I enjoyed taking part in the "Jimmy Browne debate", Greg who organised it and his wife were wonderful hosts, Greg told me a lot about traditions of rural trade unionism with members of agricultural unions fighting against pesticides that harmed them and the wider environment. This in its self was worth the tip.
Greg is an inspiring red-green or green-red, very committed to practical work to advance socialism and environmental sustainability. Can't wait to be back in Belfast again and Portaferry!
With the disturbances going in England it is with no little irony that the Unite union organised the first "Jimmy Browne debate" which took place at the union's office in north Belfast recently.
Speakers included Jimmy Quinn, senior organiser and comrade of Jimmy Browne, the Green Party's Derek Wall and Jimmy Kelly, regional secretary of the Irish region, and chaired by education officer for Ireland Ritchie Browne.
The lunchtime gathering drew progressives from a range of political opinion across the north of Ireland to hear the need for a political alternative which not only puts ordinary people first, but is environmentally sustainable and based on clear socialist principles.
The Unite union education department in Ireland organised the debate as part of its political school for activists and reps. The plan is to establish the debate as a regular fixture in the union's education programme, so enabling ideas and views to be discussed and debated as part of the ongoing process to create a clear political alternative from the failed neoliberal model, which is at the real root of the current wave of unrest.
It is fair to point out that the Good Friday Agreement has created a space for political issues to be discussed, the fact that a trade union is actively facilitating those debates here in northern Ireland is commendable in itself and credit has to be given to those who attended and organised the session.
I would like to think that rural socialist and trade unionist Browne, who the debate was named after, would have approved.