Thursday, March 24, 2016

Ireland: Against Plan to Ruin Revolution Day with Strike. Support Luas Workers

Luas drivers who operate the light rail system in Dublin Ireland have voted to strike Easter weekend which is also the centennial of the 1916 uprising aimed at ending British rule in Ireland and the formation of an Irish Republic.  The Republican leaders of the uprising that failed to attain its goals were executed by the British.

The Luas drivers are being vilified by the bosses for striking during the centennial celebrations. The Luas system carried about 35 million passengers in 2015. Some of the drivers explain their position in the video above.

Kevin Higgins whose poetry and satire we feature regularly ion this blog has written a poem for the striking workers. The Easter Uprising is one of the most important events in Irish revolutionary history and was the most important uprising in Irish history since the United Irishmen Rebellion of 1798. Here is Kevin's tribute to the Luas workers.

Against Plan to Ruin Revolution Day with Strike, by Kevin Higgins


for the Luas workers

We’re all for workers’ rights,
like nothing more
than to browse the better variety
of coffee table book for poignant
photographs: cloth caps and blue overalls
whose existences were
exquisitely terrible, down to the way
typhus so cinematically throttled
their two, three, four, and five
year olds, same day industrial slicers
took their little fingers, or perhaps,
if they were lucky,
a thumb.

Because of those bastard
trade unions, we shall not
see their picturesque likes again.
But what makes our pulsing
haemorrhoids pop is Dublin
tram workers’ ongoing plan
to make their customers walk, to disrupt
Revolution Day celebrations
by going on strike for money
they wouldn’t know what to do with
if they had it.

The men and women of 1916
didn’t go out that day
so that a hundred years later
tourists could be inconvenienced,
and distinguished men in eco-friendly
Kashmir sweaters made irritable
in their magnificent armchairs.

When, come that Monday,
the ghosts of Markievicz, Connolly, & Pearse
alight at Heuston Station; they must
be allowed go about the business
of watching us pretend to remember them,
unencumbered by picket lines,
or small people daring
to take their share.

KEVIN HIGGINS is The Bogmans Cannon Satirist-in-Residence

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