Supporting Landless people in the Philippines

Maitet Ledesma speaks at the 2015 Famine Walk in Mayo.  Photo: Derek Speirs

Maitet Ledesma speaks at the 2015 Famine Walk in Mayo. Photo: Derek Speirs

One of the people who shaped Afri’s work over many years was Jack Hynes from Galway.  Jack worked with the Columbans in the Philippines for 20 years before leaving the Columbans but continuing his solidarity work as a member of the Afri board and the Filipino-Irish Group.  Jack’s step-daughter, Maitet Ledesma, was also involved in Afri and the Filipino-Irish Group throughout the 80s and 90s.  Maitet now works with a solidarity organization called IBON International and Afri continues to collaborate with Maitet in her work.  Among many projects, Maitet works with landless people in Escalante region in the Philippines.  In 2016 Afri will support this community in their struggle against all the odds, by helping them in acquiring farming equipment and farm animals in order to augment their livelihood.

Background

On September 18, 1985, a crowd composed of sugar workers, farmers, fisher-folk, students, urban poor, professionals and church people staged a protest in the town center of Escalante City, in the Philippines to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law in the Philippines. The crowd was estimated to number 5000. The next day, the protesters set up human barricades in front of the public market and at the entrance of the municipal plaza. (more…)

Time to Act on Climate Change

Floods in Roscommon in December 2015. Photo: Dave Donnellan

Floods in Roscommon in December 2015. Photo: Dave Donnellan

“One of the problems about the debate on climate change is that people keep speaking in the future tense…about what will happen to our children and our grandchildren.  Unfortunately, however, climate change is not a future tense issue, it’s a real and present danger.  Another myth is that climate change only affects countries of the Global South.  While it is true that countries in the southern hemisphere are among the most seriously affected, it is also having a profound effect on all countries, including Ireland.

Anyone who doubts this would only need to have travelled through Ireland over the weekend to see the floods that have laid waste to much of the country.  Severe flooding is now occurring with a regularity and intensity not seen before, while response of our governments has been less that inspiring, to say the least.  Enda Kenny’s response is to twiddle his thumbs and speak out of both sides of his mouth.  Enda’s performance at the Climate Conference in Paris was particularly cynical – delivering one message to the conference and the opposite one for the benefit of the Irish Farmers Association, which itself is mired in controversy over inflated salaries and corruption at the highest level.  Meanwhile the North of Ireland remains the only part of Ireland or Britain with no legislation to tackle climate change.

The message is clear: we cannot wait for our governments to act on such a crucial issue.  We, the people, must lead and they will be forced to follow.”

~ Joe Murray, Afri Co-ordinator

Japanese Government Must Not Sign the Japan-India Nuclear Agreement

Japanese Government Must Not Sign the Japan-India Nuclear Agreement: We Demand Peace Diplomacy Befitting the A-Bombed Country

Yasui Kazumasa, Secretary General, Japan Council against A and H Bombs (Gensuikyo)

December 15, 2015

On December 12, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo issued a Joint Statement with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and announced that they had agreed in principle to conclude a bilateral agreement for cooperation in nuclear energy.

However, India is a nuclear country which in 1998 openly went nuclear by developing and testing nuclear weapons, and continues to refuse to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The government of the A-bombed Japan must not offer nuclear technology to such a country and give a helping hand to its development of nuclear weapons.  The Japan-India nuclear agreement should not be signed.   (more…)

Reflections from ‘Making the Connections: No Fracking’ event

Afri funded and coordinated a group of anti-fracking activists from Spain and the UK  to come to Ireland on a four day visit over the weekend of November 27th 2015. Their visit began with them giving a talk in Dublin, hosted by the Worker’s Solidarity Movement in Jigsaw. The following day they made their way to Co Leitrim and on to  Fermanagh to  meet members of the anti fracking group LAMP (Letterbreen and Mullaghdun Partnership). A visit to the site of the planned exploratory well in Belcoo followed before the main event Making the Connections, Fracking No!Poster no fracking web

Making the Connections, Fracking No! took place in The Glens Centre in Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim on November 28th,  bringing together anti fracking activists from northern Spain, England and Ireland in an evening of theatre, singing, discussion, music and dancing.

Donal O’ Kelly performed his awarding winning one man show ‘Fionnuala’, in which the human rights abuses perpetrated at the hands of Shell during the Corrib Gas Project in Erris, Co Mayo are starkly conjured up. Spanish surtitles accompanied the performance to critical acclaim and oddly timed laughter!

Next up came the Kidz from the Glen who sang an anti-fracking song called Stand Up for Ireland written by Michael Mc Loughlin. (more…)

Arrests of Mick Wallace and Clare Daly

Shannon_SLIDESHOWAfri strongly endorses Shannonwatch’s condemnation of the arrest of Deputies Mick Wallace and Clare Daly as a result of their action to inspect war planes passing through Shannon.

As the world drifts deeper and deeper into war, wreaking havoc on families, communities and our planet the actions of people like Mick Wallace and Clare Daly in attempting to put on the brakes should be applauded and commended – not penalised.  Wars facilitated by Shannon have helped to  destabilise areas in the Middle East and beyond, created the anger contributing to the rise of IS/Daesh  and unleashed the most serious refugee crisis since the Second World War

It is extraordinary that perpetrators of war and destruction can parade through Shannon unhindered while those who are opposed to war are arrested, demonised and imprisoned. The actions of Mick Wallace and Clare Daly should be a wake-up call to the Irish Government to reverse the shredding of the last remnants of our neutrality and end the use of Shannon for war and destruction.

12th December 2015

“I can’t think of a better way to honor my brother”

Christy Moore with Owens Wiwa at Afri famine walk in Mayo in 2006. (Photo by Derek Speirs).

Christy Moore with Owens Wiwa at Afri famine walk in Mayo in 2006. (Photo by Derek Speirs).

Letter from Owens Wiwa, brother of Ken Saro-Wiwa – one of the Ogoni 9.  The 10th November 2015 marks the 20th anniversary of the execution of the Ogoni 9 by the military dictatorship in Nigeria, with the collusion of Shell.

Dear Joe,

I do remember, with pride, the famine walk in 2006. It was emotional and fulfilling. I remember the inspiring speeches, the sacrifices of Christy and Vincent. Thank you for giving me the opportunity during the walk to share experiences with the people of Rossport and the wider community in Erris County Mayo.

Nov 10 2015 marks 20 years of the killing of my brother and 8 Ogoni activists.

A study by the United Nations Environment Programme has shown that, despite the fact that no oil production has taken place in Ogoniland since 1993, oil spills continue to occur with fierce regularity. The production facilities that Shell used to crowd out farmers and fishermen have fallen to rust and ruin, and neglected, antiquated pipelines continue to leak oil as they snake from other parts of Nigeria through Ogoniland. Fishermen and farmers can no longer make their living or feed their families from the water or the field.

This is the bounty that Shell has brought to the people of Ogoniland. It promised prosperity and a bright tomorrow. When it wants to distract people from the price that will eventually be paid, Shell talks of jobs, crows about its lavish philanthropy and promises that no harm will be done, no chaos left in its wake. I heard these promises in Rossport and I fear that Shell’s bounty in Ogoni may yet be repeated elsewhere.

I am hugely relieved for the people of the Arctic, many of whose families .have lived there for thousands of years, that Shell recently announced it was retreating from Arctic drilling for the foreseeable future.

But this is a company that pantomimes concern and compassion for human beings when its only true concern is for where new money can be found. No doubt Shell’s sights are already set on its next oil field conquest, irrespective of who lives there or their history with that land.
When my brother Ken was executed, his last words were “Lord, take my soul…but the struggle continues.”  I hope Ken is watching and seeing that, yes, it does. From Ogoniland to the Arctic, to Erris County Mayo and beyond, people are rising up to say “Shell No!” They are standing strong against a corporation and an entire industry that will mortgage our future for quick profits. I can’t think of a better way to honor my brother.

Owens Wiwa

Dublin Events Marking the 20th Anniversary Of Killing Of Ogoni 9

Vigil outside Shell Headquarters on the 20th anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9. Photo: Derek Speirs

Vigil outside Shell Headquarters on the 20th anniversary of the execution of Ken Saro-Wiwa and the Ogoni 9. Photo: Derek Speirs

On Tuesday November 10th 2015 at 6pm, human rights campaigners and environmentalists gathered at Shell’s Irish headquarters to mark the twentieth anniversary of the execution of poet and playwright Ken Saro-Wiwa and eight others known as the Ogoni 9. The vigil is being organised by Afri and is supported folk singer Christy Moore and Sr. Majella McCarron, an Irish missionary nun from County Fermanagh who was formerly based in Nigeria where she was a friend of Saro-Wiwa.

The Ogoni 9, campaigners against Shell’s activities in the Niger Delta, were executed by hanging in 1995 by the military dictatorship of General Sani Abacha. In 1996 the U.S based Center for Constitutional Rights sued Shell for its complicity in human right abuses against the Ogoni people, including collusion in bringing about the deaths of the Ogoni 9. In June 2009, on the eve of the trial, a settlement of $15.5 million was made to establish a trust on behalf of the Ogoni people. Shell continues to face fierce criticism for the environmental and health legacy they have left in Ogoniland. (Ref: http://www.amnesty.org.uk/blogs/yes-minister-it-human-rights-issue/shell-oil-nigeria-ken-saro-wiwa-niger-delta )

Ken Saro-Wiwa’s brother Owens, speaking about his brother’s death has said that he fears lessons have not been learned.

“Shell talks of jobs and progress, crows about its lavish philanthropy and promises that no harm will be done, no chaos left in its wake. I heard these promises in Rossport and I fear that Shell’s bounty in Ogoni may yet be repeated elsewhere. This is a company that pantomimes concern and compassion for human beings when its only true concern is for where new money can be found. No doubt Shell’s sights are already set on its next oil field conquest, irrespective of who lives there or their history with that land.”

“When my brother Ken was executed, his last words were “Lord, take my soul…but the struggle continues.”  I hope Ken is watching and seeing that, yes, it does. From Ogoniland to the Arctic, to Erris County Mayo and beyond, people are rising up to say “Shell No!” They are standing strong against a corporation and an entire industry that will mortgage our future for quick profits.”

Joe Murray, organiser of the vigil and Director of human rights and peace organisation Afri, agrees that there is a clear parallel between Ogoniland and Mayo.

“Just as Shell colluded with the military dictatorship in Nigeria, the Irish State has colluded with Shell in bribing, bullying and intimidating the community in Kilcommon into accepting a monument to fossil fuels at a time when climate change threatens the very survival of our planet. The Corrib gas project, in which Statoil is also a partner, has been a disaster for human rights, civil liberties and the environment. The natural gas giveaway has already resulted in a very bad deal the Irish taxpayer.”

Willie Corduff, one of the Rossport 5 who spent 94 days in prison at the behest of Shell, says the community in Erris remember the Ogoni 9 on a daily basis.

“Today, as Shell preaches progress, many miles from their homeland in Nigeria the crosses of the 9 Ogoni heroes stand defiantly in front of the main refinery gate at Ballinaboy as a reminder to Shell that their sins will follow them forever.”

A separate vigil by the Shell to Sea group was held from 12 noon at Shell’s headquarters on 52 Lower Leeson St., Dublin 2.

Extent of Shannon and Ireland’s Complicity in War Revealed

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Shannonwatch Press release

The Department of Transport has revealed that in 2014 a total of 272 flights were given permits to take weapons or explosives through Shannon Airport. In response to a freedom of information request by Shannonwatch they confirmed that the majority of the flights were taking US troops between military bases and locations in the Middle East. The information also shows that US troop carriers and aircraft with machine guns, rocket motors and other war material are routinely allowed to fly through Irish airspace. Again the majority of these are flying to or from US military bases around the world.

The permits are requested by airline operators under the Air Navigation (Carriage of Munitions of War, Weapons and Dangerous Goods) Order. Close to twenty requests were refused in 2014 but the Department would not reveal where these were from or why they were refused. It would only state that they were refused on the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

“The information provided by the Department shows the alarming level of support that Ireland is giving to US military operations overseas” said John Lannon of Shannonwatch. “Over 550 permits were granted to airlines carrying troops, weapons and explosives to their forward operating bases. There would seem to be an overwhelming bias towards facilitating flights from the US and other NATO countries. How can our government claim we are in any way neutral when this is happening?” (more…)

Waltzing on Borrowed Time

Afri recently launched an appeal to artists to help raise awareness about global warming and climate change – especially in the lead in to the UN Summit on Climate in Paris in December 2015.  Artists responded including Damien Dempsey, Liam O’Maonlai, Donal O’Kelly, Noirín Ní Riain, Paula Meehan, Theo Dorgan, Pete St. John and many more.

As part of this call Afri brought together Pete St. John, composer of the famous song ‘The Fields of Athenry’, Ugandan singer, Justine Nantale, and the children and teachers of Gaelscoil Cholmcille in Dublin to perform Pete’s song ‘Waltzing on Borrowed time’.  This video (filmed by Dave Donnellan and RoJ Whelan) captures some of the magic of the occasion.

Please share widely.

Stop Climate Chaos welcomes the Minister’s commitment to amend Climate Bill

scc_logo_highresStop Climate Chaos welcomed the statement by Minister for the Environment, Alan Kelly TD, that he will bring forward amendments to the Government’s Climate Bill. The Minister was speaking during the Committee Stage debate, where the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill passed without amendment. Several opposition amendments were withdrawn following assurances from the Minister he will consider the issues raised by TDs ahead of the next stage in the Dáil.

Commenting, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of Stop Climate Chaos Coordinator, said

“The Minister’s commitment to amending the Climate Bill is welcome. Now we need to see his proposed changes. The final Bill needs to make clear how much we’ll reduce emissions by 2050, guarantee the independence of the Advisory Council, and ensure Ireland pursues the principle of climate justice.”

Before the Committee’s debate Stop Climate Chaos presented the Minister with a petition from more than 5,000 people calling on him to bring forward amendments that would strengthen the Climate Bill and to ensure it is passed into law before the summer recess. (more…)

From Doolough to Dili and back

President Taur Matan Ruak presents Joe Murray with the 'Order of Timor-Leste’ medal on behalf of on behalf of the East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign

President Taur Matan Ruak presents Joe Murray with the ‘Order of Timor-Leste’ medal on behalf of on behalf of the East Timor Ireland Solidarity Campaign

One of the highlights of Afri’s year is the Annual Doolough Famine Walk and 2015 was no exception. The walk encapsulates many elements, from the tragic story which it commemorates to the reality of continuing famine and food inequality today; the local and the global, connecting Ireland, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the world. The breath taking beauty of the landscape and the way in which Delphi Lodge has now embraced the story adds another dimension.  East Timor was the focus of the 1993 walk, which was led by Tom Hyland and Timorese students Dino Rai and Jose Lopez. The walk is also a generator of ideas and images, a place to plant trees and potatoes, to sow seeds to sing songs and recall stories.

In May 1994, Don Mullan and I left from the walk to attend the inauguration of Nelson Mandela in South Africa. On that occasion Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, and his wife Sunandra had just led the Famine Walk and unveiled a memorial to Mahatma and Michael Davitt in the famine graveyard in Swinford. Gandhi, of course had strong links with South Africa, spending many of his formative years there before returning to India to lead the independence movement.

In 2015, I left the Famine Walk to fly to Dili, capital of the first newly independent state of the 21st century, Timor Leste. I last visited Timor in 1999, as part of a human rights delegation including Fr. Michael Lapsley and Robbie McVeigh from Derry. We met with many groups and individuals on that occasion including the leader of the resistance Xanana Gusmao, who was in prison in Jakarta at that time. Soon after he was released and a referendum was held in which the people overwhelmingly voted for independence.

 

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This could be our last chance to fix the Climate Bill

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In less than a week’s time the Climate Bill will go through another crucial stage in the Dáil. This is make or break…. It could be the last chance we have to fix the Bill before it becomes law. Tell Minister Alan Kelly you want to see the amendments he promised now.

The Minister has told the Dáil he is considering possible amendments to the Bill. We need to make sure the changes he makes are the right ones, by clearly indicating how much we plan to reduce emissions by 2050, by ensuring that the independence of the Expert Advisory Council is explicitly guaranteed and by committing to climate justice as a guiding principle.

Last week UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon urged Ireland to do more to tackle climate change. He called on Ireland to “align its climate effort with its admirable engagement on hunger”. It’s time fo r the Minister to step up to this challenge. Ask Alan Kelly to strengthen the Climate Bill and keep his promise to have the Bill passed into law before the summer break.

It’s almost three months since the draft law was first debated in the Dáil and we’re still waiting for the Government’s proposed changes. Time is ticking and the crucial UN summit in Paris is now less than six months away. Countries like Ireland, with high emissions and higher historical responsibility, have to demonstrate a credible commitment to climate action if we are to build the trust required for a global deal in Paris.

The only thing that has kept the Climate Bill on track to become law at all is the continuous pressure from campaigners like you. We need one last push to make it a climate law we can be proud of. Please sign the petition now and share it with your friends.

Afri is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition. For more about Stop Climate Chaos, visit their website here.

Government rejects calls to change Climate Bill as it passes Second Stage

scc_logo_highresStop Climate Chaos has today expressed deep disappointment at the government’s refusal to take on board concerns about the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill, which today passed Second Stage. This is the first time a Bill designed to tackle climate change has passed Second Stage.

Commenting this evening, Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, said:

“We are deeply disappointed at the government’s unwillingness to listen to concerns expressed not only by Stop Climate Chaos but by their own party colleagues. Fine Gael and Labour backbenchers have voiced their concerns with aspects of the Bill in the Dáil in recent weeks but the Minister’s statement today clearly shows that none of these issues will be addressed.

“The Government is also ignoring the advice from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht. Seven of the ten proposals made by the Committee which require changes to the Bill have been disregarded by Government.

“These include some of the most important proposals for actually tackling climate change, such as a long term emissions reduction target and an independent advisory council. Minister Kelly has argued that setting national targets would interfere with the EU process but this just doesn’t stand up. Other member states have managed to pass climate laws with long-term targets, the most recent of which is Finland which passed a climate law earlier this month with an 80% emissions reduction target for 2050. If the Government is going to reject such important recommendations they must find a stronger rational for doing so.”

As the Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill now progresses to Committee Stage Stop Climate Chaos is hopeful that amendments that will strengthen the Bill will be accepted by government. (more…)

Shamrock, Shame and Shannon

A protest at Shannon Airport took place on March 15th to mark the 12th Anniversary of the 2nd US-led war on Iraq and the Taoiseach’s annual cap-doffing, forelock-tugging exercise before the Commander-in-Chief of continuing wars in Afghanistan and around the world, wars in which Shannon plays a crucial role. It was preceded by a ‘cycle of nonviolence’ from Dirty Nellies at Bunratty Castle to Shannon Airport. Organised by Afri and supported by PANA.

 

Film produced & edited by Dave Donnellan, also including filming by Muireann De Barra

 
“I feel it is my duty as an Irish artist to follow the example of Margaretta D’Arcy and make a stand against the shocking situation of Shannon’s continuing use as an instrument of war.

As St. Patrick’s Day looms I want to help focus attention on the fact that the shamrock is stained with the blood of hundreds of thousands of lives taken by the U.S military campaign, of which Shannon is an essential component. Is this the kind of Ireland we want to celebrate?

The sight of Irish politicians celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in the U.S is grotesque while human rights abuses and death continue to be facilitated by the Irish government’s gift of Shannon airport to the U.S war machine. I hope my actions can in some way draw attention to the shameful complicity of the Irish government in mass murder”.

– Dylan Tighe​, musician, writer and actor

“At this time of year when a bowl of shamrock is handed over in the White House as a symbol of the gombeen attitude of our leaders, it’s vital to challenge the hypocrisy of the neutral Irish state letting its second airport be used as a warport by the US. How many rendition kidnap flights flew through Shannon with prisoners now in Guantanamo for more than a decade without trial, many force-fed for months? We’ll never know because military flights were not and are not inspected.

I feel compelled to use whatever artistic skills I might have to challenge glib acceptance of the use of Shannon by the US army, as a gesture of solidarity with those far-off communities suffering attack by US armed forces with the complicit aid of Shannon Airport. Not in my name, not with my compliance”.

– Donal O’Kelly, writer, actor and director.

Shamrock, Shame and Shannon: Reclaiming Ireland’s Pride

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Shamrock, Shame and Shannon: Reclaiming Ireland’s Pride – A protest at Shannon Airport at 12 noon to 1pm on Sunday, March 15th.

To mark the 12th Anniversary of the 2nd US-led war on Iraq and the Taoiseach’s annual cap-doffing, forelock-tugging exercise before the Commander-in-Chief of continuing wars in Afghanistan and around the world, wars in which Shannon plays a crucial role.

Preceded by a ‘cycle of nonviolence’ from Dirty Nellies at Bunratty Castle to Shannon Airport, starting at 11.00 am.

Organised by Afri and supported by PANA

Peace and Neutrality: International and National Perspectives

From left: Carol Fox (Peace and Neutrality Alliance), Roberto Zamora, Joe Murray (Afri)

From left: Carol Fox (Peace and Neutrality Alliance), Roberto Zamora, Joe Murray (Afri)

“Making peace by making war is what we are trying to do – but it doesn’t work”, stated Edward Horgan, former commandant in the Irish Defence Forces and Shannonwatch spokesperson as he addressed the public meeting on ‘Peace and Neutrality: International and National Perspectives’.  Peace can only be achieved by positive neutrality.

One country which has pursued the path of positive neutrality is a country with approximately the same population as Ireland: Costa Rica.  Costa Rica disbanded their army in the 1940s and the President at that time, Jose Figueras, declared that the military budget would be used on healthcare and education instead. Figueras believed it was pointless for a country the size of Costa Rica to have an army as it would never be able to compete with a larger country. Costa Rica has since become renowned for its neutrality and peaceful stance in foreign affairs.

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Peace & Neutrality: International and National Perspectives

Flags_19Feb2015Peace & Neutrality: International and National Perspectives

Public Meeting

Thursday February 19th at 8pm

Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin 1

 

Speakers:

Roberto Zamora – Independent Attorney from Costa Rica, who has challenged the Costa Rican government on breaches of neutrality under their Constitution and won

Carol Fox – Peace and Neutrality Alliance

Chair:

Andy Storey – Afri

Organised by Afri – For more details contact admin@afri.ie / ph. 01 8827563

Manning Truthfest in Wales

Manning Truthfest

The Manning Truthfest gang in Wales

Report by Genny Bove

 The Craic Will be 90

It wasn’t the greatest start to a weekend. First there was a text about RoJ getting a flat tyre on the way to the ferry and then, when we were on the road heading south from Wrexham, a crisis call. I pulled over into the old station at Welshpool to take it. Joe Murray was on the ferry from Rosslare as planned with Nuala Kelly and Andy Cummins, but all four musicians in the party had been left behind on the quay (thanks to some misinformation given out by Irish Ferries staff who had promised there was plenty of time before the gates closed when there wasn’t) and the next sailing wasn’t due in til after midnight, too late for the Shamrock Bar gig planned for that evening. There was nothing to be done except put out some calls for local musicians to step in and hope that Joe could at least persuade the stranded ones to rebook on the ferry and arrive in time for Saturday night. The atmosphere in the car was subdued as we continued on our way, wondering how things were going to work out and whether the musicians might have just given up and gone home. We needn’t have worried. After about an hour, a text came through from RoJ: they were on their way back to Dublin, would catch the afternoon ferry to Holyhead, drive down to Fishguard from there – a five hour journey – and would be with us by 11pm. Cryptically, he added: “The craic will be 90.”
“What’s that about?” asked Eimear.
“No idea. Bet it’s a song lyric.”
Eimear looked it up and we began to worry that they might be tempted to catch the Isle of Man Steam Packet instead and all end up in Douglas. (more…)

Stop Climate Chaos hosts day of action ahead of Dáil debate on Climate Bill

scc_logo_highresStop Climate Chaos will host a day of action on Tuesday 10th February, calling on elected representatives to strengthen the Climate Bill. The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development Bill 2015 will be debated in the Dáil later this week. It will be the first time the Dáil has debated a Government Climate Bill but the coalition is concerned that the Bill will not deliver the low carbon future it promises unless significant amendments are made.

Ciara Kirrane, Coordinator of Stop Climate Chaos, said

“The coalition was deeply disappointed last month when the Government rejected proposals by the Oireachtas Environment Committee to strengthen the Climate Bill. The recommendations of the Oireachtas committee, which held comprehensive hearings on the draft Bill last year and produced an all-party report, have been ignored without reason or explanation. The Bill will not secure a transition to a low carbon future if the government refuses to do the bare minimum recommended by their colleagues, such as defining what ‘low carbon’ actually means.

“It is clear that our concerns are shared by many members of the public. We’ve had a terrific response from people all across Ireland who are disappointment that the Bill does not go far enough. Tomorrow provides a forum for these people to meet with their TDs and express their dissatisfaction.” (more…)

Global Call For Artists To Sow Seeds Of Hope For Planet Earth

Irish peace organisation Afri has joined with the Choctaw people – renowned for their respect and reverence for the planet – to call on artists everywhere to raise awareness and inspire urgent action on global warming ahead of the December climate change conference in Paris.

'Fields of Athenry' composer Pete St. John supports Afri call for action on global warming

‘Fields of Athenry’ composer Pete St. John supports Afri call for action on global warming

 The effects of global warming are increasingly clear: ecosystems are being lost at an alarming rate; species extinction is occurring on an unprecedented scale and communities, especially those who are already suffering, face decimation and displacement. Unless we make radical changes, things are going to get a lot worse.

But resistance is also on the rise.  In 2014, a coalition of native Alaskan tribes, backed by green campaigners, won a court victory against Shell’s drilling for oil in the Arctic.  Indigenous groups in the Amazon have been holding back plans to cut down more forests to facilitate oil exploration.

Damien Dempsey sings 'Choctaw Nation' at the 2010 Afri Famine Walk in Mayo. Photo by Derek Speirs

Damien Dempsey sings ‘Choctaw Nation’ at the 2010 Afri Famine Walk in Mayo. Photo by Derek Speirs

 

These artists have already pledged to act. Will you? Damien Dempsey, Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Steve Wall (The Walls/The Stunning), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames), Dónal O’Kelly, Noirín Ní Riain, Theo Dorgan, Paula Meehan and more. Full list below and more to be announced soon. Are you an artist? Add your name to the list of supporters here.

 

Earth Photo

Join Neil Young, Pharrell Williams and others

Artists are helping lead the change.  Neil Young launched a Canadian tour in 2014 under the title ‘Honour the Treaties’, backing the struggle of Canada’s indigenous nations against environmentally destructive tar sands extraction. Pharrell Williams recently announced a series of Live Earth Concerts around the globe on June 18th of this year.

In Ireland, renowned violinist Colm Mac Con Iomaire of The Frames (and ex Swell Season and Kila) will soon launch his new solo album ‘and now the weather’ which takes in the theme of our relationship with the planet. What we need now is a constant, continuous and multi-dimensional effort from now until the Paris Summit in December 2015 and beyond. 

We are calling on artists, musicians, poets, painters, writers, crafts people, designers, dancers and all creative souls everywhere to use their creative genius to awaken the super-power of world opinion.  Imagine the impact, if artists and those who love art, those who love Earth were to rise up and make their voices heard with one clear message: Stop killing our planet… save our world.

Please join our call by creating art that helps awaken, activate and inspire. Share your creations with your friends, fans and followers and be part of a movement of movements that is determined to forge a new world for our children and grandchildren.

Joe Murray, Afri – Action From Ireland (Patron, Archbishop Desmond Tutu)

Gary White Deer, Choctaw artist

 

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The teachings of all First Nations tell us that all people share a common Mother Earth,
who takes care of us and we are born knowing this. In this Spirit, let us then take care
of Mother Earth as well as each other.

– Gary White Deer, Choctaw Nation

 

This call is supported by:

Liam Ó’Maonlaí, Damien Dempsey, Steve Wall (The Walls/The Stunning), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (The Frames), Q A.K.A Colm Quearney,   Dónal O’Kelly (actor and playwright), Gary White Deer (Choctaw artist), Sarah Clancy, Colm Keegan, Enda Reilly, Queen Elvis,  Veronika Stalder, Valentina Gaia Lops, Iain Dowling, Blue Drum,  Gary Dunne (music), Caroline K Stanley (music), Ciara Ryan-Gerhardt (creative writing, singing), Little John Nee (writer/performer/story maker), Dave Lordan (poet), Róisín Coyle (Visual artist), Maria McManus (writer), Bibly Mosa (poetry), Denise Keenaghan (poetry), Kate O’Shea (poetry), Rory White (music – cello – and songwriting), Séamus Bellamy (writing), Homeira (Printmaker), Angela T. Carr (poetry), Rosie McGurran (visual arts), Shelley Tracey (poetry), Luke Concannon (singer-songwriter), Connor McDermott (music/writing), Michelle McCarron (photography, film, writing), Ailbhe Darcy (writing), Sorcha Fox (poetry and performance),  Rosemarie Rowley (poetry),  William Wall (writer), Mary Madec (poetry), Tara Baoth Mooney (musician and artist), Theo Dorgan (poet), Paula Meehan (poetry),  Eleanor Hooker (poet), Elise Brown/Hands on Crreation (craft, photography, poetry, dance), Celeste Auge (writing), Nessa O’Mahony (poetry), Sheila Mannix (writing), Béibhinn O’Connor (music), Jenni Ledwell (actress), Lavelle (music),  Eabhan Ni Shuileabhain (poetry),  Sue Hassstt (writing, research, music, activism, participatory arts),  Brian Fleming (music/ theatre),  Lou McMahon (singer-songwriter),  Shevaun Doherty (botanical artist), Lucia Comnes (songwriter/singer/fiddler),  Édaín Ní Dhomhnaill (art),  Martina Flaherty (singer/songwriter), Lauren Guillery (musician – Dublin), Lucy Vigne Welsh (acting, painting, writing – Wicklow), Giselle Harvey (art/craft – Clare),  Bee Smith (writing/poetry – Cavan),  Danny Groenland (soul music – Dublin), Beverly Farley (painting – Quebec, Canada), Wendy Jack (singer songwriter – Ireland), Terry Corcoran (painter – Missouri, U.S.A.), Ceara Conway (visual art/singing – Galway), David Carroll (music – Bordeaux, France),  Michelle Culligan (craft/ writing / mosaic),  Nóirín Ní Riain PhD (music/theology),  Barbara O’Meara (visual artist – Dublin), Martin Sharry (writing – Dublin), Breda Larkin (comedian – Cork), Helena Tobin (artist – Dublin), Kathleen O’Hara Farren (mixed media – Donegal), Sharon Corcoran (poetry & writing – Missouri, U.S.A.), Deborah J. Stockdale (textile artist – Donegal), Caroline Kuyper (yarn craftivism – Donegal), Jules Bitter (music – Netherlands), Ciara Delaney (music – Belfast), Saffron Thomas (sculpture – Sligo), Kathleen McCreery (theatre and writing – Donegal), Bernadette Hopkins (visual artist – Donegal), Kate Thompson (writer – Galway), Aodán McCardle (artist/poet – Donegal), Ciaran Keogh (actor/singer and film maker – Donegal), Kevin Ovita Teddy (event organizing – Kenya), Paul Byrne (music – Dublin), Kate O’Callaghan (music – Donegal),  Róisín Ní Ghallóglaigh (music – Limerick),  Mary Lynch (art/ drawing – Belfast), Ruth Brewer (poetry –Dublin),  Laura Dicus (watercolor painting-Washington, U.S.A.), Aislinn Adams (botanical and nature artist – Oregon, U.S.A.), Stephen Murray (poetry –Dublin), Ger Killeen (poetry – Oregon, U.S.A.),  Cynthia Domenico (videodance – São Paulo,  Brazil),  Pete Mullineaux (music/poetry/drama/fiction – Galway),  Oisin McGann (writing and illustration – Meath), Debbie Chapman (visual artist – Dublin), Lisa Fingleton (artist & filmmaker – Kerry),  Sam (art & poetry – Ireland), Conor Bowman (writing – Meath), Stephen James Smith (poet – Dublin),  Marigold Fairweather (visual art – Victoria, Australia),  Freya Watson (writing – Kildare), Dolores Whelan (writer /teacher in spirituality –Louth), Fintan Vallely (music – Dublin), Diana Oleartchik  (Writer – Tel Aviv, Israel).

 

Are you an artist? Add your name to the list of supporters here.