Student-youth groups in Ireland have condemned the housing crisis in the country as they are about to return to their colleges and universities this September for the new academic year. On Wednesday, August 16, the Union of Students in Ireland (USI), along with housing support groups including Threshold, launched a ‘Scam Watch’ campaign against the exploitation of students by landlords and rent sharks. The USI also demanded legislation to control rents and provide affordable housing for students. Political parties like Sinn Fein accuse the coalition government under Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, and the Greens of totally failing the student renters and abandoning them in the grip of the housing crisis.
Irish anti-war groups disrupted discussions over militarization and membership of military alliances at the government’s first national security consultation meeting that began at the University College Cork (UCC). On June 22, activists from the Connolly Youth Movement (CYM) disrupted the Consultative Forum on International Security Policy meeting with anti-war slogans and raised a red banner that read “NATO Wars! Millions Dead.” Deputy head of government and foreign and defense minister Micheál Martin from the Fianna Fail of the ruling liberal-conservative coalition, was set to address the gathering, only to be interrupted by anti-war protesters on Thursday.
The reality of the climate crisis makes it clear that we must leave the “oil in the soil” and the “gas under the grass,” as the Oilwatch International slogan goes. The fossil fuel industry knew this before anyone else. Yet the industry continues to seek new extractive frontiers on all continents in what has been labeled a “fracking frenzy” by campaigners. In Australia, unconventional fossil gas exploration has been on the rise over the last two decades. Coal seam gas wells have been in production since 2013, while community resistance has so far prevented the threat of shale gas fracking.
Shannon Airport, County Clare, Ireland - “This is not a regular airport,” Margaretta D’Arcy said to me as we heard a C-130T Hercules prepare to take off from Shannon Airport in Ireland after 3 p.m. on September 11, 2022. That enormous U.S. Navy aircraft (registration number 16-4762) had flown in from Sigonella, a US Naval Air Station in Italy. A few minutes earlier, a US Navy C-40A (registration number 16-6696) left Shannon for the US military base at Stuttgart, Germany, after flying in from Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia. Shannon is not a regular airport, D’Arcy said, because while it is merely a civilian airport, it allows frequent US military planes to fly in and out of it, with Gate 42 of the airport functioning as its “forward operating base.”
On Saturday the sixth of August, members of Ireland’s Russian community held a protest in Dublin against the current trajectory that the 26 County State appears to be taking in regards to joining NATO. Supported by Irish Republican groups, Republican Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Socialist Party, the demonstration took place on O’Connell Street, Dublin’s main thoroughfare, facing the General Post Office – the historic site where the Irish Republic was declared in arms on Easter Monday 1916. Indeed, just as Irish men and women fought against British imperialism in 1916, the US and UK-supported Imperialism that precipitated the Russian intervention in Ukraine was highlighted at the protest, with many placards raising awareness of the eight-year long war waged by the Western-backed Kiev government on the breakaway Donetsk and Luhansk Republics.
Threats to our democracy are two-fold: a growth of support for authoritarianism by some and the withdrawal from and lack of engagement in political activity by others. Both trends stem from people’s loss of trust in their government and belief that officials don’t represent and serve them. Neither escalating partisan conflict nor escapism are solutions. However one fresh tactic is increasingly being used to establish broad dialogue, actively engage citizens in policy decisions and thereby revitalize democracy. Citizens’ assemblies have a long history, from ancient Athens and Rome to Rousseau’s Geneva and Vermont’s annual town halls. Rather than bringing all residents of a particular jurisdiction together, recently leaders have turned to selecting representative demographic samples of the population using the technique of “sortition.”
Judge Patricia Ryan sent a clear message to protesters objecting to illegal U.S. military flights through Shannon Airport today by fining the Shannon Two 10,000 euros after they were convicted of interfering with the operation, management and safety of the facility. On May 3, the jury found Tarak Kauff and Kenneth Mayers not guilty on the two charges of criminal damage and trespass at Shannon airport, but guilty of the unusual charge of interfering with the airport operation, management or safety, which was added to the case two years after the fact. Mayers and Kauff had pleaded not guilty to all charges. Ken Mayers and Tarak Kauff were arrested on St. Patrick’s Day, 2019, at Shannon Airport for going onto the airfield to inspect U.S. military aircraft or cause them to be inspected.
Dublin, Ireland - A mixed verdict came down in the case of the Shannon Two today. They were found not guilty of the charges of criminal damage and trespass with intent to commit an offense, but they were convicted, by a vote of 10-2, of interfering with the operation, management, and safety of an airport. That charge was added two years after the original charges. They have to surrender their passports until they are sentenced. Tarak Kauff, 80, and Ken Mayers, 85, went onto the airfield at Shannon Airport on March 17, 2019, to inspect any aircraft associated with the U.S. military that were at the airport. There were in fact three planes there at the time—a Marine Corps Cessna jet, and an Air Force Transport C40 aircraft, and one Omni Air International aircraft on contract to the U.S. military that they believed carried troops and weapons through the airport on their way to illegal wars in the Middle East, in violation of Irish neutrality and international law.
Kenneth and Tarak arrived back from the USA to attend their trial on Thursday 21st April. When they arrived at Dublin airport they were quizzed by an immigration official, who commented: “when you here the last time you caused some trouble, is there going to be any trouble this time?” Our two peaceful Veterans For Peace responded that they were just back for their trial and that all their activities are intended to prevent trouble and conflict rather that cause trouble. That seemed to convince immigration that it would be OK to let them in to The Republic of Ireland, even if the term Republic is a bit of a misnomer these days given our membership in an increasingly militarised European Union, NATO’s so-called Partnership For Peace, and our virtual hosting of a U.S. military base as Shannon airport.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, in what will perhaps finally result in the COVID-19 mainstream media narrative being permanently banished from the headlines, almost nine years of Western provocations via its Eastern European proxy state Ukraine would culminate in Russia launching a military intervention into its Western neighbour – with attempts to resolve the situation peacefully by Moscow over the past several months ultimately proving fruitless due to Kiev failing to implement its side of the Minsk Agreements, which would see a federalisation solution in which the breakaway pro-Russian Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk, located in the predominantly ethnic Russian Donbass region of eastern Ukraine, being given a degree of autonomy whilst still remaining under the rule of Kiev - both Republics being given formal recognition by Moscow on Monday instead, in response to the breakdown in negotiations.
One hundred years ago this week, Sylvia Beach, who ran the bookstore Shakespeare and Company on 12 rue de l’Odéon in Paris, placed a copy of a book she had published, ‘Ulysses’ by James Joyce, in the window. Ulysses, with white letters on a blue book cover, had been rejected by publishers in English-speaking countries. The story takes place during a single day in Dublin, June 16, 1904. It would swiftly become one of the most important novels of the 20th century, at once ancient and modern, drawing its inspiration from Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’. Ulysses is the Latin name for Homer’s hero Odysseus. The mythical figures in Homer’s epic are reincarnated in the lives of the Irish working-class.
Sunday June 13th saw us returning to Shannon Airport to recommence our monthly peace vigils. We had around 20 peace activists there, watched by around 20 Gardai. Inside the airport, security personnel, including an Irish army patrol, protecting three US Marine Corps Hercules KC-130J warplanes that had landed the previous night. They stayed overnight at Shannon, meaning that their crews and military passengers were almost certainly in local hotels for the night. Our vigil was poignant and emotional as we commemorated the more than 70 Palestinian children killed recently. Two members of Red Rebels Clare, which is a theatre group that accompanies Extinction Rebellion and other action in Clare, joined us in silent, solemn protest, while others read out the list of the children killed in Palestine. Inside the airport, security personnel, including an Irish army patrol, protecting three US Marine Corps Hercules KC-130J warplanes that had landed the previous night. They stayed overnight at Shannon, meaning that their crews and military passengers were almost certainly in local hotels for the night.
Ireland has become the first EU member state to declare the building of Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories as de facto annexation, after the Dáil on Wednesday night passed a motion tabled by Sinn Fein.
The global loss of life and disruption to our daily lives resulting from the coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented in living memory. We have learned through tragedy that we have a shared, globalised vulnerability common to all humanity. We are learning how we, as a matter of urgency, must make changes to improve resilience in a range of essential areas: employment, healthcare, housing. We have been forced to recognise our dependence on our public-sector frontline workers, and the state’s broader role in mitigating this crisis and saving lives. The coronavirus has magnified the scale of our existing social crises and has proved, if ever proof were required, how government can act decisively when the will is there.
Coca-Cola Workers Fighting For Their Rights In Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland, And The USA Still Need Your Support
Coca-Cola continues to violate the fundamental rights of workers in Haiti, Indonesia, Ireland and the USA. CLICK HERE to learn more and to send a message to Coca-Cola's CEO and Chairman James Quincey. In Haiti Coke's bottler La Brasserie de la Couronne continues to systematically deny workers their right to form and be represented by a union, SYTBRACOUR (read more here). Haiti is a dangerous place to live and to work. Companies should, at a minimum, be alert to this situation and exercise maximum due diligence. In July 2019, a Coca-Cola truck driver was shot in his vehicle while at work.