe to Support Legalisation of Cannabis

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Great news as students in Galway University have voted to support the legalisation of cannabis. NUI Galway Students' Union now supports the "legalisation & regulation of the cultivation, sale and possession of cannabis for adults age 18 and over" and is the first SU in Europe to do so. 68% of students voted in favour of the motion (1796 'yes', 838 'no').

Of course this does not mean that cannabis is legalised in Ireland, Galway, or even the university, but it does exhibit the rapidly changing attitudes toward drug prohibition and that this change is happening right here in Ireland.

Workers self management at occupied Greek Radio-Television (ERT)

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The capitalist crisis saw the closure of Greek Radio-Television (ERT) but workers not only resisted they took ERT into collective self management and continued broadcasting. 21 months after its closure the striking workers still ran 17 radio stations (15 regional, two national) and a single TV channel (ET3).

The translation of the texts below has been sent to us by Thanasis, a worker at the ERT and outline how the workers restructured ERT and what they want Syriza to respect if funding is returned.

Thanasis writes " Actually, and in simple words, they fired us but we never left the building and of course we never took an  advance to earn money (publicity etc) respecting the fact that all these buldings and technical stuff belong to the Greek people.  The new government after having recognized our struggle decided to re-open the Public Radio-television. Lets hope they will also incorporate our ideas, those we fought for over the last 2 years. What you will read is not a dream. Is what we already do everyday and we simply propose it for the future. "

March 13th: Unions Strike Across North of Ireland, but One Day isn't Enough

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On the 13th of March, unions across the north of Ireland will be striking against another round of service cuts and job loss proposals including the introduction of prescription charges.

The Minister for Health would like to introduce prescription charges across the 6 Counties. The DUP’s Jim Wells claims that this is to be done in order to provide a “cash injection” to his department to create a specialist drug fund which would pay for drugs that are either too expensive or too specific to be licensed right now. In doing so he is proposing £3 per item and hopes to raise between £5m and £10m per year claiming that this is not “unreasonable”. But it is unreasonable; the rich should be taxed for this.

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