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Paul Lynch - Thu Jul 16, 2015 23:57
Day 4 of Corrib Gas Trial, Castlebar Circuit Court 10th July 2015
The trial of two Mayo men accused of violent disorder and damaging property at the Shell Corrib gas project tunneling site in June 2013 continues in Castlebar circuit court.
On Friday four Shell security guards gave evidence to the court and were cross examined by the defence.
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The trial of two Mayo men accused of violent disorder and damaging property at the Shell Corrib gas project tunneling site in June 2013 continues in Castlebar circuit court.
On Friday four Shell security guards gave evidence to the court and were cross examined by the defence.

Related Links: ShellToSea.com | Radio reporter claims he lost his job over coverage of Corrib Gas controversy | Irish Times: Top criminologist calls for inquiry into Corrib policing | Archbishop Tutu calls for independent inquiry into policing of Corrib gas project | Court Report On ?rape-tape? Sergeant Being Awarded ?33,0000 | Business as usual for Gardaí ? trying to smear women in ?rape tape? controversy | Join the continuous protests against Shell | 22 TDs gather at gates of Dail to demand reversal of Corrib pipeline consents


"They are good people" - Shell security boss on protestors

Jim Farrell - part owner and director of the Shell contracted IRMS security firm - was first to give evidence.
He gave evidence that he was on site at the time of the alleged incident and that it was around the time of the G8 summit so decided to be there.

During interactions with protestors he said that: ?... My entire PPE with the exception of my gloves got torn from my body?.

In what appeared to be a Freudian slip he said that he contacted the Gardaí "by way of instructing them ... asking them" to attend the scene. This is notable as there have been consistent allegations of collusion between Shell security forces and the Gardaí since IRMS took over security on the Corrib gas project.

On cross examination the defence SC Dignam for Liam Heffernan asked Mr Farrell to explain the corporate structure of his security company.
Mr Farrell outlined that the company is called Business Mobile Security Services Ltd and that Senaca and IRMS are trade names.

It also emerged that the Aughoose tunnelling site had about 20 -25 cameras but footage from only 8 of these were submitted to the Gardaí.

When questioned about how many security personnel were employed on the Corrib gas project at the time he answered that there were over 200 security working on the Corrib project at the time and about 25 to 30 on during the day at the Aughoose site

There was a period during cross examination after which the defence barrister accused Mr Farrell of being deliberately evasive:

SC Dignam: ?Do you know why the protestors were protesting??
Farrell: ?If you have three people in a row, all have three different answers?.
SC Dignam: ?For example??
Farrell: "I don?t know... I don?t feel I need to speak for anyone else...It?s all hearsay...Do I have to answer that?"
(Judge nods yes)
Farrell: ?I don?t know... They are good people?
SC Dignam: "You are being deliberately evasive"
Farrell: "I?m not...To me it doesn?t matter what the reasons are...The only single reason, I think, is that they don?t want it there...I don?t get into local politics"

Mr Farrell continued to be questioned over the Shell surveillance operation around Aughoose. Mr Farrell said that there are privacy zones that blacked out homes from view programmed into the system by the camera installers.
Later during cross examination Mr Farrell said: ?I?ve been on the front line of virtually every protest since 2008.?

SC Nix continued the Cross examination of behalf of his client Gerry Bourke. He put it to Mr Farrell that before his company got involved in the Corrib project in 2008, that there was no problem with the protests.
He then probed into Mr Farrell?s military past, confirming that he had been a member of the elite Irish Army Rangers. When asked what is the difference between the Irish Army Rangers and the defence forces he outlined that they were ? More heavily armed, better trained, more mobility? and that only 2 - 5 % of applicants pass the admittance test.

SC Nix: ? It?s the Irish Equivalent of the SAS?
Farrell: ?Some people say that?
SC Nix: ?Or the Seals 6 Unit??
Farrell: ?Yes?

When questioned, Mr Farrell confirmed that there existed a sort of Olympics between special forces and that the Irish Army rangers consistently score highly, even higher than the Israeli Defence Forces. He also didn?t deny that the they learn things from each other at these competitions.

When asked if Mr Farrell had learned anything else from the IDF such as the martial art Krav Maga he replied: ?I don?t know anything about it?, but then agreed that it is a martial art invented by the Israeli Special Forces.

SC Nix then asked why IRMS re-branded to Senaca, to which he replied: ?Don?t know?
SC Nix asked if his website had offered: ?International armed and unarmed security?
Farrell: ?If it says it there that would be without my knowledge?, and that his company has never provided armed security.
SC Nix asked then if so would that advertising be misleading.
Farrell: ?It probably is?

SC Nix then put it to Mr Farrell that this advertisement was deleted after the ?Bolivian Fiasco? where former IRMS employee Michael Dywer was shot dead in Bolivia. He was accompanied there by another IRMS employee Tibor Revez.

SC Nix asked Mr Farrell what kind of background checks were performed during recruitment?
Mr Farrell: ?Up to 2009 there was no method to check other than go to previous employers?
SC Nix: ?Were you aware that Tibor Revez was a Neo-Nazi??
Farrell: ?Not to my knowledge?

SC Nix then quizzed Mr Farrell about the ?Operation Solitaire Shield? Nazi-style badges that commemorate the 2008 and 2009 IRMS operations to facilitate the offshore pipe-laying by the ?Solitaire? on the Corrib Gas Project in Mayo.
Farrell: "I had seen it only on the Shell to Sea website or Indymedia"

SC Nix asked if it was coincidental that these IRMS employees show up in Bolivia 3 months after President Morales nationalised gas that Shell have a 25% stake in, and then your website goes down to be updated.

SC Nix then asked about the background of Terry Downes, another IRMS director.
Farrell: ?Bombs and military?

SC Nix: ?Are you familiar with Shell?s operations in Nigeria??
Farrell: ?No?

Towards the end of the questioning Mr Farrell said of the Corrib project: ?Its heavily regulated, all the permits are in place I?d have no problem with it?
To which SC Nix replied: ?And the Titanic was unsinkable and the banks were regulated!?


Evidence from former Westport Garda Superintendent who signed up for Shell security


The second prosecution witness called was Patrick Doyle, an IRMS security guard.
For the prosecution he outlined events of 23rd June 2013 at Aghoos similarly to Mr Farrell.

On cross examination he was asked about his background. He said that he joined the Gardai in 1974 and served in various locations including Sligo & Blacklion on the Border with Northern Ireland.
He was asked if he had at the time access to army backup to deal with insurgents.

SC Nix asked him if he has daughters, and then asked (referring to the 2011 incident where Gardai unknowingly recorded themselves after arresting two female protestors) ?What would you think about men laughingly discussing raping your daughters??
Doyle: "I?m aware of media coverage only in relation to this incident"
SC Nix: ?You?ve never heard any of this apart from media coverage??
Doyle: ?Yes?

Mr Doyle said that he retired from the force on 15th May 2009 and joined IRMS late July 2010
When asked, he confirmed that he would have been the prosecution officer of some of the protestors on behalf of the DPP.
To which SC Nix said: ?And you brought your life experience and knowledge of protestors with you into IRMS?
Doyle: ?No I didn?t?

SC Nix asked him if he heard coverage about booze being delivered to Belmullet Garda station or the allegation that in 2006 a Garda made sexual remarks to a protestor about his wife.

SC Nix: ?Do you consider it appropriate for a member of An Garda Siochana to do this??
Doyle: ?I don?t think it?s appropriate?

SC Nix put it to Mr Doyle that the protests changed when IRMS got involved in Corrib Gas
Doyle:? I don?t agree with that?
SC Nix: ?How many arrests were made while Gilmore security were working on Corrib??
Doyle: ?I don?t know?
SC Nix: ?You don?t know because there weren?t any!?

SC Nix asked Mr Doyle if he knew that between May 2007 and Nov 2009, 111 complaints were received by the Garda Ombudsman Commission.
Mr Doyle said that he was not aware of that.

SC Nix: ?78 were deemed admissible, 7 went to the DPP and there were 0 prosecutions?
Doyle: ?I?m not aware of that?
SC Nix: ?That?s right, nobody gave a damn about them, nobody was interested in their concerns, no one was prepared to hear them.?
Mr Doyle: ?I don?t know what their concerns are... there are licences in place.?
SC Nix: ?There were licences in place for banking and regulators in place ? they haven?t worked very well!?

Mr Nix referred to earlier testimony from Mr Dickson - the onshore pipeline construction manager, who admitted that he doesn?t even have an engineering degree, and asked Mr Doyle: ?What do you think my clients concerns are??
Doyle: ?I wouldn?t have any concerns... if I wanted to buy land there I wouldn?t mind.

SC Dignam: ?He wasn?t physically aggressive, would you agree?? Shell security guard: ?Yes?

The defence called two more former IRMS security guards as prosecution witnesses whose testimony and cross examination were much shorter than that of Mr Farrell and Mr Doyle.

Paul Kileen - who was on duty for IRMS - said of the alleged incident:
?There was a lot of pushing and shoving, they were trying to gain entry and we were trying to keep them out.?
?It?s all a blur it all happened so quick?
He also said he heard someone say ?Jim get your men inside before they get hurt?

On cross examination, referring to his client, SC for Liam Heffernan asked: ?He wasn?t physically aggressive, would you agree??
Paul Kileen: ?Yes?

-----------------------

The state expects to finish with prosecution witnesses today. The defence will then call witnesses for a number of days to prove that the protest was reasonable, possibly extending into next week.

Grangegorman squat - Mon Mar 23, 2015 21:56
Scenes turn ugly later as baliffs and hired thugs attack the residents, driving a van into the crowd -see comments for updates
A massive eviction is underway in Dublin. It is at the complex of occupied houses and former factory spaces in Grangegorman. Reports indicate that at 7am in the morning a very large number of private security angle grinder their way through one of the metal gates, invaded the area en massed and are erecting barriers (pictured) inside and trying to evict the occupants.
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Baliffs, hired thugs and Garda try
to force their way in. Later they turn violent.

A massive eviction is underway in Dublin. It is at the complex of occupied houses and former factory spaces in Grangegorman. Reports indicate that at 7am in the morning a very large number of private security angle grinder their way through one of the metal gates, invaded the area en massed and are erecting barriers (pictured) inside and trying to evict the occupants.

Related Links: Squatting Eviction Underway in Grangegorman | Aljazeera: Residents resist eviction, clash with police in Dublin suburb | From May 2014: Eviction attempt defeated in Grangegorman | Squat's the Story? Political squat facing eviction in Grangegorman
See also: https://www.facebook.com/SolidarityTimes -where this story was first reported.
https://www.facebook.com/resistgg Facebook Page - Resist Grangegorman's Eviction


At 6.30 am this morning, around 30 workers broke into a squatted complex on the lower Grangegorman Road that is home to about 30 people. (The space is home to a flourishing community with homes, community gardens and a strong cultural base; including art exhibitions, poetry nights, a circus space and a community kitchen.)

Although no court order had been issued to residents, the gardai assisting in the eviction. One of the houses in the complex has been fenced off by workers, illegally imprisioning some of the residents.

This is yet another example of how the government would prefer empty buildings to stay empty, while the number of families on the streets increases daily. So far the eviction is being resisted by the community.

Update: Grangegorman éviction resistance is still underway with more people arriving down to support all the time.

The residents have managed to get a chain on and lock this huge gat limiting the access bailiffs have to the site. However the electricity has been cut off to their houses so they are asking that people bring down hot food if they can. Raingear and warm clothes are also sought so that people can maintain the roof and gate top occupations.

All sorts of support are welcome, even simply turning up and letting the Garda and bailiffs know that their actions are being monitored.

The footage and interviews we uploaded to https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=347131162142993 will give you a good sense of what is happening. Please share that video out

Src: https://www.facebook.com/SolidarityTimes

--------

People are asked to make their way to the area, its on the street behind the Cobblestone pub at the top of the Smithfield square

anti-austerity alliance - Fri Feb 20, 2015 15:34
So how many bankers went to jail ? None! One Law for the Rich and One for the Rest of Us
The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today condemned the jailing of anti-water meter protestors at the behest of Denis O?Brien?s company GMC Sierra.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy said ?The jailing of these protestors and the arrests in Tallaght is an attack on the right of communities to protest against the imposition of austerity measures, in this case the water charge and meters, which are being imposed by the government despite the massive opposition to them.
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When government propaganda fails,
political policing kicks in...

The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today condemned the jailing of anti-water meter protestors at the behest of Denis O?Brien?s company GMC Sierra.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy said ?The jailing of these protestors and the arrests in Tallaght is an attack on the right of communities to protest against the imposition of austerity measures, in this case the water charge and meters, which are being imposed by the government despite the massive opposition to them.

Related Links: Right2Water campaign shocked at jailing of water protesters| Stop poitical policing - Stop the arrests now! | Right to Plunder the Economy, Not Right to Protest | Free the Jobstown 4! - Socialist Party Press Release | Paul Murphy TD arrested on trumped up charges designed to discredit Anti-Water Charges campaign


The Anti-Austerity Alliance has today condemned the jailing of anti-water meter protestors at the behest of Denis O?Brien?s company GMC Sierra.

Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy said ?The jailing of these protestors and the arrests in Tallaght is an attack on the right of communities to protest against the imposition of austerity measures, in this case the water charge and meters, which are being imposed by the government despite the massive opposition to them.

?The court has jailed these protestors at the behest of the Denis O?Brien owned GMC Sierra so that they can continue to try to impose water meters on communities which have risen up in peaceful protest against their installation. Once again, the courts have been used to attack the right of people to engage in peaceful protest.

?The attacks from the state on the campaign against water charges needs to be met with a significant response by the campaign and communities, the protest which has been organised against political policing following the Jobstown arrests on Saturday can be a response in opposition to these attacks.?

AAA councillor Michael O?Brien is a councillor for the area and is involved in the protests said: ?This is a disgraceful attack on the right of a community to defend itself through mass peaceful protests against the imposition of austerity.

?The protests have been met with organised violence from the state through the Gardaí. The Gardaí have acted as bully boys on behalf of the government and GMC Sierra through physical attacks and harassment of those who have engaged in the protests.

?These jailings will not deter people from protesting against the installation of water meters and will be met with a firm response by the communities and the anti-water charges movement.?

missing our buses already - Fri Feb 20, 2015 15:29
Just three weeks ago the National Transport Authority (NTA) officially started the tendering for 2016 of initially 10% of Dublin Bus routes and a further 10% of all Bus Eireann routes with most of the routes in Waterford City, and a number of Dublin commuter routes are to be privatised. In the original plan a number of Cork City routes were to go but these will probably happen later. This process has been the culmination of a relentless effort by Fine Gael (FG) in the present government and their predecessors and fellow Neo-Liberal ideologists, Fianna Fáil (FF) in the last government where they have consistently pushed for the break up of both Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann so that it can be handed over to their friends in the private sector to run on a profit basis. The NTA is used as a sort of cloak of respectability to give the impression that they will actually be a regulator with teeth of which we know very few regulators have any teeth, with the banking regulator during the Celtic Tiger coming to mind, plus many other examples and the function of NTA is really for propaganda value to convince the middle class. However this whole scheme is about ideology and is NOT about competition but about privatisation.
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10% to go in 2016 and then decimation beings in earnest

Just three weeks ago the National Transport Authority (NTA) officially started the tendering for 2016 of initially 10% of Dublin Bus routes and a further 10% of all Bus Eireann routes with most of the routes in Waterford City, and a number of Dublin commuter routes are to be privatised. In the original plan a number of Cork City routes were to go but these will probably happen later. This process has been the culmination of a relentless effort by Fine Gael (FG) in the present government and their predecessors and fellow Neo-Liberal ideologists, Fianna Fáil (FF) in the last government where they have consistently pushed for the break up of both Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann so that it can be handed over to their friends in the private sector to run on a profit basis. The NTA is used as a sort of cloak of respectability to give the impression that they will actually be a regulator with teeth of which we know very few regulators have any teeth, with the banking regulator during the Celtic Tiger coming to mind, plus many other examples and the function of NTA is really for propaganda value to convince the middle class. However this whole scheme is about ideology and is NOT about competition but about privatisation.

Related Links: Prices rises are on the way for public transport users... | Joe Higgins TD seeks topical issue debate tomorrow in Dáil on Bus Eireann strike | Government to fund private bus companies! - Jobs, wages & services under threat | Rivermeade residents wage war to defend the 40B bus


The tactic of tending just 10% of the routes is to take a softly softly approach so as not to alarm the public but the intention is very clear and in the submissions made by various organisations including private bus operators, all of them urged that there be further rounds of tendering with suggestions made it should be up to 30% to 40% of routes. The reason they don't want the lot just now is because they need time to gear up for them.

In the case of the UK where bus services have been deregulation, rural fares went up 12% and usage went down 19% - 26% while in urban areas like London, fares went up 39%. Not only that the government has to subsidise a good many of the routes otherwise the private operators would not make a profit and would discontinue the routes.

In the case of Newcastle where the council tried to get back the bus service the private operators refused point blank to do any such deal and threatened to stop the entire service. Additionally the UK Competition Authority found evidence of cartels as just 5 companies carried 70% of the passengers, yet they found head to head competition to be uncommon which is a clear indication the routes were sown up or 'owned'.

In the case of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann, the removal of 10% of routes will further cut into their revenue putting further downward pressure on wages and increasing fares. This will discourage public use more and bring greater threat of disruption due to legitimate industrial action. It will also mean their bus fleets will shrink further and as more routes are taken off them, revenue will drop and yet more shrinkage of the fleet. Meanwhile the private operators will be building their own fleets and will quickly have a larger fleet than either Dublin Bus or Bus Eireann. Once this happens they will be in the same position as what the private operators did in Newcastle and will be able to dictate terms and threaten any efforts to take back this vital service into public ownership. At the same time they will be extorting the subsidy out of the government and you can be sure of two things. It will be a lot more than what is now paid to Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann and we won't be allowed find out because we will be told it is subject to commercial confidentiality.

For the workers who at least in the state companies have some sort of secure employment, decent working conditions, a union, and entitlement to a pension, none of this will apply to the new workers of the private operators who are likely at best to be poorly trained if at all, paid minimum wage, have no pension entitlements and have insecure employment, likely no union protection and very likely disruptive shift practices imposed by management.

Selection of the Routes
It is not exactly clear what the criteria was for the selection of the routes put out to tender but depending on what the routes are, there are two different scenarios to consider. First though it is worth considering the case of running a bus service whether in a country or nationwide and the first point to make is that you cannot provide a bus service and run it profitably. It is impossible and nobody anywhere in the world has done it. In the case of Europe, Ireland in fact gives the lowest subsidy for their public bus service which goes some way explaining why the service could be better. Incidentally we glad gave tens of billions building motorways which in effect is a subsidy to private motoring and the infrastructure of oil, motoring, road construction and car insurance. We should also stress again that in the UK where the service is privatised, it needs a subsidy to keep it running and in percentage terms that is higher than in Ireland. Part of the reason for why running a bus service cannot be run solely for private will be due to the nature of passenger volumes and distributions and this will be reflected in the routes. In the diagram above, a hypothetical bus service has a number of routes and it can be seen that only some of the routes will be profitable and these will be the busiest and high volume routes. Then there is another bunch of routes which generate a fair amount of revenue but just don't turn a profit. Lastly there will be always a set of routes which are never going to be profitable, because of the low volumes or maybe the large geographic area or whatever but which are still vital as part of the commitment to serving the public and connecting these people and communities. It can be clearly seen that any profit made on the lucrative routes is needed along with any subsidy to fund the running of the other routes.

Case 1 - Tendering the top 10% most lucrative routes.
Has the NTA decided to give away the top 10% of the most lucrative routes. From the point of view of the private operators this will be the ideal. From the point of view of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann this would be a disaster to their revenues and plunge them into financial crisis very quickly. From the point of view of the government this would be too blatant and politically dangerous so for this reason we can be reasonably sure this has not happened.

Case 2 - Tendering a random selection of 10% of the routes.
This second case is where the routes are just a random and is likely to have one or two lucrative and one or two very revenue poor routes and a bunch of intermediates. The private operators would likely refuse to play ball with this and given the government wants to reward the capitalist 1% class whom they serve, then this is not likely.

Case 3 - Tendering a cluster of 10% of the routes.
Looking at the routes we can see they are grouped into clusters and in some ways this makes sense because it will always be easier to run a bunch of bus services in terms of serving bus garages and interchanging buses to routes than a dispersed operating base. In terms of serving the private sector we can be sure it will not consist of routes from the least profitable, but will contain routes from the equivalent of the orange and green categories in the diagram above.

Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann aren't likely to be happy at all with the situation since ultimately they see where all this is going to end. In this third case which the NTA/government appears to have chosen it allows for a slightly slower deterioration of the national bus companies and it will be therefore easier to handle. It also gives them more time to give negative publicity in the media to Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann as their revenues fairly quickly decline and the service quickly falls apart.

Beginning of the end for OAP Free Travel
A year or two back the Irish Independent described the free travel for OAPs as a luxury. This was the first serious slavo of the intention of the 1%ers to remove this. As some people may or may not know already some of the routes on the Aircoach no longer qualify for free travel and we can be sure that by slicing up our
bus service they will not provide it on the privatised routes or if they do, they will quitely drop it later when it will be challenged on 'competition' grounds.

Conclusion
There is likely to be an implicit deal whereby the private operators will do their best to run their routes reasonably well and take the financial hit if it doesn't work out during the period when the government puts the carve up of Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann into high gear. Then when they are effectively gone and have no effective power (e.g. due to reduced bus fleet size ), we can be sure the private operators will plead that they cannot turn a profit and need more 'help' and threaten to discontinue services which no doubt they will do in some cases.

The net effect though will be that 5 or 10 years down the line, Dublin Bus and Bus Eireann will be gone or sold off to private bus operator, fares will have increased, usage will have gone down, reliability will be down, quality of service will be down, the number of routes will be reduced and existing routes in cities will be modified to make more profit and less functional and country routes will completely drop out the smaller towns and villages leaving mostly just intercity and major towns as the main stop points. The regulator will be indirectly controlled by a consortium of private operators who will dictate terms. And lastly the taxpayer will be paying more than ever to subsidise the profits of shareholders and to sustain the bonus culture of top executives of these same companies.

We can stop this in two ways. Protest, complain, publicize against what is going on and stop any further routes being taken away and boycott if possible the routes sold off.

Attached are copies of the submissions made during the consultation process. Unfortunately this wasn't well known to be taking place at the time. They contain submissions for various interested organisations including the private bus operators, unions, politicians and a number of private individuals. They are worth browsing through.

Attached also is the Dublin Bus Award contract. A map of the routes to be given away is on page 114 while the Bus Eireann maps are on pages 135 - 136 of the Bus Eireann contract.

Dublin Bus to be Privatised
Orbital Routes
17 Rialto - Blackrock
17a Blanchardstown Centre - Kilbarrack
18 Palmerstown (Old Lucan Rd.) - Sandymount
75 The Square Tallaght - Dun Laoghaire
76 Chapelizod - Tallaght (The Square)
76a Blanchardstown Centre - Tallaght
102 Sutton Station - Dublin Airport
104 Clontarf Rd (Conquer Hill) - Santry (Shanard Road)

Local Routes
33a Dublin Airport - Skerries
33b Swords - Portrane
45a Dún Laoghaire (DART Station) - Ballywaltrim
59 Dún Laoghaire - Mackintosh Park
63 Dun Laoghaire - Kilternan
111 Loughlinstown Park - Dún Laoghaire
114 Ticknock - Blackrock Station
161 Dundrum Luas Station - Rockbrook/Tibradden
184 Bray Rail Station - Newtownmountkennedy
185 Bray Rail Station - Shop River
220 Ballymun (Shangan Rd.) - Lady's Well Rd.
236 Blanchardstown Centre - Ballycoolin
238 Lady's Well Rd. - Tyrrelstown
239 Blanchardstown Centre - Liffey Valley Shopping Centre
270 Blanchardstown Centre - Dunboyne

Bus Eireann to be Privatised
Waterford City and Tramore
601 Ballybeg - The Quay
602 St Johns Pk - Patrick St
603 WIT - The Quay
604 Carrickphierish Rd - The Quay
605 Oakwood - The Quay - Waterford Regional Hospital
360/360A Waterford - WIT - Tramore

Dublin Commuter
120 Dublin - Celbridge - Clane - Edenderry- Tullamore
123 Dublin - Celbridge - Clane - Naas - Newbridge
124 Dublin - Naas - Newbridge - Portlaoise
126 Dublin - Kill - Naas - Newbridge - Kildare
130 Dublin - Naas - Kilcullen - Athy

Shane Cassidy - Sat Nov 29, 2014 16:45
This article examines the Transatlantic Free Trade agreement and it's potential repercussions. In 2010 the US mining and gas company, Renco, managed to successfully avoid having to pay compensation to Peruvian locals who were harmed due to pollution by their companies by successfully using a provision of the Peru-US Trade Agreement[1]. Not satisfied with avoiding having to pay compensation, the company has since demanded $800 million from the Peruvian government as they argue that one of the companies they own, Doe Run, was forced into bankruptcy due to an expensive pollution clean-up which the Peruvian government required Doe Run to conduct [2].
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This article examines the Transatlantic Free Trade agreement and it's potential repercussions. In 2010 the US mining and gas company, Renco, managed to successfully avoid having to pay compensation to Peruvian locals who were harmed due to pollution by their companies by successfully using a provision of the Peru-US Trade Agreement[1]. Not satisfied with avoiding having to pay compensation, the company has since demanded $800 million from the Peruvian government as they argue that one of the companies they own, Doe Run, was forced into bankruptcy due to an expensive pollution clean-up which the Peruvian government required Doe Run to conduct [2].

Related Links: Wikileaks Publishes Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) | Surround The European Business Summit! | Peoples News issue No. 110 Date: 21 ? 9 ? 14 -See TTIP related articles | PEOPLES NEWS ISSUE NO. 106 DATE: 22 ? 6 ? 14 -See P 2. The world?s largest trade union demands a halt to TTIP negotiations | PEOPLES NEWS Issue No. 103 -See P2. Could TTIP contain an Internet censorship plan? | Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) Debate in Dublin ? Weds 5 Nov | Galway meeting highlights the insidious nature of TTIP | Water Charges and TTIP! | TTIP: Democracy on trial
http://StopTTIP.net | https://stop-ttip.org/ | Stop the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership


In 2010 the US mining and gas company, Renco, managed to successfully avoid having to pay compensation to Peruvian locals who were harmed due to pollution by their companies by successfully using a provision of the Peru-US Trade Agreement[1]. Not satisfied with avoiding having to pay compensation, the company has since demanded $800 million from the Peruvian government as they argue that one of the companies they own, Doe Run, was forced into bankruptcy due to an expensive pollution clean-up which the Peruvian government required Doe Run to conduct [2].

It is with this understanding that on Monday 10th March of this year, the fourth round of negotiations of the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement ( TAFTA )or the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) got under way. In a nutshell, TTIP claims to be a free trade agreement between the US and EU which will lead to an increase in employment and income in both economic areas and create the largest free trade area in the world[3]. This agreement, if implemented, will have far-reaching and potentially very dangerous consequences and yet practically nothing has been written on the subject in the media and discussion on the matter is worryingly absent.

Total disregard has thus far been shown to the citizens of both the US and the EU as this treaty is being kept secret from the populations who will be subjected to them, though not of course from the hundreds of corporate lawyers and lobbyists who are carefully writing them[4]. The EU Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht, had previously stated that he would not accept the US?s push to allow business interests a bigger role in negotiations before later stating that he was ?ready to work in that direction?[5]. Furthermore, US President Barack Obama has also further added to the erosion of the democratic process by successfully securing approval from Congress for his fast-track negotiating authority[6]. Therefore, a highly secretive, wholly undemocratic process is being pursued with the ultimate aim that the ordinary citizens will be expected to accept this deal without question.

Supporters of the treaty have argued that the negotiation and eventual implementation of this agreement will provide financial growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. Responding to an article written by the journalist George Monbiot in which he criticized the TTIP, the Conservative British politician Ken Clarke stated ?By best estimates, (the TTIP) will deliver a £10bn annual boost to the British economy alone, increase collective output by as much as £180bn, create thousands of jobs, and deliver lower prices and more choice to consumers.? However these figures have already been proven to be highly exaggerated and a inflated version of reality by Ferdi de Ville of Ghent University and Gabriel Siles-Brügge of the University of Manchester, in their study of the financial benefits of the TTIP ( available here: http://bit.ly/1jeIAvK)[7] . The main beneficiaries of this agreement will undoubtedly be the businesses and corporations who will have a much broader platform where they can maximise profits at the expense of the workers and operating with practical impunity thanks to the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision.

Of all the proposals under this treaty, the most concerning aspects of the negotiations is the inclusion of the ISDS provision. This particular inclusion is not new to the TTIP as it was first introduced to trade agreements to protect companies who wished to set up in countries where the rule of law and court system were very weak[8]. The ISDS conferred special legal powers upon companies to sue their host countries in special offshore tribunals, governed by corporate lawyers, should their rights be infringed upon. However both the EU and US possess strong judicial systems and the inclusion of this ISDS provision has proved to be highly controversial. Under the ISDS, individual corporations will be elevated to the position of equal authority among nation states and will have the ability to bypass domestic courts in place of an international arbitrary tribunal which has the power to demand the State to compensate the corporation for a perceived loss of earnings due to the State changing public policy. This compensation will naturally be passed on to taxpayers which creates a worrying situation for citizens while simultaneously awarding overwhelming power to the private companies.

For example, should a tobacco company interpret legislation, which is introduced to increase awareness of cigarettes harmful effects, as a barrier to their trading abilities then they will have a platform to take that State to this tribunal to demand compensation. This has already occurred in both Uruguay and Australia, where the largest cigarette company in the world, Phillip Morris, has taken both countries to court for introducing anti-smoking legislation as their fear of losing profits is far greater than their concern for the health Australia or Uruguay?s citizens[9]. Unfortunately this is not a new development in bi-lateral trade agreements; Lori Wallach the director of Public Citizen?s Global Trade Watch and vocal opponent of this trade deal, is on record as stating that this is nothing short of a ?corporate invasion?[10].

Several arguments have been put forward to support the negotiation in private of the TTIP, principally that if the US were to get their hands on the approach the EU were going to take towards the negotiations, or vice versa, then this would make it a lot harder to effectively negotiate. However, in order to ensure as much transparency as possible, surely once both parties have concluded negotiations on a particular subject, it should be released into the public domain. As it stands, the public is not entitled to know anything about what is being agreed upon save to be continuously told by corporate interests of the importance of accepting the free trade agreement for the sake of jobs. What this agreement between the US and EU will lead to is a serious curtailing of the governance authority of nation states, to the benefit of corporations. A society constructed and controlled by business interests is highly destructive to the social fabric and all measures must be put in place to combat this. A resounding rejection of any agreement which hasn?t been first presented to the public is the only way to ensure that overreaching corporate dominance doesn?t become a reality.

[1] http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2012-04-pay-the-pollut...ce-fo

[2] http://www.citizen.org/documents/renco-memo-03-12.pdf

[3] http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/about-ttip/

[4] In discussion with Noam Chomsky, Jan 08 2014

[5] http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/6e9b7190-9a65-11e3-8e06-00144...V6YIc

[6] http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/bc0e78ea-7955-11e3-91ac-...3mJIp

[7] http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/usappblog/2013/12/17/eu-us-free-...rade/

[8] http://www.consumersinternational.org/media/1398522/tac...n.pdf

[9] http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-08-22/philip-morris-....html

[10] http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/12/06/the-corporate-in...sion/

T - Sat Nov 01, 2014 23:07
Massive turnout at local water charges protests exceeds expectations
Over 100 separate local demonstrations took place today (Sat Nov 1st) against the Water Charges and for the Right 2 Water. Organisers estimate conservatively that over 150,000 were out on the streets today to send a message to this government that they won't accept paying for water twice and having it privatised later.

People realize that all the false promises and allowances will eventually be dropped and the long term result will be that a privatised water company will prey on the people with massive hikes in charges and big fat bonuses for themselves.

There were protests from Cork & Kerry to Wexford to Dublin to Limerick to Galway to Sligo to Donegal to Cavan to Dundalk and all over the Midlands. There has never been anything like it perhaps since the foundation of the state. The people are truly fed up and are determined and will not be abused by the political technocrats of big Capital that is robbing every social gain our forebears fought hard to get over the past century.
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Sligo says No to Water Charges

Over 100 separate local demonstrations took place today (Sat Nov 1st) against the Water Charges and for the Right 2 Water. Organisers estimate conservatively that over 150,000 were out on the streets today to send a message to this government that they won't accept paying for water twice and having it privatised later.

People realize that all the false promises and allowances will eventually be dropped and the long term result will be that a privatised water company will prey on the people with massive hikes in charges and big fat bonuses for themselves.

There were protests from Cork & Kerry to Wexford to Dublin to Limerick to Galway to Sligo to Donegal to Cavan to Dundalk and all over the Midlands. There has never been anything like it perhaps since the foundation of the state. The people are truly fed up and are determined and will not be abused by the political technocrats of big Capital that is robbing every social gain our forebears fought hard to get over the past century.

Related Links: Water Charge FAQ - your questions answered | Right2Water National Day of Local Protests - Sat Nov 1st | Right2Water National Protest against Water charges - Sat Oct 11th @ 2pm | No-one will be safe from water charges if we don't stand and fight | Why Irish Water Will Be Sold Off | The New Water Barons | Blockades of Water Meter installations in Cork and Dublin | The Irish water debacle: a timeline | http://www.Right2Water.ie/
Other Experiences: Resisting Water Privatisation in Bolivia and Ireland Bolivian Protesters end Water Privatization in La Paz, El Alto

For lots more pictures check each of the various campaign pages from around the country.

Campaign Facebook Pages: Carlow, facebook | Clare, Ennis facebook | Dublin, Blanchardstown, facebook | Dublin, Blanchardstown, facebook | Dublin, Ballyfermot facebook | Dublin, Blanchardstown facebook | Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, facebook | Dublin, Dundrum facebook | Dublin, Ringsend, facebook | Dublin, Tallaght facebook | Fingal, Swords, facebook | Galway, facebook | Kildare, Athy, facebook | Kildare, Celbridge, facebook | Kildare, Leixlip, facebook | Kildare, Naas, facebook | Kildare, Newbridge facebook | Kilkenny, facebook | Louth, Ardee facebook | Louth, Dundalk, facebook | Sligo, facebook | Wexford, New Ross facebook | Wexford, Gorey facebook | Wexford, Wexford Town, facebook | Wicklow, Bray, facebook | Wicklow, Greystones, facebook | Wicklow, Wicklow, facebook | Wicklow, Arklow, facebook


Statement from the Right2Water campaign:

Despite torrential rain, our expectations have been massively exceeded, with well over 150,000 people coming out in every neighbourhood, town and village to send a clear message to the Government: water is a human right, and we demand the abolition of domestic water charges.

Today showed the strength of public opposition to water charges in communities up and down the country. The time has come for the Government to accept the will of the people, abolish domestic water charges and return to the drawing board. Until they do, the Right2Water campaign will keep up the pressure.

"Details of a major rally outside the Dail on December 10th - International Human Rights Day - will be announced during the coming days"


Location of Water Charges Protests today:

Carlow Town, Cavan Town, Clare (Ennis & Shannon), Cork (Bandon, Clonakility, Cork City, Fermoy, Mallow, Youghal), Donegal (Ballyshannon, Letterkenny, Lifford), Dublin (Artane, Ballyfermot, Blanchardstown, Cabra(x2), Clondalkin, Coolock, Crumlin, Donaghmede/Kilbarrack, Donnybrook, Donnycarney, Drimnagh, Dun Laoghaire, Dundrum/Ballinteer, Finglas, Greenhills, Harolds Cross, Lucan, North Inner City, Pearse St, Phibsboro, Rialto, Ringsend, Stoneybatter, Tallaght, Walkinstown, York St, Swords), Galway City, Kerry Tralee, Kildare (Athy, Celbridge, Leixlip, Maynooth, Naas, Newbridge), Kilkenny, Laois (Portarlington, Laois County Hall) Letrim Carrick-on-Shannon, Limerick City x4, Longford, Louth (Drogheda, Dundalk), Meath (Navan, Kells, Ashbourne, Duleek), Mayo (Ballina, Castlebar), Monaghan Town, Offaly (Birr, Edenderry, Tullamore) Roscommon (Boyle, Roscommon Town), Sligo Town, Tipperary (Carrick-on-suir, Cashel, Nenagh, Roscrea, Tipperary Town), Waterford (Portlaw, Waterford City), Westmeath (Athlone, Mullingar), Wexford (Enniscorthy, Gorey, New Ross, Wexford Town), Wicklow (Blessington, Bray, Greystones, Wicklow Town, Arklow)


Here's a roundup of some of the numbers for local protests around the country:

Over 10,000 in 3 protests in Donegal -8,000 in Letterkenny, 4,000 in Ballyshannon
1,000 Lifford
4,000 Sligo
1,000 Carrick on Shannon in Leitrim.
3,000 Galway
2,500 Clare
3,000 Cavan
3,000 Navan
5,000 Waterford City
2,500 Wicklow
2,00 Greystones
2,000 in Ashbourne
2,000 in Newbridge
500 Maynooth
1,200 Longford
3,000 Mullingar
Over 40,000 throughout Dublin with over 10,000 assembling in O'Connell St.
4,000 Ballyfermot
4,000 Walkinstown
3,000 Clondalkin/Lucan
2,000 Tallaght
3,000 Dundrum
5,000 Swords
Over 400 marched to the to local FG offices in Bandon
10,000 in Cork
2,000 Fermoy
Over 400 marched to the to local FG offices in Bandon
1,000 Clonakilty
500 Mallow
500 Youghal
2,000 Fermoy
5,000 in various Limerick Suburbs for the 2nd Sat in a row.
9,000 Drogheda
2,000 Kilkenny
1,500 Gorey
2,000 Wexford Town
2,000 Tullamore
1,000 Tralee

Alan Hall - Mon Sep 08, 2014 14:06
Council for Energy Regulation (CFR) recommends new smart grid & renewable energy for Ireland
Corruption and incompetence rule in certain corridors of Dublin City Council. Coventa the company which somehow won the tender (despite not being a party to the bidding) and Dublin City Council have pushed the cost up to nearly ?100 million for the land. Council Manager Owen Keegan said not one cent of the ?96 million that has already been spent will be clawed back if the plan doesn't go ahead. Despite also as extra ?36 million in extra costs many Councillors state that this whole thing has nothing to do with mad ideas from Bertie Ahern. Even if it does not go ahead it will still cost ?600 million, and obviously this is the best interests of every else abroad who likes to sabotage Irish planning and make a few million doing so. Renewable energy is the future but not for the old school chums of yesteryear.
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Proposed Poolbeg incinerator.

Corruption and incompetence rule in certain corridors of Dublin City Council. Coventa the company which somehow won the tender (despite not being a party to the bidding) and Dublin City Council have pushed the cost up to nearly ?100 million for the land. Council Manager Owen Keegan said not one cent of the ?96 million that has already been spent will be clawed back if the plan doesn't go ahead. Despite also as extra ?36 million in extra costs many Councillors state that this whole thing has nothing to do with mad ideas from Bertie Ahern. Even if it does not go ahead it will still cost ?600 million, and obviously this is the best interests of every else abroad who likes to sabotage Irish planning and make a few million doing so. Renewable energy is the future but not for the old school chums of yesteryear.

Related Links: update 02/10/2014: Stop The Poolbeg Incinerator - Protest March To Dail - Weds 22nd Oct | Poolbeg Incineration the Fallacy of Need | Local Residents Will Continue Campaign Against Poolbeg Incinerator Despite EPA Ruling (2008) | Anti-Dublin Incinerator campaign appeal to attend Oral Hearing | City Council appear sure of incinerator despite challenge by campaigners | Government in Cahoots with incinerator industry | Over three thousand objections to proposed Poolbeg incinerator in Dublin | http://www.CovantaWatch.org/ -Tracks pollution and regulatory violations etc by Covanta
Update: Briefing note to council by Owen Keegan to Council pushing the incinerator


Dublin City Council cleared or rather unable to prove and restored, its doomed project in purpose and design has re-appeared like a cloud of toxic waste. The particles in the matter are hoping to land and settle with ?600 million of taxpayer?s money.

Despite being cleared of breaching EU rules on state aid
http://www.rte.ie/news/player/2014/0507/20574509-poolbe...-aid/

Dublin City Council had earlier voted against the project
http://www.herald.ie/opinion/incinerator-plans-up-in-sm....html

The EU is still however investigating the matter from afar, as aside from the farcical costs already incurred, there would be increased carbon costs to the whole country. There would also be increased pollution and cancer problems and many Doctors have voiced there concerns in this area in relation to Poolbeg (read whole article) http://dublinwastetotoxins.wordpress.com/category/poolb...ge/8/

As the lunacy continues the Commission for Energy Regulation publishes its view in response to the Governments white paper on Energy policy .

CER response (in link below)
http://www.cer.ie/docs/000988/CER14556%20CER%20Response...L.pdf

Government white paper outline
http://www.dcenr.gov.ie/Press+Releases/2014/Minister+Ra...y.htm

CER states (page 6 of 14)

"To maintain competitiveness in this area, it is important that Ireland considers the dynamic and static costs of integrating renewable generators into the electricity system, including the cost of new transmission infrastructure and system services needed to
Deliver the renewable resources. We favour an approach that looks at a diversity of renewable sources, including say solar energy, with a view to minimising the total cost of implementation to the consumer. The objective, in our view, should be to achieve our
renewable energy targets at least total cost to the consumer. We think that new innovative approaches and new technology may help to minimise cost "

This is part of the first steps in also enabling domestic suppliers (homes and business) to generate electricity back into the grid and receive payment for that generation. This would involve major changes in planning and the system resulting in thousands of new jobs.

Co-generation, auto-production, micro-generation with national Combined District heating plants (combined heat and power) is by far the best option and Poolbeg should be converted to this system as soon as possible. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cogeneration as these systems provide energy security, and value for money.

War around the world will also mean Ireland's energy security must turn to a renewable energy policy to reduce expensive imported oil and gas

Box 1: Special Deal with Covanta - 'Put or Pay' clause replaced with 'Authority Contigent Obligation'.

Source: Briefing note to council by Owen Keegan to Council pushing the incinerator The extracts below are from the report they have intentionally tried to make it difficult to figure out what the conditions of the ACO exactly are, but it looks like the limit is 320,000. So under the ACO, if not reached the council pays 58% due over it.

The facility is licensed and designed to process up to 600,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) of nonhazardous municipal and industrial waste. However, the contracted capacity for the facility is 550,000 (tpa).... and to replace the ?put or pay? clause with an ?Authority Contingent Obligation? (ACO) clause under which the [4] Dublin Local Authorities (DLAs) will provide partial revenue support for the facility during the PPP period.

The contract is for 45 years! and is broken into 3 phases: The duration of the Project Agreement is 45 years (excluding the 3 year construction period). The contract is split into three distinct phases as follows:

  • Phase 1: is a 3 year construction phase,
  • Phase 2: covers the first 15 years of operation (i.e. the PPP period) and
  • Phase 3: covers the remaining 30 years of operation (i.e. the merchant period).
.....In Phase 2, the DLAs are bound by an ACO mechanism to underpin the waste market revenue of the facility. Under the ACO the DLAs will provide partial (i.e. 58%) revenue support in respect of any revenue shortfall below a threshold waste revenue. The ACO only becomes effective if the operator fails to achieve the threshold waste revenue in any year during the PPP period. There is a cap on the maximum DLA exposure under the ACO

Included in the report is a breakdown of the costs so far.

Cost Element Amount €m
Client Representative Contract €30.579
Consultancy (include. reports on site selection, EIS, Planning) €1.351
Site Acquisition €52.278
Legal fees (not associated with site acquisition) €1.857
Public Relations etc. (includes local office and staffing) €4.338
Statutory fees €0.186
Site Management, security and monitoring Costs €4.217
Other (Inc DCC Project Engineer & other Staff costs) €2.630
Total €97.436
Justin Morahan - Sat Jun 28, 2014 20:16
Metaphorical fires of justice and truth set court room ablaze
SUMMARY: I arrived in Ennis without pen or notebook to support the action of Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell who protested on the runway of Shannon against the US military use of the airport. The following is a colour story of happenings on the day relying on memory only. I hope that someone else may provide a fuller report and my apologies for any errors in this report which are entirely my responsibility.
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Margaretta, Niall and Clare Daly

SUMMARY: I arrived in Ennis without pen or notebook to support the action of Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell who protested on the runway of Shannon against the US military use of the airport. The following is a colour story of happenings on the day relying on memory only. I hope that someone else may provide a fuller report and my apologies for any errors in this report which are entirely my responsibility.

Related Links: Magaretta D'Arcy jailed | Statement from Margaretta D'Arcy on her Release from Mountjoy Prison | FREE Margaretta D'Arcy, US Out Of Shannon / National Demonstration |
From the Archives: DDoS Attack: Website Monitoring Military and CIA Planes through Shannon Shannon, Torture, Troops, and Timebombs | Extraordinary Rendition Through Shannon: Protesters Point Finger At A Government In Denial | Airport Police move swiftly to suppress evidence. Is there a "torture jet" behind that warplane? | Letter from Prison: Shannon airport, civil disobedience and the anti-war movement in Ireland | The Real Nature of the Security around Shannon | Shannon WARport Blockade PICTURES | Three Thousand Protest War in Dublin - Two Protest at Shannon Warport Shannon Blockade Reports | Not Guilty. The Pitstop Ploughshares All Acquitted on All Charges | Another 5 go airside in Ploughshares action at Shannon Airport | Mary Kelly Trial | MASS ANTI-WAR TRESPASS AT SHANNON WARPORT A chronology of arrests etc at Shannon warport


Margaretta D'Arcy set the court on fire in Ennis yesterday in the defence of her action of sitting on the runway at Shannon airport with Niall Farrell to protest against US war planes using the Irish airport as a warport for transporting US troops and weapons to war in Afghanistan, Syria or elsewhere. Her witnesses Clare Daly, Tom Clonan, Mairead Maguire, Ed Horgan and John Lannon lit similar fires in her defence. The courtroom was alight with passion and truth. It was an historic day on which Margaretta and her witnesses filled an Irish courtroom with palpable joy. The day belonged to Margaretta and Niall. Their action in non-violently opposing Irish participation in war was vindicated. The court, the State, the prosecuting Gardaí were the big losers. The legal jargon of the court was drowned in the passionate voices of Margaretta and her witnesses.

There was applause in court. Not afterwards but during the proceedings. The procedure allowed Margaretta who was defending herself to call her witnesses in the latter part of the trial. One after another they took their seats in the witness box, identified themselves and were questioned by her. The list was impressive. Clare Daly, T.D. who had tried on so many occasions without success to get the Irish parliament to inspect flights at Shannon and stop US military from passing through the civilian airport on their way to war. Dr Tom Clonan, retired Captain of the Irish Army, now security correspondent for the Irish Times who visited Guantanamo and gleaned there the usefulness of Shannon for the US military projection of power. Mairead Maguire, Nobel Peace Laureate co-founder of the Peace People in Northern Ireland who had visited countless war zones on peace missions including Iran, Syria and Iraq, and who knows the situation on the ground there. Dr John Lannon, author, lecturer in Knowledge Management at the University of Limerick, Systems developer, Project manager and Software designer, chief organiser of the Shannon monthly protest. Dr Edward Horgan, retired Army Commandant, researcher and part-time lecturer in the University of the University of Limerick, with experience on behalf of EU, UN, OSCE and Carter Group of election monitoring in Bosnia, Croatia, Nigeria, Indonesia, East Timor, Zimbabwe, Armenia, Ghana, Ukraine, Tunisia and Congo DRC., co-ordinator of Shannonwatch.

All five of these these very different people declared their firm belief to the court that what Margaretta D'Arcy and Niall Farrell had done at Shannon was right and proper. Tom Clonan said it was spot on. He had learned that payments for Shannon airport were included in the US Defence budget. He mentioned how a leading member of Hizbollah had told him how disappointed he was that an airport in Co Clare was being used by US military. His knowledge of the location of Shannon made Dr Clonan fear that the airport could easily be a soft target for a terrorist attack. Clare Daly, John Lannon and Ed Horgan believed the protest of Niall and Margaretta was in line with best international law. Mairead Corrigan agreed but added that it it was in line also with the highest law of all, the law of conscience. The judge did not like her perceived inference that he should be lectured on how his conscience might direct him and he told her so.

Looking around the courtroom, it was energizing to see so many people of conscience there, themselves victims of legal and Garda injustice, - including Maura Harrington with husband Naoise Ó Mongáin, Pat the Chief O'Donnell and his son, other supporters from Shell to Sea and Rossport, people who have endured long hours and days in courtrooms such as this one with scant heed for their health and safety, let alone their human or judicial rights. Tim Hourigan, recently found not guilty for Shannon surveillance activities, was looking on. Support groups Shannonwatch, PANA and CND were there in force. (Carol Fox of CND was Margaretta's McKenzie friend). Long term human rights and peace activist, Colm Roddy, travelled from Dublin. Ann Patterson had driven from Belfast. Tommy Donnellan was there with his camera, as he is always there, wherever right challenges might, wherever the weak confront the strong.

The prosecution wasted a lot of time getting Gardaí to "prove" the fact that everyone knew, namely that Margaretta and Niall were on the runway on the day in question. In the process, something emerged that very few people knew, namely the arresting Garda had handcuffed both Margaretta ad Niall although they were fully cooperative with Gardaí, and Margaretta told the Garda that she had denied her request for water.

It should be recorded that Judge Durcan imposed sentences of two weeks imprisonment on Niall and Margaretta, suspended, with conditions attached including the signing of a bond. He admonished the Garda for having used handcuffs on both defendants but did not let this influence his judgement.

No-one was surprised. The law of the land, as perceived by the judiciary and the Irish State, had superseded both international law and the law of conscience in an Irish courthouse - as it always does in such cases as these.

Two cultures - the cultures of Right and Might - clashed in an Ennis courtroom on an historic day. Might was given the verdict and Right was the winner.

dublin rambler - Sat Jun 07, 2014 01:59
In 2012 public opposition forced the ditching of a plan for a "retirement village" on the side of the Dublin mountains, isolated from services and public transport and cut off by the M50, in an area normally zoned for agriculture and public amenity and widely used by the public. A previous plan for a private school on the site had been rejected for similar reasons in 2005. After the local elections the plan is back in a lightly tweaked form, with the developer's sister among a number of newly elected councillors supporting the project.

In 2012 public opposition forced the ditching of a plan for a "retirement village" on the side of the Dublin mountains, isolated from services and public transport and cut off by the M50, in an area normally zoned for agriculture and public amenity and widely used by the public. A previous plan for a private school on the site had been rejected for similar reasons in 2005. After the local elections the plan is back in a lightly tweaked form, with the developer's sister among a number of newly elected councillors supporting the project.

Related Links: Selling off the Dublin Mountains | Evening Herald Retirement village plans get shot down -shot down in 2012


In December 2012 residents celebrated when Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown Co. Council rejected the so-called "Ticknock Retirement Village" plan (see report at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/102820). The idea was that it would be a great idea to dispose of south Dublin?s spare elderly population in the middle of nowhere, in the Dublin mountains just south of the M50 at a location far away from services, where the motorway curtails walking and there is no public transport ? and incidentally blocking off a chunk of the Dublin Mountains which is widely used for walking and dogwalking from the general public (see http://www.indymedia.ie/attachments/dec2012/view_of_dub...s.jpg.)

In 2012 there was strong opposition to the proposal, with more than 100 submissions from the public as well as from bodies like An Taisce and An Oige, two-thirds of them opposed. The plan also attracted critical media attention, with local newspapers featuring Ballinteer residents protesting at the site. The County Manager noted that the site was an ?inappropriate and remote location? and that the plan was contrary to the zoning plan (?to protect and improve rural amenity?), and councillors agreed to reject the proposal without a vote.(See the County Manager?s comments below and Evening Herald article at http://www.herald.ie/news/retirement-village-plans-get-....html ).

The County Manager?s reasons for refusing the plan note that a private school had previously been proposed for the site back in 2005 and rejected for very similar reasons ? it is isolated, inaccessible by public transport, and impacts on local amenities. Developers don?t give up though, and a lightly tweaked version of the same plan is now back, this time as the ?Grange Village? plan. During the recent local election campaign, advertisements in the local newspaper Dundrum Gazette (May 22nd) claiming that the planned village was merely 'on hold' because of 'a technicality on the Development Plan' (i.e. that it completely contravenes it), and urging constituents to vote for candidates supporting the proposed retirement village.

The press advertisement refers to a website (www.grangevillage.ie) which expands on the information, and lists (with photos) the councillors who were explicitly opposed to the plan in 2012 (all the Labour councillors, 3 FG and 2 PBP). It has a page for collecting signatures and contact details of people supporting the plan, and also includes documents from the local HSE office and the National Rehabilitation Hospital offering (somewhat vague) support. There has also been an active Facebook campaign. The technical word for this is ?astroturfing? ? producing fake grassroots.

The plan includes the idea of including a stroke rehabilitation clinic, while the developer?s website has a letter in support from CEO Derek Greene and the Physiotherapy Manager, Rosie Kelly of the National Rehab Hospital.

Editors Note: An earlier version of this story had suggested that the letter was signed by two members of staff working in the physiotherapist practice of recently elected independent, Lynsey McGovern in the Sandyford-Glencullen ward and this was in fact incorrect and a wrong ascertain made by the original author. Indymedia would like to apologize for this inaccuracy and have corrected the previous paragraph to that effect.


Editors Note: An earlier version of this story had suggested that three councillors endorsed by Shane Ross and who are Seamus O'Neill (Dundrum) Kevin Daly (Sandyford-Glencullen) and Deirdre Donnelly (Stillorgan) supported this development when in fact this was incorrect and they do NOT support this development and Indymedia would like to apologize for this.

Concerned residents have begun contacting local councillors, reminding those re-elected of the decision they were part of back in 2012, and informing newly-elected councillors of the background and the threat that the revived plan may come back to Council soon. It is clear that some of those originally opposed are keeping a close eye on developments. However, fears have been expressed that the Independents may use the retirement village scheme as a bargaining tool - the price of their support for other initiatives of a FG-FF coalition.

The first meeting of the new DLR Council is tonight, Friday June 6th, and there will be another in July before the summer break.

---

DÚN LAOGHAIRE-RATHDOWN
DRAFT COUNTY DEVELOPMENT PLAN
2010-2016
MANAGER?S REPORT:
SUBMISSIONS ON PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO DRAFT DEVELOPMENT PLAN (extract)
FEBRUARY 2010

The Manager agrees with those submissions objecting to the inclusion of SLO97 within the Draft Plan on the following grounds:

? Contradictory to Zoning Objective ?B? (To protect and improve rural amenity and to provide for the development of agriculture)
? Inappropriate and remote location.

The proposed Retirement Village is considered to be reflected by the Use Class ?Retirement Home?, which is defined in the Draft Development Plan under Section 18.8: Definition of Use Classes as ?Housing accommodation specially designed for elderly people in which dining, recreation, hygiene and health care facilities are shared on a communal basis?.

?Retirement Home? is not a use ?Permitted in Principle? or ?Open for Consideration? under Zoning Objective ?B? (To protect and improve rural amenity and to provide for the development of agriculture) (see Table 18.4 in the Draft Plan). In the current Development Plan (2004-2010) ?Retirement Home? is ?Open for Consideration? under Zoning Objective ?B?. This was, however, removed from the Draft Plan based on analysis of recent decisions by An Bord Pleanala and in response to a very stark paper by the Chairperson of An Bord Pleanala presented at the publication of the 2007 Annual Report: ?With an ageing population there is an increase in the number of nursing homes being provided around the country. Some of these are coming on appeal and it is noted that the locations of some are singularly inappropriate in planning terms and even in terms of future occupiers, operators and employees. A number of large-scale nursing homes have been proposed in isolated Greenfield sites remote from towns or villages, shops or services of any description. Invariably, these have been refused by the Board as it is considered that such facilities are best located within existing settlements where public services are available and where the occupants have some degree of access to shops and other amenities or can walk up the street and encounter members of the local community.?

In addition SLO 97 is patently contradictory to Council Policy RES9: Housing for the Elderly, which states: ?It is Council policy that proposals for accommodation for the elderly should be located in existing residential areas well served by infrastructure and amenities such as footpath networks, local shops, public transport in order not to isolate residents and allow for better care in the community, independence and access. This preference, and presumption towards convenient locations apply to any scheme whether provided by communal set-ups or similar, facilities providing higher levels of care, self-contained units or a mix of these.?

An Bord Pleanala refused permission in 2005 for a private school on the subject site (D04A/0801). Three of the four reasons for refusal very much focus on the inappropriate, isolated nature of this site:

? The isolated location of the site;
? Non-accessibility by public transport;
? Prominent nature of the site and its elevated and open aspect immediately adjoining a high amenity area;
? Impact on the rural character and visual amenity of the area; and
? Traffic hazard

In full, the three reasons for refusal read as follows:

?1. Having regard to its relatively isolated location, which has not been shown to be accessible by walking, cycling or public transport and to the lack of any case made by the applicant to justify the need for the proposed development and to determine its potential catchment, it is considered that the site of the proposed development is unsuitable, in principle, for the development of educational facilities of the scale proposed and would, if permitted, conflict with the principles of sustainable development. The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

3. Having regard to the prominent nature of the site and its elevated and open aspect, immediately adjoining a high amenity area designated in the development plan and having regard to the scale and location of the proposed development, it is considered that the proposed development, which would be visible from a wide area, would seriously injure the rural character and visual amenity of the area and would impact, in a detrimental way, on the view westwards from the Ticknock Road, which it is an objective of the current development plan to protect. The proposed development would, therefore, conflict with the provisions of the development plan and would be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.

4. Having regard to the scale of the proposed development, and its location adjoining the Ticknock Road, which is a rural type road that is inadequate in width and alignment to accommodate the traffic that is likely to be generated from the proposed development and having regard to the substandard level of visibility available from the proposed site access onto the Ticknock Road, and from the junction of the Ticknock Road with the Harold?s Grange Road, it is considered that the proposed development would endanger public safety by reason of traffic hazard, hazard to pedestrians and obstruction of road users, The proposed development would, therefore, be contrary to the proper planning and sustainable development of the area.?

From a sustainable travel perspective Council?s Transportation Department contend that the proposed development is poorly located particularly for the actively retired occupying individual homes, as there is very limited, if any, access to public transport at this location. The NRA in their submission considers that the proposed development could, due to its location and nature, potentially adversely impact the safety, efficiency and capacity of the national road infrastructure in this area.

In the context of the demographics of the County the Manager considers that the concept of a Retirement Village as proposed is to be welcomed in principle. The proposed site is, however, completely inappropriate and unsustainable. The desirability of such a facility within the County should not conflict with the overarching principles of proper planning and sustainable development.

1 of Indymedia - Sat May 10, 2014 13:20
Use your vote to keep the Austerity MEPs out on Friday 23rd May 2014
The Euro and local council elections take place on Fri May 23rd and nationwide there are 11 MEPs to be elected to represent Ireland Euro elections will also be taking place across Europe for a grand total of 751 seats in the European Parliament. Regrettably the European Commission which is composed of 28 non-elected and appointed commissioners and is besieged by thousands of lobbying firms working for the private sector, is probably reckoned to have more power. Yet despite this Europe matters because at least 70% of our legislation comes from there and practically most of the regulation in a diverse range of areas originates from Europe and some of the more background regulation has its origins with corporate lobbyists with the aim of using heavy regulation to put smaller competitors out of businesses by greatly increasing the relative costs for smaller businesses. The main political parties of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael constantly tell us they are pro business and for jobs and the economy. In fact they are for big business, privatisation, outsourcing of jobs, lower wages, less social safety net and their support of big business and corporations constantly results in the suffocating of small business which are the very areas that lead to most employment.
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The Euro and local council elections take place on Fri May 23rd and nationwide there are 11 MEPs to be elected to represent Ireland Euro elections will also be taking place across Europe for a grand total of 751 seats in the European Parliament. Regrettably the European Commission which is composed of 28 non-elected and appointed commissioners and is besieged by thousands of lobbying firms working for the private sector, is probably reckoned to have more power. Yet despite this Europe matters because at least 70% of our legislation comes from there and practically most of the regulation in a diverse range of areas originates from Europe and some of the more background regulation has its origins with corporate lobbyists with the aim of using heavy regulation to put smaller competitors out of businesses by greatly increasing the relative costs for smaller businesses. The main political parties of Fianna Fail and Fine Gael constantly tell us they are pro business and for jobs and the economy. In fact they are for big business, privatisation, outsourcing of jobs, lower wages, less social safety net and their support of big business and corporations constantly results in the suffocating of small business which are the very areas that lead to most employment.

Candidate Website Links: http://nessachilders.ie/ | http://www.bridsmith.net/ | http://www.paulmurphymep.eu/ | http://www.eamonryan.ie/ | http://www.sinnfein.ie/lynnboylan
Related Links: European Election candidates: An overview | Independents? Network: an online hub for independent politicians in ireland | PoliticalReform.ie | Parliament or Democracy | Wikipedia: European Parliament | Lobbying the European Commission: Open or Secret? | Irish Political Maps | ElectionsIreland.org | Irish Election Leaflets: Euro Election 2014 Leaflets


Since Croatia joined the EU and became a full member in 2013 they have had to redistribute the number of MEPs so that they could allocate some to Croatia. In the process Ireland looses one seat and the boundaries had to be redrawn [1]. As a result Dublin has 3 seats, the Midlands-North-West has 4 and the 'South' has 4. In the Dublin consituency, there are 8 candidates and 3 of these are already current MEPs.

Here we have a brief look at them to see what they are about. Naturally we are really only interested here in candidates on the Left because those on the neo-liberal right wing have the entire mainstream media and corporate funds to promote them so there is no need to do that here. There is one point worth noting about the right wing and in some regards this even includes Labour and that is they will consistently say anything to get elected and make promises and none of which they keep. In the case of FF people should not forget that they brought this country to its knees and fresh young faces are not going to change the diktats of their capitalist backers. They will come to your door and say they are for small business, but ultimately they are not. They are the very same people who doing the bidding of big business and too big to fail banks, both of which destroy small businesses and create regulations designed to put small firms out of business across a huge range of areas. The FG Party is little different in terms of carrying out the capitalist agenda and as we know this means cutting back the social safety net and protections, bailing out the rich and pushing the neo liberal agenda of selling off what they can and privatising what they can.

Labour are unique because going back to at least the 1970s or more, they talk Left wing policies but they have betrayed their constituents everytime they have ever got into power and worked eagerly with the right to pursue and implement policies that the right wing would find hard to do on their own. But this is not unique to Ireland as the exact same thing happened next door in the UK and other countries too. Nevertheless there are certainly members in the party who do sign up because of the apparent left politics.

While some of these points may seem to relate to national policies, people should bear them in mind for the Euro elections because these politicians will act in the same way no matter what Parliament they sit in and where we have a chance to have any influence and I would agree it is minimal, we should nevertheless take it when we can.

Finally people will be aware of the immense coverage that the Water Tax has got in the mainstream media in the last few weeks and all this talk of flat fees and waivers. Do not be fooled. The so-called deal to get rid of the flat fee and introduce waivers to the less well off will not last. The same thing was promised with the Bin Tax campaign where 'You would pay for what you throwaway'. Well flat fees are widespread and quite high for waste collection and the waiver system has been completely abolished. The exact same will happen with the Water Tax. Don't be bought out by this false promises.

On the voting, if people carefully choose their preferences, it might even be possible to get two Left MEPs elected in Dublin and they can do this by putting other left candidates (details on them below) in the order of their preference.

The candidates then are as follows:
SP: Paul Murphy, MEP
PBP: Cllr Brid Smith
SF: Lynn Boylan
Ind: Nessa Childers, MEP
GP: Eamon Ryan


FG: Brian Hayes, TD
FF: Cllr Mary Fitzpatrick
Lab: Emer Costello, MEP
Fis Nua: Damon Matthew Wise
Direct Democracy Ireland: Raymond Patrick Whitehead
Direct Democracy Ireland: Tom Darcy

Paul Murphy of the Socialist Party is a sitting MEP. He tookover the seat in March 2011 when Joe Higgins was re-elected again as a TD to the Dail. He is a young, intelligent and a solictor by profession. He only takes the average industrial wage from his salary and gives the rest to the Socialist Party to fund his work to popularise a socialist alternative to austerity and capitalism. Like many of the Left candidates compared to the staid people on the right who serve big business and the financial oligarchy, he has principles and believes in his cause which is to stand up for the interests of ordinary people and he does that. He points out that Labour prior to the general election had said one of the key aims if they got into government was to stop a Fine Gael Water Tax.

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Murphy has been at the forefront of the campaign against the Household Tax and Property Tax and more recently the Water Tax. He also setup the ScamBrigde.ie website to hightlight the scam that the JobBridge scheme is which is welfare for companies. He has campaigned against the Youth Guarantee which he says is not properly funded and won't provide the training and jobs for youth that it claims and instead will drive them into the free labour scheme and the likes of JobBridge or even the new Gateway scheme which works out at %euro;1.25 per hour. He points out that these schemes really show the hollow nature of the 'recovery' in Ireland and they constitute a turning point in the strident attempts of the capitalist establishment and the state to cut wages and develop Ireland as a low wage location and economy. In contrast, Paul Murphy MEP is demanding an end to the reliance on the private sector and for major public investment, funded by not paying the debt and increased taxation on the super rich and big business, to provide the jobs we require with decent pay and conditions.

His other areas of interest are his support of the Palestinian people and in 2011 he was on the Gaza ship as part of the "Freedom Flotilla II?" in attempting to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza strip and more latterly in calling out the human abuse rights in Saudi Arabia and in Qatar where over hundreds of workers have died in building the stadiums for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and where workers are treated virtually as slaves.

Murphy was a leading campaigner in Europe against the so-called ACTA agreement that would have undermined people?s right to privacy and freedom on the internet. At the moment, he is struggling against the proposed EU-US free trade agreement, which threatens to bring more Genetically Modificed Organisms into the EU, to lower health standards in food production and to be part of a race to the bottom in workers? conditions and rights on both sides of the Atlantic

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Brid Smith is going up as a People Before Profit candidate and also a member of the Socialist Workers Party. She is already a councillor in Dublin City and her profile has been rising in the past few years even though she has been active in many campaigns over the past few decades. She strongly opposes the Property Tax and Water Tax and says the government should be spending money on fixing leaks and not on installing meters. She is opposed to the privatisation agenda pushed by both our government and the EU bureaucracy and says we should tax the rich who during this recession have seen their overall wealth increase while for everyone else it has gone down.

Some of her other aims are to cancel the natioanl debt becasue the European Central Bank and their Irish allies made us responsible for the private gambling debts of bankers and by voting for her, it would send a signal that the Irish people want to unilaterally cancel EU imposed debt.

Another very important area is her call for real democracy and to end the rule of the corporate lobbyists. There are 15,000 lobbyists in Brussels who spend €1 billion a year promoting their corporate interests. She says, if elected Bríd Smith 'will shine a light on their activities and seek to drive them out'. While this would be a huge step forward, it is unlikely she could drive them out without a huge Europe wide base of support behind her, but even shining the light on how the EU is captive to corporate interests and control would be a very good step forward.

Nessa Childers is a MEP and resigned from the Labour party last year. Now that she is independent it remains to be seen which way she will go, although her resignation statement indicates she is left of the Labour party. She appears to have her heart in the right place because back in 2011 when Labour pushed the Austerity Treaty, Childers who was still in Labour at that point did not support the Austerity Treaty when the European Parliament voted on it in September 2011.
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When she finally broke with the Labour party in July 2013, she put out this statement explaining her reasons:


Labour in government supports a policy of never-ending, pointless austerity that has failed on the issues of unemployment and emigration and is inflicting misery on hundreds of thousands of our people. It is a policy of cutting services like health, education and social protection, while bankers, big corporates and the wealthy are allowed dodge their share of the burden. This is a profoundly immoral and unfair way to run our country.

I have increasingly found myself discouraged and prevented from advocating a progressive position within the party. For example, a particularly low point for me was when I the party leadership abandoned me for taking a principled stance of opposition to the appointment to the EU Court of Auditors of Mr Kevin Cardiff, who was Secretary General of the Department of Finance when the bank bailout was decided on.

Last April, I made an initial stand against the government?s direction by resigning from the Parliamentary Labour Party. Since then, Labour?s failure in government has gone from bad to worse and the party has committed to even more austerity in the next Budget and beyond. I am following through on my earlier decision and from now on I intend to work independently for the principles and policies I believe in.

src: http://www.irishelection.com/2013/07/nessa-childers-res...dent/


Some of the policies Nessa Childers calls for are:

  • A fair and balanced wealth tax and a new top rate of tax
  • An increase in Universal Social Charge for high income earners
  • A Financial Transaction Tax on banks not paying their fair share. (often referred to as a Tobin Tax)
  • An absolute floor of 10% of effective corporation tax. This is lower than the 12% but she is referring to the special deals which were uncovered where it was discovered for example that Apple only paid 2% tax.


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Eamon Ryan of the Green Party would be considered to be right of the party is going to give it a go at the Euro MEP elections. In his favour is his experience in government as a minister and many years in politics. in terms of achievements whilst in government he strongly encouraged renewable energy, introduced the bike-to-work scheme which seems to have started a revival of biking in Ireland in general and possibly the new 42km 'Greenway' bicycle path in Mayo has come out of that. He also brought in grants to promote insulation in homes and his website puts the figure at 100,000 so far. It is less clear how he faired on issues like organic farming, and on GM crops unfortunately failed to get Ireland declared GM free, although given the Greens were in power with Fianna Fail the banking and corporate party, it is not surprising.

The Greens in Ireland followed the same trajectory as in Germany where they started off as decentralised and very much Left wing organisations. Over the years they then moved to the centre and once in power moved further to the right and sold out on their principles and suffered a collapse in support.

In Germany there has been a weak reviable and we can expect the same here too. They do get support because they do try to address some serious environmental issues. Where they fall down is that they are too afraid to openly critise and challenge capitalism in any way in order to remain respectable with the mainstream media. Their problem then is that they have moved away for any sort of activism and are now firmly rooted in middle class sensibilities and this consitutency has too much to loose if it involves upsetting the status quo even though it should be quite clear that the extent and depth of the many environmental issues facing humanity today require a fundamental reorganisation of politics and society itself. In short, if environmental issues are important to you, you would be better of voting for one of the Left candidates and possibly Lynn Boylan of Sinn Fein, since she is an ecologist by training.

Lynn Boylan an ecologist, is a member of the Sinn Féin Ard Comhairle and has been an active Sinn Féin member of the party for eight years. She contested the 2007 general election and the 2009 local election in South Kerry. In 2009 she returned to Dublin where she now works in Ballymun as a community programme coordinator with an environmental NGO. This work allows her to combine her skills as an ecologist with her commitment to community activism. Whilst in Kerry she spent 10 years working in Killarney National Park (KNP) and KNP Education Centre. She is well aquainted with environmental law.

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In 2010 Lynn was appointed chairperson of the Safefood Advisory Board after serving four years on the board. Safefood, one of the Good Friday Agreement All Ireland bodies, promotes greater cooperation in the areas of nutrition and food safety and she now has six years of experience in the area of food regulation.

Unlike FF and FG politicians who say they have Ireland agriculture and image at heart and then sell out to the interests of corporate GM food companies and the interests of industrial agriculture, Lynn Boylan understands the environment and cares for it and so she is likely to promote and protect what are the true assets of Ireland which are its green image in terms of the environment and the quality of our food. Ireland should be going all out to turn the agriculture system around to be fully organic and keeping the country GM free because this would build on our existing image and we could really build on the high quality, high value of this area. Instead successive governments have done the opposite and there is almost zero government support in Ireland for organic agriculture.

Lynn has also real interest in EU Policy and politics, particularly in the areas of employment, public transport, environment and food regulation. On the subject matter of food regulation this is becoming increasing important as an epidemic of obesity sweeps the country, largely fueled by large food companies promoting sugar laden and saturated fat laden food that is unhealthy costing the country billions and leading to depression and lowered quality of life but at the same time leading to higher revenues for these firms. Wholesome food and food education starting early in life is needed but needs to be backed up with regulation to control these large coporate entities.

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