‘Food for Thought’ is taking place in Castlebar and Westport on May 18th as part of the Famine Walk weekend

Two important events are taking place in Co Mayo in May which aim to remember the Irish Famine and to explore its links with some of today’s sustainability challenges in Ireland and globally. (more…)

Sunny and Peter: From Darkness Into Light

Sonia, ‘Sunny’ Jacobs and Peter Pringle are both death row survivors. Sunny was exonerated in 1993 after 17 years in Prison while Peter had his conviction quashed in 1995, having spent 14 years in prison. They met in Galway while campaigning against the death penalty and are now married and living in Connemara, where they’ve established The Sunny Centre to help other death row survivors and those who’ve been wrongfully convicted. They spoke at Afri’s Féile Bríde ‘Light out of Darkness’ in Kildare on February 3rd, 2018.

Carlow Famine Walk

Students and Lecturers from IT Carlow, páistí agus múinteoirí from Gaelscoil Eoghain as well as members of Carlow County Council and of the general public attended the 5th Carlow Famine Walk in February 2018. A moving ceremony, featuring music, reflections and a moment of silence took place in the Famine Graveyard where about 3000 people are buried . 

Reflections from Féile Bríde 2018

 

Afri’s 2018 Féile Bríde took place on Saturday 3rd February in Solas Bhríde in Kildare town.  It was a rich and full day with contributions from Peadar Kirby about caring for our global village, Hanny Van Geel (Via Campesina), Rose Hogan (Trócaire) on ‘food for life’, John Maguire on ‘Peace Meal Change’ and wrongfully imprisoned Sunny Jacobs and Peter Pringle, as well as music and poetry.  You can get a flavour of the day in a short film made by RoJ.

Here is a report from Sr Patricia Mulhall, who attended the conference:

This is the twenty-sixth year of another well-attended Afri conference hosted at Solas Bhríde Centre, Kildare.  As visiting speaker, Peadar Kirby named it, the Ard fheis of Afri. Some 200 people attended in the beautiful setting of the Centre & Hermitages, a centre of hospitality, brightness radiating a warm welcome. Brigidines – Mary, Phil and Rita – organise and manage the Centre with Cairde Bhríde, faithful friends and staff.

 ‘Light out of Darkness’ was a fitting theme for a day punctuated by music and message of hope. Speakers with academic presentations and personal stories enlightened and entertained the participants. The day began with a presentation from Peadar Kirby, entitled ‘Caring for our Global village.’ Peadar is Professor Emeritus of International Politics and Public Policy in the University of Limerick, Ireland. He is associated with the eco-village of Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary, a 67-acre site with 50 acres of land for allotments, farming and woodland as well as 50 low- energy homes. (more…)

Dáil calls time on fossil fuel exploration in historic vote

Press cutting from Irish Times

Bill to end offshore drilling licences passes first legislative hurdle

The Stop Climate Chaos Coalition has described the Dáil vote in favour of the Climate Emergency Measures Bill on the 8th February 2018 as “historic”. The Bill, proposed by People Before Profit TD Brid Smith, would end the issuing of licences to explore for oil and gas in Irish waters. It passed the second stage debate and was referred to the Climate Action Committee by 78 votes to 48, with cross-party support emerging to overcome Government opposition to the Bill. (more…)

Launch of Mary Manning’s Book, ‘Striking Back’

The Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strike has become iconic in the pantheon of great acts of resistance around the world – but it wasn’t always so.

The young strikers had to endure hardship, rejection, demonization and more in the course of this extraordinary act of solidarity.

Mary Manning’s book, ‘Striking Back’ , written with Sinèad O’Brien not only provides a first-hand account of the strike from start to finish but also interweaves her own story – exemplifying her great courage and integrity – at a personal and political level.

Afri are proud to have supported the Dunnes Stores Strikers and to promote this excellent book by Mary Manning.

CETA, Fancy Socks and Corporate Power

Afri’s focus on An Gorta Mór is about looking at causes and consequences and, especially at its relevance for today.  The ‘Great Hunger’ had many causes, including colonialism, blind allegiance to laissez faire economics and loss of biodiversity leading to over-dependence on one variety of potato.  These issues remain totally relevant today as, for example, ten large profit-driven corporations control the vast majority of the food we eat.  It is in this context that Afri has been campaigning to highlight serious concerns around the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA).  Not only is this deal about further promotion of intensive agriculture, but most worryingly of all, it includes the toxic ‘Investor Court System’.  This short film outlines some of the issues involved.

 

The Standing Rock Water Protectors

Below is a short film, made by RoJ, about the Standing Rock Water Protectors, following a visit by Chas Jewett to Dublin.  To read more about Chas’ visit go here.

Treaty Banning Nuclear Weapons Adopted

Press Release from the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN)

After a decade-long effort by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), and 72 years after their invention, on the 7th July  2017 states at the United Nations formally adopted a treaty which categorically prohibits nuclear weapons.

Until now, nuclear weapons were the only weapons of mass destruction without a prohibition treaty, despite the widespread and catastrophic humanitarian consequences of their intentional or accidental detonation. Biological weapons were banned in 1972 and chemical weapons in 1992.

On adoption of the treaty, ICAN Executive Director Beatrice Fihn said:

“We hope that today marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age. It is beyond question that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and pose a clear danger to global security.

No one believes that indiscriminately killing millions of civilians is acceptable – no matter the circumstance – yet that is what nuclear weapons are designed to do.

Today the international community rejected nuclear weapons and made it clear they are unacceptable.

It is time for leaders around the world to match their values and words with action by signing and ratifying this treaty as a first step towards eliminating nuclear weapons.” (more…)

Protest during visit of Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau

From left to right: Lisa Patten, Andy Storey, Joe Murray and Gráinne O’Neill at the Stop CETA protest on the 4th July 2017. Photo: Derek Speirs

A protest took place today outside Government Buildings to coincide with the visit of Canadian Premier Trudeau. The protest was in opposition to the proposed EU Canadian Comprehensive and Economic Trade Agreement and to call for the rejection of the deal by the Irish Government.

The protest was organised by Comhlamh and supported by Afri and participants expressed concerns as to how CETA will compromise laws which protect health,  the environment, and the rule of law in the EU.

Participants also urged the Government to hold off on any vote to ratify the deal until the European Court of Justice examines the legality of CETA under EU law. Protestors are particularly alarmed by the notorious Investment Arbitration System, included in the deal, which allows foreign big business to sue Governments when their actions impact on their profitability.

The Water Protectors

Chas Jewett, Cheyenne River Sioux and Standing Rock Water Protector. Photo by Derek Speirs

Chas Jewett, from the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, and Standing Rock Water protector, spoke in the Teacher’s Club on Monday evening at an event supported by Afri, Comhlamh, Feasta and Friends of the Earth.  This public meeting was part of a tour around Ireland visiting Cork, Galway, Cloughjordan, Leitrim and Dublin.  Chas is a tribal organiser who lives in Rapid City, South Dakota, and aims to encourage people to engage and mobilise.

Since 2016 the Standing Rock Reservation has been the scene of a protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline which aims to bring oil from Canada into the US through Native American lands over fears of contamination of drinking water supplies.  The existing Keystone 1 pipeline has leaked 26 times.  

Chas spoke about the legacy issues of the 19th century treaties between the U.S. government and the First Nations people.  In 1873 General Custer found gold in the Black Hills which led to people being moved – without compensation – and separated into various different reservations, one of which is the Standing rock reservation.   (more…)

The Water Protectors

Venue: The Teacher’s Club, Parnell Square

Date:  Monday, June 26th

Time: 8pm

Standing Rock was a beacon of hope for the world where indigenous people from all over the United States came together to resist corporate power and protect the water that is their life.  Chas Jewett is one of those protectors.  This public meeting will draw out the links between the Standing Rock action and threats to water in Ireland and worldwide and the need to continue protecting our water and our planet.

Speakers:

Chas Jewett, Standing Rock Water Protector & Cheyenne River Sioux

Oisín Coghlan, Director, Friends of the Earth, Ireland

Speaker (tbc) from anti-fracking group, Love Leitrim

 

Organised by Afri, Comhlamh, Feasta and Friends of the Earth Ireland

Significant Move Towards Ban on Fracking Welcomed by Afri

Outside Leinster House following the passing of the private members bill (presented by Tony McLoughlin TD for Sligo-Leitrim)
banning fracking from Ireland. Here members of ‘Love Leitrim’ and supporters who campaigned to have fracking banned. Photo by Derek Speirs.

31st May 2017

Afri has welcomed the completion of the Bill to ban fracking which today passed all stages in the Dáil and will now go to the Seanad. “This is a victory for people power and for community resistance”, according to Joe Murray. Afri would especially like to congratulate Love Leitrim who led this persistent, determined and successful campaign.

We also pay tribute to the community in Rossport for the part they played in this success as it was John Monaghan who first alerted the community in Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, to the dangers of fracking and who urged the community to organise and resist.

Film by Dearbhla Glynn on fracking

Remembering; Celebrating; Solidarity

Find out who is going on facebook here.

Freedom beckons for Chelsea Manning

From Left to Right: Joe Murray, Afri Co-ordinator, Susan Manning (mother of Chelsea Manning), and Gerry Conlon at a solidarity event in 2013. Photo: Derek Speirs

Chelsea Manning was never one to take the popular or easy route in life. The decision to release classified information that would rock the world of military secrecy and murder would lead to her vilification and brutalization. But Chelsea did it because she believed in the truth: ‘I want the people to see the truth…because without information you cannot make informed decisions.’

Afri became involved in the ‘Free Chelsea Manning’ campaign when peace activist Ciaron O’Reilly organised for Chelsea’s family, who have strong Irish connections in Kerry and Dublin, to make a visit to Ireland. We organised a programme of events including a public meeting in Trinity College attended by Chelsea’s mother, aunts and uncle and addressed by Chelsea’s aunt Sharon as well as by the former Guildford 4 member, Gerry Conlon.

That was an evening of deep emotion: Gerry Conlon, tragically no longer with us, spoke with his trademark passion, principle and anger at how legal and political systems in Britain had crushed his own life and extinguished the life of his father, Guiseppi Conlon. He praised the courage of Chelsea Manning and lamented the fact that there was no similarly brave whistle-blower in the British system when he and his father and Maguire relations were incarcerated on completely spurious charges.

As a result of that visit to Ireland, Donal O’Kelly was inspired to initiate the Manning Truthfest, consisting of artists, musicians and activists who crossed the Irish sea in the Spring of 2014 and 2015 and again in the Autumn of 2016 to sing songs and play music in solidarity with Chelsea and her Welsh-based family and to protest the inhumanity of the 35 year sentence imposed upon her.  Afri was a central part of this extraordinary seaborne solidarity!

During one of those visits, Chelsea’s uncle Kevin, a life-long Manchester United supporter, said it would have been easier had Chelsea chosen any other name than that of a rival football club to mark her female identity!  Chelsea never dodged difficult decisions…

The commutation of Chelsea’s sentence is perhaps the best thing that Barack Obama will have done in office. But Chelsea, together with tens of thousands of other US soldiers, should never have been in Iraq, where they have succeeded only in laying waste to the country and its people. And Chelsea should never have been in prison in the first place. (more…)

Statement from Chelsea Manning’s Welsh-Irish Family

The Welsh-Irish family of imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning has issued the following statement in response to the announcement that President Obama has commuted Manning’s sentence.

We are all overjoyed that Chelsea will soon be free.

Chelsea exposed wrongdoing and was punished for being a whistleblower. We regret that it has taken so long for President Obama to commute the sentence and are outraged that Chelsea has been forced to endure such abusive treatment in prison. We agree with the UN Special Rapporteur Juan Mendez that some of this abuse amounted to torture.

We sincerely hope that Chelsea will now be able to get on with the rest of her life and that she finds happiness and fulfilment in whatever she chooses to do. There will always be a welcome for her here in Wales.

Home Sweet Home

Afri expresses solidarity with the Apollo House project outside the High Court in Dublin

As an organisation promoting justice and equality at home and abroad, Afri supports the ‘Home Sweet Home’ group who have taken over the empty Apollo house in central Dublin, in order to provide accommodation for homeless people. This is a sensible, generous and effective response to the homelessness crisis, and it has caught the imagination and garnered the support of tens of thousands of people throughout Ireland.

This action not only provides urgently needed accommodation for homeless people but it also shows up the scandal of policies pursued by successive governments, who have created this crisis by not providing sufficient social housing and by instead pandering to ‘developers’ and big business interests.

It also demonstrates the scandalous behaviour of NAMA, which has intensified the effects of the economic crash by selling properties to vulture funds instead of fulfilling the basic needs of people for housing and shelter.

People have grown weary of the hand-wringing about the issue of homelessness, often by those whose policies brought it about, and are invigorated by the sight of people taking practical action to address the crisis.

Chelsea’s birthday

Short film of gathering outside Dáil Eireann on Thursday 15th December 2016, calling
for imprisoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning to be pardoned.

From left to right: Deputy Joan Collins, Senator Alice Mary Higgins and Senator David Norris holding the birthday cake for Chelsea Manning’s 29th birthday celebrations outside Dáil Eireann on the 15th December 2016. Photo by Dave Donnellan

Read more here.

With thanks to all those who sent in their photos and messages of solidarity and to RoJ for filming

Irish Campaigners Join Calls For Obama to Pardon For Chelsea Manning

TDs, Senators and human rights campaigners will gather outside the Dail today at 4pm for a photocall with a birthday cake and candles for imprisoned U.S army whistleblower Chelsea Manning, hosted by Senator David Norris. Manning marks her 29th birthday on Saturday December 17th. It is set to be her 7th birthday and Christmas in prison.

Irish supporters joining global calls for President Obama to pardon Manning include Afri, Amnesty International Ireland, TDs Mick Wallace, Joan Collins, Maureen O’Sullivan, Catherine Murphy, and Clare Daly, Senators David Norris and Alice Mary Higgins, member of the Council of State Ruairi McKiernan, and actor and playwright Donal O’Kelly. (more…)

Anti-War Activism in the Trump Era

Colm Roddy (left) and Dave Donnellan

Colm Roddy (left) and Dave Donnellan

Anti-War Activism in the Trump Era
Tuesday 15th November, 7.30pm
The Teachers’ Club, Dublin 1

Public Meeting in Solidarity with War Resisters.  Now the U.S. has chosen its new Commander-in-Chief…….. we gather to remember its victims and support our resisters!

Speakers:
– Dave Donnellan & Colm Roddy awaiting trial for anti-war resistance at Shannon Airport.
– Harry Browne on “What can we Expect from the New U.S. President?”
– Ciaron O’Reilly on the late Dan Berrigan, imprisoned Chelsea Manning and pursued Julian Assange.

Music:
“The Chelsea Manning Support Band” Joe Black, Robbie Synnot & RoJ Whelan

Entry free – donation to cover costs of staging the event.