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From Erris to Everywhere-Trevor Sargent to congratulate Willie Corduff
galway | environment | news report Wednesday May 09, 2007 09:34 by Galway Shell to Sea - S2S
Leader of the Green party Trevor Sargent and the Mayor of Galway, Niall O’Brolchain are to hold a ceremony in Galway to congratulate Rossport Five campaigner Willie Corduff on his recent receipt of the Goldman Prize for the Environment. They will meet with Willie this Thursday 10th May at 12.00 outside St Nicholas’s Church and all are welcome to attend.
This project, should it go ahead, threatens the community, lifestyle, safety and environment of his native Erris peninsula. Along with many other members of his community Willie has seen his opposition to Shell E&P Ireland’s proposed on shore high-pressure pipeline lead him into situations he could never have imagined. With with four others, he was jailed for over ninety days for contempt of court for refusing to comply with an injunction granted to Shell E&P Ireland.
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I can see problems looming for Sargent. The only way he can get into government is as part of a coalition with Fine Gael. Fine Gael are committed to the Corrib development going ahead as currently planned. Is Sargent going to make it a condition of going into coalition with FG that the current Corrib development project be abandoned? If not, he's a hypocrite. If he does make it a condition, then either FG will face him down and the Greens will not be part of any coalition with FG and Labour or they surrender to his demands, in which case its the end of oil/gas exploration in Ireland for the foreseeable future.
The Green Party should not be given this soft coverage for their politics. The Green Party do not have a monolopy on the environment. In fact I harshly criticise Green environmental policies for not seriously tackling Big Business's contribution to Global Warming. Greens support pro-privatisation Bin Tax. Greens support anti-poor Fuel levies and other Regressive taxes. In 2003 Greens did not support the Anti-War protests in Shannon (instead they had a token protest in Dublin). Greens do not fully support the people of Rossport. they do not support Nationalisation of the gas fields. Greens will go into Government with FF or FG and do serious compromises. I hope Sargent looses his seat to Clare Daly in the General Election.
The Greens passed a motion at their conference that made an inquiry into the project a prerequisite for support of any coalition. This is essentially the same line being taken by Jerry Cowley. Fine Gael (or any other party) have never passed a motion committing themselves, they can change their minds in the morning. For any government trying to find a way to come around to SCS' position, such an inquiry would allow them to do so under a legal framework, i.e. for those in Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael, without losing too much face after having backed the project to the hilt up to now. FG won't be in a position to face anyone down after this election, and Labour's position on this is closer to the Greens. When 80% of the world's oil and gas is brought to market by state-owned companies, why do you think that telling Shell to hit the road would end exploration here?
The Green Party are not left wing. They are essentially Fine Gaelers that wear sandles and go to farmers' markets. Telling Shell to take a hike would send out a clear message against exploitation of natural resources by these multi-national firms responsibile for environmental destruction and death. "MacE" boasts that the Greens tailor their politics to Fine Gael. They are quiet willing to end these 'pre-requisites' at a pre-coalition conference which you'll be happy to end. (Labour are also having a pre-coalition conference to ditch policies on Shannon, etc.). I note that "MacE" has not answered my comments about the regressive, unfair, pro-privatisation and unjust taxes you want to heap onto working people (Bin tax, fuel charges, carbon tax, etc.). No comment on the Greens ditching of that Shannon anti-war protest in 2003 when the establishment media made up stories about fences being torn down.
"Fine Gael are committed to the Corrib development going ahead as currently planned"
I don't believe this is quite true. FG does not oppose the current development but neither, as far as I know, has it given its unequivocal support. It says that the law must be upheld but when it power it can decide the law. It appears to be adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
I second John in saying there are problems of credibility ahead for the Greens if they go into government with Fine Gael. Judging from the slightly embarrassing and bombastic Green Ard Fheis rhetoric (fists in the air, triumphalist tones of voice, etc.), they are quite willing to do so should the chance arise.
My reasons for foreseeing problems are a little different, but somewhat related. Fine Gael has publicly said it wants to ditch the pretension that we are a neutral country. This is admirable in the sense that it is more intellectually honest than the Fianna Fail, ahem, 'position', but it doesn't sit easily with the vocal anti-war Dail protests the Greens engaged in around Iraq and Shannon (mind you, neither did one Green TD's giving out yards into a mic to those on an anti-war demo at the height of the Shannon controversy for blocking the entrance to the Dail, preventing him from driving home in his carbon emitter). I sent the following e-mail around a week ago to the Green Party office, and have yet to receive a response. Why can't they respond to a simple query like this?
I'm just wondering whether it would be possible a statement from the Green Party regarding the use of Shannon Airport by the US military. I have been following the newspaper coverage of the run-up to the election and have not found any statement from the Greens about this as of yet.
Many in the anti-war community are wondering whether, given the anti-war stance of (some) elected Green politicians (but, frankly, not all), there would be an undertaking in government to end the use of Shannon by the US military. This is an important election issue for many of us.
(Anti-War Ireland, acquitted ploughshares activist).
John's point was that their credibility would suffer if they went into government and didn't do anything about the Corrib project. He's right, it will. Unlike the Shannon issue, they have committed themselves.
...that from the start of the anti-war movemet, they also committed themselves to a stance against the use of Shannon airport by an outside military force. So, therefore, what point you're making, I really don't know. The parallels are obvious. The greens are going to lose their credibility on a number of issues, and these are just two of them. The oil industry and the war issue are very interlinked, anyway.
I disagree, Deirdre. This is from RTÉ coverage of the '05 conference:
"A motion that would have made the ending of military stopovers at Shannon airport a precondition for the party to enter a coalition has failed to win acceptance." http://www.rte.ie/news/2005/0515/greens.html
My point is that they have committed themselves to making a Corrib inquiry a precondition for coalition. They have flat out refused to do so for Shannon. You wrote: "The greens are going to lose their credibility..." They haven't reneged on Shell to Sea yet.
Begob, there must be an election on.
The general point I am making is that the Greens are in the process of making compromises on issues they once purported to hold dear, in order to get into government, and have been in this process for some time. Perhaps to say they 'are going to' lose their credibility was a bad way of putting it on my part - they have already lost it in the eyes of many grassroots campaigners. This is a pity, because for those on the left who actually do believe in voting, the Greens were often seen as a viable alternative to the mainstream parties. Now, they're acting like one of the mainstream parties.
That's my general point. I was already aware that they'd sold out on the Shannon issue a long time ago - the motion only confirmed what those of us in the anti-war movement had already discerned. Even from an environmental perspective alone (putting aside the more important question of wholesale slaughter of civilians), in terms of depleted uranium, the US military use of Shannon is deeply problematic, and it is - also - all being done (at least, partly) to benefit the oil industry.
The fact that the Greens are now willing to cavort with Willie Corduff is neither here nor there - he has (rightfully and wonderfully) won an important honour and they're delighted to be able to get a photo op with him, I am sure. It's a spindoctor's dream. I can't see them bowing out of government, though, if coalition partners wish to humour the oil industry around the Corrib issue. The popularity of the Shell to Sea campaign and the recent award may make it a bit more difficult for them to compromise than it is to quietly sell out on the Shannon issue at a time when nobody seems to care about Shanno or Iraq. If we had had an election three and a half years ago, it wouldn't have been so easy, and they wouldn't have dared.
Therefore, there is a thread of cynicism running through their election campaign. The overall theme seems to get in government at all costs, and stay there at all costs. I'm sure they tell themselves the compromises are worth it for the changes they think they'll achieve, but there won't be any of the systemic changes that need to be made, because they are already deeply compromised and working within a deeply corrupt political milieu. This is the general point I am making - it is about the bigger picture of where the Greens are at. They appear to think the master's tools will dismantle the master's house. It doesn't actually work like that.
That's fair enough, Deirdre. My way of looking at it would be that while the Greens might be left-of-centre on some issues, they are first and foremost environmentalists. Their opposition to big business stems mostly from its feckless attitude to the environment, rather than its inherent unfairness. Although I agree that the issues are connected holistically, the Corrib project has immediate and local environmental ramifications that the Yanqui use of Shannon does not. For the Greens, that's the bottom line. They have said they will put their foot down over Bellinaboy. Despite the wishes of many of their members, two years ago they decided that Shannon was not in the same league as a deal-breaker, and that's been their position since. I don't believe most Greens would want to dismantle the master's house. Maybe just make it more energy-efficient.
Recognising Willie's achievements is one thing,but it may have been better to take actual involvement in the campaign up until now rather than garnering publicity with a photo-op.
Having a policy on something is great but without the graft-work of campaigning it is useless.
This campaign wont be won by opportunistic photo-ops with politicians around election time ,it will be won by struggle on the ground and in local communities on the issue,something the Green Party and its members have been found wanting on.
U.s Military use of shannon is a travesty-No Doubt. I see no contradiction though regarding shell to sea's recent positive publicity being used by politicians so long as there are benefits for the campaign.
In galway Niall O Brolchain has been part of the s2s campaign for over three years and even during last years negative publicity and lack of publicity he supported many of the events. Regarding the Green party, if they evict the Bastard PDS from their stranglehold on our health and justice departments fair play to em...
If anybody else in the country had won the goldman prize, pat kenny would have them on his show.
I wonder why Willie was snubbed!
On the subject did anyone listen to the interview Pat Kenny had in Westport. Dr Cowley was slated by Flynn F/f Calery F/F & Ring. The Mayo News has carried the story. Fair play to him for standing up to all three & for his county
"I don't believe most Greens would want to dismantle the master's house. Maybe just make it more energy-efficient."
Yes, I do agree with that. I was involved for a short period before they made the total transition to political party (many years ago). I bowed out while that transition was being made. However, when they were the Green Alliance they did have some fairly good ideas about big business being curtailed and the re-distribution of wealth in a fairer manner. As you correctly point out, those ideas appear to have gone out the window or at least been obscured by the more 'pragmatic' elements in the party who have the upper hand, and there doesn't appear to be a critique of big business on any other basis than an environmental one. Obviously, I care a lot about their stance on Shannon and find it odious that they've backtracked (though unsurprising). However, although the human cost of warfare is my main concern, modern warfare is the least energy-efficient and environmentally friendly pursuit in existence. Therefore, I believe they're supporting the Shell to Sea campaign now because it's a popular, and local, issue that will gain them votes. Simple as that. Even energy efficiency is suffering as a principle here. And I brought Shannon up on this thread because it is an issue that is inextricably linked to the oil industry, even if some aren't immediately aware of the links.
This ceremony will now take place in Eyre Square at 12.15 .At the Fountain or if the weather is bad inside the Great Southern(MERIK) Hotel.
Good opportunity to ask the Greens anything y'all want!!
Niall might be an affable character but his politics are severely lacking in any understanding of the real nature of capitalism. His support for shell to sea has been lacklustre at best. He has attended events such as book launches etc. but has not actually been part of any campaigning work on behalf of shell to sea. He seems to think that being Mayor is an apolitical position. Trevor Sargent coming to Galway is an obvious publicity stunt. Blatant opportunism on the part of the greens.
Eyre Square is now the venue , bottom end, near the former Great Southern Hotel ( now Meryck Hotel) at 12.15.
Or if the rain stops, the fountain Eyre sq.
Why are galways S2S organising a publicity stunt for the greens during an election period?
At one of the court appearances by the Rossport Five after they'd been released from prison, I think it was in October or November 2005, when the judge was still weighing up whether to send them back or not, a load of us went down to the courts to show solidarity, and also to have something positive for the background of the TV pictures.
It was incredibly cold on the quays outside the Four Courts, and we were there for ages. We were really worried about he health of one or two of the older folks among the Shell to Sea'ers, so someone went off and bought hot chocolate for them, and we tried to persuade them to stand out of the worst of the wind. It was so cold I was thinking of calling it a day, but everyone wanted to stick it out and have a presence for when the lads came out of court. We were there for about an hour. It was good to have the support of car drivers going by and be able to give leaflets to pedestrians etc.
Then the men emerged and the TV camera crews and press photographers gathered around them to take pictures. And what do you know what happened? A load of people with Green Party placards, and one of their TD's showed up out of nowhere, and clustered around them getting into all the pictures. We reckon they were sitting in parked cars around the block, waiting for the signal from someone in the court to come out and grab the media attention. Slick huh?
I'm really shocked and saddened by the way Willie Corduff appears (to me) to have been hoodwinked by the Green Party into being used by them.
Why is there still no mention of the Aarhus Convention Agreement in the Green Party's election manifesto? - some nine years or so after the Republic of Ireland signed this EXTREMELY important international environmental agreement, possibly the MOST important such agreement ever signed, and which they (i.e. the Green Party) know all about. For more on this point please see http://homepage.eircom.net/~williamfinnerty/AarhusAgree...y.htm .
The United Nations Aarhus Convention Agreement has been described as "the most ambitious venture in the area of environmental democracy so far undertaken under the auspices of the United Nations" - and the Green Party couldn't care less, or so it seems to me at least.
Deceitful and callous time-wasters for the most part, always on the lookout for something or somebody to ruthlessly exploit for their own purposes, that's my particular overall experience of the Green Party.
I'm really shocked and saddened by the way Willie Corduff appears to have changed his prorities once he got his hands on the 92,000 euro.
when he was informed he had won the prize, he said he would spend it on a legal challenge against the refinery, but a week later he had decieded he haddenent decieded what he would do with his winnings!
maybe he should split it up among the rossport five, after all they all went to the same jail, to proctect the envoironment.
"The Convention is a remarkable achievement not only in terms of protection of the environment, but also of the protection of human rights... The Convention touches on the fundamental issues of democracy and the rights of people to protect their well-being and that of their children." -
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Mary Robinson
Ireland remains one of 5 countries out of 40 that have not ratified the Convention.
FF/PD govt. has consistently placed the environment last on every list.
The people of Galway are today reaping the fruits of such neglect. We are seeing only the beginning.
Minister Roache has promised to deliver clean drinking water. What he means is that he intends to
filter the shit from the lakes but won't prevent it entering the lakes in the first place.
The link is to a good piece of journalism in yesterday's guardian detailing what has happened and is happening in the Niger Delta.
By the way, I don't think people should jump to any conclusions about Willie Corduff right now. He's fully entitled to think about what to do with the fruits of his win from a strategic perspective. I'm delighted he won this prize; he's been happy to struggle a lot of his life out of sheer love for life on the land. I've read his account of his life in the Rossport 5 book and it's pretty clear he is a man of integrity. Begrudgery isn't very helpful. The Greens are a separate issue.
Mayo/Galway people will vote the politicans that did the work on the ground. over the past 4 years No amount of posters will sway them otherwise. Regardless who W. Corduff is pictured with now probly will not make a bit of difference. How is Noel Garra in Ballinaderreen getting on. Anyone know?