By Mick Hall
Slowly, but steadily and obviously, a new political group has started to make its presence felt. It was present last weekend when workers from the Thomas Cook travel agent locked themselves in their Dublin office to protest at inadequate redundancy terms. It has been a regular at the Shell to Sea protests in Mayo. Staff at the Israeli embassy in Dublin have become very familiar with its protests. It expects to play a prominent part in the campaign to oppose the Lisbon treaty, and soon it will apply to be registered as a political party. Already, two Sinn Féin councillors have resigned to join the new grouping.
So who is behind this organisation, éirigí, whose name translates as 'Arise'? What defines éirigí's politics? And is this dissident group in support of or opposed to violence?
The group was formed in April 2006, on the 90th anniversary of the 1916 Rising, as a dissenting voice against the status-quo republicanism of Sinn Féin. It barely registered on the Irish political radar at first but it has recently become more prominent. éirigí protestors have been particularly noticeable at the Shell to Sea protests in Co Mayo.