Gino Kenny TD Raising the Flag of Resistance : from Ireland to Palestine

One of the highlights of the General Election was the victory of Gino Kenny for AAA-PBP in Dublin Mid-West. At the declaration of his election he raised the Palestinian flag in a stirring gesture of international solidarity. The video of this went viral in Palestine itself and has had over 88.000 views. Gino has been receiving solidarity greetings from occupied Palestine. Socialist Worker interviewed Gino about the significance of his election.

From Socialist Worker 388

One of the highlights of the General Election was the victory of Gino Kenny for AAA-PBP in Dublin Mid-West. At the declaration of his election he raised  the Palestinian flag in a stirring gesture of international solidarity. The video of this went viral in Palestine itself and has had over 88.000 views. Gino has been receiving solidarity greetings from occupied Palestine. Socialist Worker interviewed Gino about the significance of his election.

SW:  What does your election victory and the success of the radical left in general mean for working class people here in Clondalkin and also across the country?

Gino:  “It’s given a lot of people confidence and lifted people’s spirits.  It’s good for working people that there are representatives there that won’t sell them out.  Over the last two years, People Before Profit have been at the forefront of the anti-water charges movement and people gained a huge amount of respect for us as a Party and for the AAA as well.  It was very important that we were there with the people.”

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Gino with Fatin al-Tamimi, chair of IPSC

SW:  What were the most important issues that you believe galvanised people in this election campaign?

Gino:  “The abolition of the water charges, housing; the USC; health, education and public services were all very central.  Water charges especially were the undoing of the present government who kept going on about the recovery and ‘fiscal space’ which had no meaning for ordinary working people.  Over the last seven years public services have also been eroded which angered communities.”

SW: Working class communities that had traditionally low turnouts had huge turnouts this time around.  In Neilstown the turnout was 63% compared to just 17% in the 2002 general election.   What does this mean in terms of harnessing that energy, organising mass campaigns and building the radical Left going forward?

Gino: “There is huge potential now for a grassroots movement of the radical Left in working class communities.  And that’s what we’re going to try and build over the next period.  It’s not just about one individual getting elected.  It’s about collectivising that solidarity through People Power and putting it into a political force.  It’s about people coming together and feeling empowered by their own actions.”

SW: Immediately following your victory, you raised the Palestinian flag and have received a lot of international attention and support for this gesture.  What does that symbolise for you personally?

Gino elected TD

Gino elected TD

Gino:  “The Palestinian flag is a flag of solidarity with the people of Palestine and resistance to the ongoing siege in Gaza.  If this gesture can give even a small amount of encouragement to people resisting brutal oppression and occupation at the hands of Israel, it would be fantastic.  I wanted to send a message to people in Palestine that your struggle is our struggle.  It also gives me great satisfaction to see the pro-Israel lobby that included the likes of Labour’s Joanna Tuffy, out of parliament,t and there are now more than 60 TDs sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.  That can put the racist state of Israel under serious pressure and help us take action against it.”

SW: What does it mean to be a revolutionary in the Dail?

Gino:  “We will use our positions in the Dail to mobilise as many people as possible on the street and that’s our job as revolutionaries.  Any social movement that arises, when People Power bubbles up to the surface, we’ll be there to support it inside and outside parliament.  That’s what our politics are all about.  When working people are in struggle, we’ll be with them all the way.”

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Thanks from Ramallah

Presentation

On 10 March, his  first day in the Dáil, Gino was presented with a Keffiyeh, the Palestinian scarf which is a symbol of Palestinian resistance, by the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC). Fatin al-Tamimi, Chair of IPSC said:

“Thousands of young and old Palestinians have spent months and years in Israeli jails to keep the flag high, to fight for justice and an end to the occupation. On his election, Gino Kenny raised the Palestinian flag to show the world his solidarity with our just cause.

On behalf of the Palestinian community in Ireland, and in Palestine, thank you for this show of solidarity. We hope you will be a voice in the Dáil for the voiceless Palestinians here in Ireland and will support our efforts and those of the IPSC to end Israel’s crimes and achieve justice for Palestine.

We know you will continue the support that People Before Profit has consistently given to the Palestinian cause.”