Contents of the January 2004 edition, Socialist Voice

1973 papers - Civil war fears revealed THIRTY YEARS ago, on 1 January 1974, a power-sharing government was established in Northern Ireland. Within months it had been brought down by a Loyalist stoppage and it would be 25 years before another power sharing government was established, similar to the 1973-1974 model.
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Can the sectarian stalemate be broken?
ON 5 JANUARY Jeffrey Donaldson, Norah Beare and Arlene Foster announced that they were joining the DUP. Their move underlined the results of the recent elections. The DUP are now the largest unionist party and Sinn Fein the largest nationalist party.
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FURTHER PROOF that the need to secure cheap oil by any means necessary is the key determining factor in driving US imperialism has just come to light.
Plans for 1973 Middle East US invasion? Read more...

Last December saw a plethora of increased stealth taxes, cuts in essential services and more broken promises from this government. The Voice reviews the consequences of these cut-backs for working class people and communities and looks at who benefits from the government's policies.
By Katia Hancke A government of Stealth taxes and savage cuts. Read more...

Stop the BNP - by any means necessary
The Law Society in University College Cork has invited Tony Wentworth, the youth organiser of the British National Party, to speak in UCC at the end of January.
By David Convery. Read more...

Stop racist attacks
A SIX foot wooden plank thrown through the window, spraying shattered glass over an area where a family have just finished eating. This attack on the home of a Pakistani man and his eight and a half month pregnant sister-in-law is just one of the latest of a series of sickening racist attacks in Belfast. Read more...

Editorial: US economy
Politicians and economists have been trumpeting the "recovery" in the US economy, heralding it as the sign of a new period of growth for the world economy. Third quarter (2003) growth rates for the US of over 8%, the highest in 20 years, factory orders of levels not seen since July 1950, and a halt to rising unemployment are being seen as indicators that the US economy has entered a new period of boom. It's early days yet; more data over a longer period is needed before their claims can be justified. Read more...

Joe Higgins Column - European Union
The fact that the Irish Government will have the presidency of the European Union for the next six months and the European elections means that more public attention than usual will be focused on important issues relating to the EU.
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Government faces backlash:
2004 will be a defining year for the Fianna Fáil/Progressive Democrat coalition. They face their first electoral test on 11 June in the Local and European elections the first to take place since their re-election in 2002. By MICHAEL MURPHY
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Decentralisation: A cynical vote grabber
FOUR YEARS after hinting about large scale decentralisation in the 1999 budget Charlie McCreevy finally sprung the details on an unsuspecting civil and public service. Read more...

And Bin Charges rise and they rise...
Cork - 28% refuse charge hike Refuse charges were increased 28% from 277 euro to 355 euro in the Cork City Council area. Read more...

Sacked airport workers take battle to court
THE 23 sacked airport security workers who are demanding compensation for their dismissal are to go to court later this month. A preliminary hearing is due to start on 26 January and is likely to last a week. Read more...

Teachers action starts to bite
Teachers across the North began a campaign of intense industrial action at the beginning of January. Falling short of strike action (a date for which is still to be agreed) teachers are now on a work to rule.
By Mary Cahillane,: INTO Executive (personal capacity)
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Civil service pay dispute
ON 11 December NIPSA members across the Northern Ireland Civil Service supported the one day strike in their thousands. Belfast, Derry, Portadown, Ballymena, Strabane, Omagh and Enniskillen all witnessed picket lines and saw the whole service effectively closed down.
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Vote Time For Change
NIPSA, NORTHERN Ireland's largest trade union, is about to enter a critical election. The vote for the union's executive, the General Council, comes on the back of a series of industrial disputes that have tested the metal of the leadership at all levels of the union. By Padraig Mulholland.
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CIE - Union leaders baulk at action
The leaderships of the National Bus and Rail Union (NBRU) and SIPTU abandoned talks with the Government on the break up and privatisation of CIE for 24 hours, threatened strike action - met Seamus Brennan for three hours, called off their strike threat and reentered the talks!
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Rottweiller to privatise prisons
Michael McDowell is closing Spike Island and the Curragh prisons, and turning two other facilities into half way house hostels. McDowell claims he has been "forced" into making these decisions because the Prison Officers' Association (POA) has refused to accept a massive cut in wages. By Denis Keane
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SIPTU vice president election Vote Des Derwin
Des Derwin is standing for vice-president of SIPTU. Des is standing against the official candidate of the bureaucracy Brendan Hayes, a SIPTU official who supports social partnership, strict compliance with the Industrial Relations Act and the ending of the membership electing the SIPTU NEC.
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Oxigen: Four months on strike
Oxigen workers have had to endure four months on strike because this private waste company has refused to recognise their union SIPTU. By Brian Cahill
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Savage 16 cuts - reject Ahern's government of the rich
The Minister for Social and Family Affairs Mary Coughlan has made effective the "savage 16" cuts worth 55.8 million euro announced in the book of estimates. This is despite the Government finances being 500 million euro more than what was expected.
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Germany 350,000 protest
THE LAST number of months has seen a significant increase in the opposition to the Schroeder led governments vicious attacks on working class people. Following on from the 100,000-strong national demonstration against the so called 'Agenda 2010' austerity package - protests, work stoppages and strike action has become the tactics of working people in opposing these measures.
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Saddam's capture does not spell end for Iraqi resistance
LAST MONTH'S capture of Saddam Hussein was seized upon by the US and British governments, desperate to boost their flagging reputations at home, as the "beginning of the end" of resistance to the occupation in Iraq. Events on the ground, however, indicate growing resentment of the military presence and frustration at the failure to restore basic services and infrastructure. Michael O'Brien examines
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Middle East: Sharon heading for disaster
The end of 2003 saw a renewal of bloodshed in the occupied Palestinian territories and Israel
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Minimum wage: pay the full rate at 16
IT IS five years since Tony Blair's New Labour government introduced the first ever minimum wage into British law, which it hailed as an example of 'social justice' and a 'striking achievement'. By Chris Loughlin
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2003 Scrooge title awarded
The End Low Pay Campaign's annual Scrooge of the Year Competition received a record number of nominations. There were obvious choices - overpaid MLAs, Shorts Management, the Civil Service. There were employers paying as little as £1 per hour.
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Resist water charges
LAST OCTOBER, in a reply to the 'consultation' process on water charges, Minister John Spellar made it clear that water charges will be introduced; the water and sewerage service will be privatised and at least 350 jobs will be cut over the next two years. Gary Mulcahy reports:
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4 million can't pay water charges in Britain
CLAIMS FROM Minister John Spellar that water charges will not lead to further impoverishment of people were shown up as outright lies by the findings of a committee of MPs into the effect of water charges in England.
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