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The writing on the wall of Galway City Council spells Veolia?
rights, freedoms and repression |
Tuesday April 21, 2009 18:01 by TD - Free Palestine Campaign
"This Council calls on the City Manager not to sign or renew any contracts with Veolia"
Following the passing in February of a similar motion by Sligo County Council, yesterday evening, by a majority of 12 to 2, Galway City Council passed a joint motion by Billy Cameron and Collette Connolly of the Labour Party, that called on the City Manager, Joe MacGrath, not to renew the city's water management contract with French multinational, Veolia.
Councillor Billy Cameron : That Galway City Council follow the example of Stockholm Community Council (who have decided not to renew the contract with Veolia to operate the City's underground system as a result of Veolia's involvement in a controversial tramway project that would connect Israeli-West Jerusalem with illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian territory) and not renew the Veolia contract for Galway Water Services.
Councillor Collette Connolly :
(1) That Veolia is a leading partner in the consortium contracted to build a light railway system linking Israel to illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
(2) That the Irish Government and the U.N. does not recognise Israel's annexation and occupation of East Jerusalem and have repeatedly stated their views that the Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank contravene international law.
(3) That Veolia's involvement in the project is in contravention of the U.N's stated demand that Israeli settlement activities and occupation should not be supported;
This Council calls on the City Manager not to sign or renew any contracts with Veolia.
Unfortunately, same as when Councillors Billy Cameron and Niall O'Brolchain (Green Party) tried to make Galway City a "Caterpillar Free Zone" following the murder of Rachel Corrie in Gaza by an Israeli Occupation Force soldier, the same City Manager ventured the opinion that the motion would contravene EU procedures for public contracts and services and was thus "unenforceable".
However, flying in the face of this, the UK Public Contract Regulations 2006, based on European Law, Directive 2004/18/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 31 March 2004 on the coordination of procedures for the award of public works, supply and service contracts, states that "a contracting authority may exclude an economic operator from bidding for a contract or may reject any such bid where it is found that the individual or organization has committed an act of grave misconduct in the course of his business or profession" (Related Link) and as Veolia's involvement in the "illegal" (Amnesty International) building of the light railway in East Jerusalem and thus the cementing of the Israeli occupation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank more than fulfills this criterion of "grave misconduct," (how can any Irish Public Contract Regulations differ?) it seems McGrath's reading of EU procedures is erroneous.? To boot, In August 2007 the Palestinian human rights organization Al Haq wrote to the presidents of Veolia and Alstom (Alstom is to provide the cars and lay the track while Veolia is to operate the system for 30 years) to inform them that the construction of the tramway was in violation of international law, also, Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention forbids destruction of property. "These violations in some cases in East Jerusalem amount to war crimes, i.e. “grave breaches” of the Convention, (Articles 146 and 147), as they involve appropriation of Palestinian property not justified by military necessity. These grave breaches are being facilitated by Veolia’s participation in the construction and future of the tramway serving the settlements" (Related Link).
It beggers belief and outrages conscience that the EU, as the City Manager implies, aids and abets war crimes, then again, with its complicity in the siege of Gaza and every man jack member of the EU abstaining from a recent UN resolution condemning Israel's "massive violation" of human rights in its savage attack on the helpless Gazans, Joe MacGrath may have more than a point.?
The tramway under construction in Jerusalem, February 2008. (Anne Paq/ActiveStills)