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

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. Continue reading “Freedom beckons for Chelsea Manning”

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. Continue reading “Irish Campaigners Join Calls For Obama to Pardon For Chelsea Manning”

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.

Unique presentation of Radio Play ‘Fionnuala’

Donal O'Kelly performs 'Fionnuala'
Donal O’Kelly performs ‘Fionnuala’

Afri is delighted that Donal O’Kelly’s radio adaptation of his award-winning show Fionnuala, produced by the Norwegian state broadcaster NRK in Norwegian, made the shortlist of five for the famous Prix Italia in Radio Drama, whittled down from an original 35 productions.

Next week, Fionnuala competes as NRK’s nominated entry in the Radio Fiction category at the Prix Europa in Berlin with results to be announced on Friday 21st October.

On that night, October 21st, the production will be played, with dialogue in English projected on a screen, in Glenamoy Parish Hall, Erris Co. Mayo starting at 8pm sharp, duration one hour. Doors 7.30pm.

Afri is proud to host this event in Glenamoy Hall, where the first reading of Fionnuala took place during the Afri Hedge School in August 2012. News from Berlin will be communicated as it happens and refreshments will be provided.

Donal O’Kelly’s live solo show about the Shell/Statoil gas project in Mayo won a Scotsman Fringe First award in Edinburgh, and has been performed all over Ireland, as well as Edinburgh, Geneva, Oslo and Rapid City, South Dakota.

Continue reading “Unique presentation of Radio Play ‘Fionnuala’”