(en) Forwarded: Withdrawal of statement by 12 march

Andrew Flood (ANFLOOD@macollamh.ucd.ie)
Wed, 11 Jun 1997 16:22:46 +0100 (BST)

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See also INOU response to statement by 12 marchers after this message Subject: Withdrawal of statement by 12 marchers X-Sender: inou@gpo.iol.ie To: anflood@macollamh.ucd.ie

Letter from 12 European Marchers

1pm 11-6-19 97

We the marchers on the Irish leg of the European March Against Jobs wish to acknowledge the context of the letter of 10-6-1997 sent by E-Mail to various organisations and media. Due to the break down of our van we were hungry and tired and out of touch with the INOU. We also acknowledge that several of our grievances could have arisen due to technical failures and clerical errors and that the INOU were trying to reach us, but that problems with a mobile phone made this impossible.

We still believe that the march was underfunded and planned but we acknowledge that we were aware of this in the planning stage of the march but we still wished to go on the march. One or two of us still have political differences but we will agree to withdraw the opinions in the letter of 10-6-1996 and say that we fully respect the hard work of the INOU and we thank them for their intervention this Tuesday 10-6-1997 with money and support to enable us to continue on the March and to the rally in Amsterdam on Saturday 14th of June.

Signed 1pm 11-6-1997 Faxed to INOU 3.20pm 11-6-1997

Michael O Meara Jessica De Burca David Fletcher PJ Carroll Roy Lunn Kerry M Gee Paul Smith Elisa Mc Gee Conor Mc Loughlin Martin walsh Dominick Gallagher

From: inou <inou@iol.ie> Subject: European March: Irish leg X-Sender: inou@gpo.iol.ie To: anflood@macollamh.ucd.ie

INOU response to statement by 12 marchers

The INOU regrets the issuing of the a statement critical of the INOU by the European Marchers, this can only damage the struggle against unemployment and organisations of the unemployed. The INOU is currently attempting to solve the variety of problems which have developed in the march and seeking a reconsideration of the statement by the marchers. In the meantime, we feel it is necessary to respond to the specific grievances outlined in the= statement. =20 Clearly, problems arose with the minibus which created serious problems for the marchers. A hole developed in the exhaust pipe on the way to Cork, this was repaired in Cork. A problems developed with a solenoid in France and was repaired; finally the gearbox froze in second gear leaving it unusable.

While these problems could not be foreseen, the marchers were covered by 5 star AA coverage and were in possession of the handbook and documentation on this. This should have allowed them to complete the journey by train, if an initiative had been taken by the leadership on the march.

The bus appears to have broken down on Friday 6th June, the INOU in Dublin were only informed of this on Monday at 11.00am. Our response was:

=B7 to send a senior member of staff to join the marchers (Development Officer, Mary Murphy) within 24 hours =B7 to clear an additional =A33,000 from core funds for additional train,= food and accommodation costs =B7 to agree to reimburse the unemployed group in Brittany for train tickets bought to Paris =B7 arranged with Paris organisers for someone to meet the marchers at the Paris station =B7 arranged part funding - through the Paris group - for train tickets to Rotterdam to meet up with the march (over =A31,000) =B7 arrange someone from the Rotterdam group to meet them at the station at= 3.00am

All the decisions complained of were in fact taken by the marchers themselves at collective meetings and all the problems were clearly identified before the group set off. One of the people who signed is on the march organising committee and two are NEC members who have full responsibility for the decisions complained of.=20

1. The marchers were stranded for four days in France due to the bus breaking down. Adequate insurance against this eventuality was in their possession. Adequate emergency funding was available to the group (over =A31,200) to cover them for this (and any other problems. Even after paying for the repairs and for an evening meal and hotel accommodation over =A3700 remained of this fund on Monday 9th.

2. The minibus was a replacement for the original bus which had been burnt out prior to the march in a joy riding incident in Derry. Everyone was aware of this problem; while problems obviously developed on the bus there was no reason to expect this as the bus was in reasonable condition at the start. No-one expressed concern about the condition of the bus during the trip through Ireland.

3. The march to Amsterdam inevitably involved hardship for the marchers. It was not a holiday. A sleeping berth was booked for the driver and for two others. Others were expected to use their sleeping bags.

4. The arrangement concerning international marchers was that the home organisation would pay for travel, but that the host marchers would cover meals accommodation, etc. We were informed by France that the two marchers had their own tickets to return to France, so no arrangement was made for their travel, nor was there room for them on the mini-bus which only held 17 people. These problems were raised with the marchers and they were asked to discuss what solutions might be found. This is what is referred to as a threat. In the meantime the INOU agreed to fund the boat tickets (=A3150)= and to ensure that there was a car to meet the marchers in Roscoff. These arrangements being in place the international marchers were informed and seemed pleased with the arrangements.

5. The emergency funds amounted to over =A31,200, plus access at short= notice to further funds from the INOU (via visa transfer). The daily allowance of =A35 was agreed in advance with the marchers. Breakfast, lunch and evening meals were to be provided in addition to this. Emergency funds were to be used - with agreement of all marchers - where such meals were not forthcoming. =A35 is not a lot of money, but this was the agreed amount in= the context of a protest march in which the INOU had not agreed to pay all= expenses.

6. Sufficient tents for all marchers were available, but at a marchers meeting prior to setting off the marchers decided to leave most of them behind to leave extra space in the mini-bus, only bringing emergency tents. This was their own democratic decision within the constraints that existed.

7. =91The INOU has stated that they have no money.=92 This is completely= false and the following paragraphs are simply malicious. The total cost of the march was estimated at almost =A39,000. The NEC agreed that the aim should= be to make the march self-financing from specific funds raised from Trade Unions, private sponsorship and marcher sponsorship. At the time of leaving Ireland around =A33,000 had been received, plus support in kind from Dundalk and Drogheda trade unionists. Trade union contributions are still awaited, the marchers own fund-raising contribution also fell below target.

The INOU decided to proceed with the march despite this, covering remaining costs from core funding.

Immediately on being informed of the bus breakdown I informed marchers (Jessica De Burke at 11.00am and Michael O=92Meara at 2.00pm) that the INOU would make additional funds available. Within 1 hour I had cleared up to =A33,000 additional expenditure with the Chair, Vice Chair and Chairperson= of the March Organising Committee. The Treasurer and other Vice Chair were unavailable.

Finally, it is understandable that the frustration of the bus breakdown and the lack of communication over the weekend would lead to complaints and grievances. At the time of release (7.05, Tuesday 10th), the marchers were aware that Mary Murphy was on her way to join them, that their train tickets had been covered and that additional funding was arranged. The decision to couch the complaints in such destructive language and to release the complaint =91for the widest possible circulation=92 is strongly regretted by= the INOU.


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