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CPI's McCartan calls on labour movement to 'step up the struggle for an Irish exit' from the EU

IRISH communist leader Eugene McCartan urged the labour movement at the weekend to “step up the struggle for an Irish exit” from the European Union.

Writing in the November issue of Socialist Voice, the Communist Party of Ireland general secretary noted that the organised labour movement had spent the last 40 years “cosying up to the EU, selling it to Irish workers as the ‘protector of workers’ rights’ and in the process receiving funds from the EU for education and training.”

Mr McCartan said that leaving the EU was essential because “our interests as a people, and in particular the interests of the working class, will never be served by the EU and its institutions.”

He stressed, however, that Ireland must not revert to “some subservient relationship with the British state, as in the past,” favouring establishment of “an independent, sovereign national democracy, giving real power and influence to working people.”

The CPI leader recalled that Brexit emanated from a political division in “the political party of the British ruling class,” noting that “the settled view of both the British state and the dominant sections of British finance capital was and is to remain within the EU.”

This explains why Theresa May’s government is intent on pushing through “its minimalist Brexit strategy so as to secure its ‘special relationship’,” he said.

Mr McCartan noted that both Tory leavers and remainers were using the Irish border to secure their strategic positions of leaving or remaining in the single market and EU customs union, with significant support for the Remain side among Labour MPs.

He derided claims by Leo Varadkar’s government to have influence at the EU table and its forecasts of renewed violence over the border, given successive Irish administrations’ “collaboration with the British state.

“Historical experience has shown that only the working people of Ireland have the capacity to end partition and unite our people, to establish meaningful national sovereignty and national independence, in order to secure their own material needs and interests.”

Positing a programme of “all-Ireland solutions to health, education and economic and social development, an all-Ireland investment and industrial strategy that favours working people and targeted capital investment that meets the needs of our people,” Mr McCartan said this would require “national control of capital, something that is totally illegal at present under EU rules.”

He added that, whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, this crisis and events on a number of fronts, not least the current impasse over Italy’s national budget, are putting strains on the EU.

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