The first lecture was about LGBT activism given by Adam Murray, a Community Development Officer for Cara-Friend, an LGBT charity in Northern Ireland, and is Secretary for ICTU LGBT and a member of NIPSA LGBT. Adam talked about working class solidarity with LGBT issues in the past, and a history of discrimination of LGBT in Ireland – especially when they’re working class. Also, he talked about the difference between gender and sex and how there are more than 2 genders in different cultures, such as Hijra who are recognized as the third gender in South Asian Countries, who are considered neither completely male nor female. The Hijras have a recorded history in the Indian Subcontinent.
The second lecture was given by Tommy McKearney, co-chairperson of the Peadar O’Donnell Socialist Republican Forum and the author of ‘The Provisional IRA. From Insurrection to Parliament’. He said a rapid reunification of a 32 county Ireland may cause more violence between the nationalists and the unionists. He also said that there is a growth of acceptance of a united Ireland in the 6 counties in the north, but is also supported by big businesses who want to use the European Union to allow for easy access of trading between other EU countries. Socialism is required for a 32 county Ireland to be truly free.
The third lecture was about Public Housing given by Eugene McCartan, the General Secretary of the CPI. Eugene went on to talk about the situation of the housing crisis in Ireland where there are around 10,000 homeless living in Ireland and many more living in temporary accommodation in Hotels. Also, many people pay a large sum of their wages to rent and mortgages, about 10% of young people spend 50% of their income on rent. Banks and Landlords accumulate large profits from exploiting the working class who are struggling to pay rent or mortgages. Also, he stated, that there are around 460 apartments being built in Dundrum, Dublin, only to be rented, which shows that the current Irish government side with the private market who earn large profits from the selling/renting of housing instead of creating public housing which would be affordable and make life easier for the working class in Ireland.
At the end of all the lectures the CYM from Cork, Dublin and Belfast went down to the Summerhill Occupation to show their solidarity to the activists fighting for housing rights and to support Public Housing in Ireland. The House, 35 Summerhill Parade, being occupied is currently owned by businessman, Pat O’Donnell, who also owned 4 adjacent houses. People were living in poor conditions and about 30-40 people lived in one house with 6-8 people living in each room. The Landlord demanded €350-€450 for each person living in a house and about 120 people lived in these 5 houses in poor and cramped conditions. There was an eviction that took place earlier this year in May and left all 5 of the houses abandoned.