Category Archives: health care

Shut Down the Bogus Crisis Pregnancy Agency

THE “WOMENS’ Resource Centre” (WRC), Dorset Street, has been picketed regularly throughout August by Choice Ireland and supporters. Funnily enough, this organisation that likes to pose as above-board and legitimate, has decided to change its name in the past number of weeks to “Abbey Counselling Centre” due to the bad publicity the pickets have engendered.

By Laura Fitzgerald, Dublin Socialist Youth

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Campaign to scrap €20 health charge established in UCD

By Elisa O’Donovan

UCD ARE planning to introduce a fee of ?20 per visit, each time a student uses the health service on campus. Presently, students are not charged when they see the doctor/nurse, but pay a fee towards the health service annually in their registration fee. The health service is vital for the students of UCD.

It provides year long access to all types of medical treatment, from medical emergencies to a contraception clinic. The centre is paramount to maintaining both the physical and mental well being of all students on campus.

However, for a number of years the student health service has been chronically under-funded, with a minimum waiting time of two weeks to see a doctor. The college’s response to the lack of resourses and medical staff in the centre is to charge students each time they see a doctor/nurse. However, forcing students to pay for their health care is not the answer. A health service fee will only further isolate students from seeing a doctor.

When asked why no university money is being put into a service so central to students’ well being, UCD said there was “no extra money” to put into funding the student health service. Yet last year, UCD authorities spent ?4million on PR firm fees, in order to sell the UCD “brand”. The college is also spending millions of euro in renovating the campus with plush new plants, water features and plasma screens throughout the university.

Is it right that in a college of 20,000 students there’s only one psychiatrist available one afternoon a week, with a two month waiting list? Or that a student struggling to pay their rent with a chronic condition such as epilepsy or depression will have to pay €20 each time they need medical attention?

Students have successfully fought back against the college before. When library cutbacks were threatened hundreds of students took action with a library sit-in resulting in an extended library service. Student protests have also continually prevented the reintroduction of 3rd level fees.  UCD students must get organised to defend their health service and demand that it is properly funded by the college authorities.

Report from the SY Resistance Festival 2007

By Conor Payne, Dublin Socialist Youth

On the 21 and 28 July, Socialist Youth hosted “Resistance”, a series of forums for young people around the South to discuss and debate socialist ideas.

The events were held in Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. These were very successful with around 150 mostly young people attending overall. All the forums began with a debate. In Dublin and Cork, Socialist Youth members debated the Greens on the subject of how the environmental crisis can be solved. Challenged on their decision to enter government with Fianna Fail and the PDs, the Greens argued that there was no other way to ensure action was taken on urgent environmental issues, such as global warming.

Socialist Youth pointed out the link between global warming and the profit system that puts the interests of the fossil fuel industries and big business in general above the interests of people and the environment. To really fight against environmental crisis, we need to challenge this system and that can‘t be done in government with pro-big business parties.

The Greens claimed to agree with us on other issues such as privatisation, the use of Shannon Airport by the US military and Rossport! Yet they have sold out on all of this issues in government.
In Limerick and Galway, we debated the Young PDs, who argued that the free market was the solution to and not the cause of problems such as poverty, war and environmental crisis and argued the case for “socially responsible capitalism”.

Socialist Youth argued that from Irish Ferries’ attacks on workers’ wages and conditions to war for oil being fought in Iraq, capitalism is never socially responsible and always puts the lust for profit above all other concerns.

All four events included a discussion on the life of Che Guevara and the struggle for socialism in Latin America. Resistance was a great success with many young people indicating they wanted to join Socialist Youth.


Michelle Dempsey – Student Nurse

“The event was great as it talked about things that matter like workers’ rights, anti-sectarianism and cuts in the NHS.”

James Higgins – Student

“I thought the event was really interesting. It was good to see someone addressing the topic of climate change. With a lot of people at attending it made for some important discussion.”

Gemma Foster, 19, young worker from Dublin

“The discussion on young workers’ rights was of big interest to me. This is because I’ve been in a situation of not getting my rights at work and getting ripped off and it was great to see that someone was fighting for young workers. I was also interested in the issue of the environmental crisis.

“I liked that in the young workers’ rights discussion if you asked a question you got really good answers on how you can fight to get your rights in the workplace.

“I was working for a big supermarket chain that’s obviously really profitable. The pay was ridiculous – €3.75 an hour for under 18’s. You had to work overtime and it was unpaid overtime. The manager used bullying tactics to intimidate us, threatening to give us a bad reference for example.”

Marta, 19, Bolivia

“I find it incredibly interesting to come across a socialist movement in Ireland and Europe in general. This movement is a reflection that we live in a world with problems. Society is still developing. Socialism is the best way to direct it.

“In Bolivia our government is supposed to be socialist. They have good intentions but our biggest problem is still with the multinationals and it’s a big struggle that’s still happening.

“It’s amazing that Socialist Youth is concerned with the problems all around the world and knows about Bolivia and Latin America as well as fighting on the issues here in this country.”

What do you think of the Socialist Youth “Resistance” event in Dublin?

“The Resistance event to me was a very proactive, educating event to raise awareness concerning Important and undeniable aspects of the effects that the capitalist system has on the world such as the environment, workers rights, Latin America. In my opinion, it was a great event, it allowed the youth to be involved in the greater discussion concerning their country and beyond.”

Mira, 21, Palestine

How did you become active in Palestine?

“Living in a country torn by occupation like Palestine, it’s inevitable that you become an activist and fight against the oppression faced by your people in any way you can. I have been an activist for about five years now – becoming a social-political activist has been one of the most enlightening experiences in my life, it has taught me a lot and has motivated me to continue the struggle towards freedom alongside the oppressed of the world.”

Can you describe the conditions facing Palestinians living in the occupied territories?

“The Palestinian population living in the occupied territories suffer day to day human rights abuses, especially in terms of the lack of freedom of movement (there are about 420 military checkpoints in the West Bank). The people of Palestine are terrorised on a daily basis by the Israeli occupation, we suffer from lack of freedom of speech, education, resistance and most of all a free, safe life.

“But on the other hand, the Palestinian people are, on a daily basis, fighting against occupation despite all of the obstacles that we face, that are nowadays increasing. We are fighting for our freedom, because at the end of the day, the Palestinian people are not terrorists and they are not victims -, they are survivors.”

Suicide: A hidden crisis

By Elisa O’Donovan, Limerick Socialist Youth

“Society made me feel like I was scum, that led me to isolation, depression and despair. I nearly lost my life.”

These are the words of Ian Howley, a 20 year old male from Athlone. Ian is not alone in how he feels. In the last three years, two thousand people took their lives. Depression is a major problem amongst young males in this country with Ireland having the third highest suicide rate in Europe.

Day in day out the media tells us that we have never had it so good, gone are the days of poverty and a bleak future, now we are a wealthy country. Yet, evidently many young people are not so optimistic about their futures and face more social problems and pressures than ever before.

We are growing up in an image obsessed society riddled with stress and debt, a society where facilities for young people are virtually non-existent, a society which values golf courses above playgrounds.  Many young people feel they have no control over their lives and futures. People feel their future is not in their hands, but in the hands of examiners, bosses and ‘the jobs market’. Also, despite all the communications technology, many young people feel more isolated than ever as a result of an individualistic culture.

You’d think suicide prevention would be a top priority for the government. You would be wrong. Funding into mental health services is amongst the lowest in the world. Only €1.8 million was allocated to suicide prevention – less than half what was requested. This compares to €20.6 million in Scotland.

With the continued stealth privatisation of the health service one can’t help but feel the situation will only worsen. Again and again this crisis is swept under the rug, but at this year’s SY Summer Festival you can get a chance to discuss how can the crisis be ended.

I will be there. As a student doctor who has lost two friends to suicide, I will always remember how Mary Harney, the HSE and successive governments have done little to tackle this crisis.

Heartless and barbaric: The deportation of Great Agbonlohar

By Paul Murphy

Great Agbonlohar and his family’s deportation underlines the barbaric nature of this government’s immigration policy.

Great is a six year old autistic Nigerian child, who has lived with his mother Olivia and twin sister Melissa in Clonakilty, Co. Cork since March 2003. He and Melissa were born in Italy and have never been to Nigeria.

Great AgbonloharAutism is a condition which requires ongoing specialised care and Great will not receive this care in Nigeria and may be victimised and brutalised by some in society. Being sent back to Nigeria has been described as equivalent to a death sentence for him by his mother.

Yet despite this, and despite the appeals of the local community in their support, including 3,000 signatures on a petition, they have been deported. They were flown back to Nigeria on 14 August, where they stayed in a hostel for one night and then were left to their own devices.

The family had launched a series of failed legal challenges against the decision of the previous Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell, when Great was diagnosed with autism, trying to get their case reviewed.

Many felt that with Brian Lenihan, former Minister of State for Children, becoming Minister for Justice, that he would be more open to the appeals of the family and the community. However, he clearly wanted to show that he was just as “tough” on immigration as his predecessor. As we have come to expect the Green Party despite its posturing on human rights did nothing to stop this deportation.

Limerick: Abortion demos clash at clinic

Limerick Socialist Youth, Press Release

Gardai were called in to guard the entrance to the Family Planning Clinic on Mallow Street on Monday when pro-life protesters picketed it. The pro-life group, Youth Defence, was also met by a group of young people who attempted to counter them.

A counter demonstration was organized by members of Socialist Youth at short notice. They aimed to “protect the clinic ,and any women going in, from intimidation” according to Cian Prendiville, spokesperson for Socialist Youth, recalling an incident in Dublin in 1999 when a clinic was “stormed” and “occupied” for a couple of hours.

Yesterday’s protest was the Limerick stop-off on Youth Defence’s national tour. They were demanding that women no longer be permitted to travel to England for abortions. Asked why they chose to target the clinic instead of the main streets of Limerick they claimed to know of cases where women had gone to England to get an abortion after attending the clinic.

The flyer they distributed states: “there is never any medical need for an abortion. Women are being exploited by the abortion industry for profit”.

In response Mr. Prendiville from Socialist Youth said: “That is nonsense. There are very real social, economic and health reasons why sometimes women in crisis pregnancies want to have abortions, for instance in the recent Miss D case.”

There were also allegations that one of the members of Youth Defence threatened to stab a counter-protester. The counter-protestor is considering making an official police complaint.

Mr Prendiville went on to say “The real issue is whether women should have to travel away from their friends and family to have an abortion or not. There needs to be free contraception and proper sex education, but we should support the decisions of women in crisis pregnancies too.”

Pictures from the counter-demo can be seen here.

Socialist Youth will be discussing these issues and others at an upcoming forum for young people titled “RESISTANCE” on the 21st of July upstairs in Riddlers Bar on Sarsfield street, Limerick City. A similar event will also be taking place in Dublin on the same date – Click here for full details of both.

Fight for women’s right to choose – Pro-choice rally this Saturday

Fight for women's right to choose - Pro-choice rally this Saturday

Choice Ireland will hold a Pro Choice Rally at 2pm on Saturday 30th June at Central Bank Plaza, Dame St, Dublin 2. The theme of the rally is “Fight for Women’s Right to Choose”. For further information see the Choice Ireland blog.