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
After 14 years of challenging the oil and gas industry in north Mayo, what knowledge does the community there have to share? What questions might other communities have and how might they benefit from the experiences of those standing up to Shell and the State?
A four-year CEESA research project (2010-2014) in the parish of Kilcommon, northwest Mayo, sought to identify and share useful knowledge from the experiences of challenging the Corrib Gas project. This has been used to create an exhibition in which people respond to the question: If you could say one thing to other communities facing an unsafe development planned for their area, what would it be?
On Friday 30th January some of the 51 campaigners who took part in the research will speak about what they are learning through challenging the Corrib project. The creators of the exhibition will also talk about the research and photography behind the exhibition. (more…)
The Future For Shale?
Sunday evening March 9th saw the launch of a short documentary by award winning film maker Dearbhla Glynn in an event organised by Afri. Dearbhla’s work as an independent documentary maker has previously shone a spotlight on human rights injustices in the Congo and Gaza.
Members of Love Leitrim Eddie Mitchell and Chair Susan Carton were at hand for a Questions and Answers session after the film. The audience were also treated to a traditional music session from well known musicians Steve Cooney and Paddy Keenan in the Glens Centre venue.
An unexpected highlight of the evening was when renowned Choctaw artist Gary White Deer made a presentation of his painting entitled “Fracking Mother Earth” to Love Leitrim.
By Dervilla Keegan, Love Leitrim
Thursday Feb 28th is a date that could be etched in Irish memory. It is the deadline date gas companies have to submit applications for an exploration licence. Currently two of these companies have applied. If they are granted rights for an exploration license, many commentators advise that this would pave the way for the introduction of hydraulic fracturing into Ireland. The nature of the licensing terms are difficult to get out of. Companies also gain the opportunity to build their fracking infrastructure for this controversial industry.
To mark this date, a delegation from Love Leitrim are coming to the Dail to ask the ministers instead, to make a positive stance on behalf of their people and grant a licence not to frack Ireland. They will be outside the gates from Midday to 3pm. The Frack Free Ireland campaign has been rolled out and people have been asked to send in their licence request for their right to have unpolluted water, their right to live in a rural area, right to maintain and safeguard indigenous industry, and fundamentally the right to their health and the health of future generations. The campaign has captured the imagination of the public and high profile artists with backing of Christy Moore, Steve Wickham, and Glen Hansard who have pledged their support. Eleanor Shanley of De Danann fame, Rossa O Snodaigh Of Kila and Leitrim GAA stars are others who have signed the Application not to frack Ireland.
At the moment the decision currently lies with the government whether to frack Ireland or not. While research has been commissioned it does not consider public health and does not have public health expertise on the steering group guiding it.
The brainchild of Irish tourist provider Nuala Mc Nulty, the Application for a frack free Ireland pleads with the government to make a powerful positive choice on behalf of its people and immediately halt any further licences.
“Throughout this process people have been forgotten about. We want to put people back into the centre of decision making. It’s as simple as this. We are asking the Irish government, Are you with your people or not? We need them to show us they are with us by halting any further licenses’
Love Leitrim wants Feb 28th to be the beginning of a show of solidarity by the government to its people at home and abroad, and that date to be remembered for all the right reasons.
or for further background on the campaign
The Manorhamilton Bhopal Hearts event took place in The Parlour on Main Street Manorhamilton on Monday 3rd December, International Bhopal Day.
The event was mounted following the visit in September to the Glens Centre Manorhamilton, organised by Afri and Love Leitrim, of two survivors of the Bhopal disaster, Safreen and Namdev. Safreen, now 19 years old, whose parents are sick as a result of the Union Carbide contamination, walked with her schoolfriends in 2008, all aged 15, from Bhopal to Delhi, 13 days, and handed paper hearts in to the Indian Minister for the Environment, to remind him what a heart is. The message was – clean our water or hearts will stop beating.
On 3rd December 1984 in Bhopal, India, a large pesticide plant operated by Union Carbide incurred a catastrophic accident that released toxic gases. 8,000 people died as a result, wiping out entire communities and villages. 600,000 were injured or disabled. Almost 30 years later, illness and diseases associated with the gases continue to cause suffering for the region’s population. Dow Chemicals, one of the sponsors of the London Olympics, took over Union Carbide, and have refused to take responsibility for cleaning up the still-polluted water supply. The Indian government have moved only recently, and slowly, to start to make reparation.
In Manorhamilton, we wanted to mark the terrible legacy of Bhopal, salute the resilience of the coping survivors, and warn of the hazards of poorly-regulated chemical processes introduced into communities. A group of people in Manorhamilton, with artists Jackie and Peggy McKenna, made hearts of various materials – glass, wool, papier-maché and ceramic – which they presented in The Parlour, Main Street as an expression of support from the people of North Leitrim to the survivors of the Bhopal disaster.
Manorhamilton Bhopal Hearts were posted to Eamonn Gilmore, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Phil Hogan, Minister for the Environment, Pat Rabbitte, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, and the Indian Ambassador.
Bhopal Hearts will be hung on the Manorhamilton Christmas tree on Saturday 8th December when its lights will be turned on!
– Donal O’Kelly
Afri, in association with Love Leitrim, are hosting a talk called “Bhopal, the Leaks and the Legacy: Lessons for Leitrim?” on Thursday, 27th September, in the Glens Centre in Manorhamilton, County Leitrim at 8pm.
Speaking at this event will be two activists from Bhopal in India who will be talking about their experiences of campaigning for justice for the victims of the Bhopal disaster.
A union organizer before the disaster, Namdev survived the gas leak, set up the Gas‐Affected Destitute Pensioners’ Front and continues to work with Bhopal’s most vulnerable survivors.
19 year old Safreen inherited the disaster from her gas‐exposed parents and has lived with contamination from Carbide’s factory site which Dow refuses to clean up. She co‐founded Children Against Dow/Carbide in 2008.